My dad was great with dogs and I can't remember us ever having a dog that was not under his control. He had just a few basic rules that he asked us all to follow, which I still practice today. The first rule was to completely ignore the dogs when they were behaving excitedly and to wait to pet or acknowledge them until they’d calmed down. The result of this was that whenever we came home after being away, our dogs never jumped or acted crazy in their excitement of seeing us again, they calmly waited until we came up to pet them and say hello. People visiting us were always amazed by this calm behavior. My dad was also against teaching dogs tricks because dogs in the wild don't learn tricks. Basic commands like ‘sit’ and ‘lay down’ were all he allowed us to teach them as this would show who was in charge if the dogs ever challenged that. It worked great and our dogs were the most well behaved dogs in the neighborhood.
My mom knew that dogs were carnivores and not omnivores. She told us they were basically tamed wolves and, therefore, required the same type of food; the only difference being that we provide the food for our dogs since hunting and killing was out of the question. Looking back, I'm amazed by the knowledge my parent displayed when it came to animals. My dad's simple approach to dog training and my mom’s understanding of how a dog's digestive system worked and what food benefited them the most, ensured that we always had balanced and healthy dogs.
I have soft spot for Great Danes. I find this breed to be the perfect match for me; they are true gentle giants when raised right. I find it very disturbing to see so many Great Danes in need of adoption. There are, at any time, hundreds of Great Danes in foster homes and shelters waiting for someone to adopt them. Most of these dogs end up in rescue as a result of changes in their owner's living situation; some owners may have moved to an apartment and did not think they had the space for a big dog, or they moved to a place that does not allow dogs or giant breed dogs.
Back in 2006, I sold my house in Pennsylvania, bought a large motor home, and started traveling around the US to see this great country and find the perfect place to live.
In early 2011, I still lived in my motor home with my two Great Danes.
I absolutely loved this lifestyle and my dogs must have too because they were extremely calm and well behaved inside the motor home – all they did was sleep and eat. We walked 3 times a day; the morning walk could be (depending on the weather) several miles long and last 1-2 hours, the second walk was around 30-45 minutes, and the third about 20-30 minutes. Between these walks, my Danes lounged on the couch, calmly napping. I worked out of my motor home so I was with them nearly 24/7 and I'm sure that contributed to their calm and balanced behavior. I needed a house to start a new business so in May of 2011 I moved into a house in Oakley, Utah. In August of 2012, I moved to another house with a much larger yard and more space for my business.
When I first moved to US and people saw what I fed my dogs, they thought I was crazy. Many thought I was playing Russian Roulette with my dogs when I fed them chicken wings and they did not believe that this could be good for dogs. I even met veterinarians who refused to treat my dogs when they found out what I fed them. I often got into a discussion about the carnivore/omnivore controversy with my vets. I could not understand how a vet, educated in a dog’s anatomy and with detailed knowledge about their digestive systems, could not see that dogs are truly carnivores.
Today, I see a huge difference. My vet now agrees with my feeding and is amazed by the age my Danes reach. Rex, my 13-year-old Great Dane (as of 2011) is holding up pretty well considering I got him at age 4. Already at that age he was severely restricted in his movements due to arthritis. He was a rescue that had spent most of his life in a garage sleeping on a cement floor and fed the cheapest dog food available. Switching Rex to raw was easy. He ate his first raw meal as he had eaten this all his life. The benefit to him was amazing and noticeable within days. As he put on quality muscle mass his mobility improved significantly. He started running more, was able to jump into the truck, something he could not do when I got him.
Update: Rex passed on October 18th, 2011. He was one month over 13 years old and no longer able to walk or stand. He was an amazing dog, the kindest and most gentle dog I ever had. I miss him so much. Rex is my driving force to researc and share my findings with the world. I know feeding raw has amazing benefits and Rex proved that by being my best friends for 13 years. Thank you Rex!
When I got Rex, I already had Camelot I, a merle from California.My life has had many stages; one is before and after Camelot. This dog made such an impact on my life that he will forever be my favorite dog. From the day I got him, I could see his unique personality, his – for lack of a better term – sense of humor. He could turn any situation into a game and I always described him as a dog with multiple personalities, all good ones. I truly had a deep, spiritual connection with him. I could look into is eyes and he into mine and we knew what was coming next. On a basic level, we could read each other’s minds.
Camelot died of cancer at age 8 ½. This came as a complete shock to me since he was in perfect health otherwise. Six months earlier, while at a friend’s house, he ate an entire box of rat poison. He survived this with help from my vet but I have a strong suspicion that this caused his cancer. A tumor developed deep inside his chest so it was never noticeable. One day, he started to slow down significantly so I took him to the vet and they found a large bleeding tumor in his chest. The vet wanted to put him down then and there. She told me that the bleeding would eventually suffocate him and it could be quite violent and painful. I was in shock and disbelief.
I was torn between wanting to keep my dog and wanting to do what was best for him. I always promised myself not to let any of my animals suffer so I reluctantly agreed to put him down. I asked for a few minutes with him and I brought Rex over so we could spend some time with Camelot. He was lying on the floor, not looking too good. When the vet came back with the papers for me to sign, I became totally numb to the situation. I could not read through the release form, the thought of losing him at this early age was devastating.
Then, the most amazing experience of my life happened. As I was about to sign the papers, Camelot stood up and bumped my arm with his nose as if he was telling me “Hey, wait a minute. I'm not ready yet!” I looked at him and I saw this face I had seen so many times, full of life and joy. I knew I could not go ahead with ending his life. I told the vet I wasn’t ready and neither was my dog. She strongly advised against that, but I told her that this was my dog and he’d just told me he wasn’t ready yet.
Camelot lived another week. We got to visit all his favorite places, but I could not save him. He gave me a week to prepare and I'm forever grateful for that. I gave him large doses of B17 but too much damage had already been done. On the 7th day, he started bleeding again and he passed away quietly in my arms. Rest in peace, my dear friend. Camelot is my driving force to study and research natural ways to protect your dog from cancer. I will never stop researching and sharing my findings. I know what works and the world has the right to know this too.
After a few months, I adopted Camelot II from Rocky Mountain Great Dane Rescue. He had been locked up in a chicken coop for the first year and a half of his life, he was extremely timid, and scared of everything. It took me weeks to stop his shaking and calm him down, but today he is the most balanced dog you will ever meet. Camelot II has been on a raw diet since the day I got him; I expect him to live 14-16 years.
November 6, 2011. I got little Odin from a reputable breeder in Wyoming. I went through a breeder this time because I wanted a young puppy that had not been damaged from bad food. After having fed my dogs raw for 12 years, I wanted to start a project in which I would document everything I feed Odin and see if he can reach the age of 16 or more; I will have then effectively doubled the expected lifespan of a Great Dane
Odin has been a dream puppy. He had two accidents inside and was potty trained in 3 days! He’s playful and his best buddy and playmate is Camelot II.
July 2012, I moved to another cute little house in Kamas Valley Utah, just 5 minutes from my previous home. This house was located on the way to one of my favorite hikes. For a year I looked it when I passed by and though; one day I will live in that house. It has a huge yard with lots of mature trees, a perfect place for dogs. The house was for sale but I was not in a position to buy it at the time. After a year on the market I called the owners to see if they would be interested in renting it out to me. At first they said no, but after talking for a awhile they opened up to the idea. After checking my references they rented it out to me.
April 2015, I have lived here for 2 1/2 years now and in the process of buying the house. Hopefully I can have an update about that very soon.
More about my pack here