Healthy Dogs,  Holistic Standard Poodles

How to Raise a Healthy Dog: Part 3

When we got our Standard poodle, we quickly learned that most of our children thought having this breed of dog would be wonderful.  Our children are all adults, married, and no longer live with us, which means they would each have to have their own dog.  Well, since we had a female who still had all of her reproductive organs (I couldn’t bring myself to have them removed), maybe we could have puppies someday and provide a puppy for each of their families.  Five in all.

Were we ever in for a surprise.  I had no idea the Standard poodle population was so scarce.  I guess I must be old, because I remember when getting a dog was never hard to do, whether purebred or not.
We looked and looked for another poodle like ours.  My daughter suggested we go online and check for breeders in the area.  So I went online.  This is when I entered a whole different world.  The world of dog breeders.

These poodle breeders were exclusive, and they charged an enormous amount of money for their puppies (a fraction of what I had paid just a year before), you had to fill out forms, legal papers, make a deposit ahead of time, wait for the next litter, which may be another year, then either have the puppy flown to you, or travel across country to get the puppy.  After weeks of reading websites, which I admit taught me a lot about poodles, as well as why these breeders felt they needed a legal contract with the purchasers of their puppies.  Sheesh, who would have thought it would be so complicated.

Mom, be careful when dealing with breeders, you know they can be a very dishonest group of people.”  This was the advice I had gotten from one of my daughters who had at one time raised rabbits for 4-H.  We, sadly, learned that you couldn’t trust what a number of the rabbit breeders told us about the rabbit we were buying from them.  Before she was an experienced rabbit breeder herself, still buying stock from various breeders, she was lied to about everything from age of the rabbit (by several years), health, even the gender of the rabbit. Which we found can be a big problem when you put 2 males in the same cage together.  Conversely, we learned one of our “females” was really a male when we put it in a cage with another female.  But, we got some nice baby rabbits from that mistake.  Even though we blamed it on rabbit breeders at the time, we both knew it was really nothing more than the sinful nature of man.  People lying to sell their product for money.  The product happened to be rabbits in this case.

I would like to believe these poodle breeders love their dogs and are doing what they believe to be the best for their dogs.  Yet, being a dog “breeder” of any sort has become an ugly title in our country, and from what I have read, it looks like it is due primarily to two things, neither of which is the breeders themselves. The puppy mills and the animal shelters.

What is a puppy mill?  It’s an ugly situation in which people keep their dogs in cages like rabbits, and use them for nothing more than breeding and selling of their puppies. They aren’t pets, they have no freedom to play or socialize with other dogs, and as you can imagine in such a situation, they are often sickly, diseased animals that don’t live very long.  The  animal shelters on the other hand,  is where lost, wild, and unwanted dogs and cats in our country go to be cared for and adopted out.  Or at least this is what we are supposed to think.  However, when you do your research on these shelters, you will find that very few of them have a “no kill” policy, and instead, euthanize more animals (by the thousands) than they save.

Euthanize.  What does this word mean exactly?  Its a word the animal shelter people like to use rather than “kill” because it sounds friendlier, as though they are doing the animal a favor.  Kind of like the title “Humane Society”. As though being killed is better than being allowed to live.  How is this not ugly?  But instead of stopping it, or working toward a better solution, the solution is to stop the breeding of all pets.  I hear the slogan  “Have your pets spayed or neutered” all of the time.  It’s on signs, city buses, even game show hosts say it on television.

Okay, I get it, we want to reduce the puppy population like we want to reduce our people population.  This is why our government has supported and used “anti-fertility vaccines” on women of childbearing age, and why in some hospitals across the U.S., we give new mom’s the HCg- Diphtheria vaccine before they leave the hospital with their new baby.  To discourage the birth of any more babies.  I get it, but at the same time, I am horrified!!

What about being a responsible breeder, or just a responsible pet owner?  And why is it better to have your pet’s reproductive parts removed?  How is that responsible?  What does that do to our pets’ nervous system, endocrine system, immune system, moods, and what about its longevity.  Do these dogs have a shorter life span?  Are they more susceptible to cancer?  I was talking with a friend last night who said she had a wonderful, sweet, golden retriever until she had it spayed.  She described how this lovely animal, who was always sweet and friendly, long into adulthood, turned into a miserable, winey, moody animal after whe was spayed.  She also developed skin problems, a weight problem, and didn’t have any energy.  All of this right after being spayed.  Of course, as always, the doctor assured her it couldn’t have anything to do with the spaying of the animal.  They eventually had her “euthanized” because they felt, in this case, it was less miserable for her to die rather than live out her life this miserably.

Being in the people-alternative-healthcare field, I have seen the effects of reproductive surgery on people.  Some of whom had radical surgery, like a hysterectomy.  Others a more minor form of the surgery, affecting only part of the reproductive system.  In nearly all cases, it affected how they lived their life.  There are complaints of moods, fatigue, hormone imbalances, and even some with personality changes.  For this same reason these surgeries are no longer the popular choice for women.  In addition, the need for hormone replacement developed.  Even with men who have had a vasectomy there are problems to expect.  Some of them report chronic pain in the prostate for the rest of their lives and others erectile dysfunction when they get into their 50’s.  I wonder what those surgeries do to their life-span?  And what about the development of cancer to these areas?

Maybe its just me, but I can still remember back when veterinarians themselves wondered about the side-effects on our pets of being spayed or neutered.  Now it has become the expected way, even though no long-term studies have been done to prove its a safe choice.  Its also interesting to note that we are the only country that does this without questioning it anymore.  In some of these other countries, like Europe, they encourage responsible pet owning.  For instance, if your female is in heat, you either keep her in during those times so she isn’t bred, you put a pet diaper on her when she’s out, or walk her on a lead, to keep her out of the reach of a male who would breed her.  Its just that simple.  From years of experience I can say that this isn’t a hard practice and it’s what we are doing now with our own female.

Aren’t you afraid of the stress that a pregnancy and birth will cause your pet if she becomes pregnant?” This was the question I was asked by a friend who is a volunteer at animal shelters.  How is this stressful on a healthy, well-cared for female I asked.  Lets not forget pregnancy is a normal, God-created function of the body, necessary for the continuation of the the species as well.  How about asking “Aren’t you afraid of the stress that removing body parts will cause your pet if she’s spayed?”  I think too much of the time we don’t allow ourselves to think about the nonsense of some of the things we are taught.  We don’t use common sense in such situations.  And sometimes I think we allow ourselves to accept and move on, rather than standing up to injustice or lies, because we are afraid of being the “odd person” who refuses to pretend that it’s okay.

When I finally decided I wanted a male standard poodle, I began my search for a puppy that was healthy and preferably without shots or given dangerous chemical dewormers.  I searched the internet for hours and hours, week after week.  Finally, I gave up and called the breeder we had originally gotten our first puppy from.  

Sure enough, she not only had a puppy ready to sell, but it was also the deep brown color I wanted. Within the week we left to go pick him up.

In my haste, I will confess, I made a huge mistake.  Well, several really.  My first mistake was that I didn’t stop to pray about this decision.  In my haste to get the puppy, I forgot to pray about God’s will for us to get him.  Along with this, I forgot to ask the breeder not to vaccinate him or deworm him. I had forgotten to inquire about this very important topic.  It was unfortunate that the majority of breeders I had found up to this time, with the exception of one, was even aware of the truth about puppy vaccines.

Why are you vaccinating your puppies? One lady I know, that I thought knew better about vaccine dangers, breeds a different type of dog and does the the puppy vaccines on them when they get to 8 weeks of age. I asked her why she was doing this, thinking maybe she knew something I didn’t. She said she was aware they were useless to the dog, but added, most people think puppy vaccines assure the health of the dog, and are willing to pay more for a vaccinated puppy.  So for a few dollars she can vaccinate them, then add an extra $200 to their cost and make that much more on their sell.  It made me wonder how many of the other breeders were doing the same thing.

Off to Texas we went to pick up our new brown standard poodle puppy. My husband and I both fell in love with him right away.  As the breeder prepared his papers for me, she proudly told me he had had his puppy vaccines and the chemical dewormer.  I caught my breath.  She had just vaccinated him 2 days before we came to get him.  To me this meant that not only was he sick, but he was contagious to both my husband and myself.  But he was so adorable, a beautiful color, and afterall, we had just driven 10 hours to pick him up.  How could I refuse him now.  I quickly reassured myself (the “accept and move on” response mentioned earlier) that whatever damage he might have from the vaccines, I would work to fix it when he was older, and we left for home.

My puppy is sick.  The next day the breeder of our new puppy called to inquire about him.  How was the drive, how is he adjusting, is he eating alright?  All seemed okay, except for the fact that he had green discharge coming from his eyes and his nose.  An indication I knew meant he had an infection.  Just put him on an antibiotic, he’ll be fine she said.  This I would not do however, as I am aware of what antibiotics can do to the health of an individual, puppy or person.  This puppy was already full of poison from vaccines and dewormer medicine, he didn’t need more poison in his system. We kept him quiet, let him sleep a lot, made sure he had organic food and good, well-mineralized water.  There were other symptoms that would develop in the coming days, and I reported these to the breeder as well when she called again.  And once again she assured me that he was okay, and suggested another type of antibiotic.  I can’t say I expected any better advice then what she gave, but since she asked how he was doing, I volunteered the facts.

Just nine days after we picked up our new puppy my husband and I had to make another trip and leave him behind.  We left him in the care of someone we trusted completely with his care.  She had raised many types of animals herself, all without vaccines, all very healthy. We even nick-named her the dog whisperer.  We were to be gone just 5 days.  Without going into all of the details of his illness, I will sum it up by saying that all of his vaccines seemed to surface.  First one, then another.  This poor little guy was so very sick.  By the time we got home he was no longer able to eat or drink anything.  I then spent the next 2 days working to rehydrate him, as he had become so dehydrated.

Vet clinics are all full.  After the two days of doing water enemas to rehydrate our new, beautiful puppy, I started calling veterinary clinics to see if any of them would be willing to do an I.V. on him for rehydration.  Hoping against all odds that we could save him.  I called 3 clinics that, much to my surprise, were so full they couldn’t see him for days.  I was shocked.  What is wrong with animals today that the veterinary clinics are so full?  Why are they so sick?  Before this time, I had raised german shepherds and collies and could count on one hand how many times we used the care of a veterinarian.   We didn’t use vets on our dogs because it wasn’t necessary.  If they ate something bad, they threw it up.  If they had worms, they ate grass and expelled them.  When they got heart worm we gave them the homeopathic remedy for it.  They often ate whatever they could catch, in addition to what we provided them.  Our male collie loved his road-kill cats, which my husband was constantly taking away from him before our kids saw him eating them.  One day he drug home a dead turkey.  A very large turkey that had obviously been run over by a car.  I’m not sure how my husband disposed of that roadkill.

Once in a while our dogs would have a fight with skunks and get bit.  One night our female collie got into a fight with some rats in one of our sheds and was bitten three times.  After each of these episodes, we would give them homeopathic remedies to support their body in the recovery of their symptoms, and they recovered.  Both collies eventually got heart-worm as well.  It seemed like years before they finally got it.  It reminded me of watching water boil.  When you are watching and waiting, it seems to take much longer than you anticipated.  When our dogs finally developed the symptoms of what we believed to be heart worm, we gave them the homeopathic remedy for their symptoms, and they recovered within hours.  I want to say 24 hours, because that is what people expect – it should take at least 24 hours, right?  But thats not true with homeopathy, and honestly, it was more like 3 hours before all symptoms were cleared up.  Of course their stools were stinky and strange looking for sometimes as long as 24-32 hours as they passed the remains of the worms from their systems.

Our rottweiler has heart worm. Approximately two years after our dogs had had heartworm, a friend called to tell me her rottweiler had been diagnosed by their vet as having heart worm.  They were devastated, knowing that the treatment would possibly kill their beloved pet.  At best, they were told, it would shorten his lifespan by 60%.  My friend decided to do the homeopathy we had done instead.  After giving the remedy, they waited three days for his body to have time to get any remains of the worms out of his system and stools, then took him back to the vet for a re-check.  The vet assured them that their dog still had the heart worm and if anything besides his drug would work on them, he would have known about it.  He did the test, and it came back negative.  There were no heart worms present.  He pronounced the first test a “false-positive.”  It was wrong he said, the dog never had the worms to begin with, and this is why they aren’t there in the second test.  Had he ever had a “false-positive” heart worm test my friend asked?  No, he responded, but there is always a first time he said.

Months went by and my friend was talking with a neighbor of hers who told her she had just learned her dog had heart worm. You can imagine what happened.  This time however, the veterinarian she used, told her that if this “remedy” worked he would be the first to come knocking at her door wanting to learn more about homeopathy.  She did the same thing my friend had done, gave the dog 3 doses of the right homeopathic remedy, waited 3 days for his system to clear out the worm remains, and took him back for a second test.  The vet didn’t know what to make of it.  At least he didn’t deny it had worked, or excuse the test results as a false-positive test.  He also didn’t “come knocking at her door” as he had said he would.

The nice thing about homeopathy is that, it not only works well, but it also has no side-effects.  It works by encouraging the animal’s immune system to do the work of repairing, whatever is needing repair, on its own.  In doing so, the animal builds real, life-long antibodies.  Not the fake, short-term, often ineffective “antibodies” (if you dare even call them that) that the vaccines do.

Our new puppy was only two months old when I was frantically seeking a veterinarian who would help me rehydrate him.  I tried three clinics the first day with no luck. Day two I tried two more vet clinics.  The first was full, the second, although full, was willing to make time in the afternoon for my puppy.  The veterinarian I saw was a very nice man and his tech was wonderful.  While I, on the other hand, was an exhausted, frustrated, crying-out-of-control woman.  By this point I couldn’t contain the tears.

The vet asked me politely if this puppy had come from a breeder.  When I said yes, he responded with “Yeah, I thought so. And, did the breeder also do puppy vaccines on this little guy?”  Yes, I said.  Then finally “What about the chemical dewormer?” Again I replied with “yes.”  Naively, I thought he was asking because he was looking for reassurance this puppy was, in his eyes, well cared for.  However, it was a different picture altogether.  He was annoyed, and responded with “I see way too much of this from dogs that come from breeders.  They do the vaccines way too early and all at once.  This puppy doesn’t even have an immune system yet.  Then they do the harsh chemical dewormer that damages the whole intestinal system of the puppy, and send them home with the new owner damaged and in danger of becoming sick like this.”

I learned that many of the new owners of sick puppies like this one, rush their puppies to the vet and check them for worms, assuming it must be worms that make them this sick.  Of course the vet isn’t going to tell them how dangerous the vaccines are, and all dogs have some worms because, well, they’re dogs.  So a simple worm test will often reveal some strain of worms.  Deworming them with a chemical that has the potential of also killing the dog, will get rid of some of the worms in the gut for sure.  However, the worms in his organs, glands, and brain are left unharmed.  This vet checked our puppy’s liver and kidneys, because he knew these poisons (vaccines and dewormer) all have the potential to seriously harm these organs.  Our puppy’s kidneys and his liver were failing.  He died that evening.  It was a tragic experience, and I can still cry when I think about how much this sweet, beautiful puppy suffered because of someone’s ignorance, and the pharmaceutical industry’s desire to push its products on naïve people, even if it costs a life.

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