Meet Marley: Amazing Service Dog With Severe Food Allergies

Marley was a wonderful service dog, but severe food allergies were holding her back.

Marley and Cindy were united about five years ago; it was fate that brought them together, and it’s love that makes them inseparable. Marley is an eight year old Doberman Pinscher and she is kind, gentle, sweet, and amazingly perceptive. All of her qualities contribute to her being a spectacular service dog.

Searching for PTSD Support

One fateful day Cindy received a call from a neighbor letting her know that her garage door was open, which was peculiar because no one was home. When she arrived on the scene her garage and front door were left wide open and she was forced to call the police instead of entering her home, fearing that the intruders might still be there. The police arrived and no one was in her home anymore, but someone had broken in and given her whole family a good scare.

As if that wasn’t enough, Cindy had already been diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) from terrifying experiences ranging from being held at gunpoint as a teenager, to coming home and realizing that home might not be the safest place. She began researching service dogs to help with her disorder and she set out to find a dog whose heart was as true as it was trainable. She decided she wanted a dog that had physicality and was obedient and intelligent enough that it could be trained to be a service dog. That’s when a friend introduced her to then 3-year-old Marley.


Service Dog Training

It had been decades since she had a dog, so Cindy took classes to learn how to work with and train animals. One trainer taught Marley how to retrieve items for her, and another helped Marley learn how to turn on lights, open doors, and the last trainer helped Cindy deal with and understand Marley’s personality in order to provide them with a better fit and understanding of each other. Marley was finally fully trained, well behaved, and certainly certifiable for service tasks in a little under a year. Five years later, she dons her service vest with a sense of heroic responsibility and serves Cindy faithfully.


Dog Food Allergies Attack

When Marley first started living with them, she would only eat when she absolutely needed, which resulted in some moderate malnourishment. She would eat and immediately begin her groaning. Clearly in pain, she also suffered from severe gas, bloating, and indigestion. Soon she began to develop itchy hot spots, compulsively licking between her toes and a yeast infection that spread from her ears to her toes. To say that Marley was miserable would be an understatement.

After a slew of trips to the veterinarian fully equipped with various prescription medications that Cindy was told would heal Marley and alleviate her symptoms but didn’t, she was forced to turn elsewhere. Then she engaged in a significant amount of research and found the Better Business Bureau and a laundry list of dog food recalls associated with various dog health problems, and even death. She also learned through her research with the BBB that most of these symptoms can be caused by allergies, usually to food.

Soon she had discovered via the same site The Honest Kitchen and the differences in “dog” food and “human grade food” for dogs. The big difference she found primarily had to do with the lower grades of meat used in regular “dog” food. She also noted that the amount of quality control and safety measures around the food was minimal compared to human grade food.

A Healthy Solution

Alternatively, The Honest Kitchen was a high quality human grade food for dogs, whose natural whole food recipes have been shown to help alleviate many allergy symptoms for some suffering pups. Cindy decided she would start Marley on a diet of The Honest Kitchen’s Force and see if she improved. Within a week she stopped licking her hot spots and soon after they were all gone. Another week went by and all of her gastrointestinal symptoms were gone too. Cindy even said that, “Marley went from insufferable and uncomfortable, to happy go lucky within two weeks thanks to The Honest Kitchen.”


Since Marley’s initial days of pain and discomfort, she’s been perfectly healthy and happy for three full years. These days Cindy still has a lot on her plate with PTSD and attending school to fulfill her dream of sculpting, but with help from her ever-supportive husband Bill and their healthy and protective pooch Marley, their life is headed in a very positive direction.

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Meet the Author: Ian Sallee

Ian Sallee has been an award winning freelance writer since he won a nation wide playwright content when he was eight. These days he has projects ranging from poetry, plays, and photojournalism… To musical reviews, political activism, and sports writing. Even so, he has a very special interest in pets, and has been volunteering and working for the Humane Society and various independent pet shelters and clinics for the last seven years. When he’s not squinting into a dimly lit laptop churning out material for various projects and interests, he’s trying to find homes for animals and helping to bridge the gap between precious pets and people’s hearts.

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