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Dog Files Viewpoint: What Does "Holistic" REALLY Mean?

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What Does “Holistic” REALLY Mean?

By Nadine M. Rosin For The Dog Files

As the rate of canine cancer continues to skyrocket, so does our passion for battling it and finding a cure. But when this terrifying disease threatened to steal my own beloved canine from me, in my vets eyes, I did the equivalent of burning my draft card and moving to Canada.

Because of its dire consequences, the tumor biopsy was done twice, and my 8-year old dog, Buttons, was diagnosed with virulent carcinoma. The vet insisted that without immediate amputation, chemotherapy and radiation, Buttons would be dead in 6 weeks. After an emotional 24-hours of intense soul searching, I instead adopted the alternative medical philosophy I had been exposed to as a child- that prevention was the best cure and one should focus on the cause of disease, not the symptoms. Ignoring the vet’s advice, I immediately launched my own massive research campaign deep into the world of holistic medicine.

I soon came to learn that “holistic” didn’t mean symptom treating with natural remedies in lieu of pharmaceutical drugs. It wasn’t about squelching the symptoms or waging war against cancer with alternative treatment. Instead, it meant addressing the possible causes: food, treats, cleaning supplies, flea treatments, toys, rawhide chews, and the emotional environment we were living in, to name just a few. It meant clearing my home of all possible toxins, cleansing Buttons’ entire system, and then giving her the proper nutritional support so that Buttons’ body could do what a chemically unburdened body does naturally: HEAL ITSELF.

Our pets metabolize everything much faster than we do. Whereas our bodies can endure a certain amount of toxic abuse for 40 or 50 years before retaliating, a pet’s body will begin showing disease as early as 4-7 years.

I believe a holistic approach starts with our being more conscious consumers. Just because something is sold off a grocery store (or even a health food store) shelf, does not mean it’s safe in the long run. We all know that money, not well-being, is the bottom line in our consumer market. Manufactured food and other products aren’t tested for a person’s, or even a pet’s life span, before being approved, advertised and sold. Think about Teflon, DDT, aluminum pans, Red Dye #2, lead paint. Now take a moment to google “dryer sheets toxic” or “parabens cancer” and then go read the labels on your skin care products, make-up, and laundry products. Please don’t wait for a devastating cancer diagnosis of someone you love to be your wake up call.

The next step in Buttons’ and my healing process was clearing her body of all residual toxins. To do this, I used a number of different homeopathic remedies, herbs, and tinctures. Buttons’ diagnosis came in 1992 when holistic vets were scarce. Today, that’s not the case. I would encourage others to find a holistic vet that adheres to a true holistic regimen of clear/cleanse/build, rather than just symptom treating with natural remedies.

Because a holistic approach means addressing one’s life as a “whole”, as part of our healing process, I had to also consider Buttons’ emotional environment. Not surprisingly, her cancer developed during one of the most painful times of my life, as I dealt with a broken marriage engagement. I was torn apart, hemorrhaging emotionally, and on a good day, horribly depressed. Although I continued to care for Buttons as devotedly as ever, I was doing it all with a shattered heart.

I have heard it said that our animals often shunt energy for us, and no doubt, Buttons was feeling my pain in every cell of her own body. When I refer to “our” healing process that is exactly what I mean. She’s the one who got the remedies squirted down her throat, and I’m the one who had to go deep into my heart, and for the sake of my beloved canine companion, do some hard, healing work.

The final third of our holistic protocol involved nutritionally fortifying Buttons’ own immune system. Remember, the body’s natural state is one of radiant health. When supported properly, that is where it will gravitate. I threw out the prescription dog food from the vet. I began home cooking pure, simple, organic ingredients for her meals and treats. I supplemented with a few natural superfoods.

There are numerous web sites today where one can quickly educate oneself on the dangerous ingredients in most commercial pet food including several brands that are advertised as “all natural” and “organic”. Spend an hour reading- it could translate into many additional years with your own beloved animal.

My sweet girl, Buttons, went on to thrive cancer-free for another 11 years to the age of 19. My own toxic-free lifestyle and consultation services are only a small part of her profound and loving legacy.

Nadine M. Rosin is a Holistic Pet/Toxic-free Living Consultant, Pet Bereavement Facilitator, speaker, and author of The Healing Art of Pet Parenthood: a true story about the human-animal bond, healing canine cancer naturally, and an empowering new take on the grieving process when a beloved animal passes away. Sold on and all online book retailers. For more information on the book and one-on-one phone consultations with Nadine, please go to:

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