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Intro to Zeus

My inspiration for natural health care for pets

On February 9, 2003, a boxer puppy was born that would change my life. Zeus was the most amazing companion a person could have. 4 months prior, I was morning the loss of my beloved boxer, Brutus. When Brutus was just 7, he was diagnosed with anal gland cancer. All prognosis was one month to live without surgery, potentially 6 months with surgery and chemo. I chose the route of least pain and suffering on Brutus and elected not to do surgery/chemo. At that point, I was very emotional, but I couldn’t give up on him. I was fortunate to have a mother who had extensive knowledge of alternative medicine so she took the reins. Long story short (specific details in other posts), with strengthening his immune system, we were able to fight the cancer and he lived a full and happy life for 3 years.

Zeus lived to age 14, which is not only amazing for a boxer, but a boxer who had some challenges and was extremely active. When Zeus was 2, he was hit by a car and badly injured. The emergency vet didn’t want to operate on him, but we demanded. He completely recovered, but in the back of my mind, I always thought about what impact that would have on him later in life. He also was very active, he would run for hours a day if he could and because of that, I would walk him a total of 2 hours a day just to get his energy out. At the age of 5, I started him on glucosamine and chondroitin, a supplement for joint health. At the age of 14, we had x-rays and he had very little arthritis, which was amazing.

The thing about prevention is that you may never know what you prevented, but it does work and you need to trust that your intentions and instincts are helping your pet. I was fortunate to see one of the results of my prevention for Zeus and share this as an example of little things to incorporate. I will also say that in my experience, it was difficult to find a veterinarian who actively recommend supplements so I encourage you to work with your vet to discuss your concerns and, if needed, do your own research and report back to your vet. Through a lot of research, I managed to a holistic vet, as well as a pet herbalist, in addition to my mom helping keep Zeus healthy and happy until the day he passed away. It’s important to find a veterinarian who aligns to your beliefs and supports the way you choose to care for your pet.

Zeus also had a string of mast cell tumors, something that boxers are predisposed to, among other health issues. Sometimes, even supplements and doing all the right things can’t prevent genetic diseases, but I’ve learned you can certainly keep the inflammation down, as well as keep disease from spreading. Zeus had so many mast cells that I lost track of the number of ones that were removed. After the first few I started Zeus on supplements that would starve the cancer so it wouldn’t metastasize, in addition to keeping inflammation down. Initially, the ones that I had removed were all grade I and by age 8, I learned that I don’t necessarily need to remove them since he was on this protocol that was working. Even though his history showed grade I, I still needed to be vigilant on keeping a close eye on them for any growth or abnormalities. 

One of the biggest things I learned, from my own perspective, is that dogs are very much like humans. They have the same structures, organs, tissues, brain function, etc. Zeus wasn’t a dog, he was part of my family, he was my little boy, and the things I did for him I would guess would have been the same things I would do for a human child. I didn’t just take him for walks and feed him, I listened to him, observed him. If he had a dry nose, I knew he wasn’t feeling well. If he wasn’t drinking as much water, I would take note to find out why. If he was weasing or sneezing, I would run the humidifier. Just as he listened to me, knew when I was sad, knew when I was happy, I did the same with him. It was a team effort and believe it was the reason he was still running, playing, being a clown up until the day he died at age 14. 

It was an honor to have Zeus in my life and I learned so much from him. After having my first boxer go through cancer and pass at age 10, I knew what I was getting into with getting another boxer, but I wanted to figure out a way to defy the law of boxer. These angels are predisposed to a lot of genetic challenges, just like a lot of other breeds, so my quest was to find ways my next boxer to live a very long, healthy and happy life. These posts are my tribute, honor to my angel Zeus. I know he would have wanted me to share my knowledge with other dog parents so they can help their pets live long healthy and happy lives.

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