April: The Month of Benjamin (Foreword)
“You Came into My Life” (poem)
Chapter 1: You Came into My Life
~ Irish Terrier-Cross
~ Three Strikes, I’m Yours
~ Ben Trains Us …
~ What’s in a Name?
~ Ben the Foody
Chapter 2: A Polish Year
~ The Ball Warrior
~ “You Really Love Him”
~ The Bonds that Chain
~ A First in My Life
~ First Snow
~ A New Year (part one)
~ A New Year (part two)
~ Pennies from Heaven
Chapter 3: Canadian Soil
~ A Dog’s Life – A Celebration of Ben (menu)
~ Birthday Nap (slideshow)
~ Panic Attacks
~ My Canadian Eyesight
Shelby Heck says
My 14 year old, half Jack Russell half Rat Terrier named Albert just got diagnosed with Cushings disease. He is on melatonin, Trazadone, and some herbal subblements I found for Cushings (https://petwellbeing.com/products/dog-cushings-kit?variant=33947593343107&gclid=EAIaIQobChMIi4WK-KPR7wIVA5SzCh0i6w0HEAQYBSABEgI1AfD_BwE). My vet and I are still trying to come up with other meds that may help. In the meantime I decided to re-evaluate his diet. I’m not sure which of your recipes I should try first. I read that he should be eating low carb, high protein, low calcium, low fat. But then I worry about kidney failure with his age and think maybe I should be going with lower protein. Any suggestions are appreciated. Thank you for the info. Super helpful.
Hi Shelby — Thanks for stopping by and your questions. I can relate the diagnosis of Cushings, as that was also Ben’s path. Whether it would have changed his outcome, however, if I had developed the low-phosphorus recipe earlier, I don’t know. None of us get to turn back the clock and do that experiment. It does sound like you have a great vet in your corner as well, however, so perhaps this is something you can discuss with them. To be clear, “Ben’s Breakfast” was only ever developed as an everyday diet. I can’t comment on it’s therapeutic qualities or what, if any, of these diets would be best for treating Cushings. Best of luck.
My dog with kidney failure loves loves the food. My only problem is the B complex. I am not vitamin Davy so I notice B complex has other ingredients . What should I look for ? My dog is in stage 2 kidney failure she weighs 14 lbs. my
Hi Linda — I’m glad your dog loves the food. That’s great to hear. As for the B-complex, I will say that it was by far the hardest thing to sneak into Ben because as you may know from your experience with it: it tastes horrible. I managed to get it into him half the time wrapped in cheese or something and he swallowed it whole — but if he chopped it, he’d spit it out, and I wouldn’t have blamed him. Honestly, unless your vet advises for it or you think you can work it in more successfully or you can find a palatable product, I’d skip it for now. Simply, and always, do your best and don’t make this a battle with your dog that causes any damage to Davy’s trust with you. Hope this helps and best of luck.
Betsy Tefend says
Good Afternoon, I would like to thank you for the recipe. I believe you had a major role in saving our beloved Rosebud, 12 year old yellow Lab. In November, 2019 we learned that she was in stage 4 kidney failure and not expected to live for 6 months. I followed the Vets directions, feeding her the special diet and adding the medicines. Well in May, 2020 she stopped eating and my heart broke. I decided I/she would not go down without a fight. Using the internet I lucked upon your site. I made the food that day and she loved it. She has been on this diet for 2 months now. We just had a check up with the Vet and the lab work shows all her numbers have improved by at least 50%. They were shocked, I was shocked, the family is shocked. Even her liver numbers are just about normal.
I am now researching how to make food for our other dog who has allergies and then it will be the cat’s turn. The majority of research is leading me to think much of the processed dog food is the cause of the high rates of cancer in our pets.
I am going to work on canning the food to increase the shelf life and my family is asking that I make it for their animals also. Might become a new business, who knows – I am a teacher and that is not the best these days. h
Thank you so much for posting this information
You have made a positive impact on our lives and Rosebud
Betsy & Jeff
Rose, Pearl, Sully
Dear Betsy, Jeff, Rose, Pearl, and Sully — It never ceases to amaze me to receive messages like yours with startling reversals and lab results. I’m sure there are many people who can’t believe it … can’t believe the positive impact well-made food can have on life. Yes, indeed, there is probably a business in this food but I’m happy to have just put it out there and let it happen. You aren’t the first to consider canning it, I know, and I’m sure if you pressure-can it, it will work and save. Good luck with it. Thank you for sharing your story and all your very kind words. Take good care, especially as a teacher in these times. ~ Dale
Hi Dale. Thank you so much for the kidney info and diet you shared. I had a question on the supplements. Would I half the dosages for a 12 lb. doxie? Hoping you receive this…and, many thanx.
Sorry Betty — your message got missed earlier. Assuming they’re metabolized the same, yes, that makes sense. I’d still check with a pharmacist to make sure ….
Hi, love your post and what a precious being your Ben was. My dog had IMHA two and a half years ago, great recovery. One week off the meds she came down with Valley Fever and it was almost worse than the anemia. Just got off those meds a month ago after 2 years and recent blood work showed beginning kidney disease. Of course my vet said the only way to go was Hills which she ate for 2 weeks and suddenly stopped. I made your recipe yesterday and she loves it. Thank you so much. Do you think all dogs of a certain age she be on it? My dog is 12 and my other dog is 10. Do you have a recipe for dogs that don’t need a special diet and any idea on making treats? Thank you in advance. Sandy
Hi Sandy — thank your message and kind words. Ben loved being adored. 🙂
I’m glad your dog loves the recipe. I’m sure it is a relief to see her eating. With respect to your question about whether all dogs of an age should be on it, I honestly don’t know. I suspect not. It is a therapeutic diet and it provides many nutrients but clearly not all. I would think that variety is still important and, as such, this diet might complement a more holistic diet which includes other ingredients and meal choices.
Finally, yes, you’ll find on my site the first dog-food recipe I posted and which was Ben’s breakfast for many years … before he developed kidney disease. You can find it here: https://eatswritesshoots.com/2013/09/15/homemade-super-dog-food-aka-bens-breakfast/
Hello Dale, I “happened” upon your blog when searching what to give my dear Booby for renal failure. her breed is “appreciative” (she was found abandoned on the road after having had a litter and some obvious abuse 12.5 years ago). She also has dementia, is deaf and has spinal issues. But she still licks my nose and wags her tail, loves sniffing whatever leaves and plants she can on our short walks outside. Like so many, I was told to “only” give her the prescription diet by the vet (s). My instincts shrieked ‘no’ but at the time I couldn’t find anything on the internet and gave in. This week there was something definitely wrong in the canned food and at last at wit’s end, I found your blog about dear Ben, of blessed memory. I only today prepared a version of your suggested meal according to what was in the house, but after she wouldn’t touch the canned stuff (I mixed it with kibbles and some warm water to make it attractive – but even she knew there was something wrong now in those cans) it was such a joy to see her eat, heartily !! I feel this is the right thing to do. I don’t know how much time we will have, but whatever I can do to make it better quality, I shall. And now I have the wisdom from all your research and sharing it with us, so that I can also help others when the diagnosis is fresh. Thank you so much. I am sure that Ben is very proud of how you help so many of his canine relatives, and their caretakers (family) , to give quality of life to so many, as he watches over you from doggie heaven. Thank you from Israel
Your email has brought tears to my eyes. Thank you for such poignantly touching message. It is indeed a great blessing to see and hear from people such as yourself, people far way from all over the world, that these pages have and are helping. My intention is far from being an advice or treatment centre but simply share a little bit of the wisdom of my experience — and perhaps it will indeed help others facing similar situations. The thought of “many of his canine relatives and their family” being proud of me is a very kind thing to share — tearful thought which makes me smile. Thank you and best of luck to you and Booby on your own difficult but hopefully love-filled journey. ~ Dale
Mike Spangler says
Hi Dale, Thanks for taking the time to do ALL of this. We have 3 rescues, the youngest, Thor, is a Pit Bull – Mountain Kerr dog. We very recently found out, through a SDMA blood test that he has a predisposition for renal failure. Like many others I have read comments about, our vet wants to put him on the prescription diet along with medication (Aminovast) to the tune of about $250.00 a month. That is based on his size. This SDMA test revealed a level of 15 where the normal range is 1 to 14. our plan is to start him on Ben’s diet, actually, to probably start all 3 on Ben’s diet! My dogs are 60 lbs, 75 lbs and 140 lbs. Seeing this in print, sounds like ALOT of time in the kitchen, lol
Merry Christmas Mike — sorry for your news and what you’re confronting. There are no shortage of costs and decisions to make as you mount the challenges in front of you, but hopefully this diet and the information herein provides you a bit of a strategy or at least choices for going forward. Best of luck to you all as you face what seems like the impossible.
I have a 16 1/2 year old yorkie-poo with renal problems. She would not eat any of the food the vet gave me, which was 3 different canned brands and a kibble brand. She was starting to droop and I was really getting worried. I found your website and made the food. She loves it! She has perked up and at meal time she runs to the kitchen and gobbles it down! If I don’t get a green bean totally mushed she picks it out and puts it on the floor! THANK YOU!
Thank you for your sharing your story — your description with the green beans certainly brings back memories and a smile to my face. Thank you. You’re more than welcome and I hope your girl continues to enjoy the food and show further improvement. All the best to you.
I just wanted to say that Bailey, my Staffordshire Bull Terrier was diagnosed in early July with kidney failure stage 2. I found your recipes that you put together and read the wonderful story of Ben and how he thrived on the diet. My vet was admant I should put Bailey on prescription food but I decided your diet looked good and healthy. 6 weeks on and just got her urine results after her second testing and the protein in her urine has gone back to normal!! The vet was shocked too!! I am over the moon and it is all thanks to you for putting the recipe up. I was lost on what to feed her and surfed the web for hours trying to come up with something… Until I found your recipes. You have changed everything and if she has a better year or so it’s all thanks to you.. I’m very grateful! X
You bring tears to my eyes with such kind words. It is hard to believe that a diet can shape so many lives and creatures, but your testimonial is not unique and it does my heart much to hear from your experiences that my course of treatment was the ‘right’ one … that it wasn’t a fluke. That it really and most likely did help Ben to many more healthy days he might not have got otherwise. Thank you for sharing — really! — and I hope you have many more bright shining moments like this in your time with Bailey. You’re very kind. Thank you.