I was awakened early Christmas morning by an urgent cry… Ziggy, my 4-legged child, was running to the door. Thankfully, my husband raced behind him and got the dog out just in time. Still fighting through the fog of waking up, I decided to wait in my warm bed for them to return. One minute, two minutes, five minutes… Why haven’t they come back yet? I forced myself up and went out to investigate.
Ziggy was on his stomach, his whole body heaving from the cramps. Drool was pooling on his paws as he was trying to vomit. And those pitiful eyes… just begging me to make it better. Thank God he finally vomited the sock and instantly felt better. We call that sock the best Christmas gift he’s ever given us.
Four weeks prior, Ziggy had swallowed my favorite knee-high, wool hiking sock. It had become lodged in his intestines, requiring two emergency visits to our vet. Thankfully our vet stabilized him both times, and miraculously Christmas morning he produced the sock, avoiding exploratory surgery and possible death from a bowel obstruction.
To start getting some answers, our vet referred us to a specialist about an hour away. Hoping that more testing was the way to go, I took the next available appointment. Of course it was a snowy January morning, school was cancelled and the roads were icy. I said a prayer, loaded Ziggy in the car and gave myself plenty of time to make the trek.
Pulling in the parking lot was only temporary relief… the testing and bloodwork sent my anxiety through the roof again. The specialist told me that Ziggy’s intestines were inflamed, his B12 level was critically low, and he was not doing well. She recommended a prescription diet with routine monitoring by my vet.
I immediately purchased the $80 bag of dog food and switched Ziggy to this life-saving nutrition. But something didn’t sit well with me. The food smelled strange. The ingredients were extra-processed industrial waste like hydrolyzed soy protein and sugar beet pulp. These were ingredients I had worked really hard to avoid in his regular dog food… how could they save his life?
Six months later, I noticed that his hair wasn’t growing. He actually smelled like the dog food, and worst of all, his bloodwork showed that his liver was starting to wear out. I was at a loss. I had tried quality dog food, grain-free, high-protein, natural, and everything else that sounded “healthy.” They had all failed. Now this prescription food was making him worse. What on earth do I feed this dog that won’t kill him?
I gratefully turned my attention to an event that weekend. Our local Staples was highlighting small businesses in the area. My table for Hyssop Tree was next to Jenny, a local acupuncturist. She was energetic and pleasant, which helped take my mind off the anxiety brewing in my heart. I learned she owned horses and dogs. Since we were taking about dogs, I decided I had nothing to lose. What do you feed your dogs? I finally mustered. Instead of giving me an answer, she recommended a book, Give Your Dog a Bone, by Ian Billinghurst.
After the event, I immediately found the out-of-print book and read it cover to cover. It changed my world. Not only did it explain why dog foods weren’t working, it helped me better understand what nutrition my dog did need and how to give it to him.
I have to admit, it was so different that I was very intimidated. I ran the concept by my vet to get her opinion. She gave me the green light. After working up the courage to feed him his first meal, I grabbed my pet CPR manual and fed him his dinner. His eyes lit up and he dove right in. In that moment I realized this is exactly what he was made to eat. I gladly put the CPR manual back on the shelf, relieved and praising God for an answer.
6 months later, his coat is beautifully glossy, his reflux is gone, and he is off all previous medications for his intestines. His allergies have disappeared, his energy level is like a puppy again, and he’s finally able to chase a ball into the neighbor’s yard (shhh… we haven’t told them!).
Hyssop Tree will be permanently closed starting March 31, 2021.