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A more loyal creature you will not find,
it is our responsibly to protect and be kind.
When man harms our dear friend,
those scars remain till the bitter end.

As guardians of our domesticated pet, we have a responsibility to protect them from harm and assure them of basic humane rights. That said, it should be our honor and privilege to harbor this companion in our home. A being so loyal, committed, loving and affectionate, you will not find anywhere.

This was not the case with Oliver. Oliver came to our home, a broken spirit, a broken animal – a leg that had to be removed, injured ribs and scars around his neck. Only through posting such stories, may this awaken our humane hearts so that these atrocities do not occur again and again. In this spirit, as hard as it may be, I wish to share the story about Oliver.

Whilst, my family has harbored Oliver for many months now, it is only recently, after our Facebook postings, did we learn the true story about Oliver. The gaps were filled in by the brave and compassionate Animal Welfare workers, who rescued Oliver. We thank you for that.

Dot Skelly explains: “I took the call on a Sunday morning. A neighbor called us. The story was that he had disappeared for a few days and had come home in this shocking condition. However the abuse we saw was not of one single incident. Even hardened Dr Rust commented on that Oliver had been through a lot in his short life. Those ribs were broken long before we got there. As I work there, sometimes one gets the story out of the people in bits and pieces over some time. However this particular area is very closed. I do not think that the old people whom Oliver belonged to would do it, but some of the youthful riff-raff hanging about is quite capable of this. Often the elderly are abused and bullied by these youngsters. Possibly, family of theirs. They aren’t telling. The vet then amputated the leg. To us it looked as though someone had tried to take the leg off with a blunt knife.His name was (believe it or not) Killer. When I looked at him the name “Oliver” just jumped into my mind. Thank you for giving him such a loving home”

Oh Oliver who is to blame for this shame,
It doesn’t matter anymore; we love you all the same.

Rescue Operation
Rescue Operation
Rescue Operation
Rescue Operation

Find more “About Oliver” on our Facebook page.

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This is a must read

Education is the path to enlightenment and with enlightenment we can derive at the correct and informed decisions.

I have no doubt that most consumers, nowadays, acknowledge the benefits that are derived from a healthy life style. I have no doubt that we all understand that a wholesome diet, preferably organic, has a major impact on well being, health and longevity. The conscientious shopper also now looks for grooming products and remedies that are free from chemicals and poisons.

I also have no doubt that with the enforcement of the Consumer Protection Act, we have become more familiar with understanding product labels and we have become more vigilant when it comes to accepting some of the dubious ingredients that are listed therein.

Yet, and this seriously confuses me, when it comes to caring for our dear beloved companion animals we do NOT apply the same and equal health principles. Is this because the naming of this living being, “cat and dog” is so dry and insensitive? Does it not evoke emotion and passion? World-wide pet guardians are referring to their animals as “beloved companions”, “members of the family”, “fury children”, “our babies”.

Perhaps then, the treatment of our animals will be no different to the way that we look after ourselves and that the same principles of healthy living that we strive for, will apply to our “fury friends”.

Yet, for now:

  • We are throwing food in a bowl that is highly preserved, that sits unaffected in it packaging for 24 months.  This despite us understanding the inherent negativities of preservatives.
  • We are feeding a diet that is highly processed and is exposed to cooking temperatures reaching 200 degrees. This, even though we know that vitamins, minerals and protein structures are denatured when exposed to heat.
  • Despite us following various diets, Prof Tim Noakes, Paleo, Atkinson’s, etc which all warn against refined carbs, when it comes to feeding our pets we throw down dried food that is mainly carbs. We know refined carb are acidic in nature and likely to affect skin allergies and arthritis and yet we still persist.
  • We are feeding a dry diet that is devoid of moisture, even though our cats and dogs are struggling with renal and bladder complications.
  • We have forgotten how we used to bond with our parents at the dinner table, enjoying moms favorite spaghetti bolognaise, Indian curry, tomato bolognaise. Now we throw down food for our pets without love and attentions and yet we still expect respect and good behavior.
  • We are even applying flea poisons despite the warning on the packaging that this could be extremely harmful if comes in contact with your skin and that it is advised not to pat your “furry friends” for 48 hours. This despite the fact that after reading the labeling we understand that the active ingredients are a harmful poison.

Now if our companion animals were in prime condition and not struggling with skin aliments, digestive issues, cancer, diabetes, renal complications, arthritis, obesity, heart decease, epilepsy and behavioral issues, then perhaps there would be no need to write this editorial piece. The reality is that almost every pet is struggling with an array of human ailments and that longevity has been reduced.

Changing your own life style and diet is always difficult. It is even harder when one has to make changes that affect the well – being of your companion animals. I believe that the psychological terminology for this conflict of change is called “cognitive dissonance”. However, it is necessary, ethical and fair and in deriving at the correct decision and enlightenment, the responsible consumer and pet guardian should apply these three basic mediums:

  1. midst all the marketing jargon one should apply logic, common sense, intuition and gut feel.
  2. there is a wealth of knowledge on the net and in printed material that it is inexcusable not to undertake the necessary research
  3. in an environment when corporate have become zealous without consideration for the public nor environment, the responsible consumer must understand labeling and ingredients. You have the right to know!!

I have no doubt that for most we understand the principles of healthy living and the benefits derived there from. I therefore, have no doubt that if we deem our pets to be companions and members of our family and that we have applied the mediums above, then we MUST derive at the conclusion that “natural” in better than “unnatural”, that wholesome foods are better than processed and that “preservative and chemical free diets and remedies” are a better option than preserved and chemically based.

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SPRING HAS SPRUNG – ALLERGIES AND FLEAS – AN HOLISTIC SOLUTION

Summer and hot weather impacts on the well being and behavior of our pets. We, as humans, adapt to change in climate and amend our habits accordingly. For example, when the weather is hot we wear lighter clothing and we generally eat less bulky meals. We protect ourselves from the UV rays and we probably shower more often, especially after spending each day at Clifton beach or a trek through Newlands forest. 

Our pets rely on us for their daily activities and feed as well as their general exposure to the environment. It is, therefore, essential that we understand our companion and make the necessary adaptations to the change in climate. 

Offering your companion a variety of different foods or adding tasty tit bits may improve appetite. Identify whether your companion is a “hot” dog and then include cooling supplements into the meal. Remember, not to over do it with washing and shampooing, as their natural skin bacteria is very venerable. Rather rinse with fresh water or even a Natural Rooibos Soak. 

Spring affects our companion in many ways but the biggest irritant is fleas and itchy skin. This is both traumatic for pet owner and pet. Allergens are rife and abundant and our pets seem to react to everything: 

 Long grass, dust mites and flea bites – allergies 

It is important to boost your pet’s immunity during this season. Strong immunity is your pet’s sole protector against allergies. Supplementation is essential and should be administered religiously. 

The use of probiotics and/or spirulina would be well advised. A good quality omega 3 fish oil (not flax) is essential. Include apple cider vinegar daily in your pet’s water or food. Diatomaceous Earth is a natural parasite cleanser and will help rid toxins and parasites. 

A natural diet with vegetables and loads of cooling herbs like mints, sages, lemon balm would help to build immunity and calm and cool irritable skin. 

Fleas and Ticks

In the last few years we have seen an epidemic of fleas. They just will not go away. Whilst it is always tempting to use strong chemicals and poisons to rid these pets, it will certainly impact on your pet’s well being and sensitive skin. Here is the dilemma. If you choose to use flea and tick drops, it may rid fleas, but it certainly will impact on your pet’s immunity and ability to deal with allergens and thus may worsen skin conditions.

The use of natural chemical free repellents is well advised and can be just as effective if applied regularly. Khakibos as a spray is fantastic to apply on your dogs. For cats we would recommend the khakibos powder. Knowing how rife fleas and ticks are at the moment, I would recommend daily use. 

When we go to the beach and sunbath we apply sun protection is advance. We don’t wait to get burnt and then apply a sun cream after. The same is true with regards to applying khakibos onto our pets. Let’s keep them off our pets as a first priority! 

Internally, i would recommend increasing the daily dose of fresh garlic. Another alternative would be the use of aloe ferox bitter crystals (they are extremely bitter and you would have to hide the crystal in some meat or snack). Only one small crystal taken every few days is necessary. 

Spring and summer in South Africa is truly special but it can be problematic for our pets. Fleas and allergies can be contained naturally by boosting our companion’s natural immune system. Extra care and time is required during these months but the results are worth it. After all, a happy pet means a happy owner.

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Breath in, Breath out

 

Ensure your pet is calm, happy and relaxed by making sure their diet is not dominated by over-processed, high-carb dry dog food.

Meditation, yoga and controlled breathing go a long way in helping us put aside our daily stresses and feel more relaxed. If you were a dog or cat, how would you control your breathing? How would you live in the moment, relax and revel in life’s jewels?

Well, our companion animals are inherently happy beings who naturally breathe calmly. They are our true gurus. Unless their state of well-being is changed on a physiological level – and diet plays a very important role in this.

With the recent introduction of dried kibble into our households, the nutritional base of our animals has shifted towards highly processed and chemically laden food that is high in carbohydrates.

Even though manufacturers claim that our pets can thrive on a diet consisting of nothing but commercial dried food, increasingly this processed food is being implicated as a source of disease or as an exacerbating agent for a number of degenerative diseases as well as affecting behaviour and anxiety.High-carb and sugar diets will affect an animal’s physical stateand well being.

It is certainly not recommended to sit down and meditate after drinking a can of Red Bull or a cup of coffee. The same applies to our companion animals, who surely can’t be expected to behave normally after consuming high-carb energy diets.

Professor Tim Noakes, Professor of Exercise and Sports Science at the University of Cape Town, recently shook up the diet world when he published his views on the impact that high-carb diets have on our health. Drawing on years of research, he has discovered that based on his own biology (he is pre-diabetic), a high-carb diet causes high insulin levels which leads to weight gain, continual hunger, lethargy, and over time, pancreatic failure and the onset of diabetes.

In the past, athletes would “carbo-load” to build up energy resources. Professor Tim Noakes now believes that in order to perform consistently and with endurance a wholesome, balanced diet is more effective.

High-carb diets may have similar effects on our pets. Many pets are overweight, and experience “sugar highs” and crashes, becoming irritable and anxious. A kibble-only diet could result in our pets becoming more out of control, less disciplined and irritable.

Our companion animals once lived in bliss and were masters of living in the moment – breathing deeply and calmly. Unfortunately their modern, unnatural diets and lifestyles has seen them becoming more and more stressed – just like us.

While you may not be able to get your pet to join you for a yoga session, one of the most important things you can do is look after their diet.

Just like us, their bodies are not designed to consume over-processed, high-carbohydrate cereal-based diets packed full of additives, preservatives, flavourants and colourants.

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The question as to whether you consider your pet to be a wolf or domesticated dog is a very important one, and the answer will prescribe to you, the diet that you should be feeding and that which is appropriate. The consequences of inferior diet are dire and effects behavior as well as general well being, health and longevity.

So, where did the canine evolve from?

Some believe that our beloved “Fido” is a descendent from the Wolf, and therefore these people believe that all canines need to eat only raw meat and raw bones.  Scientists however, have confirmed that our furry friend could not have descended from the wolf as there are too many different genetic sequences for this to be possible – 26 to be exact.  They propose that it is possible that our canine friends could have descended from the dingo, jackal, fox, or even a coyote.  If this were the case, then the canine would have been more of a scavenger and certainly would have been less dependent on raw meat as a primary protein source.
In 1868 Darwin wrote “We shall probably never be able to ascertain their origin with certainty.”
However, the one thing we do know for certain is that regardless of where they originated from, research has shown that domesticated dogs have been eating cooked food for thousands of years.

For thousands of years our pets have been fed table scraps and their metabolism has adapted so. Our dogs can no longer digest copious amounts of raw meat but prefer a diet

that is rich in vegetables and nutritional pulses, together with reasonable quantities of quality meat. In fact, many people believe that their companion animal can live on an exclusive diet of vegetables and grains. The Chow Chow, evolved to be almost vegetarian in nature, after been fed only grains and veggies by the Tibetans. Its whole physiological make has changed to metabolize a diet enriched with veggies and quality grains.

Some may argue that dogs are classified as carnivore and thus this classification should settle the issue? Absolutely not. Bears and raccoons are carnivores, but they are clearly

adapted to an omnivorous lifestyle. Giant pandas are also classified as carnivores, despite the fact that they have a diet consisting of bamboo. Evolution can do funny things with animals, so classification won’t help settle this issue.

Another notable issue in determining whether our dogs are carnivores or omnivores revolves around the ability of dogs to digest grains and vegetables. The digestive tracts of animals give clues as to what kind of diet they can eat. The shorter the length of small intestine, the less capable the animals are of digesting plant materials. Herbivores have very complex and long digestive tracts, whereas humans have somewhat simpler and shorter digestive tracts. If you compare the length of the small intestine in cats (obligate carnivores) with that of a dog, the dog’s small intestine is longer relative to the animal’s body length (4:1 intestine/body length ratio in cats, 6:1 in dogs). Based on digestive system anatomy, and plant digestibility, it would seem that dogs are adapted to eat a diet that includes vegetable material.

The next issue is amylase, the enzyme that digests starch. Grains are mostly starch, so an animal would need to make amylase if it is going to digest starch. People have amylase in their saliva, so starch digestion begins when you chew your food. Dogs, like cats, don’t have amylase in their saliva. But this ignores the fact that dogs secrete large amounts of amylase from their pancreas. Since meat doesn’t contain starch, why would dogs need to make amylase in their pancreas? Obviously because they are equipped to eat and digest plant-derived starches. Foxes, which are closely related to dogs, eat just about anything in the wild, from bugs to birds, to fruits, grains and berries. They too are very adaptable “carnivores”.

Taurine is essential for all animals, but because it is absent in plant material, herbivores and omnivores must synthesize it from other amino acids in their diet. In order for obligate carnivores to get enough taurine, they must eat other animals that contain taurine in their meat and organs. Cats need taurine in their diet, and they are obligate carnivores.

So what about taurine in dogs? Dogs can synthesize their own taurine, indicating that they are not obligate carnivores in terms of physiology.

So in essence, the discussion as to whether our pets evolved from a wolf or dingo, anyway, is of no consequence at all. The modern dog cannot be considered as a derivative of a Wolf. This is an antiquated belief and certainly presenting nutrition based on this ideology is incorrect. The same analogy could be made with humans aspiring to a diet that apes eat – nuts, fruits, grass, etc. As humans we certainly could not maintain ourselves on such a diet. The same is true for our pets who over thousands of years have evolved to eat a balanced home prepared diet

That said, one should still strive to serve a diet that is natural and free of preservatives.

One should support pet nutrition that is ethical and moral and steer away from companies that support animal testing. Where possible organic herbs and veggies should be used, as well as free range meat.

The use of high quality pulses like a long grain brown rice, pearl barley, split peas., millet, wheat germ and oats is preferred rather than those that are commonly used in processed food like brewers rice (left overs from the breweries), soya meal, corn meal, wheat and corn gluten (often acquired from China)

Cold pressed olive oil is also preferred as a high quality omega rather than rendered fats that the industry is known to use.

Our pets, therefore require a balanced diet of protein (whether derived from a meat or vegetable source), veggies and carbohydrates.

Judging by their loyalty, commitment, love and affection it is very evident that we are no longer dealing with a Wolf or Dingo but rather a domesticated companion and friend. We have a responsibility to protect them from harm and assure them of basic humane rights and that includes a diet that is appropriate, safe and free of dangerous preservatives.

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We pride ourselves in being well read and learned. Education, and with it knowledge, is so important in our culture.

The enlightened person understands that a natural life-style, free of preservatives and chemicals, impacts positively on your our being. The enlightened person applies logic when making purchases and challenges institutions that shamelessly and carelessly rely on marketing jargon to promote their wares, rather than presenting truth and facts.

Yet, when it comes to the treatment of our companion animals, the same person does not necessarily apply the same and equal principles.

For example, almost every person acknowledges the positive impact that a natural, wholesome and organic diet can have on health, well being and longevity. Yet when it comes to feeding our loving animals, the same attention and time spent on deriving at an informed decision, is found wanting.

The enlightened person also understands the dangers of household products that contain chemicals and poisons and thus, we gravitate towards products that are natural or that we know will know not hurt us. However, when it comes to bathing our pets and protecting them from fleas and ticks, we unconditionally apply shampoos and repellents that may be harmful.

The skin is the largest eliminatory organ in the body, which is why skin and coat problems are often the first indicators of poor health and care. Yet, almost every pet suffers from some sort of skin condition. This clearly proves that something needs to change.

Even veterinarians are lost when it comes to treating skin allergies.  Treating with cortisone or changing to another flavour of food will not solve the problem.

In deriving at the right decision, the responsible pet owner and consumer must use logic, utilize the extensive literature that is available and of course understand the ingredients that are listed on labels and packaging. As people we try and stay away from the factory produced lifestyle, surely this should apply to our furry friends as well.

We seek to live a healthy and natural life, shouldn’t the same apply to our animal friends?
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