Our sweet Malka is a beautiful Standard Poodle, coming in on 14 years old this year. We have always considered her our Energizer Bunny who has managed to outlive three of our beloved pets. She just keeps on ticking.
Have no doubt, its all part of a bigger plan of a healthy lifestyle of homemade food and outdoor time with many walks, play and above all, Love. Wherever Steve and I go to dinner we would hardly go to a restaurant that wasn’t dog friendly. It’s our life of loving our animals and it gives us so much joy and pleasure. On occasion we even take our now, 15 year old kitty. He has come with us since he was a kitten. Not always, but sometimes. What a life!
Malka has had a mostly unremarkable health history, with just a couple injuries, needing surgery, and we were lucky for our vet and give her so much thanks. I think you might agree it might be wonderful to live unremarkably in this way, all the way until this weekend.
Sunday morning she would not eat her delicious homemade meal of ground chicken, loaded with various vegetables of cooked winter squashes, with a gentle splash of goat milk and yogurt on the side. Nada, she wouldn’t touch her food, just a look back at me into my eyes, saying, “Please Momma, not today.” I, of course would never force or coerce anyone to eat when their body tells them not to.
The problem showed again at dinner time. And what I saw was her hind end becoming very weak over the course of the day. I actually picked her up and carried her with all her willingness for the first time in her life. She was beginning to collapse under the weight of what became her frail body overnight. Some might say she has been on her way to this level of thin for a while, but we prefer to just call her our German Model Dog. She has always been thin like her father, Snoop Dog. Yes, that was his name.
By the evening it was totally clear she was very ill and I worried she might pass on in the night, I dared not sleep, always listening to her breathe.
When my husband and I went upstairs with out two dogs and two kitties, I sat on the floor with Malka just gently touching her the way I do with humans and animals. My husband asked me if I could feel her organs. (It’s what I do.) I looked up at him with tears in my eyes and said, “I can’t feel anything.” “I am not sure why, if it’s because there is something in there stopping me from feeling the motility of her organs or if it’s me being too close to her emotionally.” I was too teary-eyed to even see him when I spoke.
I am friendly with a holistic vet close-by who spent a lot of time doing acupuncture with our other Standard Poodle who we adopted later in her life. This vet gave us so much of her own time to help and I hoped that maybe she could help us with all of her wonderful technological equipment so we wouldn’t have to get referred out for other tests. No nice to have it all in-house. That and her intuitiveness.
This morning, by the time I leaned over and picked Malka up to carry her to my car it was obvious she was running a high fever. It was happening all so fast. When my husband met me there, her temp was over 104 degrees! She was lethargic and droopy-eyed and clearly dehydrated. I felt her fever in my own body.
We were sure she was dying from cancer. Don’t they all? No. Maybe so. But, it sure feels like it. I didn’t sleep a wink last night, blaming myself for her sudden poor health. I was sure it was me, it was my homemade dog food. Keep in mind cooking is not just my love, but nutrition and biochemistry runs deep in my veins. I couldn’t believe I give my animals mostly all organic health fresh food. All for what? To get sick and die as if I had always fed them low quality food? I kept turning it around and around in my head. Maybe I should give up, stop spending all my time learning and teaching and just join walking groups with friends and go to lunch. It would be so much easier to re-connect with all my friends who I rarely get to see because of my studies and work. I think completely psychoanalyzed myself up one side and down the other.
But, I kept remembering one of my dear friends who always said she doesn’t eat healthy because she is told to do so; she eats and lives healthy because she loves it. Every good choice she makes, makes her feel good that day. She reminds me we will all pass on one day. It happens. Thank goodness I could hear her words in my head.
The ultrasound came back showing absolutely no tumors that they could see, but what it did show was an enlarged liver and stuffed up gallbladder. Malka’s fever hinted toward an infection of some kind in her liver. We don’t know what from. And are hoping for an antibiotic responsive bacterial infection rather than viral.
I am turning around in my head how this could be. Was it the recent dental cleaning? Her old mouth breaking away some bacteria durning the process and into her blood stream? Is it that there is something sneaky going on in her that we just do not see and her immune system is being effected? We aren’t sure. But, meanwhile, she is being treated all the way around with antibiotics for the infection, IV drip to rehydrate, and a few other sundry of items.
When all is done, if this works out, I hope to begin acupuncture to create support to all her organs. I will use my technological gadgets I have here at home, and she will continue to get a lot of Tellington-TTOUCH all over her body that feels good.
Our vet clearly reminded me that my homemade food for our pets is the best thing and have no doubt it is saving her this far. My dear friend came over today and equally reminded me that when I went to his house to show him and his wife what to make food for their gravely ill, aging dog, it brought him back from the brink of death and that they had him 16 more months because of this very same kind of recipes.
I am not crying now, and I don’t know how much longer we will have Malka in our lives. But, just for now, I feel like we got a short reprieve. And like they say, “Who knows what tomorrow will bring.”
Live your life to your fullest. Don’t overstuff your belly, but do fill your body with food that gives you energy and your heart with love.