Vida Spring had its beginnings in the beautiful province of Alberta Canada and a puppy named Gus.
We had just moved to Canada for an assignment with our two young sons and our 7 year old dog, Blue. It was to be a great adventure for our entire family. Blue began to show serious symptoms of an autoimmune disease following our move. For months I was taking him to an internal medicine veterinarian weekly for tests, check-ups, and intensive treatments. Six months after the onset of symptoms and following a likely diagnosis of Lupus we were faced with the difficult decision of a compassionate end. It was Christmas Eve.
That day is seared in my mind. Everything was so new in a foreign home, and Blue was my steadfast companion. Saying good-bye to him was one of the hardest days of my life. Anyone who has held their beloved companion while they are put to sleep knows. We were without a dog for the first time in ten years. It was traumatic.
I spent time looking into possible causes for canine autoimmune disease. I knew too many people who had lost dogs at a young age to various cancers and diseases, and wanted to know what were the connections. While that search was a minefield of possibilities, it did lead me to consider why I was doing some of the things I had always done when taking care of a dog. I blindly did what I was told, but would never consider doing that with my children. I always had to know why. Were there better more natural choices to support a healthier longer life for my dogs?
When considering another dog, I decided on a number of changes to our normal care of our canines including vaccination protocols, household cleaners, and lawn chemicals; all of which are topics for another post. I also closely considered diet.
When I met our soon to be breeder, I met someone who was feeding her dogs raw. She was the first person I had ever met who fed raw. It was a completely foreign idea to me, and I was not exactly open to it. When we brought our new puppy home, I decided on a premium kibble made right in Alberta from local protein and produce. I thought it was exactly the right thing to do.
The idea of feeding raw kept coming up. It was a very common way of feeding in Canada. It was meeting a veteran raw feeder who very kindly and graciously pursued me a bit that changed my thinking. I will forever be grateful to Judy Hetkowski for sending me articles to read, for challenging my way of thinking about dog food, and for calling to talk with me. Thank you dear friend!
On a fun family outing hiking and fishing in the foothills of the Canadian Rockies, I watched my young puppy devour a couple fish heads, and wondered what would happen to him. Would he throw up? Would he have diarrhea? Guess what, he was completely fine.
The next week, when I purchased our family’s beef from our local butcher, Silver Sage, I also purchased the preground raw dog patties they made and decided to see what happened. I thought my husband would declare it “hippie nonsense,” and not support the idea. But he didn’t. He just said, “We feel better when we eat real food. I bet the dogs would, too.” Our puppy Gus devoured the patty.
I finished our kibble for his morning meals, and fed him raw at night for a week. Three days after he officially was 100% raw fed, I can not describe the difference I saw. He had so much more energy! I don’t mean the neurotic hyper energy, but vital, intelligent and alert energy. It was such a transformation. His coat was shinier. I was not cleaning up as much poop in the yard; which when you live in winter for 6-8 months out of the years is a big deal. I could see without a doubt the difference a biologically appropriate diet could bring about in a dog, and I was never going back.
If you have never considered feeding your dog a raw diet, I challenge you to try it. If you feel overwhelmed by the idea, know that I did, too. Take the first step, and don’t let misinformation or fear decide for you.