Tuesday, November 11, 2008

THE DOGGY DIALOGUES! Q's & A's: Holistic defined

As author of The Healing Art of Pet Parenthood and Mom of a dog who survived canine cancer and lived to be 19, people ask me lots of questions about holistic care, senior care, and grief. I am not a vet. Loving pet parent, avid researcher, and holistic pet care advocate are my credentials. That said, please email your questions and let The Doggy Dialogues begin!

Question: from Kolchak the dog and Mommy (Jodi)
"This is a question Mom gets all the time when we describe some of the things our Vet does with us and she always has a terrible answer. She's hoping your answer will be better than hers: What is the difference between holistic vet care and traditional vet care? And why is it so much better? Mom's always like um....well...it's just more natural and um...better. Yeah better. Crazy inarticulate Mommy. Thanks for your help!"

Dear Kolchak and Jodi-
GREAT question. It is commonly misunderstood in the west, that holistic means symptom treating with natural remedies or herbs in lieu of pharmaceutical drugs. WRONG! What it means is clearing the body's inner and outer environment of all possible toxins, detoxifying the body of all residual toxins, and giving it the proper nutritional support so that it can do what an unburdened, nontoxic body does best: HEAL ITSELF.

As you will see throughout this blog, I have listed several of the ways I did that with Buttons when she was diagnosed with cancer. The first thing I did was to take her off commercial dog food. Twenty years ago my choices were few and so I home-cooked for her. Today there are lots of good choices. One thing I would still avoid is anything with barley in it. When Buttons was 17, it was brought to my attention that even organic barley can have extremely high aluminum levels.

This was confirmed when I had a sample of Buttons' fur tested by a Texas lab, in search of a reason why she was exhibiting symptoms of CDS: doggy Alzheimer's. I then immediately removed the barley from her diet ("removed the toxin burdening the body"), replaced it with organic millet ("strengthen the body nutritionally") and gave her a series of homeopathic nosodes to pull the aluminum from her brain ("detoxify residual"). The disappearance of symptoms was once again, amazing.

Personally, the 3 steps of clear/detoxify/support made more sense to me than cut/burn/poison when Buttons was diagnosed with cancer and given 6 weeks to live. Was it an easy choice initially? Is a holistic method better than an allopathic one? Perhaps best answered with an excerpt from my book:

"I lay awake all that night. If the cancer was in my body, I would absolutely forgo the surgery, chemotherapy and radiation. It wouldn’t be my choice to cut, burn, and poison. My beliefs, based on all the years of reading I’d done and exposure to alternative methods I’d experienced since childhood, were that one needed to boost the immune system in the presence of disease and not destroy it. Western medicine’s focus was on treating or suppressing the symptoms. A holistic approach called for focusing on the cause in mind and spirit, clearing it, and then strengthening the body so it could heal itself.

If it were in my body, I’d go to Mexico and cleanse and detoxify, meditate, visualize, and drink massive amounts of raw vegetable juice at one of the alternative cancer clinics there. But it wasn’t in my body. I tried to imagine Buttons without her tail. It would be like amputating her personality. I thought about what it might be like for her to go through radiation treatments and doses of chemotherapy. Horrendous. Demons wrestled violently in my mind. Who was I to force my beliefs on this innocent soul whose well-being I was responsible for? Who was I to risk her life for the sake of my preferences? How big a risk was it? The entire allopathic, Western perspective was screaming for me to follow the vet’s advice. He was a trained professional, and I was a self-taught, quasi-hippie health nut."

So Kolchak, perhaps the easiest way for your mom to describe using holistic methods is by answering, "removing the cause of the symptom rather than trying to squelch the symptom." Hope that's helpful. Thank you so much for your question!

Wishing you vibrant health
and precious moments
Nadine (and Buttons)


Kolchak said...

Thank You very much. That is much better than Mom's answer!

Deanna said...

What an excellent explanation, one of the easiest to understand that I've ever heard.

I applaud your diligence and efforts as they paid off with the long healthy life of your beloved companion.

I do believe, whenever possible, in natural health and healing. The body, whether human or canine is amazing.

Thank you for your wonderful story!

Bo The First Puppy said...

Addressing the root cause of the problem is always the best route of responsibility first. :) Great blog you have here. Thanks for sharing.