Happy 2022 to all my readers! we have all been through some tough times lately, in varying degrees, thank you COVID-19. I am no exception, although I have not been sick – I may have had Omnicron but if I did, it was mild – I do live an isolated life and am double vaccinated so far. I am aware that extroverts and some small businesses and healthcare workers are all having a much worse time of it than I am. That said, the death of my heartdog Danny – the Ridgeback whose image is all over this site – as well as continued pain and limitation after four spinal fractures in 2019, has made for a challenging time for me as well. I am writing this post to wish you all good health, happy healthy dogs, and a better year ahead, let’s make it so! And also, to address a few myths that have been floating round social media about my work. Nothing terrible, just some confusion and I saw this New Year/New Start entry as an opportunity to address some of this, going forward.
Before launching into the points I wish to address, let me say thank you so much, to all my clients, students, friends and supporters who have made it *possible* for my work to continue. As always, I continue to advance my own studies as well as pass on what I know; last year I did several veterinary webinars on dietary management of various health conditions I work with regularly; I did one of Linda Case’s online courses – although it was very Introductory, I enjoyed seeing how she set it up (more on changes to my own courses below) and, I finally completed the wonderful Foundations in Herbal Medicine program, offered by Tieraona Low Dog, MD. That course covered a lot of ground I’m already familiar with in my work with dogs, but added her unique perspective as both physician and herbalist, and so much detail on human health. I keep busy! It’s so important to stay up to date in both the science, which forms the foundation of my work, and the popular nutrition books, which I will then be able to comment on publicly or whenever asked by a client or student. Right now I am working my way through The Forever Dog by Karen Becker and Rodney Habib, and just ordered Linda Case’s new book (everything she does is topnotch) I plan to take some intensive herbal courses in 2022 – well, as soon as my puppy calms down a little. I may need a bit of a study break the next few months! 🙂
Now – a few things I want to address simply because I hear them over and over and some are not quite accurate. For anyone coming new to this site, this should be helpful in understanding my work and approach. For those who know me and may have heard rumours (I’m booked til 2055, I only do cooked diets, etc) I hope this helps and next time one of your Facebook groups says “Yeah, Cat is great with (kidney disease, cancer, allergies, IBDc etc ) but always unavailable” or that I only do cooked diets, please speak up! Here we go.
1) Myth Number One is – I am booked years in advance and you will never get timely help from me. This is patently untrue! While my waiting list HAS in past been as long as two months, I have cut my total clients way down, to 30% of what I once took on, and this means both more time for the individual case, AND the waiting times are more like 2 weeks. It’s flattering to hear I am so in demand, and I won’t deny I get a lot of requests for help. But I have learned not to overbook, and my waiting list now reflects that. If you need me, I am here, and if it is URGENT, yes, I will make space sooner.
2) Myth Number Two – I only do cooked diets. It is certainly true that, given my focus on therapeutic and complex cases, I end up using cooked recipes a good deal of the time, but by no means do I *only* use cooked foods. Raw foods are wonderful and wholesome when appropriate, but many of my cases – geriatrics, dogs with cancer, advanced renal disease and more – really do better with cooked. Hence I work a lot with cooked diets, but not exclusively. In many cases, I prefer raw. It depends entirely on the dog – his or her illness, age, medications, digestive tendencies and more.
3) Myth Number Three – my diets are all starch-heavy.
Well, I see where this one comes from – I have written in defense of carbohydrates many times – used judiciously and carefully, not excessively, carbs are truly not the evil they are made out to be in extremist circles. That said – one wants a carb-heavy diet, and dogs are very individual with regard to how much and what type of fiber they do best with. I speak out in “defense” of carbs chiefly to allay the fears of people whose dogs MUST be on a higher carb diet, for health reasons (and I am always so interested how well these dogs do, if starch is the Number One enemy of health) and also to clear up the many exaggerations and outright nonsense we hear on Social Media all the time. Anything under 20% is low carb for me, and I have clients dogs on 10% (cancer) and 50% or more (pancreatitis, liver disease). All doing well. All dogs who, if they did not have these illnesses, might do fine on different levels. nutrition is really more complex than the popular sites tend to promote.
My work is focused on doing what the science tells us is optimal for an individual, and what my decades of experience show me works. I’m always flexible. I’m not attached to feeding carbohydrates and certainly not in excess. But, I am always, always going to do what works. Read my Carb series critically, not emotionally, and that will be evident.
4) Myth Number Four is – that I am a nutritionist only, and that is the focus of what I do. I often need to remind people that I am as much of an herbalist as I am Nutritionist – more, if you consider the hours of formal training and years of experience I have put in(I began my herbal studies in the mid-eighties and my canine nutrition journey in the late nineties). My protocols are always both nutrition and herbal based; rarely do I see cases where only one is required. The most important legacy I hope to leave behind is my Canine Herbal, although I dearly want to do a number of other things as well. Herbal medicine is an abiding passion of mine and goes so far beyond the “just add golden paste”or “slippery elm for everything” info we see online. I practise Western Herbal Medicine which is not to be confused with ALLOPATHIC medicine at all. Look for a blog entry describing the Western tradition in more detail in 2022, for now, a few insights here: https://thepossiblecanine.com/energetics-101
In short (because you know, I could go on) I am…
1) Available for consults within two weeks most of the time
2) Often focused on cooked diets, but entirely open to using raw if indicated
3) Interested in doing what works in terms of protein, fat and carbohydrate content of a given recipe
4) Passionate and very experienced in formulating herbs for your dog, and consider myself a Clinical Herbalist as much as Canine Nutritionist
While we are on the topic of myths – there are so many in canine nutrition! My group has activated the popular Myth Busting Monday feature, where each week we discuss one of these ideas, where it came from, what validity it might have and of course, what to do instead. My Facebook group can be found here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/756709917722083
I have also set up a feature on the Newsletter where I answer up to 5 questions a month, which can be emailed to me at email@example.com. you can subscribe to the Newsletter here: https://mailchi.mp/7f0f371cd8a5/thepossiblecanine
So here is to the year ahead – a year in which I am so looking forward to the new site my wonderful team (Dave Filchak and Sandee Roelcke, of www.zuka.com) are putting together; also to moving into some new herbal studies, adding to and developing my own course offerings, BLOGGING MORE ( I have such a list of topics for you) and, maybe most of all, watching Gabriel settle down a little bit. More on Gabriel, his diet – and the hardest entry I’ve ever written, my memorial for Danny, later this month.
Here’s to hope, love and healing for us all.