This is the story that was sparked with the cold calculations of rectifying my skin biome and ends up being a tale of love and devotion. These are the lessons in a slice of life. Sitting at my laptop in the twilight hours of the night waiting for my skin lotions to dry enough so I wasn’t going to bed in soggy pyjamas desperately researching Mark’s Daily Apple and Chris Kresser’s sites for ways to help me through the pain and heal in any way possible. I discovered that those who own a dog have less eczema and there starts my intention to getting a dog.
Feeding Diesel – BARF Diet – A Born Again Raw Feeder
I did a lot of research into owning a dog before I got Diesel. The first event I attended was happenstance. I booked an event with the paleo group at the Raw&More Nourishing Café and in looking for other similar events coincidentally discovered the Raw Matters presentation being run at the local canine association. Dr. Ian Billinghurst launched his then new book Pointing the Bone at Cancer. He presented to us the alarmingly increasing statistics to domestic dogs and cats diagnosed with chronic illness and cancer, what role diet, grains and commercial feed played in this, his 40 + years of veterinary practice and his experiences with what real food and nutrition (paleo template for pets!) played in and could demonstrate in healing seriously ill pets and what the trends in our pets health might be alluding to in humans. He taught me that bones not only nourished but exercised a dog as well. All this blew my mind! I hadn’t expected to walk out of a dog diet seminar to be questioning my current practices of self-care.
Upon getting Diesel I put him on a raw diet. It took the BARF education, research, the pet acupuncturist, the groomer and some trial and error before I settled into his everyday diet. I freeze lean kangaroo and chicken necks and add a 500ml container with a mix of organic apple, carrot and broccoli that I prepare fresh for him everyday. I’ve substantially minimised beef, pork and lamb after seeing his system either show signs of inflammation or poor digestion. In a span of three months his coat was silkier and more vibrant, he showed less anxiety and bowel movements. With even greater time the inflammation that had him whimpering and either scratching his head or rubbing it on the ground reduced and then has since stopped. I’m certain nutrition wasn’t everything but from what I could see it was one of the primary game changers. Feeding Diesel and seeing the results in him makes me resolved to keep feeding him well. All that learning has really made me more aware of what diet could do for me as well.
Training and Caring for Diesel
Love has no age limit. I rescued a dog at the age of 11 human years knowing full well that everyday with him was everyday to be treasured as his age had more or less hit a dog’s life expectancy. A gem of an e-book that cost me $11USD, saw us through all the choppiness off settling an adopted dog into my home. It was all so messy, work driven and time consuming caring for another that is dependent upon you. In the early stages it really was a lot of work. The changes made to accommodate him, the toilet training and cleaning, the additional time to feed him, the escape and rescue incidence where I drove two hours around the neighbourhood and felt lucky that he had been found by a group of young kids door knocking to return him home, the lost sleep to walk him in the early mornings before getting ready for work. In time the work grows to be simply be a part of everyday life and the affection does build. One day I came home much earlier than he had expected and as he slowly opened his eyes revealing the piercing sky blues of his irises I could see it register in his expression that I wasn’t a dream. The unexpectant force of his greeting as he pressed excitedly into my body made me realise. All that work was the currency to love.
He taught me a lot about self-care and how much I invest into someone else and the choices I make for myself. Walks with D were at times brutal. Despite the weather and the immense pain of the healing crisis of my Dermatitis we would run. Initially twice a day and it felt relentless. As the pain continued and I experienced situations where I put him before me. I realised there must be a better way. Over time and with reflection, I came to realise although it pleased me that I could love someone else so much I put their care before me, it shouldn’t be at my expense and that I was allowed to make choices that would leave us both happy. I cut our walks to once daily, then shortened the distance we walked and didn’t bother walking when it rained heavily. Over time he built the confidence he would always get walked. I built the courage to make decisions that put my self-care above other’s needs and found greater freedom within myself. I have pondered why we naturally give so much more to our dependents than we often do to ourselves. Is it because when we do it for someone else it shows us a glimpse that a self-limiting concept is in place and that that selfless expression is entirely possible by ourselves for ourselves.
Walking D was the ultimate reason in getting us out and meeting the community. His Husky features and amiable nature towards humans of all sorts and ages resulted in dedicated fans. People would keep an eye out for us and stop us so they could greet him. A few times we passed people on the street who would tell us they kept watch for us from their homes, one person who lived in a house on the opposite side of the street we walked called out to us one day, “I call you both the little girl and the big bad wolf!” It never ceased to give me joy and wonder that after they patted D they left looking lighter and more joyful. It always made me think, perhaps this was the reason we were put here on earth.
Bred to have originally pulled sleds over icy terrain, the Husky has the intellect to act for themselves and navigate the best routes independent of their sled owner’s instructions. As D’s owner, I learnt first hand his ability to think on his feet and that any precedence I set was to be followed for his survival in my household. Having accidentally farted in his direction the day before with his head facing into the bathroom, the next day I noted his tail faced inwards and before I could give it further thought, I caught wind of something that was silent and deadly oriented from behind his tail – I got revenge farted on. One day as I watched D in the backyard, he managed to do a number two and found this such a victory that he proceeded to bound across the yard in delight. Because he has the maturity of a two year old and the self-regard of a Husky he is a constant source of laughter and entertainment.
Being Present and In Nature
Having decided to adopt D at the ripe age of 11 human years, I was very aware that I wished to be as present as possible for everyday he was with me. His very presence in my life has resulted in greater connection and exposure to nature. He’s the catalyst to opening the back door to let the sun in and fresh air through. Being with D, particularly on our walks, also made me present and mindful. It’s a time to sift through the thoughts of the day, come to epiphanies and to ever be brought to the present moment to see what he’s up to and to keep him out of danger and mischief. As the days marched on like this we walked over the expanse of the four seasons. So often I got to look up and witnessed the myriad of shades of the night sky 365 days of the year.
Having Diesel hadn’t resulted in the skin perfection I had planned for him. But having him in my life had brought perspective I couldn’t have achieved on my own. On a hot summer day on a yoga mat laying down on a cool laundry floor. The draught of the aircon brings me the smell of D, puppies and sunshine. The scent created a smile, evoked a feeling and elicited the thought, “I love you.”