Divot the Dog Celebrates her 14th Birthday in a Big Way!

photo belongs to www.ShelleyGoldbeck.com

photo belongs to www.ShelleyGoldbeck.com

Health Lessons from an Old Dog

Last week our Golden Retriever, Divot, turned 14 and she had a wild and crazy birthday.

It began with a lunchtime party with the Grandtoys, who simply love to have dog parties. I barbecued chicken legs. The wind blew the aluminum foil cover off the pan and Divot gobbled down a chunk of the chicken-skin-flavoured foil before I could stop her.

Peanut butter on rice cakes is her usual birthday fare but this year it was leftover blueberry pancakes with peanut butter. And my Grandtoy had put so much peanut butter on the pancake it stuck to the roof of Divot’s mouth. So funny as she struggled to suck it off! See video of Divot’s party. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FSPwqV3D8V8&feature=youtu.be

Finally, Divot and my husband went to see an old friend, Betty, who fed Divot most of a bag of popcorn. Later while hubby was sitting at the table with Betty he heard a slurping sound from the living room. There he found Divot’s nose in a box of chocolates. He dug some out of her mouth and deduced she may have swallowed one or two. Not the end of the world.

As you can see Divot still behaves like a puppy. She has slowed down in some ways: our walks are often strolls. She can no longer jump into the truck; in fact, she can’t even put her paws up to boost herself. She sleeps most of the day.

But the tiniest sign that we’re ready to walk: I brush my teeth, get my phone, ensure I have my Epi-Pen, put on my shoes, any one of those signs gets her excited about our walk. She bounds off the back porch like a puppy. Divot loves people and is happy to greet others as we walk around our neighbourhood, canines less enthusiastically than humans. Her pace going is faster than coming home, something she’s always done, anything to prolong the walk.

We are privileged to have Divot in our lives for 14 healthy years.  Divot is our living experiment. When she was ten weeks old we decided to feed her a diet that was more in keeping with her nature. As a descendent of wolves, we knew she would thrive on a wolf-like diet.

photo belongs to www.ShelleyGoldbeck.com

Divot’s Supper – photo belongs to

Since then she has eaten almost all raw food. Her typical meal consists of ½ cup raw meat, ½ cup cooked brown rice, ½ cup raw veggies like carrot or cucumber. She gets garlic and parsley; she gets fish, olive and coconut oils and some other supplements. An integral part of her diet is the raw beef soup bones she has two or three times each week. They keep her mouth healthy and her teeth cleaned. She has all her teeth and they’re not black, as is expected by this age.

Despite losing most of her hearing and some of her sight, Divot has had few health issues. Apart from some antibiotics for ear infections from swimming in the Bow River, she has taken no medications. At two years old we removed a large wart from her paw. No diabetes, epilepsy or other modern dog ailments. She is not obese and she has never stunk, like most dogs do.

Divot has lived two years longer, so far, than the long range for her breed. We think it’s her diet and lifestyle. If it works for a dog, it should work for humans.

So here is what I recommend based on Divot’s fine example. Eat whole, real food, suitable to your species as much as possible. Not too much. Drink plenty of water. Exercise everyday. Sleep lots. Play whenever you can. Surround yourself with people you love and choose to be happy.

If Divot were a human she’d be pushing 100. And I’ve just shared the secrets to her longevity!

2 thoughts on “Divot the Dog Celebrates her 14th Birthday in a Big Way!

  1. Our Jack Russell, Muffin, lived to just over 14 years and her diet was quite different and still she lived a long healthy life. She wasn’t much for veggies so got those from boughten dog food (Beneful was her favorite brand). She didn’t like rice, wasn’t high on sweets of any kind and seldom had a bone to chew on.
    She ate very little raw food and was fussy about treats. No smoked treats for her, thank you. Her favorite was a product from Costco called Wagin Train chicken breasts. She LOVED them, until Costco changed the brand from
    Wagon train made in Texas to a brand made in Taiwan or some such place,
    They didn’t keep well and became moldy if you didn’t keep them in the fridge.
    It goes to show that every dog is different in habits and food choices and whatever it takes to keep them happy is the name of the game. Our present dog is Marley, a miniature poodle and he eats mostly dog food ( again Beneful wet ot dry), doesn’t like sweets, bread or any such things that are not healthy anyway for dogs. His favorite meat is chicken, but will eat cooked veggies from time to time , especially with a 1/2 tsp of gravy just to moisten them.
    I believe that consistency is the key to their happiness as most dogs are quite routine oriented, for food, exercise or bathroom duties.
    The affection you get from a dog is payment enough for the time spent in looking after them.

    • Thanks for your comments, Mom.

      Smaller dogs have longer life expectancies than larger dogs. Some would argue that 14 years is not so long for a Jack Russell. My friend Paul’s Jack Russell was over 17.

      I agree that happiness is paramount and the rewards are great.

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