Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Fresh Meat: Dog Lovers Continue

From a passionate friend whom I have known since 1987:

You have surely heard my speech about feeding dogs. They are carnivorous and should NOT have ANY GRAIN at all.

I prefer raw meat that has the nutrients for dogs—raw bones—nothing cooked.

I think vegetables and fruits are okay if they like them. [Auntie: I’ve read that when coyotes and wolves kill their prey, they dive into the stomach first, because their prey is herbivorous. Shiloh loves most fruits and veggies, not to include bananas.]

No vaccinations after the first ones. [Auntie: see www.avma.org/issues/vaccination/default.asp.]

No fertilizer on the grass, and if you can, filter their water.

Let’s see: Are those all of my words of wisdom?

Don’t allow them to walk on fertilized parks and yards. They absorb those chemicals into their pads.

I don’t think invisible fence collars are good for them. [Auntie: though I’ve become a big fan of bark collars the neighbors use!]

All of this goes for cats too.

Anyway, I wish more people would take the time to find out what they should be doing with those precious animals who have no say in life but to rely on what we choose to do for them. I was devastated when my close friend and neighbor lost two golden retrievers to cancer—within a year, and they were 3 years apart in age and not related. Pretty much tells me something he was doing was wrong.

I also put in a home radon emitter to ensure radon wasn’t the problem. So far we have not had any issues with our dogs since changing all of this.

The American Veterinary Medical Association even agrees that they don’t need vaccinations every year. I told our Humane Society that I would be happy to license them every year but that I would not do the shots. They told me that if I got a letter from a vet, they would agree to that. They know it is not good for them.

I would love everyone to have this information, because I went for years going merrily along not knowing that I was doing harm to those precious creatures. I am very passionate about this and am so thrilled that you will help me pass on the message.

I get my food from a lady named Kathy Stabler and am more than willing to share her number. She delivers it to the house and makes very little profit on it.

Carmen, who used to own a pet store on Eighth Street (by the Cheyenne Mountain Library, Colorado Springs, and sold meat for dogs), spent years researching and has been kind enough to share her knowledge. She even went to the effort to have blood work done on one of her pets (cost her more than $300) to prove to the Humane Society that her animals did not need any further vaccinations. She is an amazing person too, and if you need her information, let me know. —Carol

Dog-related Questions and Answers

Donskiman commented via e-mail to my last post, and I’d like to share answers to his questions.

Dear Auntie,

I didn't see anything in there about your taking Shiloh to the vet for his various problems. My dogs have had ear infections, and the medicine from the vet clears them up in a couple of weeks at the most.

Is the vomiting usually related to drinking fast? My dogs do that occasionally, so I limit their intake after a walk or run, or I'll let them drink only a little at a time, but several times. It keeps air bubbles from forming.

What kind of dry food do you feed him? I thought my dogs were getting a good quality food and found out differently from a Web site that rates all kinds of dog food. Foods like Science Diet and Iams are actually near the bottom.

Where did you get the idea to feed him all that other stuff? Raw poultry can have a fat content that may not be the best, and chicken is usually cooked extensively to remove it. Turkey especially can make dogs sick—even when cooked. Have you tried eliminating things until he stops puking?

Dear Donskiman,

Due to excessive personal health-care costs (four surgical procedures in seven months that consumed 50 percent of my income), vet visits are few, while visits to Home Remedies are frequent. People have sought my counsel for my healing abilities, so I always start within, unless it’s a dire event, such as the one Shiloh experienced in July 2008 (and cost $600+).

Shiloh did have his lemon-sized tumor aspirated March 9, but I didn’t have the funds to get x-rays or teeth cleaned, which would have cost about $400. Something might be obstructing his throat and intestines. The doctor said nothing about his ear infection, so she either didn’t notice, or I’m sufficiently cleansing the big guy’s “aurifices.”

I believe you are right on post-water-gulping regurgitation. This week when I didn’t allow him to drink until his panting slowed, he did not upchuck. Your formula of several well-spaced sips is perfect. Occasionally in the morning if he doesn’t eat at his regular time, he’ll vomit mustard-colored mucus. He always has fresh water available and is unable to graze on feline excrement, so I haven’t determined the cause of these prebreakfast barfing bouts.

I agree with you regarding dry dog food brands. Science Diet and Iams have made both of my dogs ill. The first thing my daughter and I do when shopping for dry dog food is read the ingredients. If the first component is corn or wheat or anything but meat, not by-products, we do not buy it. Purina One, large breed and sensitive stomach, have worked well for both Shiloh and his cats. Please share with us the Web site that rates dog food.

My idea for feeding him raw food comes from the book by Kymythy Schultze published by Hay House that I cited at the end of my last post, plus a video produced by dog breeders and trainers, the pet food store that used to be by the Cheyenne Mountain library branch, and other sources. I sometimes have queasiness seeing and touching meat, so a completely raw diet isn’t good for me!

Whenever I deal with meat, I thoroughly rinse it (except ground beef, which he usually eats) and bleach all surfaces that might have been affected.

Because of the bacteria poultry carries, I ensure I have a separate plastic disposal bag open, pour canola oil on my meat cutting board, am extremely careful not to touch handles or other surfaces after touching meat, slice off and dispose of fat, then bleach clean the area. Time consuming, so infrequently done.

When making Shiloh’s chicken soup that he generously shares with his feline brothers and me, I retain the fat, unless excessive.

I haven’t tried turkey, but for the first time I bought some ground bird last week. I shall give it to the fox and magpies.

And yes, I have tried the process of elimination with the goal of puke cessation. By adding more broth and fewer solids to his food, then feeding him a little more later, I believe I’ve seen some improvement.

As my friend says, “Your dog’s bulimic.”

You are welcome to borrow my book!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Pads, Ears, Weak Stomachs, and Tails

For 11 and a half years, I was blessed with a son called little Alex, a yellow Lab who was more human than canine. Bright, happy, and a quick learner, he expressed emotions beautifully. But there has to be a listening human on the receiving side, and when he needed one the most, she wasn’t there.

Throughout his life he never had a problem, so I didn’t worry much about him. But in April 2000 when he grew lethargic and could barely make it around the block, I learned he had a cancerous growth on his spleen. I still cannot discuss it or write about his final month without crying. I will just share with you that I should have seen in his warm, brown, forgiving eyes something was wrong, but I was not conscious.

For my daughter’s Christmas present in December 2003, a friend and I bought Shiloh, our yellow Lab—a gift to whom we keep giving. Maybe we just unwrapped him too soon: Shiloh has been a problem child and very costly. People need to understand prior to adopting animals, each is different, and yours may be the one that moves retirement from age 60 to age 80.

Shiloh is like a mustang, rambunctious and always creating work for me. Before he turned five, he mellowed a bit and I actually started to like him. Shortly after our relationship improved, though, tragedy came.* I nursed him slowly back to health and have done my best to accept the inevitable challenges Shiloh presents.

Cut pads. Even after he healed, Shiloh’s pads still bore deep cuts. Following our daily hikes, I wash his feet in warm water with baby shampoo.** Once dry, I occasionally rub Palmer’s Cocoa Butter in the cracks and find he heals within a couple days. Palmer’s works on almost anything [www.etbrowne.com].

Ear infections. For more than a year, Shiloh’s ears produced volumes of black cerumen, so I thought he had mites. He’d scratch himself bloody many times, even though I thought I’d sufficiently cleaned his ears the day before.

As with any health problem, I headed to my reference closet and pulled out Home Remedies. I tried warm almond oil, vitamin E oil, olive oil, mineral oil, and 10W30, all blended with garlic, then gently massaged it into his ears. Voilà! After daily applications for two weeks, it didn’t work. So I looked toward harvesting yellow dock to brew some ear tea.

Finally I discussed the matter with my friend who owned a veterinary hospital, and she said, “I have not seen one case of mites in this area (Colorado). If he has ear problems, it’s either a bacterial or yeast (fungal) infection. You’ll be able to tell by the smell.”

Armed with that knowledge, I grabbed my trusty, big French nose and stuck it into the dog’s ear. Sure enough, I never wanted to eat bread again and ascertained he could have a food allergy related to wheat or corn.

I traveled on the Net and continued my research. After trying several concoctions, here is my solution: 50–50 hydrogen peroxide and vinegar (clear or apple cider), sometimes with a tinch of isopropyl alcohol to wick away moisture.

Absorb a bit on small pieces of cotton, warmed if you’re nice, and gently massage it into poopy-doo’s ears for half a minute. Toss the old, and take two new mini cotton pieces and lovingly dig out the dirt. I also use cotton swabs under bright light with great care to thoroughly extricate each black morsel. (Bet this is making you hungry. And our next topic…)

Vomiting. I have always had a weak stomach, yet one continual problem is Shiloh’s vomiting. No matter what I feed him, he vomits at least weekly. His diet has consisted of:
• raw ground beef or muscle meat (also cooked, raw beef bones give him diarrhea)
• infrequent raw chicken backs
• frequent chicken soup with organs, veggies, and herbs
• ground alfalfa and kelp (2–3 t.)
• salmon, cod-liver, or other fish oil
• vegetables, such as carrots, lettuce, celery, broccoli
• extra vitamins C and E
• good-quality dog food
• homemade yogurt (2 T.)
• infrequent apple cider vinegar, more might help with the ear problem

For those who believe cereal-type dog food is bad and dogs should only receive raw food, I come close to that goal.*** And I don’t give him foods that dogs don’t tolerate.

His exercise schedule doesn’t follow too closely to food consumption, though his regurgitation sometimes follows drinking water after a hike. The jury’s still out on this problem, and he’s promised to cut back on deer droppings.

Before Shiloh’s time on earth is over, I believe he will save someone’s life just to make up for all the trouble.

No, wait, he already has. He brought home two kittens—that I have to take care of. Oh well, when I leave for five minutes he acts as if I’ve been gone all day. I mean really, what guy does that?

* See auntieeartha.blogspot.com/2008/07/tragedy.html
** See auntieeartha.blogspot.com/2008/11/sniff-sniff.html
*** Schultze, Kymythy R., Natural Nutrition for Dogs and Cats, 1998.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Ask, Receive

Within three hours of posting my last blog, three potential travel partners stated their interest in going to France with me!

One, my closest college friend, e-mailed from North Carolina saying she’d already had tentative plans to go to Europe in summer 2011. In particular, she’d planned to go to southern France, because her older daughter will be studying there!

Gee, what shall I ask for next?

I would like to earn a decent living writing, coupled with 35 percent of my income derived from editing. And so it is.

Map data © MapQuest.com, Inc., The World Book Dictionary © 2005 World Book, Inc. All rights reserved.
Screen capture: © 2003 World Book, Inc. All rights reserved.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Bon Voyage!

After seeing Julie & Julia, I started cooking with more verve, frequency, and a higher-pitched voice. I’ve borrowed books from the library, both adult and children’s, to help me start learning French and decided to venture to France. I’d also like to go back to Italy.

I’m not sure how I’ll pay for this grand explore, but I have found that whenever I think passionately about something, it happens. Some preliminary changes, aside from financial, will first need to take place.

My 17-year aviophobia needs to dissipate. I’ll elaborate on this problem in a future blog. Just know, there are 10 rational reasons why this fear exists, perhaps more. On second thought, I think I’ll take my canoe.

I’ll need to find someone whom I deeply trust to care for our Lab, two pussy cats, and home, unless I sell the house fully loaded prior to departure.

I’d like to meet some relatives online who live in France and ascertain their willingness to meet, wine, and dine with an Americanized Bergeron. From the little research I’ve done, the name was first found in Burgundy in eastern France bordering Switzerland and Italy, so it sounds as if I’m on the right track.

Since making these decisions and taking some action, I’ve been dreaming almost nightly about being in different countries and cities with different people. The more I read, the more vivid and delightful my dreams.

The last thing I need to negotiate is whom I shall go with. The person would have to be expressive, enjoy tasting wine and new cuisine, adore exploring, and be thoughtful, to include not smoking.

Any offers before “bon voyage”?

Bergeron crest, courtesy Rich Bergeron, from acadian.org

Wednesday, March 17, 2010


My optometrist has an OptiMap retinal imaging device in his office that photographs the insides of eyeballs. It’s an excellent way for a doctor to see details that cannot be seen as easily using dilation and a bright light that pierces through your eye to the back of your head and burns a hole in the chair.

But the OptiMap costs $33 extra, not covered in his $128 exam, so I chose to be dilated. He allowed me to do my own dripping, then sent me with Kay, the contact lens gal, to get prices on contacts while my eyes transformed into beautiful baby blacks.

Kay’s a fun gal of 27, and our personalities clicked. As we sat across an itty-bitty table from each other, she started filling out a price sheet for two different contact lens brands I was testing. We volleyed complaints about our bodies. Even if God did make us this way, s/he doesn’t typically give us perfection. Kay wanted me to find fault in her cute little nose, and I acknowledged that fear struck me back from having a nose job my friend offered to pay for.

We were cavorting much too loudly for a quiet optometrist’s office, but we kept rolling. She looked up at me, holding a card to her left. “The details about this lens are on this card. See?”

“No,” I honestly replied.

“Oh. Yeah,” she said, remembering my age and pulled the card way back, then thrust it toward me, then pulled it back and forth again, teasing the old-eyed gal across the table.

“Are my pupils dilated yet?” I asked expressively.

“Yes, they are,” she affirmed.

Just then, CJ, a young former Air Force policeman, joined us. “Bet it looks like I’m tripping on acid,” I ventured.

“Definitely,” CJ threw in.

“My pupils have always grown and contracted rapidly. Sometimes not at the same time,” I admitted, thinking maybe I’d messed up in high school.

“That’s probably normal,” Kay said.

“Kind of makes ya wonder what I’m thinking about. You know, sex, dilate, laundry, contract, sex, laundry… Glad it’s not like that when you’re giving birth. The gynecologist would say, ‘I see the baby’s head. Now I don’t. Now I do!’”

What are you thinking about? C’mere, let’s have a closer look at those pupils.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

What Does It Take?

Why does it usually take a crisis, or an incident, or a crash, or a death before people take action? In the olden days, we were all Boy Scouts: We prepared for the unexpected. These days, many don’t think with a future in mind. Here are some thoughts to restart the engine.

If you suffer from incontinence, don’t go to the comedy club.
If you’re running out of room in your closet, don’t buy a new outfit.
If you don’t have money to cover next month’s credit card bill, don’t charge something (unless it’s essential, of course, like a new set of golf clubs).
If you’re preparing for a colonoscopy, don’t fart.

Simple enough, right? But it seems the world still needs a wet fart to stop the inevitable.

Take our local Department of Human Services, for example. They condoned years of sexual abuse upon someone I know, because the father always has the right to “visit” his child. They recently allowed the death of another child. Evidence for both was presented to them, but their zombies and directors ignored and did not heed all the reports. Their excuses and “investigations” are many, but if you have ever met a social services director or caseworker, you know why they aid and abet perpetrators. I doubt this taxpayer-supported group will ever take action when and where it matters.

And the pope. Gee. I suspect the hieroglyphs were on the rectory wall—Homo sapiens’ first pornography—but fear of retribution and demerits kept victims from telling their stories. My girlfriend from Mexico and my Nana in Wisconsin were molested as young girls by their priests. My friend hid the fact for 40 years out of fear; Nana moved to a different town to live with her aunt. I now understand one of the reasons why so many friends “used to be” Catholic, though I question why three of my mom’s cousins became nuns and one a priest. Do French priests commit improper acts too? How many more crises will it take before priest predators are stopped? Will the Catholic church just sweep them under the floor mat?

Do you think one of Major Nidal Malik Hasan’s peers, superiors, or anyone who knew his character should have guided this guy into a white, spongy room? Too many people are scared to report a potential incident.

Who wants to be the narc? Who would like to say, “I could have prevented that”?

It all starts here: you and me having enough courage and concern to thwart a disaster, whether it’s environmental, spiritual, physical, or emotional.

Let’s avoid social services altogether, teach the pope that condoms don’t increase the problem of HIV AIDS, report extremists, and prepare for the unexpected wet fart.

We can do it.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Derision, Division, Decision

If you witnessed a father severely abusing his little girl, would you say something? do anything? hope it would just go away?

If this father were calling the little girl filthy names, would you suggest to the father to choose a different tone? What if this guy’s behavior toward the little girl persisted unrelentingly for 17 years? Would you feel compelled to turn him in to law enforcement? What if he was law enforcement? and well known?

If you would anonymously request intervention, you’re like I am. If you would sit back and observe his behavior for years, you must be my mother.

It wasn’t until I was three weeks short of 17 that I told my mother to leave the house before he killed one of us. A week after she was gone, he came close. It’s a long, traumatic story, told to the court on January 6, 1977, but fortunately, it is in the past and I’ve moved forward.

But my mother is still stuck. She cannot move past all her ex-husband’s iniquities, including a purported out-of-wedlock child, info she scraped off her plate onto my 17-year-old’s. After 33 years, move on.

If, while visiting my mother, I have slipped and mentioned my father, she erupts into convulsive, tempestuous hatred. She disowned me because I mentioned my father on my last visit with her May 2006. But she was so drunk that she didn’t know what happened, just that when she woke up the next morning, my daughter and I were gone. And even through all the alcohol, she cannot forget her ex and seems more vehement in her wrath.

Whenever I am with her, I am accused of and berated for being like my father.

Of course, whenever I am with my father, I am accused of and belittled for being like my mother.

But according to her family, including words from her now-deceased mother, it’s who my mother has always been, long before I existed. This woman’s siblings shared with me that, even when their sister was in high school, she was different, affected,* and “she just never grew up.”

Beginning when I was in ninth grade, friends said, “You know your mom acts younger than you.” When I’ve had a boyfriend, she glides up next to him, ignoring me, as if there were competition. Or worse: desire. She still clings to my ex of 18 years, a man of her approximate age.

And not just friends have alerted me. When I jumped onto planes at 18 to make a nationwide visiting tour, relatives on both sides of the family told me during that trip that when I was 10, I was taking care of my parents. I had to referee and ensure they didn’t let the ire escalate or all hell would break loose. And it usually did.

Divisiveness is her MO, and she is that schism between my daughter and me right now. This person who disowned me, the little girl in 70-year-old clothes who witnessed and, through her inaction, condoned severe and continual abuse of her child wants to spend time with her grandchild—without my supervision.

Her request, accomplished secretively and subversively through my ex, her beloved son-in-law, will probably involve his accompaniment to her Arizona home for intoxicated poolside chats. And as anyone who has dealt with victims of sexual abuse knows, secrets bespeak subterfuge.

So let me think: With a fully loaded pool and liquor cabinet, she wants to spend time with my ex and my daughter without my supervision?

Over my scarred body.

* artificial, pretentious, and designed to impress

Monday, March 8, 2010


Is there something you don’t use? something that probably works just fine, maybe better, yet you never seem to have the opportunity to show it off?

You might have the fear that if you really did present the thing, it might not be as good as you or someone’s expectations thought it would be, or as big, or attractive—a show-stopper. So you hold back, wondering. But you never actually give it a shot.

Those sentiments encapsulate my pitiful life and colorado-gal.com, a domain name I bought 10 years ago and have done nothing—nothing—with.

It’s for sale, as any respectable human being would do with such things: the domain name I speak of, not my pitiful life.

Any offers? Bidding starts at one case of McLaren Vale 2006 d’Arenberg Cadenzia…and an eve to share a twelfth, or a sixth, or an idea to start and nurture a profitable site.

If you like it, link it!