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OTHER ITA SITES:
Aloe For Dogs
What's Aloe Vera? It’s a kind of cactus, isn’t it? How can a cactus help Sam’s stiff limbs?"
Those were my words of about ten years ago. I said them to my daughter, Joanna, who was gleefully holding up a chubby yellow tub. She seemed to think its Aloe contents held the answer to my 8-year-old Bearded Collie’s arthritic problem. I disagreed. My reason? I knew that Joanna had been drinking Aloe Vera for her IBS – and that it had helped the condition. At that stage I saw no connection whatsoever between Sam’s stiffness and her stomach!
I had a lot to learn. My ‘Aloe education’ began with the 60 mls of the drink that I eventually agreed to pour over Sam’s dinner. A finicky dog, he often refused food initially and almost never pounced on it like so many of his friends and relatives seemed to do. I’m not suggesting that he pounced now … but to my astonishment he ambled over quite soon and, after sniffing this ‘new food’, polished it off quickly (for him) and even licked his bowl clean.
Having tasted the Aloe in the tub, I found Sam’s apparent enthusiasm for it mystifying and dismissed it as a very temporary blip. But I was wrong, because he was enthusiastic again the next night … and the next. Did he know something I didn’t?
Suspecting that he and Joanna shared a secret that excluded me because of my inbred skepticism about ‘alternative’ products, I did some digging.
In the process I learned that, far from being a cactus, Aloe Barbadensis Miller (the true Aloe Vera) is a member of the lily family, related to garlic, onions and asparagus.
Having been around for thousands of years, it has been used for centuries to maintain health and enhance beauty. Cleopatra is said to have bathed in it, while Dioscorides, the Ancient Greek physician, is reputed to have used it in his pills and potions.
But we’d moved on since then, hadn’t we – and now vets dealt with animal health? Well, yes, and they do that brilliantly! All the same, while reading about Aloe Vera’s natural anti-inflammatory properties (which seemed perhaps to explain Joanna’s insistence that this drink might benefit both her IBS and Sam’s stiffness) I was witnessing a difference in Sam.
In the two or so weeks that had elapsed his ‘bounce’ had come back! For the uninitiated, I’ll just mention that Bearded Collies in good health do seem to have paws with inbuilt springs – and now Sam was bouncing around like a young thing. Still disbelieving, I said nothing to anyone, fully expecting this to be a very temporary phenomenon. But it wasn’t – and my fellow dog-walkers started commenting, as well as asking questions that I wasn’t yet equipped to answer.
Before long, even Sam’s vet wanted to know what I was doing differently – and, as often happens in life, one thing led to another …
© P.G. Glynn 2008
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