The Dog Liberator™

The Dog Liberator rescues abandoned dogs throughout the Southeast. Based in Central Florida, this non-profit organization fosters all of their dogs in a home environment. Founded in 2009, all dogs are fully vetted, spayed or neutered prior to adoption. The Dog Liberator focuses in rescuing the herding breed, which consists of Border Collies, Shepherds, Sheepdogs, Aussies, Collies, and Deaf/Blind Dogs.

Claire Bear~Rescued Australian Shepherd was Shot At, Heartworm Positive and Facing Death

Claire Bear~Rescued Australian Shepherd was Shot At, Heartworm Positive and Facing Death

Today is November 1, 2013, and I write this story about our efforts to help save Claire Bear.  We have rescued very sick dogs – hundreds of them.  Claire’s medical condition was not alarming to us, it was quite typical of a dog found in the woods and shot at by a man.  The man continued to shoot at her, trying to get her off of his property, and eventually, he caught her and took her to animal control.  He blatantly admitted to shooting her, yet he wasn’t charged?  Is this part of Alabama not part of the United States?

What makes her case unusual is that she continued to get worse, and nothing we did helped her.  I can  honestly tell you that saving a parvo puppy is easier than trying to save Claire.  I can also tell you that many times, I thought I was going to have to put her down – why?  Because I watched her suffer, I saw her failing to thrive, I saw that her will to live was faint.  Claire’s condition changes on a dime.  At 9 a.m. she’s great, at 11:30 she’s suffering, at 3:00 p.m. she’s worse, and at 6:30 p.m. she’s lively.

I’ve spoken to a lot of people the past few weeks, in an attempt to get answers.  One person said her dog was allergic to carrots, Anita said her dog is allergic to green beans.  After talking with Andi Brown, she said all commercially made dog foods are harmful.  Deb Redmond explained the abundance of hormones and antibiotics given to animals, like chickens, end up in our dog’s gut – go organic!  Why are dogs developing allergies at such a rapid rate?  Is it really an allergy?

Rescuing Claire Bear, the sweetest Australian Shepherd

08/27/13:  This little red Aussie girl came to the shelter apparently sprayed with a BB gun.  Not Nice!  Transported from Andalusia, Alabama and fostered by Laura Burke, we notice hair loss, dry skin, and an odor.  None of this is unusual.

Laura wrote this morning:  “just fyi and she has all these little scars on her back and head that I thought were from ticks, not so, paperwork says she was shot with bb gun.  She is so sweet, After her bath and we remove of all those ticks she let me brush her out never bared her teeth or growled!

Claire is doing great with her foster family, and doing great with her dog pack!  We will be sharing new photos of Claire shortly on Facebook.  Thank you so much for sponsoring her!

09/01/13 Update:  I just posted new photos of Claire on Facebook.  She is quite amazing.  She is more sure of herself, and has more confidence than Katy Perry, probably why Katy follows her around.

Claire is not crazy hyper like most young Aussies are.  She will make an awesome family dog!  She is a bit reserved for now, because she’s new here with me, but I will share more details about her personality in the next few days.

Rescued Aussie is Heartworm Positive and Has Low Heart Rate

09/09/13 Update:  The Vet is a little worried about Claire.  She presents a skin condition, but she also has a low heart rate.  She has had all of her shots, and she is light heartworm positive.  He does not want her spayed at this time.  Claire will go to a long-term foster so she can get healthier for the next month, and she will be re-examined by our Vet.  Hopefully, rest and good food will get her back on her feet.  She will start her doxy/prednisone regiment and start her heartworm treatment immediately.

The heartworms is a non-issue for me.  I know that in less than six months, she will test negative.  What worries me is that the Doctor also wants extensive bloodwork done for Claire to be sure there isn’t any other underlying issues.  Her gums are pale, and she is estimated to be 2-4 years of age.  This test is very expensive.  If you can afford to donate a small amount to our Veterinary Care Fund for Claire’s expenses, we truly appreciate it.  As always, I will report back with an update as soon as possible.

This is such a shame, for Claire is just a really lovely dog.  She is friendly with everyone, is great with other dogs… Katy Perry is Claire’s shadow.  Claire is fully crate-trained and very quiet, she’s no trouble whatsoever.  I hope they don’t find anything else wrong with her.  It’s just not fair.

09/10/13 Update:  Yesterday I got carried away with the news of Claire’s poor health.  But when I really thought about it last night, I realized how lucky Claire really is.  Another few weeks at the shelter might have made her condition worsen. My intentions were to rescue Katy Perry.  It wasn’t until Christian Ball shared Claire’s photo with me, that I asked if Claire could be transported as a hitchhiker with Katy.  At the last minute, we weren’t sure if there was room for Claire.  I’m so glad she made it down to us.

After chatting with Laura, she estimated that she pulled about 20 ticks off of Claire, and that might explain her condition.

Miss Miami and Frances both had serious complications due to ticks, Miss Miami almost didn’t make it.

Rescued Aussie with Hair loss Troubles Rescuers who are Hoping For the Best

In short, Claire has three issues.  She is light heartworm positive.  She has a skin condition, inflammation and hair loss.  She has pale gums and a low heart rate.  All of these things, lucky for her, are all treated with the same medications.  She will also receive iron supplements.  Good food, medication and rest… and she’ll be all better soon.

Claire has been transported to Michelle to be fostered.  She is having a blast there!

I can’t thank you enough for your donation toward her medical care.

10/02/13:  For the past month, Claire has been fostered by Michelle, and she’s having a blast.  Her hair has grown back, and she looks awesome!  Tomorrow is the big day.  Claire is transported back to me to see the Doctor again.  After her spay, she will be available for adoption!  Woo Hoo!

Note:  At the time that we wrote this, we had no idea that the prednisone and doxy was masking Claire’s symptoms, and her improved health was not real.

Rescued Aussie Begins Significant Diet Changes

10/04/13:  Claire Bear had a tour of the New Newman Veterinary Center in Deltona this morning.  They open their new office  in November.  It is stunning and three times the size of their existing office.  But, Claire can not be spayed yet.  Overnight Claire developed an ear infection.  The Doctor wants her on Clavamox and Benadryl for two weeks, and we will take care of her then.  So in the meantime, we are enjoying fostering her, she is so easy!  She is great with cats, kids, other dogs, she is quiet, friendly and loving.  I have started feeding Claire an allergy-free Rabbit dog food.  Since I have to give her pills, and I can’t use hot dogs or cheese, we purchased Duck and Pea Pill Pockets.  At first she loved them, but now she refuses.  She hides her head and runs away when she sees them.

Australian Shepherd has Recurring Infections Puzzling Rescuers

10/09/13:  Clair Bear, the babysitter, has recurring infections. First it’s here, then it’s there… now it’s her ears. When she’s on antibiotics it goes away. When she’s finished with her meds, it comes back. I need to have bloodwork done and test for allergies. She must be allergic to something common, like Chicken! We are on a crusade for donations. We now have Claire on Cephalexin.  Claire Bear is an awesome dog, everyone adores her.  We’ve change her dog food to an grain-free Newman & Dutch formula.  Since I don’t know what’s wrong with her, I’m afraid to do what I always do… home  made chicken stew!  I’m adding enzymes and coconut oil to her food.


10/14/13:   She had a royal spa treatment at Newman Veterinary Center, a medicated bath and conditioner!  Her hair is growing back nicely, and her ears have cleared up.  She’ll see the Doctor next week for her spay, and she’ll be ready for her new home.  As I mentioned before, Claire is the kind of dog you could put in a room full of kittens, rabbits, and maybe even squirrels.  She wouldn’t hurt a thing!  She is quiet, easy, and trained.  She gets along with all dogs, even puppies!  Just add water and stir!

Veterinarian Agrees to Spay Rescued Australian Shepherd

10/26/13 Update:  Clair was spayed today.  Her condition is good, her heart rate normal, and the swelling is gone.  When I arrived to pick her up from her surgery, I learned that the results from her allergy tests were in.

Claire Bear is allergic to just about everything.  The only grass she can tolerate is Rye.  However, she is also allergic to beef, pork, chicken, lamb, duck, buffalo, and her results hit the roof when tested with olives.  The goal is for her to eat foods that were under the magic number of 150.  Salmon and fish tested at 156.  What she can eat is eggs, rice, wheat and corn!  I’m shaking my head in disbelief!  Claire Bear is on a special Hills prescription diet Z/D.  I’ve stopped giving her the coconut oil, afraid it’s giving her a reaction, and I’ve stopped the enzymes because it contains beef flavoring.  I am going to make her fish, eggs, and rice.

10/29/13 Update:  We are making Claire home made fish stew!  She likes it a lot!  We are watching her closely, but her progress is slow.  One day she seems to be getting better, and one day she seems to be worse. We estimate she is an $800 dog so far, but she’s worth every penny!  If you can afford to help Claire Bear, please send a donation.  I don’t think she’s out of the woods yet, and I’m very scared that something is terribly wrong, something we just haven’t figured out yet.  We’ve done two different types of blood tests, medications galore – she’s not getting better.

Claire Bear Needs Care Bears


10/30/13:  Claire Bear lost a chance to be adopted last Saturday, probably because of my honesty about her condition.  While the adopter was perfect for her, they were afraid of the potential financial commitment.  I can’t say I blame them.  I am relieved that she wasn’t adopted, because she’s not out of the woods yet.

Last night I had just taken dinner out of the oven when I noticed Claire began to swell again. Her ears were swollen and I saw a rash over her eyes. She seemed hot, so I checked her incision. What I noticed was severe swelling of her belly. I grabbed my keys and told the kids I was going to the vet. My daughter, Sarah, threw on a pair of shoes and went with me.

Claire has been very lethargic. It started before her spay, but after her spay, she has barely left the couch. We have had to coax her off to go outside. She relieves herself and gets back on the couch. We also have to coax her to eat. Every time we present her with food, she buries her head in the couch. After enticing her with one bite after another, she eventually eats and she eats well.

When I arrived at the vet, it took the vet tech about 10 minutes to be able to put the thermometer inside of her, she was swollen all over. He confirmed that she did NOT have a temperature, and I was relieved. However, when he rolled her over to look at her swollen belly, he noticed she was engorged – she is producing milk. How can that be if she was spayed?

Then things started to make sense. It’s hormones. Could her condition been primarily due to a hormone imbalance? Another vet tech arrived to visit Claire, and I asked her, if it’s hormones, what do we do?

“You’ve already done it, you’ve spayed her. That’s what we do.

The hormones will balance themselves now.”


I found myself fighting the tears twice while I was there, and with all of the sick dogs I have rescued, I rarely ever cry. Even when the Doctor entered the room, I broke down again. The last time I cried in front of a doctor was when Maggie May passed away.

Watching Claire on the examination table, I noticed her falling asleep, she couldn’t even keep her eyes open.  She is back on Clavamox, Amitriptyline for allergies, and Novox for inflammation.

Talking on the front porch with my friend Jamie last night, I asked the question if someone has eaten nothing but junk food all of their life, and all of a sudden they are fed a healthy diet, could that cause them to get sick? His answer was yes. I remembered watching an episode on House where a homeless man became very ill after eating hospital food. The opposite is true as well meaning if you eat well, and then decide to eat junk food for a week, you will also feel sick.

While watching tv before bedtime, Claire Bear sat in my lap, and I loved on her. I went to bed confused and scared. When I woke up this morning, I remembered crying in my sleep. I opened my bedroom door walked to the porch to the let the dogs out, and Claire jumped off the couch and joined the back! I woke up my daughter screaming, “Sarah, Claire is up, she’s walking around!”

Claire went outside and relieved herself. She followed the pack back in and greeted me. It’s really the first time she has walked around on her own without being coaxed. One pill has made a difference.

I share Claire’s story with trusted friends several times a day. We have quite a team here at The Dog Liberator, and we are all brainstorming. We discuss topics like diet, allergies, hormones, Fibromyalgia, Lupus, and the endocrine system. I know we’re just throwing things up in the air and seeing if it sticks, but what I’m learning along the way is remarkable.

While I’m relieved seeing Claire being more active, I know that Claire can change on a dime. We want to thank those of you who have donated toward our Veterinary Care Fund to help Claire. Please donate.

I just spoke with former adopter and veterinarian Deb Redmond.  Deb adopted Saint from us years ago.  Deb gave me a lot of encouragement, and helped me understand what Claire is going through.  She is having an inflammatory response to everything we do.  Probiotics and feeding her one thing for several days should  help.  What helped me the most is when she explained that no matter what I feed Claire, she’s going to react to it.  Go organic!  Deb had a similar problem with one of her dogs, and she did recover, 100%!  Claire has reacted to everything I feed her.  We are only feeding her eggs now.  Only one ingredient.

All Foods are literally Hurting Claire Bear

10/31/13 AM: I evaluate Claire almost every hour. It appears that every evening, before I go to bed, she is at her worse. Yet every morning, she appears to be better. Could it be because she has fasted over night, and food is actually making her sick. Every night I panic, and question what else can I do. Every morning, I’m encouraged with her appearance and energy level.  Trying hard to share everything that I observe about Claire, I noticed that during certain times of the day she smells really really bad.  She always has a musty smell, but could it be that after she eats, the odor gets worse?  I can walk into a room and tell you if Claire is in it because of the odor.  But what does this have to do with her condition?  I remember when I brought Claire in for her spay, a Vet Tech mentioned, “she smells yeasty“.

It’s a typical afternoon, and I pick my children up from school, they hop in the car and their first questions is… how’s Claire?  I don’t sugar coat things – I can’t, my kids are very dog savvy.  I tell them that Claire is not good.  Her condition is much worse now.  Yet, when we opened the front door, she was sitting there waiting for us, and greeted us with a happy wiggle.

Not only that, but she has made a miraculous change – she wants to eat now! It’s been over a week since she’s wanted to eat.  She did not bury her head in the couch, instead she followed me around in the kitchen with her nose in the air waiting for her bowl!

We believe we have properly diagnosed her and we are changing everything about her medications and her plan of care. I just know we’re on the right track. Please continue to pray for Claire Bear, but I think we finally got this one! Special thanks to Anita Barber for being spot on!

It doesn’t matter what I feed her.  She is going to react until we fix her gut.  I am blending everything so it’ll be easier for her to digest.  I started the Enzymes again, along with the Probiotics, I am adding coconut oil, and vitamin c.  I have stopped all medications.   Every time we gave her antibiotics she got better, but when we stopped them, she took a nose dive and her condition got incredibly worse than before.    I’m hoping that it won’t be long before I can make her chicken stew.

You see Claire doesn’t have allergies.  She tested positive to everything because her system was inflamed. Inflamed because she has no immune system, nothing in her gut to digest food.  Her body sees food as an enemy that it must get rid of.  It all makes sense now.  She has been telling me all along, every time she hid her face in the couch not wanting to eat, she was telling me, “food hurts”.  It started way back when I bought the duck and pea pill pockets – at first she loved them, but then she refused them – because “food hurts”.  I think we got this!

11/1/13 Update:  I read this tonight, and wonder if we “got this”  Claire had a reaction today, I know that she is going to, I know that this is going to take time.  There is no easy fix and this is going to take months.  I’ve seen improvements, her will to live, her activity level, and her appetite.  I’m on the phone constantly with our team, and we are adjusting our course of action based on  her responses.  Sometimes I think “we got this”, and sometimes I get so frustrated and disappointed in myself.

Here’s what’s important, I’m not giving up – and neither is Claire.   We appreciate the comments, the emails, the brainstorming that many of you are doing.  That tells us you are engaged, and that you care.  I read and respond to all of them.  Please continue to cheer, “Go Claire Bear!”

11/2/13 Update:  Claire has decided not to eat eggs anymore!  She sure has a way of telling me NO!  She’s tolerating chicken well, but for the next few days we’re going to offer only vitamin rich broth to let her gut heal.  She is expelling yeast and toxins from her body, and instead of asking her to digest food, we’re going to give her a break and resume in a few days.    Every change we make is based on Claire’s reaction.  She is the great communicator.  Late tonight, Sarah took her for a long walk, and she did have a bounce in her step!

11/4/13 Update:  I’ve found that every three days, Claire refuses to eat what she has tolerated perfectly.  First it was Fish, then Eggs, now Chicken.  I’m ready for whatever changes she wants me to make!  She is not a picky eater, she just knows what hurts her and what doesn’t.  I believe that after being on one ingredient for three days, her body reacts to it.  She has itchy spells, but for the most part, she’s not scratching herself constantly like she was.  She has moments of swelling, but it goes away quickly on its own along with red blotches.  She appears to have more energy, but there are times when I approach her with a bowl of food, she hides her face in the couch.  Ironically, three hours later, she is up and anxious to be fed.  I continue to give her probiotics and enzymes, along with Vitamin C and cod liver oil.

We watch her like a hawk.  We celebrate every good moment, and we get depressed when she takes a step backward.  If I look at her progress daily, I’m not pleased.  If I look at the entire week, I am hopeful.  Her hair is growing back, she does whimper from time to time.  If only dogs could talk.

Surprise, Surprise, Surprise

This time, I was prepared.  It’s still 11/4/13, but I was ready this morning.  Claire has turned her nose up to the chicken stew.  Remember, it’s not that she’s a picky eater, she’s not.  She just knows what hurts and what doesn’t.  And after 2 or 3 days of eating the same food, she develops a reaction.  So, I had a hamburger patty ready – defrosted and cooked.  When I presented it to her, she devoured it… remember that the chicken stew as right next to the hamburger patty.  I feel like a short-order cook!  Beef…  it’s what’s for dinner!  I’m making her beef stew as I write this.  I figure that she’s said “yes” to beef, a round steak cooked until tender will be on the menu for a few days!

While I am personally caring for Claire Bear, I can’t foster other dogs.  Which means we don’t have any adoption fees coming in, not only that, but Claire has depleted our Veterinary Care Fund.  That means we need your help, we need donations to keep our doors open.  We have great fosters that are standing ready to rescue new dogs, but we need to the funds to have them vetted.  Whatever you can do to help, thank you!

11/05/13 Update:  Claire Bear had a much needed bath last night.  It seems that dogs must be bathed regularly with a medicated shampoo, and a baking soda rinse in order to remove the yeast from their skin at least twice a week until their problems are resolved internally.  Claire was a trooper, and she feel so much better.  It did reduce the itching quite a bit.  She ate her beef stew last night with pleasure!  She seems to have more energy and this is consistent not just spurts of energy.  So while her progress is slow, it is progress.  Funny, yesterday morning her hair around her eyes was coming back, but after her bath, I noticed increased hair loss again.

Although the jury is not out yet, I think it’s time we share what we’re doing for Claire besides baths, Vitamin C and diet.

Rescue buys Hocus Pocus Desperate to Save Rescued Dog

11/06/13 Update:  I’m not at all happy with Claire’s progress.  There is a huge amount of hair loss, and the itching is out of control.   The products that I purchased from Nzymes may seem like they are helping, but who is to know if it’s the change in diet that is helping.    With the products came a set of instructions that included a host of diet changes and bathing instructions.  Are the products a bunch of hocus pocus?  They have many success stories in their website, but I’m not convinced that the success was because pet owners stopped giving their animals store-bought pet food.

The homeopathic remedy sent by Deb Redmond states that the dog could get worse before it gets better.  This may be the case, so I’m trying not to panic.  I can’t thank her enough for rushing to help us.

Everyone knows you should not change your dog’s diet drastically.  But with Clarie Bear, I have no choice.  When she buries her head in the couch, and refuses to eat, I react because I listen to her.

Last night, I was frustrated.  I felt like nothing I have done has helped Claire.  Yes, she does have more stamina, and she is no longer lethargic but going to the store, cooking, cleaning… it takes me longer to prepare Claire’s meals than my family’s.  I wondered if I would take Claire back to the vet for more bloodwork.  As fast as the thought popped into my head, it popped right out!  Then, I thought of buying one type of dog food and stinking with it, again, commercial store-bought dog food is not the answer.  Just then, my phone rang… it was Terry Lee Gonzalez.  She contacted me several weeks ago wanting to help.  She recommended Lugol’s iodine, which I did purchase.  She received our newsletter yesterday, and read the updates on Claire Bear.  Desperately wanting to help us, she offered a host of suggestions.

So, here’s what I’m looking at today!

but my favorite regarding anti-flammatory is the Benefits of Turmeric!

So while Terry is keeping me busy, this is a good thing.  When I lose hope, when I feel desperate and defeated, I go insane.  Ironically, two blocks away from home is an Spanish-style grocery store.  I visit the store from time to time to when I need something in a jiffy, and every time I walk by the meat counter, I see some crazy things… things like chicken feet, goats meat, and yes, Tripe!  When Terry first mentioned Tripe, I giggled and thought she was toying with me, sending me on a wild goose chase… but no, that’s a Snipe not a Tripe!  Needless to say, this morning after I dropped my kids off at school, I went to that very bizarre grocery store, and walked out with almost everything I need.   What does this mean?  We’re going raw.

I’m not crazy, I’m desperate!  Know that with every change I take, I consult with several close TDL-ers.  We brainstorm, discuss, debate and vote!  Late last night I received a nod to proceed.   For the love of Pete, it can’t get any worse!

Every time I share with Michelle what Claire is eating, she really gets grossed out!  After doing this for over four years, I don’t think anything can gross me out!  As a side note, my dogs love having Claire here.  Because whatever she doesn’t eat, they get!  I have to wrap up  now, because I just found a meat store in DeLand that sells chicken feet!

I want to thank all of you who have written to us with words of encouragement, and those of you who have donated to our Veterinary Care Fund.  Just when I feel hopeless, someone says something, writes something, or donates which gives me a boost of encouragement!  Thank you!

Tripe Does Not Help Sick Dog

Afternoon Update:  I hope you had a chuckle at my expense… Snipe Tripe!  I did buy the wrong product.  Tripe that’s been cleaned and bleached is useless, but the dogs liked it.  I drove to DeLand to buy chicken feet.  I felt like an idiot asking for chicken feet, but before I left, the butcher told me that one of his customers comes in all the time for them… “She boils them and drinks the broth”, he explained.  Really?

Leaving the butcher, I was upset that I didn’t have aloe leaves or Turmeric.  I took the long way home and stopped into a Bravo Supermarket.  Then, I remembered how many times, and for how many years Maria DeRosa shops there to make her dog food.  My Bad!  They had everything I needed.

Evening:  Claire had a ginormous dinner!  She loved the broth, but now we have a new symptom.  There is gunk in her eyes. I offered her two small pieces of Goat, and both times one hour later she had gunk in her eyes… no more goat!   I did give her the Turmeric without a problem.

I’m trying to be patient, but I’m not a patient person by  nature.  I fear that we have not found anything to help her, and we may be too late.

 11/07/13 Update:  I posted a request for Aloe plants on Facebook, and Lyndsay Younk replied.  She lives near me, and offered to give us several large aloe plants from her garden.  Yesterday, I drove to her home, and met with her.  After we pulled a few plants she told me that “Camay” aka Meredith says hi!  My jaw dropped and my eyes popped out of my head.  Then, I remembered.  Lyndsay’s parents own Meredith.  “You helped our family out with our dog, giving you aloe for Claire Bear is the least we can do.”  It was cool!

Claire is back on benadryl for itching, and anti-flammatory medication.  She has had several major flair ups recently.  She had another medicated bath yesterday, and although her coat overall looks good, she has huge areas of hair loss around her face and her ears.  She goes on walks every day, and I don’t mean slow walks!  Last night I spotted her running home with my son Ryan – she loved it.   I’m really scrambling to do something to see significant progress.  

Later, one of my dearest friends surprised me with a visit to give Claire another bath.  She had one on Monday and having another tonight (Thursday).  After her bath on Monday, I expected that musty smell to go away, but it didn’t.  Before I went to bed Monday night, Claire still had that yeasty odor, and again Tuesday morning.  The bath is not to remove the odor, but to remove the yeast from her skin so she doesn’t lick it.

While Claire was getting her bath, some of Sarah’s friends came over, and we had a lot of company over for dinner!  I had a few steaks and some chicken breast, and I threw them all on the grill.  After everyone ate, instead of throwing all of the bones away, I threw them in the crock pot along with chicken feet, one piece of beef kidney, egg shells, celery and green beans.  All of these ingredients, along with a splash of apple cider vinegar would simmer over night.

For dinner, Claire had Tuesday’s broth, made of chicken feet, with a small amount of canned jack mackerel.  She ate it nicely, however, later that evening, she swelled up again.  UGH!

11/08/13:  Still adding turmeric to her food, aloe, vitamin c, probiotics and enzymes, Claire had the broth that I made last night.  I strained everything out, and she loved it.   I’m receiving a lot of emails from people who want to offer some advice or assistance, it’s quite remarkable.  One of those emails came from Beth who adopted Flipper from TDL two years ago.

I spoke with Beth, about Venison – something I can’t get my hands on, but she offered to deliver some to my door for Claire.  She also shared with me her experience with her dog many years ago.  She said her dog also had the three day response to food, and I freaked.  She described her dog’s symptoms and they were identical to Claire’s.  Unlike what I’ve been told by everyone in the veterinary community, her dog was on benadryl and prednisone daily her entire life.  They were small dosages, but still, the medications were part of the dog’s daily routine, and the dog lived to be 11 years old.  So maybe, just maybe, Claire will have to be on some sort of allergy and anti-flammatory medications for the rest of her life.  What was mind blowing was that Beth’s dog, also an Aussie, many years ago was diagnosed with autoimmune.

Rescued Aussie has Leaky Gut Syndrome

Dog Suffers to Build up of  Yeast

So which came first, the chicken or the egg?  Is the Leaky Gut Syndrome a symptom of autoimmune?

Coming home this afternoon from picking up my children from school, Sarah White was waiting for me at my house!  She had gone on an errand for Claire, to pick up Green Tripe from Orlando that was donated to us.  Even though it was frozen and in a plastic bag, it smelled disgusting.  I left one sleeve out to defrost and wondered if I could even open the bag to put it in a bowl without getting sick.  Anything for Claire!

What a Difference a Day Makes

I opened my front door, and Claire was waiting for us, bouncing all over the place,  jumping up and saying hi, and giving us the Aussie Wiggle Butt!  I couldn’t believe it.  She ran around the house, and pranced all over the place, and…. she barked!

When I went to the back door to let out the pack, she pushed my dogs away, and wanted to be the first one out.  As I opened the door, she bolted… she ran around the yard with energy I have never seen before.  It was amazing.  Later she had a good poop which shocked me as she has had runny poop for the past few days.

I have no doubt… it’s the broth.  She is getting everything she needs without having to eat.  Her gut does not have to digest, it just has to absorb, and all of the nutrients in the broth… well, I’m thrilled.

Much to my surprise, as I was feeding my dogs Claire was jumping up, sniffing the air and wanted FOOD.  I wasn’t prepared.  All I had was broth.  I had three choices, dry kibble, canned rabbit, raw food, or a can of Andi Brown’s turkey stew.  I opted for Andi’s stew!  Andi donated several cans to TDL and I have been  hoarding it and only  using it when an unsuspecting pup arrives with Parvo until I can make my own.  It’s kind of “in case of emergency – break glass”.  I broke the glass.  Claire didn’t have an allergic response to the stew, but we all know that it takes three days for Claire to respond.  So I’m safe!

I spoke with Carol, Mic’s adopter for hours last night about Claire, and all of a sudden, I realized that something was missing.  I realized that you can’t see the forest through the trees.  Claire doesn’t smell anymore.  Add her sudden burst of energy and joy, with the fact that the odor is gone… and what do we have?  Are we on the edge of success here?

11/09/13:  I woke up early and made coffee this morning, and I didn’t enjoy my five minutes of private coffee time.  Claire again greeted me with joy, and I looked at the tripe that was thawed.  UGH!  Let’s get this over with.  I put on rubber gloves and opened the package out front, plopped it into four bowls and brought the bowls to the back and gave each dog their own bowl of green disgusting Tripe in their crates.  They woofed it.  I removed the gloves, washed my  hands and went back to the front porch to finish my coffee.  Five minutes later, I lost my coffee!

A few hours later, my son Ryan, woke up and his first words were “Claire was playing with me last night!”  I asked him for details, and he said Claire was playing ball with him.  Seriously?

It’s 10:00 am, and Beth is driving on I-4 on her way to my house with venison goodies.

Can we all take a moment to stop and appreciate how many people are trying to do whatever they can to help Claire Bear?  Isn’t this absolutely amazing and mind-blowing?  Several people have blurted that Claire would probably be dead by now without us.  I don’t know if I agree with that, but I do believe she would’ve been put down.  Even I wondered several times if that would eventually be my only option.  No one wants to see a precious dog like Claire suffer.

Is  it safe to say we are winning the battle against Yeast?  I’m not ready for a victory dance yet, but I am allowing myself to lighten up a bit and relax.

I spoke with Deb Remond this morning, and one of the things we talked about is dogs eating the same food every single day… is that our goal?  Deb doesn’t believe that dogs should eat the same food everyday, just like humans shouldn’t either.  Dogs in the wild eat what they can kill, and if they don’t have a successful kill – they fast.  Claire had to fast.  Every time I gave her food, her body rejected it.  By giving her only the broth, her body got super mega nutrients without having to eat.

I have everything at my disposal right now.  Batch #2 of chicken feet is in the fridge, and batch #3 is in the crock pot.  Now, it’s time to document everything, and I mean EVERYTHING.  From now on, I will not be throwing those bones away into the garbage can.  Cooked or raw, I’ll freeze them and when I have enough, I’ll boil them and add them to my dogs’ food.

Now, it is totally against the rules to allow any dog on my bed… but I just heard a giggle.  My daughter Sarah has my ipad, and she’s on my bed watching funny videos… when I peaked around the corner, Claire Bear is on my bed as well…  because Claire simply doesn’t stink anymore.

I remember when I was 19 and on my own, I tried to make chicken soup.  I bought some gorgeous chicken breast, and vegetables… added some spices, and it was gross!  I asked my Mom why it didn’t have any flavor.  She explained that it not only didn’t have flavor, it didn’t have any nutrients – any vitamins.  “You can’t make soup with the bones!”  She was right.  Without the bones, you just made boiled meat, and that’s gross!

Everything that I have learned by helping Claire will help many dogs in the future.  I do believe it should be standard protocol that anyone giving any creature antibiotics, probiotics should be given at the same time.  I believe if your dog is sick, you should start cooking some bones!  I believe that Turmeric is important for  humans and their pets.  So is Vitamin C.

So… where’s your crock pot?

Infections Continue to Plague Rescued Aussie

11/10/13 Update:  Just went I thought we were on the right path, I gave Claire her broth, yesterday and she reacted.  I noticed gunk in her eyes again, but it wasn’t because of the goat.  Now what?  Is this the three day mark where she’s now reacting to the broth?  It would make sense.  Throughout the yesterday she continued to scratch herself, I gave her the Benadryl and it  did not give her any relief.  A few hours later I gave her the anti-flammatory – again no response.  Beth brought Claire a benadryl spray – I used it on her ears, under her neck and on her feet.  Claire hated it, however, she jumped up on the couch and watched tv with me last night, and never scratched.  She had a good night’s sleep.

This morning however, we started all over again with out of control scratching.  I gave her the broth, sprayed her itchy spots again, and gave her the benadryl – nothing.  I’m ashamed to admit it, but I have caved.  Her bald spots are ginormous, she is miserable.  She scratches herself and creates inflammation.  Except for the fact that she has more energy, her allergic response to life is worse.  I’ve managed to increase her overall health through diet and remedies, but I have been unsuccessful at treating her allergies – I gave her a prednisone.

The Claire Bear circle of caregivers (people that I talk to on a daily basis about Claire) have agreed that the worse thing we can do is put her back on antibiotics.  We have agreed that if we have to “break glass in case of emergency) we would put her back on prednisone to increase her quality of life.  The scratching is increasing stress, and everyone knows when a patient has problems with their digestive system, their immune system, any system… you want to reduce stress.

I really wanted a major breakthrough, but I don’t have one.  When I cut the pill in half, I felt defeated and useless but this isn’t about me, it’s about Claire.  Clearly I’ve gone through the ends of the earth for this precious little girl, chicken feet and tripe – YUCK!  Cutting a pill in half and hiding it in cheese seems too easy, but a Mom’s gotta do what a Mom’s gotta do.

Everywhere I look on the web for autoimmune or lupus in dogs I’m sent to a website selling me something.  Yesterday, I did receive a shipment of MSM, and I’m going to start using it.   I don’t expect anything to magically cure Claire like I had hoped.  This is going to be a very long road, like many of Claire’s supporters have warned me, but in the meantime, I pray that I have given her some relief.  She simply can’t continue to live this way.  I will continue to give her the smallest amount of prednisone – just enough to give her relief.  I’m hoping it can be an every other day regiment, I have to give her just enough to take the edge off, and make her comfortable.

11/12/13 Update: The combination of Prednisone and Benadryl is keeping Claire somewhat comfortable. She is looking much better. She has had venison, and loves it, but she had a 30 minute long scratching fest immediately after eating it. Same with turkey, I’m not sure where we’re going but I’m thinking tofu!

Rescued Aussie Dog is put on Vegan Dog Food

11/13/13 Update:  Two weeks ago while searching for dog foods, I found a vegetarian dog food.  I thought that I might try that, but didn’t want to rush to make yet another change.  I pursued every protein without any good results.  Since I don’t want to buy processed dog food, I made the vegetarian dinner myself.  Tofu!

Claire had no reaction to her tofu diet last night, which consisted of lentils, tofu and cottage cheese.  I did put a bit of her meat broth in it for flavor.  I saw her doing a tiny bit of chewing on her feet after she ate.   She did NOT have a scratch fest.

This morning I gave her chick peas and tofu – no cottage cheese, no broth – just two ingredients along with her probiotics, enzymes and MSM.  She gobbled it up with glee, and no scratching…  She has NOT had any bendaryl today, she has NOT had a prednisone today.  It’s only 9:30 am.

I wonder what the next two days will bring.  While I have spent a fortune on trying different proteins, they all created a reaction.  Tofu is so affordable, can it be this simple?

Since this was an experiment, I gave her the lentils and chick peas out of can.  Today, I’m cooking lentils from scratch and adding celery, garlic and carrots.  Might as well give her the most nutrition I can.

It’s 3:45 PM:  I’ve been waiting all day to hear Claire scratching.  Nothing.  No Prednisone, No Bendaryl.  I did make the home made lentil soup.  She was dancing around me while I was getting her bowl ready.  She inhaled it, and still no scratching.  Her energy level is through the roof, and no signs of regression this time.

One potato, 4 carrots, a handful of celery (with the leaves) one garlic clove, MSM, powdered kelp, probiotics, enzymes, one cod liver oil, and cottage cheese.

Because of Claire, I’ve added several new categories to the blog, like leaky gut syndrome and raw diet.  Now I’m adding yet a new category, “Vegan”.  Hundreds of dogs come through our rescue and we don’t create a new category for them!  Claire is one special little girl!  Last week, I sat on the front porch and broke down in tears.  Everyone keeps telling me she’ll get better, and at our reunion which is only weeks ago, she’ll be running with the pack-not a thing wrong with her.  I didn’t think it could happen but now, I’m wondering.

If she keeps this up by Friday, I really think I will have my happy dance and a very loud Woo Hoo!  I will get her some calcium supplements and doggie vitamins and our work will be done here.  I have a lot to share about this journey, but I don’t want to jinx it!

6:30 PM:  I just caught Claire chewing, just a tiny chew, but no scratching yet.  My neighbor, Franz, came over, and thought she was a different dog… she barked at him… a very loud and deep bark-we’ve never heard her bark.  Then she proceeded to kick Ozzie’s butt in a 30 minute dog play, which ended with her trying to hump him.  This is NOT my Claire!  Not my Claire that was dying on my couch last week!    Mom always said, be careful what you wish for!  I believe this burst is simply two days on prednisone!

Claire Bear!
Claire Bear!

11/19/13 Update:  Claire is still doing well on the veggie diet.  She is off the prednisone again.  I give her antihistamine only when necessary.  I introduced Cottage Cheese again, and saw no reaction, however the next day, I gave her yogurt, and she did react.  Tomorrow, I’m going to go back to the cottage cheese to decide if it’s any dairy or just the yogurt.  Once I determine the dairy issue, I will slowly introduce chicken stock to her diet.  Our goal is to de-sensitize her to chicken.

I  have to say, cooking chick peas is not easy.  I’ve burned two batches, not paying attention and having to add water as they cook!  Lentils are much easier!  She absolutely gobbles up Tofu.  She still has plenty of energy, and her hair is slowly growing back.  I’ll update more this weekend!

11/22/13 Update:  It was around noon on Wednesday the 20th, I kept asking myself why Claire was scratching herself a bit more lately.  I also noticed some hair loss.  I was getting everything ready for our big transport to meet Jeff Bennett at the Orlando Executive Airport when I heard a familiar sound, the sound of plastic, a thumping sound.  I walked out onto the porch and there was Claire up on her hind tippy toes stretched out with her head buried in the kibble bin.  “CLAIRE!” I shouted.  She pulled her head out of the bin and stared at me.  For a moment, we communicated, and I swear she said, “I haven’t had kibble in months, I’ve stuck to my diet, I’ve been a good girl, but now I want the equivalent of the greasiest hamburger money can buy… and I’m having some kibble!”

Needless to say, I freaked out!  Removed the bin, and got her a giant package of Tofu, she gobbled it.  When I returned home later, she was scratching a bit, and she did scratch herself a bit the next morning, but you know what?  It wasn’t that bad!  What she had eaten was regular Purina Dog Chow, which probably contains very little meat protein, and probably is high in corn, and she is not allergic to corn.

I expected her to have a full-blown allergic episode with swelling, scratching, massive  hair loss and lethargy.  It didn’t happen!  It was extremely mild, and medication was not needed.  That’s a huge step for Claire Bear!

Who taught her how to get  into the bin?  Ozzie!

11/23/13 Update:  Claire has been scratching herself a lot.  It started yesterday.  Granted, she did eat dog food on the 20th, but that should be out of her system.  Benadryl isn’t  helping.  I don’t believe she has gotten into any people food or dog food so I just don’t understand.  I pray she is not developing an allergy to the tofu, but she tested negative against soybean in her allergy test.  Could it be environmental?  Maybe, there’s a lot of things in bloom right now, but there is a cold front on the way, maybe it’ll help.

I did run into and meet for the first time, Mr. Wayne yesterday while waiting to meet Milhouse.  Mr. Wayne is the owner of Newman Veterinary Centers, and we brainstormed about Claire Bear.  I’m just not sure what I’m going to do if she doesn’t get back to her healthy self soon.  Once again, she proves that her condition is always two steps forward, and three steps back.

11/24/13 Update:  Claire Bear had a good night.  I know this because she slept with me.  This morning she had her lentils and veggies along with a raw egg and cottage cheese.  She scratched herself immediately, however after about 30 minutes the 1/2 pill of prednisone stopped it. The Eggs and Cottage Cheese are going to be a no-go for Claire Bear.

 Vet Recommends Hydrogenalized Dog Food for Sick Australian Shepherd

Natural Balance Vegan
Natural Balance Vegan

12/5/13 Update:  I brought Claire Bear back to the vet on the 27th, and we started her on Temaril P, a mild steroid/allergy  medication.  She responded well to it, but did react like she was on Droids!  The Vet wants us to give her (again) a hydrogenalized dog food that costs about $4/pound.  The cost of a 17 pound bag is over $60 and Clarie loves to eat.  The cost of this food is impossible for anyone to afford.

This is week two, so her Temaril P dosage has been cut in half, she is still doing well with mild itching, still has hair loss and some inflammation.  So she is no worse, but is not getting better.

Last night I tried to find Tofu yesterday – didn’t.  Went into Petsupermarket and found  Natural BalanceVegan dog food.  Bought it!  Claire is always hungry, following us around for a snack, so last night I gave her about 3 cups of this new dry food, she loved it.  She did not scratch once.  We all know that Claire responds well to any new food for the first two days.  But over night her hair is growing back around her eyes.  No Temaril P today.  After she has this food today, and again tomorrow… we may have the answer.  

Since any other medical route is experimental, and will require surgery – I’m praying, and I’m begging you to join me in praying that a simple bag of food helps.

I have shared with everyone how wonderful your words of encouragement have been these past few months.  Many of you have said to me with assurance that Claire would go to the reunion this Saturday, and she would be all better – not to worry.   Even thought I appreciated the thought, I didn’t think it was possible.  It was a goal I knew I couldn’t achieve.

I have decided that Claire Bear is going to our Annual Reunion!  Maybe, just maybe I’ll have something to brag about!  GO CLAIRE BEAR!

12/09/13 Update:  Claire did go to our Fourth Annual Reunion last Saturday, and she had a blast.  She greeted everyone, and enjoyed the attention she received!  She is still on the Temaril P and doing very well!

12/22/13 Update:  We drove Claire to Kissimmee yesterday where she met Carol and her dog Mic who was adopted several months ago.  They were very curious and respectful to each other – time will tell!  Mic hasn’t really learned how to play with other dogs, he is a bit fearful, but if anyone can teach him to relax, it’s Claire!  Carol has always wanted to adopt Claire, as a matter of fact, when she came to meet Mic she really wanted Claire instead, but Claire was very sick and had not yet been diagnosed.  Since then, Carol and I have talked over the phone about Claire’s medical condition sometimes daily.  We will provide regular updates.

I want to thank everyone who helped us with Claire Bear, she is definitely a $1,000 dog.  Many times I wondered if she would survive, several times I thought she had given up.  Taking care of Claire was very hard on my family – not knowing if she would make it – not knowing if we could help her in time.  Due to sheer frustration, I cried myself to sleep several times.  We really miss her, she became part of our pack (she favored Ozzie).  But it’s not goodbye, it’s I’ll see you again Claire Bear!  She will always be a big part of our lives, and I’m sure her struggles touched your heart as well.  Thank you so much.

12/30/13 Update:  It is official, Claire Bear has won Mic over and they are living very happily together

01/07/14 Update:  Carol had a trip scheduled many months ago, and our agreement was if she adopted Claire, I would babysit… Gladly!  We had a blast!  Friends and neighbors came over and asked…. “IS THAT CLAIRE BEAR?”  In total disbelief, yes… it’s Claire Bear!  Woo Hoo!

Claire Completely Recovers Because of Vegan Dog Food

09/01/14 Update:  One year ago, we rescued Claire Bear.  She was adopted December 2013 by Carol.  I receive regular updates from Carol, and Claire Bear is still doing great.  She is not on ANY medication whatsoever.  She and Mic are still on the Natural Balance Vegan, but they do get people treats now and then.  This is important – for Claire Bear to sneak in a piece of chicken or turkey, or maybe a bite of egg, so her body can get used to proteins again.  Will be she ever be on dog food?  Maybe, not.  But she is a very happy,  healthy, talking, wiggle butt Aussie today.

Why did Our Rescue through So Much to Rescue One Dog?

One person asked me why I was wasting my time and money trying to save her.  The answer is, when a rescue makes a commitment to rescue a dog, they have to keep that commitment.  Here we had a beautiful Aussie, good with kids, seniors, men or women, good with dogs, cats,very smart, housebroken… the perfect dog.  As long as we had the support from our followers, Why Not?

Many times, while fostering Claire Bear, I felt like a total failure, but I couldn’t give up… because I knew there wre many Claire Bears out there.  If I could help her, I would  help many.

So what is the bottom line with Claire, what have we learned?

Claire came to us with a problem.  She was born with it.  If she could’ve continued to eat “off the land” or out of garbage cans, maybe her symptoms would’ve never flared up.

When we found out she was heartworm positive, we did what we always do, administer doxy prednisone.  She did well, but it was fake.  Her health was drug induced.  When she was weaned off the prednisone and the Doxy was gone, her condition worsened, and her symptoms bloomed.  WHAM!  It was awful.

Even though everyone told me to give a new food at least 30-60 days to see if it works, I couldn’t do it.  When I saw her suffer I had to change things immediately.  Every three days her body would reject a new protein.  Everything I was doing was in vain.  All of the potions and additives, and diet changes did nothing but show me I was on the wrong track.

When nothing worked, not tripe, not chicken feet, not enzymes, not anything… I started having nightmares, and all of those old episodes of House started playing in my sleep.  That’s where the Leaky Gut Syndrome started… thank you Dr. House reruns!

Did Claire Bear have Leaky Gut Syndrome – yes!

Did I listen to too many people?  Yes and no.

Does she have Lupus?  I’m not a vet, and she is doing well – no, she is doing awesome, so I’m just not sure.  I can tell you that if she experienced a huge diet change filled with animal protein, she might find herself back where she started.

What did Claire Bear teach me?  Never Quit, and Mommy always knows best!

Today, many of our “allergy” dogs are on Vegan dog food.  I have recommended it to many adopters who have tried everything.  Why not?  Will your vet recommended Vegan dog food?  No!  Does my Vet think I’m insane?  Absolutely!  Could any vet diagnose Claire Bear?  I doubt it.  Not your average vet anyway, and not without you documenting everything – and even then, they would ask you to give new dog food a chance.

I know what I saw, and Claire Bear was running out of time.

Do I think dogs should be Vegan?  Heck no!  But I do not believe in allergy testing (waste of time and money) and if your dog has an allergy, and you suspect it’s in the food, why not rule out all animal proteins all together?  Once your dog stables out, re-introduce animal proteins, one at a time. Then, we’ll know!

12 thoughts on “Claire Bear~Rescued Australian Shepherd was Shot At, Heartworm Positive and Facing Death

  1. What is the doxy/prednisone medication for?
    Considering that she has several issues, could
    the vaccinations administered at one time given
    her autoimmune system a shock? Our dogs’ dermatologist is not an advocate of prednisone.
    She incorporates holistic medicine as an alternative.
    I am rooting for Claire.

  2. Ho

    I’m in love with her!

    I do not live in Volusia Coumty, but don’t mind driving to her vet! I’m in Orlando.

    I’m looking for a sweet dog that will love me, and that I can love right back!

    I do have cats, though. Do you know how much the vet bills are expected to be on an ongoing basis? I’m a stay-at-home writer,

    I do not have a fenced hard, but can certai ly take a dog for walks. I’m wantiimg an indoor dog. One that will cuddle and love attention.

    I do not have small children…

    After a stroke, I’m not able to control a dog that will try to pull me on a leash, though!

  3. Just a thought, but have you checked her thyroid levels? I’d be tempted to have blood drawn and do a full thyroid panel… as well as for hormone levels.

    Here is a good article about yeast… it mentions that it is just a symptom of immune system disorder: “So dogs with an underactive immune system or that are immuno-suppressed can end up with a yeast infection, as well as dogs that have overactive immune systems, or allergies.” I would treat that symptomatically and externally for now, if at all, for now. You are right: You need to get the immune system back to balance first.

    This is an amazingly puzzling case! I’m going to forward it to a few people, and see if they have any other ideas. Hang in there…

  4. What does the baking soda rinse consist of? I have a short-term rescue that is fighting a yeast overgrowth–but if I can’t get her well they still might put her down for “too many problems”. Have her on probiotics, raw food, and “Taste of the Wild”(recommended by the raw food store. She is a beagle mix with hair loss around her eyes, her whole muzzle, under-part of neck, some areas of the belly and back legs and that whole area. Please respond asap!

  5. I have a red tri Aussie female who has many strange skin and immunity issues and has had them since she was 9 months. She eats a simple raw diet, limited ingredient. this seems to help. Also, do you know anything about Transfer factor? It may be a good choice for her if her immune system is depleted. And I second, Hang in there….

  6. Got up and went straight to check on Claire and was so, so happy to see your post this morning Giselle! Incredible, Claire is winning!!!!! You and the whole TDL family are absolutely amazing!!!!!!!!
    XOXOXOXOX from her West Coast Cuz Chappy!

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