As many of you know, animals are an enormous part of my life. I’ve taken in many strays over the years, adopted animals, donated to animal shelters and such, and my reason for being vegan is… for the animals. I love animals. And… I love my dog so very very much.
It’s with a heavy heart that I write today… we found out he has lymphoma. (Many of you heard this from me yesterday via facebook and I thank you all for your heart felt wishes.)
He’s about 10 years old and he’s just the best dog ever. He’s been with me through many trying times in my life, always my therapy… there to lift my spirits when I didn’t think they could be lifted. He’s my buddy.
Zeus and I at the Mogollon Rim a few years ago. We want to take him back there once he’s feeling better. We also want to take him to the beach, which he loves! A little road trip to CA is in order… as soon as he’s feeling better. Maybe in a couple months.
I have learned that lymphoma is treatable to a degree and we can prolong his life. I’m happy about that. It’s just so hard to see him the way he is today… tired, not eating, sick. Apparently, with treatment he can have a nice quality of life for maybe another 1-2 years. Without treatment, they give him 1-2 months. That information is based on general outcomes, not specific to him yet. We’re waiting on blood test results. Today, he is visiting an oncologist to start chemotherapy. This vet also does acupuncture and combines treatments with some holistic therapies. (Wish us luck!)
This was taken last week. :)
I’ve been asked many times about his diet. I can’t help but question my choices I made for him. Throughout his life he’s had a mixed diet. For the past 5-7 years, it’s always been organic (except for the drive-through foods we’ve given him). He has eaten vegetarian, vegan, and carnivorous (sometimes raw, grass fed meats, and sometimes cooked grass fed meats). Feeding our dog meat has always been a battle in my head because I don’t want to support slaughtering (although, as I wrote, I would always buy him meat from Whole Foods – not sure how “bad” that is in terms of slaughter houses – I suspect almost as bad). But. I also don’t want to feed him a diet that isn’t natural to him. That being said, many vets support a vegan diet for dogs if that is what the owner wants. Therefore, I tried to keep it balanced – sometimes vegan – sometimes not.
Now that I’m researching cancer and dogs, I keep seeing two big words: NO GRAINS. Crap. He’s had a fair share of grains in his life. Sure, he didn’t always have cancer, so maybe the grains weren’t so terrible back then. But, now… grains are apparently a no-no. Without having spoken to the oncologist yet, I went to a natural pet food store yesterday and bought a variety of raw meat / veggie mixtures. I also bought an omega oil (combo of hemp oil and sardine oil). I’m interested in getting him some E3-Live, too. Maybe using a syringe to get it down if he doesn’t like it on his food.
So… he’s off to the vet right now with Greg while I stay home with Kamea. The vet has an office that she’s in today which happens to be a long ways away (maybe over an hour). I won’t know anything more for a few hours…
UPDATE: They just called me from the vet. It’s estimated that he’s stage 3 with hypercalcemia lymphoma. He’s starting treatment today with chemotherapy, and if he responds well, we might be blessed with another year. If he doesn’t do well… it could be weeks or months (I don’t even like thinking about that!). For his diet, she said to give him a higher protein diet and a small amount of whole grains is ok. He can have meat (raw or cooked), veggies (stay away from too many carrots or potatoes), and some tofu will be fine.
We are fighters! I’m going to add omegas, E3 Live, and maybe wheat grass if he’ll tolerate it. We will do everything we can. I’m currently reading the free pdf ebook, The Dog Cancer Diet and reading this (recommended by a trusted friend, thank you), The Nature of Animal Healing.
As many of you know, I have a big dog and we’ve recently taken in a stray puppy who had a broken arm (details here). Thought I’d share some fun video of Miso the puppy playing with our big dog, as well as my mom’s little dog. Uh oh it appears that YouTube isn’t allowing my video because of the music I added(?) so I’ll try to fix later. It’s such a fun video. OK, update, I tried posting it using Vimeo, but not sure if everyone can watch?
I was sent a bottle of Green Mush™by Health Force Nutritionals for my dog. I decided to test it out on 4 dogs (3 were my mom’s and 1 was mine). It’s basically a green powder loaded with nutrients that helps keep your pets healthy. According to Health Force Nutritional’s website…
Green Mush™ is a pesticide free, whole food, green plant based combination. It is completely unlike traditional multi-vitamin/mineral products in that it is truly effective, totally non-toxic and exceptionally absorbent with no toxicity (not excreted as expensive yellow urine or settled out in the tissues as toxic deposits). There are absolutely no synthetics or isolated nutrients whatsoever in Green Mush™! The nutrients are exactly as they occur naturally in whole plant foods.
My first attempt in getting them to try it was in a dish of organic soy yogurt. Only 1 dog seemed to like it and another dog (mine) made an attempt to like it, but didn’t finish it. The other 2 dogs wouldn’t have anything to do with it and looked at me like I was crazy. I thought yogurt would be a good idea because I was pretty confident I’d have to hide it somewhat. I used the recommended amount of Green Mush™, but I think it was probably too much for their taste buds.
The next attempt was sprinkling much less of it onto their main meal. They all seemed to gobble up their food as usual and didn’t mind the Green Mush™ being in there. Even though it’s a small amount, over time it has to be better than nothing, right? I sure love the idea of getting some of this into my dog’s diet, which is pretty healthy anyway (he eats mostly homemade organic vegan food) and only on rare occasions does he eat organic vegetarian dry dog food. There are a few days here and there (not very often) when I feed him raw, organic grass fed meat and an occasional bone. I’m a vegan at heart and although my vet supports my dog eating a vegan diet, there is a tiny part of me that recognizes if he were in the wild, he wouldn’t be loving up the roots and tubers, and would more likely go for meat. Still, because my vet supports our vegan lifestyle, he eats that way 90-99% of the time.
He’s not a fan of raw veggies like I hear about some dogs loving. I sure wish he were! Some examples of foods I make for him (all organic):
Tofu or meat substitutes sprinkled with hemp seeds
Soy or coconut yogurt with hemp seeds, hemp powder and/or hemp oil
Pasta with marinara (update 5/4/10 – tomatoes aren’t looking like a nutritious option for dogs, so I’m scratching that from the diet)
Black beans, lentils, quinoa (or other grain-type foods) mixed with some nuts, seeds, veggies, etc
Baked potato with a little Himalayan crystal salt and a little organic soy butter
Peanut Butter (or almond butter) and jelly on sprouted whole grain toast
Some days I hide juice pulp in his food
Whole grain cereal with rice milk
Oatmeal with maple syrup, nuts, and rice milk
And, on days that I make cooked vegan food for my husband and myself, I make him a plate
I’m not sure what the overall verdict is for Green Mush™ because we only just started using it, but I have to believe that it’s a good thing and I’m glad he’s getting it in his diet!
*I’ll note that my dog is great and healthy with this diet, but I’m not a vet so I’m not prescribing that you feed your doggies or pet friends the same way. Please check with a vet before changing your pet’s diet. For example, some dogs might not handle almonds well, but the few occasions mine has all natural, raw, organic almond butter, he is fine. Update: For those of you caring individuals who get your panties in a bunch are concerned because of what I feed my dog: 1) I have had the support of 3 different vets, 2) there are many thriving vegan dogs from my research – heck, the Humane Society of the United States just came out with a plant-based organic dog food, 3) his health is amazing, 4) as you can see from my post, he is not 100% vegan (I guess he’s technically a flexitarian). He does get meat in his diet, it’s just not usually his staple. I’ve done the all raw meat thing for him in the past and he doesn’t thrive like he does with this diet, so go figure.
I'm Kristen, and welcome to my blog. I'm a wife, mom, author, and I love to eat so food is usually the topic of my blog posts. I'm a former (almost decade long) vegan turned back omnivore who enjoys reading, rebounding, coffee, and dark chocolate. More...