I have had dogs all my life. I’ve owned Pugs for the past 20 years. I was blessed beyond measure when I first met Polly in November 1994. She was the light of my world. She suffered myriad health problems throughout her 9 years, culminating in kidney failure, which ultimately took her from me too soon. I learned from that experience. My Lulu came in 2000. She was so feisty and tough. And hilarious. And she lived until last September when she succumbed to a months long struggle with COPD and a collapsing trachea. She was a 13 and 3/4 years old. My grumble grew in 2005 when my sister’s family evacuated New Orleans in the hours preceding Hurricane Katrina. They brought their black Pugs, litter mates, Percy & Princess. Lulu & Princess did not get along well at all. AT ALL. I hired a trainer who trained me in pack mentality and helped me to get control of the situation so that everyone lived peacefully under the same roof. It was a challenge that took several months of focus. Princess had respiratory difficulties, which taxed her heart, and she died when there were no more beats left in it in 2010.

Lulu teamed up with Polly and Princess just 3 weeks after she crossed the Rainbow Bridge to send me Pearl. She kept Percy, my heart, company after Lulu’s departure, but it wasn’t quite enough for him. He missed his sisters,  and he left me to rejoin them just after Christmas in 2013. Pearl had belonged to an older woman who’s health required her to surrender her pup to my vet, who thought I might be willing to take her. I was more than willing. She was 2 and a half, and in perfect health. She is an absolute joy. But after Percy died, we needed a brother! So I applied to adopt Truman through South Eastern Pug Rescue & Adoption. My application was accepted, and he came to live with us in May. He is 8 years old, and deaf, but that doesn’t bother him one bit.

He had bladder stones, and had surgery to remove them just before he came to me. But he required a special diet. Specially formulated food for urinary issues. Out of convenience, I switched Pearl to it as well. Shouldn’t hurt. Should keep bladder infections, crystals, stones, etc., at bay. However, by June, she had her first bladder infection. I was convinced it was the food. My vet disagreed. How could it be the food? It’s specially formulated for this condition. Can’t be the food. We’re just not completely eradicating the infection. More antibiotics. More antibiotics. Wash her bottom after she urinates. More antibiotics. She must need surgery to remove the skin flap that covers her vagina so that air can get to it. Infection has to be forming externally and traveling upstream. More antibiotics.

In my gut, I knew it was diet. To me, it had to be. Her physicality had not changed in the months I’d had her. But her diet had. And it had changed very recently before her first infection. And I had begun reading a text book on natural, holistic health care for pets, which had a very developed section on raw food. I decided to give it a try. It seems to be working. And this blog was born. We are on a journey toward better health. And I had to write it all down.

I am a practicing attorney in Birmingham, Alabama. I lived in France for 2 years after college, and worked on Capitol Hill in the House and Senate for 8 years in the early 90’s. I came home in 2001 to go to law school, earning my J.D. in 2004. I’ve been practicing employment defense for 10 years. But dogs are my passion. They say how you spend your free time, how you spend your money, reflects your priorities. My dogs are my top priority. They are my first thought in the morning, and my last thought at night. If my purpose in life is to care for them, I want to do it well. Exceptionally well.

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  1. I also live in Birmingham and at 9 weeks old, my new puppy got a UTI. I, of course, immediately took him to the vet. They put him on Clavamox and proceeded to give him his next round of puppy vaccinations as he was due for them the following Monday. He proceeded to get an infection at the injection site that continued to grow. I took him back to the vet Friday and they gave him a stronger antibiotic. The inflammation immediately started going down, but I’m like you, I feel like I need to alter his diet. Thank you so much for your blog. It is very informative and you have such a wonderful sense of humor. I have an appointment with Dr. Natalie in a couple of weeks to get started on a drug-free resolution to this problem. Our vet also said we might need to change his diet because he could develop bladder stones. After some research, I discovered that soy is a contributor to bladder stones and also bloat (which my dog will be susceptible to as he is a standard poodle). I have been investigating the raw diet as well and think I will start with the A+ Answers Pet Food and go from there as I obtain more knowledge and can do some of it on my own. Thanks for sharing your journey and for allowing the rest of us to benefit from it. I would love to meet you some time and chit chat about our fur babies. I was never able to have children either and Charlie is my baby. So, I feel ya’ girl! 🙂

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    1. I’m so glad this is helpful to you! I was a true skeptic at first bc that’s my nature- to be suspicious. But then I saw the immediate positive effect and realized that I’ve just been blind. These over-processed foods can’t be the big bag of health they claim to be. My dogs love what they eat and I love feeding it to them. I love creating and preparing their meals. It brings me joy & I know they’re getting balanced nutrition. Dr. Natalie is awesome. She will definitely be able to help with your baby’s issue. Bless his heart! I’m So sorry you’re having to go thru that!

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      1. It is very helpful. I can’t wait to meet Dr. Natalie. She sounded so sweet on the phone. Plus, I truly believe she can help my sweet baby. We have also decided to get Charlie a sister, so I want to start her straight off with Dr. Natalie so she does not have to go through what Charlie has. Blessings to you!!!

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      2. Misty, if you would be interested in arranging a consultation, I would be happy to do that with you. It’s kind of intimidating trying to figure it out on your own. Just let me know.

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  2. I would love to meet you. How much do you charge for consultations? I met Dr. Natalie yesterday and fell instantly in love with her and her sweet husband. What a precious couple. I feel confident that she will be able to help me restore my sweet Charlie to optimum health. I bought some of the Answers raw food to feed him right now until I can learn enough to be able to raw feed him myself. Thank you so much for agreeing to meet with me. I’m really excited to locate like-minded people who want to provide a healthier life for their fur babies.

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