Before we got our first puppy, my beautiful, beautiful Zelda, I did a lot of research to find the “right” breeder, trainer, and veterinarian. The vet we used was a small, independently owned, local practice that we had taken our cats to and my Mom took her dogs to. She had been in business many years, had a lot of positive reviews online, and had experience with Rottweiler’s.

As it turns out, my baby proved to be a difficult patient. Not difficult in her temperament (she was perfectly behaved) but difficult to diagnose and cure. We were referred to specialists in many instances because Zelda’s symptoms pointed to a diagnosis that required more advanced medical expertise.

We began doing our own research into dog foods, vaccinations, environmental factors, etc. and many of our decisions were met with disapproval by the vet. For example, we decided based on our research to put Zelda on a raw food diet. The vet was adamantly against feeding raw with no research / data backing her, claiming salmonella and e-coli were inevitable. We were also pressured to give countless vaccinations. Naturally we allowed the legally required vaccines, but all of the “optional” ones I said I would research before allowing them. Every time I opted out of one they would use scare tactics to pressure me into it – worst case scenarios were given, when my research showed very little possibility of these things happening.

The final straw was a phone call I had with the vet where she told me to start adding salt to Zelda’s diet to experiment for testing purposes. I asked how much salt and she said “A little.” I asked again how much and again was told “a little.”
Picture this, I was pulled off to the side of the road, crying hysterically because no one could figure out what was wrong with my baby. The vet, whom I am depending on, can’t figure out what is wrong (nor could any of the specialists to her credit) is telling me to put salt on her food – dogs shouldn’t have salt – but won’t specify how much.

I can still feel that sickening, raw anguish…thinking I would do anything, ANYTHING to save my baby if someone could please just figure out what that anything was. My eyes are filled with tears right now, all these years later.

Deep breath.

So I had to find a new vet. I had already started researching alternative medicines, particularly Traditional Chinese Medicine. One of the specialists we were sent to recommended a book “Four Paws, Five Directions” which I was reading and I knew I needed to find someone who believed in TCM.

We found her. Dr. L, whom we still see to this day – cats and Liezel. Guess what? When we told her we fed raw she was in agreement (she fed raw). When I told her I was against vaccinating – she was in agreement. When I told her I wanted to take a more holistic approach she agreed. She was also very decisive (no wishy-washy “hmm, we could try” or “hmm, maybe…”) and immediately had an action plan.

Now fast forward 3 years. Liezel (our current dog) has a minor issue that required an antibiotic. I told Dr. L that I was uncomfortable giving Liezel the antibiotic for a few reasons, one of which is that studies have shown the antibiotic is not very effective against Liezel’s issue. But she insisted and I trust her (she has earned it).

As I predicted, the follow up proved the antibiotic did not work. Dr. L wasn’t in that day so one of the other vets prescribed yet another antibiotic. I refused and asked to have Dr. L call me when she was in the next day. I also sent a private email to Dr. L explaining things.

Dr. L did some research and contacted some of her TCM vet friends and emailed me a recipe. I will need to order some stuff online since I don’t think the local Health Food Store will have everything, but I will order it and I will administer it and Liezel will be cured of this nuisance.

Moral of the story? Go with your gut! When something doesn’t feel right, it isn’t right.

Two side notes: I DID research all of the ingredients in the recipe and I feel comfortable with all of them; and, my poor husband is so supportive. When I forwarded Dr. L’s email to him, all he could write back was “wow.”

Zelda – snow day!
Zelda – camping