Meet Austin: A Rescued Cavalier Finds Health and Happiness

When Melissa rescued Austin, he suffered from a liver shunt and bladder stones.

He had almost no fur, very little energy and was extremely shy. Today, though, you would never guess this cuddly Cavalier had been ill. Thanks to lifesaving surgery and a diet of The Honest Kitchen’s Embark, Austin is thriving and happy in his Austin, Texas home.


Rescuing Austin

Melissa found Austin two years ago through Cavalier Rescue USA, which she works with and runs the Texas chapter’s Facebook page. Melissa said that a backyard breeder surrendered Austin to the rescue when he was about one year old. His illness required him to undergo surgery at Texas A&M to correct the liver shunt and remove the bladder stones. The liver shunt was a result of a birth defect, in which blood bypasses the liver rather than going through it. A serious problem, it limits the dog’s life expectancy and general health, and can ultimately lead to death if not treated.

Austin was also put on a prescription diet to keep his bladder stones under control. However, he remained lethargic, his coat was in terrible shape, and he was still not thriving. He had no interest in his food and only ate because he was hungry.


A New Diet

After Austin’s surgery and months of his prescription diet, Melissa decided something was not working. She was skeptical of the unhealthy ingredients in Austin’s prescription food, so she went looking for an all-natural remedy. Melissa found The Honest Kitchen products through researching holistic vet Judy Morgan. Dr. Morgan suggested that Austin try The Honest Kitchen’s Grain Free Turkey Recipe. Melissa went for it and, immediately upon feeding Austin his new food, saw improvements in his energy and health.

“When we got him, he was teeny tiny,” Melissa said. “His energy level was minimal, he had a very thin coat, and was listed as failure to thrive. Now he’s thriving, he’s energetic, he’s got more fur than we know what to do with!”

On his new diet, Austin gained energy, transforming from the shy, lethargic dog he was into a playful and fun-loving pup. He began gaining healthy weight and growing a healthy, fluffy coat of beautiful fur. Now Melissa has to brush him every day to keep his coat shiny and tangle-free.

“He’s happy, and he’s grown,” Melissa said. “We owe all that to his diet.”


Thriving and Healthy

After a year of feeding Embark, Melissa took Austin for a visit with his vet specialist. Miraculously, he was declared healthy and thriving. His liver was functioning well and he showed no signs of ill health.

“At his one year checkup, he was perfect,” Melissa said. “They said I should stay on the diet of The Honest Kitchen, no need for the prescription diet.”

Melissa said it was a huge deal for the vet to encourage her to stick with The Honest Kitchen, as most vets tend to support prescription food over all-natural, holistic remedies and treatments.

Melissa also feeds her other Cavalier, who was an overweight rescue, a diet of The Honest Kitchen’s Embark. Melissa said she has seen good results with the food and her other dog is now at a healthy weight. She plans to keep both her Cavaliers on the food, and she enthusiastically recommends it to other Cavalier Rescue members and her friends.


Though Austin was not diagnosed with any skin allergies, they are a common issue for many Cavalier Spaniels. Melissa was happy to report that Austin does not suffer from any allergies, another benefit she attributes to Austin’s diet of The Honest Kitchen’s Embark.

Now, at three years old, Austin is healthy, happy and playful. Melissa said the personality change she has witnessed in him has been astounding.

“He’s very outgoing and loves everybody,” Melissa said. “He likes to chase lizards, play with his toy squirrel and just cuddle. He loves to play chase—we literally chase him around the house and we get a workout!”

“He’s really come out of his shell,” she said. “It just goes to show that health starts from the inside out.”

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Meet the Author: Kacie Galloway

Kacie Galloway is a writer from Fort Worth, Texas where she lives with her mini goldendoodle, Shiloh. She is an avid dog lover and adventurer who loves exploring the world, reading and cuddling with her dog. She often writes about pet health and loves sharing people's—and their pets'—stories.

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