Ask, wait, listen, trust…act

Luke in the back seat of my car
Luke (in the back seat of the car)

I’ve been hesitant about writing about today’s topic/post for a while. I’ve really wanted to do it, but kept thinking, “Advice and suggestions are not the focus of this blog” and this seemed dangerously close to both. Yet, a little voice kept nudging me to do it.

Last summer, Luke (our 5-year-old long-haired German Shepherd) started scratching more than usual and began to lose his fur. We tried changing his food, bathed him with herbal remedies, gave him fish oil supplements, and he just got worse. His once big bushy tail, looked more like a very large rat’s tail, and he had patches of hard, leather-like skin where his fur was completely gone.

Our vet put him on steroids. That worked on the itching until the prescription ran out, and he started itching again. Finally they did a blood-test and determined that he had a poorly functioning thyroid gland (most probably the result of the steroids) and he would have to stay on both thyroid and steroid meds for the rest of his life. We tried this regime for a month but the whole thing felt wrong to me, so I began asking Spirit for a solution.

On a follow-up visit to the vet, the words, “How about trying a raw diet?” just sprang from my mouth. I knew nothing about raw diets at all. Jack and I were both surprised when our vet thought it was a very good idea. I asked him for suggestions on how to get started and he said, ‘There’s a ton of information on-line, find something that appeals to you.” I felt like I was jumping off a cliff when I decided to do this. I didn’t know anyone else* who was feeding this way but it felt right, so we took the plunge.

We switched him completely off his current food and onto a raw (meat and bones) diet and stopped all the meds. He improved almost overnight. He stopped scratching within a few days, seemed to have more energy than he’d had since he was a puppy, and his fur slowly grew back even fuller than before. I also switched the cats to a part raw, part canned diet and the heavy ones lost weight while our light-weights (Noah and Bodhi) gained a little.

One of the reasons why I was hesitant to write about this was I didn’t want anyone (who isn’t doing this type of diet) to feel guilty, defensive, or think I was saying, “This is the only way to feed your pet and you are wrong if you don’t do it.”

But it is also really good information and I felt compelled by something (greater than my concerns about how it might be received) to share it.  Maybe it is the answer to someone’s prayer out there. Maybe that is why I felt I had to write this….I’m not sure.

What I am sure of is when something I’m doing doesn’t feel right to me, and I ask the larger, more expanded part of Myself for guidance, it always comes, and I can always trust it.

There is a universal, intelligent, life force that exists within everyone and everything. It resides within each one of us as a deep wisdom, an inner knowing. We can access this wonderful source of knowledge and wisdom through our intuition; an inner sense that tells us what feels right and true for us at any given moment.”Shakti Gawain

*it wasn’t until after we started Luke on a raw diet that I found out how many other people were doing the same. I even ran into one of the monks (who we had gotten Luke from as a puppy) told him about it, and was very surprised to hear that they used to feed raw too, but it became too much for them (although he thought it was the best diet).

52 thoughts on “Ask, wait, listen, trust…act”

  1. I know lots of people who feed their pets raw. My good friend Linda Zurich has a whole web all about it. 🙂 Check it out if you want more info. I did raw foods myself for a while. Never felt better. 🙂

  2. Caran can you give me the website please as I can not see my poor dog itch anymore. It drives him insane and the vet wants me to give him quarterzone which I am not happy to give him.

  3. If you had mentioned Luke’s itching I would have suggested a dietary change, it’s amazing how some animals just can’t tolerate one food or another. I have heard so many stories about just that. SO happy Luke is feeling and looking better, poor boy, and you and Jack must be so relieved. Long term steroid use is never a good option. Since Sara’s little Ty has been off of it his coat is so much better although she attributes it to the peanut butter she gives him each morning with his Cyclosporin (he has meningitis, not curable in dogs)
    Isn’t it just wonderful that those words just sprang out of your mouth at the vet? Divine intervention for sure!!!
    Love and hugs and wishes for a wonderful weekend…Marian

    1. Yes Marian! It was so wonderful and thank you for sharing. This post is not about this or that dog food, or which way to feed, or warnings, it is about following our own intuitive voice! Love to you, Mary

  4. Mary, thank you for sharing your experience with Luke, with a happy solution! I had the pleasure of being in the company of a horse healer, who could communicate directly with the animals , sounds like that is what you and Luke were doing together…….another level of “listening”.

    1. What an interesting way to look at this Sandy…I never thought that Luke might have been trying to tell me something.

  5. Hi Mary, Lots of people do feed a raw diet ~ I’m glad it worked for you and Luke. It’s a lot of loving work that goes into it, but that is what we have our pets for! Fortunately for me, my dogs have done well on organic pet foods which are high quality, but I know many who swear by a raw diet.

    1. I’m grateful that you shared your experience here Candy…it is wonderful when things are working well in our (and our pets) lives!

  6. I’m thrilled that you decided to share this! I’m an advocate for species-appropriate nutrition for cats (and dogs, too!), and have been feeding mostly raw myself for the last couple of years. It’s a controversial topic in conventional veterinary circles, which is why I was especially thrilled that your vet was so open to the idea. But even more, your bigger message of following our intuition, even when it comes to our animal companions, is one that needs to be spread far and wide. Thank you for this wonderful post.

    1. Thank you so much for this Ingrid! It really is about trusting that inner voice, isn’t it?! I’m sure there are hundreds of studies that “prove” a raw diet is bad, and an equal amount “proving” it is good…so what do we do? We trust the voice within …always. When people ask me about certain medications that have been prescribed for them, I never give an answer because how could I know what is right for them? Many of us have felt adrift in this world because we’ve lost confidence in our inner Wisdom to lead us and rely on religious, medical, and spiritual “experts” to show us the way….I use outside authority as a help to aid my decisions, but I am the final authority in my own life.

  7. I think it is wonderful that you shared this with us. And much more so that it worked for your dog (who is so beautiful, by the way). You are so intuitive. I have also heard some good things about a raw diet but am hesitant to try it. I have two Siberian Huskies who would probably love it. Is it very hard to get used to?

    1. Luke took to it right away and had no digestive issues (which he had always had on other foods) at all. One thing I did find very helpful though was looking at the photos of (believe it or not) the dog’s poop after going on raw. Luke’s poop became so small and much firmer (not so much waste) that I would have been afraid that something was wrong if I hadn’t seen the photographs (that people on-line posted). As for us (Jack and I) we were just so happy to see Luke happy again …we were getting worried that we were losing him, ….the joy carried us along (still does).

  8. Diet changes can have such a huge positive impact on our animal (and human!) friends! While we did not go raw a change to a more monitored and restrictive diet of high quality food made a HUGE change in our Layla’s life and health. (A potato and fish food. No grains or dairy or more common meat protien.) Terrible IBS that continued to be treated with repeated worming and antibiotics was turned around in 24 hours by our (new then) holistic DVM and her advice to change Layla’s diet. (That and a ton of probiotics.) SO thankful. So if raw is too difficult to try you can often still get some positive changes with a more restrictive and higher quality food diet. (I’m only writing this because I found it time consuming and hard to balance a raw diet for a former dog. I felt a bit guilty not pursuing it with Layla, but this was a good compromise that still gave us positive results. So just sharing. Not judging at all!)

    1. Thanks so much for sharing your experience with Layla! (and how wonderful that the change you felt good about worked so well for her)

  9. Dear Mary, Not only is your blog not “preachy”, but the information you shared this morning is helpful and enlightened! Many animals thrive on a raw diet, some don’t. But what is most important…is you listened to your gut, you respected Luke and your sincere desire to help him feel better. I have found the addition of raw food into the diets for my dog and cats to be amazingly helpful. When good ideas are shared in the spirit of good intention, kindness and love, new paradigms are created, people and animals are saved from suffering and global consciousness is lifted. Thank you for deciding to share your experiences about Luke and his success with a new diet. I am most certain that your post this morning has helped more than one person and their beloved animal companion!

    1. Your comments are so appreciated Debra…as I read through the comments this evening, I feel like a community of “hidden healers” are coming out from their little huts, gathering together to share quiet wisdom…it is a delightful feeling!

  10. I’ve been feeding our dogs and cats a partially raw diet for about 20 years. Overall they have had very few health problems. One of the best books I’ve found to help support our pets naturally is Dr. Pitcairn’s Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs and Cats.

    1. Thank you Peggy…I cannot believe this, but I think I have that book somewhere (and didn’t think to look at it when I changed diets!?)

  11. “Raw” food for thought, Mary! So glad you shared this and be assured, nothing you ever write is preachy. It jogged my memory to something my former vet, Dr. Richard Soltero, shared years ago before we moved and had to find a new doctor for our dogs. He wrote: “When I started practicing veterinary medicine in 1972, cancer was one of the least diagnosed conditions. It is now number one and there is no close second. I can see more cancer in one week than I used to see in a whole year. This is not an over statement. There are weeks that it would be an understatement.” I’ll include this link for anyone interested in his findings re/raw food and our animals’ health. Many patients’ pets made incredible recoveries from all sorts of conditions, autoimmune, itching, etc. once they switched to raw. Again, I realize this is not the thrust of Mary’s message today, but just thought I’d share my vet’s findings in case it may help any of our beloved animals. Thinking of your dear Poot, Suzanne. How are things going with her? Hope the itching is gone.

    1. Thank you Susan and I am looking forward to reading what your vet wrote.

  12. Mary, I’m reading a wonderful book by Ted Kerasote about his amazing dog, called Merel’s Door. He’s a nature writer and has also written a book about dog’s health after long research. It’s called Pukka’s Proise – The Quet for Longer Lived Dogs. He talks about the importance of raw diet.

  13. My friend Caran sent me the link to this blog post, since I have been researching and writing about raw feeding for pets – and feeding my own pets raw – since 2005. My website is

    For people who have dogs and are interested in learning more about how and why to feed their pets raw, I recommend and

    Please feel free to contact me via my website if you have any questions or would like more information on the benefits of feeding a diet of whole raw foods to cats and dogs!

    1. Thank you Linda! That is a very generous offer (and looking at the responses that have come in so far, I can tell that many people are interested in exploring this important subject in more depth).

  14. Can’t thank you enough. This info is really helpful and needed as my dog has suffered same symptoms with same vet experiences. It is certainly worth a try. I never even considered. Thank you!

    1. Sending good thoughts your way for a wonderful resolution to your dog’s problems Bonnie! Maybe you were the one I was writing for today!

  15. What a great post Mary, I know what you mean about how hard it is to tell people about raw diets. My animals have been on raw for over five years my last border collie had symptoms similar to Luke’s but after much testing was found to have a skin disease called Sebaceous Adenitis She was on Cyclosporine for over a year and regular oil soaks. I think the raw diet is great and animals do well on it.

  16. Mary, I’m glad that you decided to place this into your blog. I don’t feed raw but I am part of the Aussie-L forum and there is one breeder who is a raw proponent and who repeatedly, when there is some information to pass on, will put good information up on the L. Of course, some breeders take exception to her consistant postings of raw and more natural healing approaches. I don’t feed raw for several reasons: it takes time to prepare such meals; I’m concerned about bacteria (my first Aussie had a severe backterial infection from a marrow bone which had been lying about the stable next door;) and I can’t get my mind wrapped around crunching up chicken bones. But I’m glad you posted this and I plan to keep others comments. When there is a need, raw is a good solution. Sandy P in Canada

    1. Thanks so much Sandy for your comments and appreciation of the concept of raw diets (even though it isn’t right for your dogs)…the support and love is very much appreciated!

      1. Mary, quite truthfully, I feel that raw is likely a better diet than the one I’m feeding my Aussies but I do feed the dog food Jon Katz suggests on his site and have for some years. It isn’t about a particular brand name product here right now but the fact that raw, I think, for humans and animals, most likely helps with allergies.

  17. The fresh food diet worked wonders for my Golden,who had multi health issues his entire life. He still lived to the age of fourteen and I saw dramatic changes in his coat,teeth,breath,structure and his lameness vanished and never resurfaced. I also felt that I was on a valuable journey,learning about foods and how they can heal. I’ve continued this with my two Collies.

  18. Thank you Mary. I feel like we’re on some parallel expressway; not only do you channel my brainwaves, but now my kitchen pantry!!
    A succession of well-intentioned vets went through a litany of ‘prescription’ medications and foods trying to help our oldest border collie with her digestive and skin issues. I trusted their ‘expertise’ more than my own gut—which was telling me to try a radical departure from highly processed and marketed dog foods.
    I finally “listened”, then “acted” by switching to raw with only mild encouragement (and a list of cautions) from the professionals. That was about two months ago and our girl’s digestion and elimination—as well as lustrous coat—have been remarkable. But as you pointed out, my biggest obstacle was TRUSTING my own inner voice. [ And as a mostly vegetarian human, this was quite a leap of faith!!] I could no more exist on her diet than she could exist on mine.
    So I’m glad you posted on this topic; not just for its nutritional information but for the foundational message: always being a ladder to my higher self.

    1. we are on a parallel expressway Cheryl!…Luke not only had itchy skin, but digestive issues too (diarrhea mostly), which cleared up instantly after putting him on the raw diet. Thanks so much for sharing your experience.

  19. Wow, judging by the comments today, your message this morning was right on. I think I will suggest RAW to my daughter, as it might help her Pom who has been sick as well as the other one who licks constantly as this might be caused by allergies (or just anxiety, we are not sure). Always good to keep an open mind to new ideas!
    I have a friend with a shepherd/husky mix who developed joint pain as well as having to poop 3-4 times each day. The vet switched his food and both problems improved. This same dog is allergic to dog food with salmon in it…they thought he had allergies but didn’t know to what. Discontinued that food and the redness and swelling around his eyes went away.

  20. Thank you Mary for sharing this important information. As a dog trainer I switched all six of my dogs to a raw food diet last year and the results have been impressive. A raw diet is closer to what a dog would eat if it was trying to live in the wild, raw meat and bones,fruit,berries. Dogs do not need carbs, wheat, rice, and fillers which are such a huge part of mainstream dog food these days. Raw food is more expensive, but we have had less skin issues, no upset tummies and fewer visits to the vet. Our dogs have never been healthier or had more energy. Good for you Mary, Luke is such a handsome boy, now he has his glorious tail back.

    1. Such an encouraging story Jayne! Thank you so much for sharing this and for your sweet comment about Luke

  21. Hi Mary,

    Great post!
    I read somewhere, “there is no point in having anything if you can’t share it.”
    I believe that includes information.
    Thanks for your info and all of the readers info. I learned many new things today.

  22. Mary, I still think Luke was scratching himself …”raw” , trying to get your attention (he did) , for a change… listened to your inner guide, and raw diet it was……this is a powerful message about trusting……ourselves! If all living things are connected, and I believe we are, Luke and you have a special bond……”lucky dog”. Hugs to you and Jack!

    1. I am stunned by this connection Sandy! I never saw this before,..never made that connection. Thank you!

  23. Mary – I’m so glad you decided to write about your experience with Luke’s diet. Very interesting information has been shared here and my curiosity has been piqued concerning raw diets. My dogs have always done well on a “high-quality” dry food but this issue is certainly something to think about. What I was most struck by, though, after reading all the comments, was your reply to Ingrid. Part of your last sentence, “…I use outside authority as a help to aid my decisions, but I am the final authority in my own life”, was exactly what I needed to hear. I try to do the same in my life but was questioning myself yesterday. Thank you for helping me realize that I’m on the right track!

  24. Mary this past month was a tough one meny levels for me. One day when I was really feeling lost your blog arrived in my inbox and the words of the title Ask Wait Listen Trust Act was the response I most needed to hear at the time…I didnt even read the post for a few days! As for the raw diet it has been ver helpful for some of the dogs who’ve come into the rescuse system with serious health concerns.

  25. Our vet calls kibble “processed food” and encourages all his patients to move to a whole food pet diet – raw or cooked, including vegetables and calcium supplement.
    It’s made a huge difference in my 11 year old bloodhound mix. She looks great for her age!

    1. I have to admit that taking our animals off kibble has been a huge relief for me too (and their poop no longer smells so bad and their is so much less of it which was a very unexepected surprise!)

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