It’s certainly been a long while since my last blog!
If any of you have ever had a pup with allergies, you will relate.
I seem to have a knack for attracting fur-kids with special needs – I guess the universe knows that they will get all the extra care they need in our home!
This is Skye – my “second born child”. Skye, a Scottish Terrier, was a product of too much familial interbreeding. She was one of a litter of two and the only survivor. It took her 8 months to be able to hold her back legs under her bottom when she sat, otherwise she “spatchcocked”, and two years for both ears to stand up and even then, if the hair got a little long one would flop.
At an early age she started to develop itchy skin. Over the space of two years we were back and forth to the vet with flare up after flare up, being treated continually with cortisone (bearing in mind this was in the 90’s and I didn’t know any better). She lost nearly all her fur twice during bad bouts even though I was systematically trying to eliminate/isolate every possible cause.
Eventually I saved enough money to have her allergy tested, a test not offered in South Africa. So her blood was sent to the USA and it came back that her number one allergen was CATS…which may have accounted for her pathological hatred of them… and number two – storage mite, a mite that lives in virtually all dry food.
I then had the option of going through a costly de-sensitisation programme, the success of which was not guaranteed, or to look for alternatives. With results in hand off we tootled to a homeopathic vet, who guided us through changing her diet to a combined raw and home cooked one supplemented with flaxseed oil. Skye’s skin and coat improved immeasurably and she blessed us with 16 years and 2 months of love and spunkiness. For all that the little soul went through she was the most gentle and patient little being under the sun (except when it came to cats!).
So, this is the story of how I came to cook and bake for my dogs.
But…the story does not end there!
A while after Tatty, my “first born” Scottie, passed away at 14 years, 10 months, I started looking for a new little beasty to help heal the enormous ache Tatty had left in me. One Thursday morning I spotted a post on Scottie Rescue South Africa’s Facebook (www.facebook.com/ScottishTerrierRescueSa )page of little Scottie x Cairn pups (in some countries know as a Bushland Terrier) in Durban that Project Dog (http://www.projectdog.co.za/ )was looking for homes for, showed my husband, contacted Quicha, filled the necessary paperwork out and on the Saturday morning she kindly came and did a house check.
I had my mind set on a little girl but all was dependent on a meet and greet with Skye as her eye sight was failing and I did not want to put her under any unnecessary stress in her twilight years.
Off we went on Saturday afternoon with little Skye in tow to meet these pups. The little girl showed no interest and barked continuously, the one little boy was extemely anxious and little Jack, as he was then known, duly followed Skye where ever she went, not that Skye showed an interest in any of them!! Home we came with Jack who was immediately renamed to Berkeley, my late Dad’s middle name.
When Berkeley was a year old he started losing a large amount of weight, all the while eating like a horse. His eliminations were too gross to describe, and so began the back and forth to the vet.
Thanks to a wonderful vet with many years’ experience he was diagnosed shortly before New Year 2016 with a condition called EPI. In a nutshell his pancreas does not work hence he cannot digest his food, so even though he was eating like a horse his body was starving to death. For more information please visit http://www.epi4dogs.com/ a wonderful forum for support, advice and research findings.
Our dietary experimentation began again, and we have eventually found a combination that works for him and thankfully he has been stable for the last 11 months and is back to his ideal weight of 12kg. I have experimented with other homemade treats but it turns out his pancreas cannot handle grains and fibre, so we had to abort the wholewheat and pumpkin biscuits, which Emma (our little Wheaten and “forth born”) loved and revert to the old faithful Gluten Free Honey and Banana.
I left the corporate world after Tatty passed and started Terrier Firma (www.terrierfirma.co.za , www.facebook.com\terrierfirma ) and when this recipe worked for Berkeley as well as Skye I decided to launch them as part of my pet range. I, in no manner or means, profess to being a canine dietary wizard, but what I can do is share my experiences and perhaps they can offer hope and relief to other canine parents out there, so feel free to order on line if you think they may be an exciting and safe addition to your canine companion’s diet!