Meet Bear: A Former Victim of Circumstance Now a Happy Old Dog

Bernadette met Bear after the Witch Creek Fire of November 2007.

It was an odd circumstance which brought them together. Bernadette was helping search for displaced animals in San Diego when she found a photo of Bear laying in a dirt lot. Moved by what she saw and his story, she made a trip out to Valley View, California where Russell Rescue Inc was taking care of him. Despite the warnings of Bear’s shyness and anti-social behavior, she was committed to adopting him. “He wouldn’t move; he’d just sit there, you couldn’t even leash him.” Bernadette knew if she didn’t put him in the car then no one else would adopt him.


Unfortunate Beginnings

Bear got his name from the place he was found wandering before being rescued: Big Bear, California. When he was first found his eyelids had been fused shut; the veterinarian was unsure whether it was a birth defect or some sort of infection. Thankfully after some procedures he was able to see again, even though his vision isn’t 20/20.

But semi-blindness wasn’t the last of Bear’s health issues: he tested positive for Heartworm and his walking indicated neurological issues, primarily in the form of ataxia. Bear’s unusual “prancing” method of walking is sometimes a symptom of ataxia, which also inhibits his ability to jump up on things. He also gets a “ghost look” and becomes scared around strangers, presumes to prance around, then frequently runs away from people that try to touch him.


More Problems Kept Creeping Up

This past summer Bear got sick with severe gastrointestinal problems. After rushing him to the vet he tested positive for Parvo, which was very unlikely, considering it is typically a puppy disease and Bear was 13. The veterinarian figured it must’ve come from the yard, since Parvo can incubate up to three years in soil. Bear was treated by three treatments of IVs, but the gastrointestinal issues continued. After researching better food options, Bernadette found The Honest Kitchen’s Grain Free Base Mix; since then Bear hasn’t had any more gastrointestinal issues. He also goes nuts for The Honest Kitchen’s Limited Ingredient Fish Recipe, which doesn’t trigger any of his digestive issues.


To make matters more complicated, Bear is epileptic. Bernadette was excited to hear that The Honest Kitchen’s Grain Free Base Mix didn’t contain any Rosemary, since it’s an ingredient linked to aggravate seizures. Bear isn’t on seizure medication and has only had two since being on the Honest Kitchen diet, much less than he normally does.


Bear is One Happy Old Dog

Bernadette swears by The Honest Kitchen and quality food now; “Research your dog food. If you want your dog to live a healthy life, feed them good food. Feeding them healthier food will minimize vet visits, whether it be allergies, obesity, or even diabetes. If I don’t know the ingredients, I won’t buy it.” Bear, along with his pals Daisy and Buckeye, love eating Honest Kitchen. Bernadette is also now the Head Representative for Russell Rescue Inc. in the Carolinas Region and feeds her foster dogs the Fruit & Veggie Base Mix.

Now Bear is doing okay, considering the many health problems he deals with. He does his laps around the house, grabs his toys to play with, gets his treats, and then he goes to lay down in his corner. Unlike many older dogs, he doesn’t suffer from arthritis. Bear is mostly a victim of circumstance; all of his issues are from disabilities that he has. “You have to take the good with the bad. He’s a dog in most senses where he cuddles up and loves getting his belly scratched, but you can’t walk him on a leash like most dogs.”


So how does the future look for Bear? “Everybody loves Bear, but people sometimes ask me why I have a dog that just lays around. All I have to say is, ‘He’s low maintenance.’ I try to make his life as calm as possible, and he’s happy. Despite his disabilities and everything that Bear has been through, he’s quite healthy. If all he wants to do is lay in the flower beds, that’s fine. Here he can do what he wants.”

Bernadette originally adopted Bear to be Buckeye’s companion, but now Buckeye takes care of him. He’s come a long way from living in a dusty field, now loved by Bernadette and his fellow dog companions.


Want to discover more True Stories and how diet has played a positive role in the health of over 1,400 pets? Click here

Meet the Author: Courtney Flanagan

Courtney enjoys writing fiction and short-stories in her free time. Some of her interests are cats, Star Wars, and comics.

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