An Amazingly True Dog Story The Life & Death Of Thor
An Amazingly True Dog Story: The Life & Death Of Thor
by Rick London
I was drenched with sweat on a hot July Mississippi morning around '97 while I neatly wrapped my rescue dog Thor my shadow and companion was wrapped neatly in a sheet. I had just started my very first online offbeat cartoons and funny gifts venture, and stopped immediately my daily creative routine. Thor was about twelve years old but was staring at the walls and not responding to my voice. He had been very active up until then. I got him to the veterinarian within ten minutes and the diagnosis was some rare ailment that dogs that age often get similar to seizures and he must be put down. I had been a dog lover and owner since age four. My intuition made me skeptical of the veterinarians conclusion instead I decided to keep Thor comfortable for a few days at home. Once Thor was resting I urgently began searching the Internet for alternative solutions and discovered an Australian veterinarian with some unique ideas.
Within a few days, I located an Australian holistic/but also allopathic (traditional western medicine) veterinarian surgeon named Dr. Billinghurst, who had written a controversial book titled Give Your Dog A Bone. It entailed a diet plan that was basically raw foods, bought at the grocery preferably organic. The special recipe contained lots of raw meaty bones and occasionally a blend of vegetables, raw burger, etc. in a blender. I discovered that raw organic tripe is one of the most perfect foods for domestic animals. The first time I fed Thor a raw chicken wing, I was mortified. I had heard all my life this was the surest way to kill a dog, but I was desperate. I could already see and feel his soul energy fading. Oddly enough, he immediately took to this new diet, after not eating at all or drinking very much water for three days. I switched his water to bottled and ordered herbal tinctures and live flash-glanced vitamins with live minerals as well. He was devouring these raw foods, from hamburger to raw chicken to broccoli to watermelon (and a blend of them all).
Thor's life was beginning to return, even more so than I've seen in most puppies. The biggest problem was the terrible odor and coloration of his stools and urine for the first month. Dr. Billinghurst warned me that would happen. The toxins of commercial pet food were leaving his system. One morning, about a month after beginning Thor on the B.A.R.F. (Bones And Raw Foods or Biologically Appropriate Raw Foods), Thor jumped on my bed, something he had never done prior to the diet. He was wagging his tail and ready to go out and play. He grabbed his leash and was ready for a walk. He didn't want a short walk but was willing to go with me my usual five miles. He kept up with me without even panting or having a shortness of breath. The vet had also advised me that in addition to the mystery disease, Thor also suffered from phase 2 CHF. I started giving him the same herbs I was taking for my heart disease such as hawthorn berry and very hot cayenne tincture. I stopped all vaccinations as advised and bought homeopathic nosode vaccines ordered from Ca. on the net. His daily diet also consisted of fresh organic fruit and vegetables (and occasionally yogurt mixed in a blender. He loved it all and devoured every meal like a wolf in a hen house, whereas in the days of feeding him commercial dog food, he always treated it as if it were rat poison (which I would later find out was not far from the truth).
I later learned this shouldn't have been a surprise at all. According to Dr. Billinghurst and now other experts on the subject of B.A.R.F., dogs digestive systems have not evolved very much from their earlier days, before domestication, when they were still wolves, just as cat's systems had not since they were lions. Thor's energy level kept growing and growing as did his wanting to be near me and play at every given chance, whereas he used to mostly lay around and sleep during his pre-barf days. Up until age twenty, he continued to greatly enjoy our walks, usually three to five miles. It was only when he was about twenty one, that his phase two heart disease changed to phase four, and I knew that was dangerous. It was only then, almost a decade since his last vet visit, except for checkups, that I was forced to also use allopathic medicines, such as Lasix for his heart. I did so very hesitantly, as I was aware this type medicine would eventually hurt his liver and kidneys, which of course it did. In his final year, he had several near-death experiences in which I rushed him to the vet. I was already resolved that if he were in any kind of discomfort, or his quality of life was compromised, I would sadly have my best friend put down. The vet insisted he would not put him down. After all Thor had made three major comebacks at age twenty-two which he considered nothing less than a miracle. After a final try of a body flush, I could tell he was almost gone. I asked the vet what to do. He said to take him home, there was still a chance. I knew there was not. I could see his life and soul fading from his eyes. I knew him too well. He had been by my side, by my desk at home where I work, for a decade. I said I would take him home but I ordered a bottle of morphine which I administered around the clock as I slept on the floor cradling him during his final night. I had to put the morphine pill down his throat and set my alarm clock for every three hours so as to wake up and give him another. On the 6 am alarm, I opened the bottle to give Thor his pill, but his soul had left his furry body. I looked down and saw there was no breathing. Any pain he may have experienced was now gone, but tears flooded from my eyes. I looked at his face carefully and he was still smiling. He always had a smile through life, and now it stayed with him in death. I will never forget his beautiful smile.
The snow was omnipotent. The ground was slippery from the ice and it was hard to carry his 35 lb. pound body up the hill. He had a favorite hill behind our home where he chased birds, squirrels, eagles, chipmunks, rabbits and every animal imaginable. I built a small casket for him and a headstone. I had a shovel in the other hand. I lay him down in the casket, and begin digging, first through the snow and ice and finally through the hard dirt until the hole was about four feet deep. I lay him in it, said a prayer, and filled it cold and shivering and still crying. I carefully placed the coffin in the ground and filled it up. I placed the headstone. It's epitaph read, To Thor:I will always love you and never forget you. Your best friend, Rick."
A year and a half has passed since Thor's death. The grieving process took longer and was more intense than I had calculated lasting nearly six months. Friends were suggesting I go immediately to the shelter and adopt another. I could not do it then but now I know I will one day. It is after all what Thor would have wanted. I can only thank God, and thank Dr. Ian Billinghurst the Father of The Raw Food Diet, and Shirleys Wellness Cafe, for giving Thor and I another beautiful ten years together. Although one veterinarian had decided it was time to put Thor down, it was, in reality, time for Thor to begin living. Thanks to the B.A.R.F. diet, Thor lived a long and healthy life.
About the Author:
Rick London owns the online store The Rick London Collection which features many funny dog gifts and founder of Londons Times offbeat cartoons ranked #1 Google since 2005. A percentage of all sales benefit various animal charities.
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