Fostering Good Nutrition

Fostering Good Nutrition

Fostering Good Nutrition

He was listed at the shelter as a twenty pound female terrier mix. When I went to pick him up to foster for rescue, he was actually a fifty pound male doodle-type. He pressed himself into the back corner of his kennel and shook so hard that he rattled the door when I approached. Underneath all his long matted chocolate-brown fur, he was skin and bone. I got a leash onto him and, with a lot of patience and gentle words, he walked out of the shelter with me.

I could see him relax as soon as we were out of the chaos of the large city shelter and, to my absolute delight, he wagged his tail when we took some time to walk on the grass before going to the car.

I named him Eliot.

He turned into the most gentle boy, content to sit at my feet while I worked. He was a little timid, but slowly came out of his shell. He was, in general, just a good dog and I was so pleased with him.

Except for one thing: Eliot just wouldn’t eat much at all and he was underweight. Some of my friends wrote it off as him being picky, but that didn’t sit well with me. He was obviously hungry!

He was excited for mealtimes, but when it came right down to it, Eliot just would not eat.

Fostering Good Nutrition Eliot
Fostering Good Health with Eliot

The vet gave him a clean bill of health and it fell to me to try to get weight put on this poor kid. I felt like I was trying everything. I did a bland diet. I did extra-rich diets. I added rotisserie chicken. All the things people all over the internet say to try, I was doing.

And nothing was working.

It wasn’t until I stumbled across whole-food, natural supplements that I started seeing a change. I switched out his kibble for some raw food. I added all-natural supplemental treats like Buddy Custard to his diet. I added natural omega acids, digestive enzymes, probiotics, even a bit of raw food and herbal supplements. Suddenly, Eliot went from barely touching his food to scarfing it all down and begging for more. I had to buy him a slow-feed bowl!

I truly believe that Eliot simply didn’t feel well. I thought he was just a low energy dog, but within just a couple weeks of starting his whole-food diet, he was giving my terrier puppy a run for her money. He started interacting with people rather than being just a decoration in the living room. He was gaining weight and his ragged hair started gaining a more lustrous sheen to it. I thought he was a wire-haired dog. Turns out he just wasn’t eating right.

Eliot taught me more about the importance of good nutrition and supplemental feeding than any article I’d read online. I don’t know about you, but I always read testimonials for any one product with a grain of salt. “Yeah, yeah,” I’d think, “you don’t ever see results like that in reality.”

I stand corrected. Eliot was my proof. (And later my own dogs: Gizmo never slowing down as he got older, Molly thriving despite a severe heart murmur and seizures, Sophie overcoming injuries.)

Supplemental treats and foods like Buddy Custard should be an integral part of any dog’s diet. Eliot proved that to me. I was always afraid that Eliot wouldn’t ever be adopted; that he’d languish in this sad corner while people passed him over because he just didn’t show interest in anything. I worried over him constantly when he just wouldn’t eat. I thought I was going to watch him waste away. I’d never even get to worrying about him being adopted if he kept going down the road he’d been on.

Less than a month after I pulled a terrified emaciated dog out of the shelter, I watched him romping around the backyard with my puppy. He was happy and energetic, completely loving, playful, and the complete opposite of the sad listless dog that hung out in a corner. I believe that the change in diet saved him. It absolutely changed his quality of life.

I’m happy to report that Eliot went on to be adopted by a lovely family, with a boy and a dog-brother who were more than happy to play with him whenever he wanted. I drove him about three hours to meet his new family and I swung between so sad to see him go that I was tearing up and so happy for him that I could cry during the whole trip. He lives in the next state over now.

I get updates from the family occasionally. The last I heard, Eliot shared his newfound knowledge of wholesome foods with his dog-brother and all of his stomach problems have completely cleared up.

I love fostering, though it does break my heart sometimes when a dog like Eliot comes into my life and then leaves too soon. It’s always worth it, though, and I’m eternally glad that I stumbled into wholesome natural nutrition.

This is a personal story by Rachel J. and her dog Eliot.  Written and submitted by Rachel to Buddy Custard.