Meet Dorito: A Neglected Dog who Found His Life-Long Bond

Catherine Finkenstaedt is a life-long dog lover.

She grew up with dogs and adopted her first one in the 80s when she was in college. She also fosters numerous dogs every year and co-owns an in-home boarding company. Her passion and love for dogs is impossible to miss, and 7 year old Dorito was no exception.

When Dorito Was Dorado

Dorito is a Golden Retriever that rushes up to people and immediately shows his affection and love. He has one of the cutest Retriever smiles you’ll ever see; it almost looks like he has dimples! Two years ago, however, he had a very different reality. He was locked up in a small chainlink/cement run, malnourished, and discarded like a toy that no longer drew interest. His neighbors intervened and convinced the owner to surrender him to a local rescue (The Southern California Golden Retriever Rescue).

Catherine fosters for this rescue, which is how Dorito was introduced to her life. Funny enough, his name was actually Dorado, but Catherine’s partner kept saying Dorito thinking he was pronouncing it correctly. She shrugged her shoulders and figured ‘new life, new name.’ “He was brought to us really mangled and in bad shape. He was malnourished, severely underweight, had severe ear infections, and his skin and coat were in terrible shape. His back and tail were bald and his elbows were raw and crusty from lying on cement…yet, he had that amazing Golden Retriever demeanor: balanced, calm, and sweet even though he was never socialized…”

A Foster Found a Forever Home

While Catherine initially took him on as a foster, Dorito’s instant and deep bond he held for her partner (Peter) made it impossible for them to let him go. Plus, after the hard times they knew he had already experienced it felt really good to give him the loving family he deserved.

Being a lifelong dog owner, Catherine had experience nursing sick pups back to health. Dorito was in particularly bad shape. “His main issues were his skin, coat, and muscle mass (he had none). He was very weak and got breathless walking upstairs. He needed a proper diet and exercise.” Golden Retrievers are particularly prone to hot spots, yeast, and skin conditions. Her first Golden, Tucker, had chronic hot spots, allergies, yeast infections, and skin and coat conditions. She spent thousands and thousands of dollars for treatment over the years until she finally found a vet who asked her if anyone had ever talked to her about his diet. This was almost 20 years ago.

In Comes The Honest Kitchen

In 2000 Catherine started looking into dog nutrition and diet. Back then, Google and laptops weren’t as prevalent, so most of her research was based on printed materials. She subscribed to The Whole Dog Journal since they always featured dog food products and rated them. They started writing about grain free, raw, and canned food diets. After intense research, she tried a dehydrated food product and it was horrible. Determined to give it another shot, she found The Honest Kitchen and has stayed with it ever since. “I was annoying to THK back then. I would call them and ask for samples, used their concierge program, and was an enormous fan. After introducing the food to my first dog, Tucker, the change was remarkable. No more yeast infections or hot spots; none! I have referred this miracle food/medicine to numerous clients. Anyone who comes to us who has terrible yeast, hair, or hot spot conditions, I recommend this to them.” She also swears by the concierge program, saying it really allows you to save a lot of money by ridding the middle man.

Honest Kitchen satisfied all of her requirements. She wanted a high quality, grain free, non-chicken food. “I did a $600 allergy test on my first dog and found out he was allergic to chicken and grain. THK fit the bill and was super portable. I travel a lot for work and I’ve always brought my dogs. I simply pack their meal portions in baggies. They offer a grain-free turkey to satisfy my dog’s dietary restrictions, and there was no filler in the food, only high quality ingredients. He scarfed it down and was immediately obsessed with it!”

Happy and Healthy

Within a month of switching to The Honest Kitchen, Dorito’s ear infections cleared up and his skin had healed. Within three months the warts on his back disappeared, his fur grew back, and he gained weight and muscle mass needed in order to be healthy. Catherine contributes all of his health improvements to his diet, “Our health is a direct result of what we eat, dogs are no different. If you love your dog and want him to live a long and happy life, you need to start with their diet and exercise. It’s extremely short sided to try and save money buying poor quality dog food because you will pay for it down the road. They will develop health problems that will cost you so much more money and force you into hard decisions (like surgeries or euthanasia). Allergy testing alone was $600. It’s better to get it right straight out of the gate.”

She’s now had him for 2 years and his health couldn’t be better! They recently had a blood workup and the vet was really impressed by how healthy he is. He’s a perfect weight and has spectacular digestion.

Dorito demonstrates his gratitude everyday. He never destroys his toys. Instead, he carries them around in his mouth like he’s so happy to have them. There is nothing more emotionally rewarding than watching him grow in his new happy loving family.

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: Shannon Enete

I’m never happier than when I’m in nature with my pup. Walking amongst green giants covered in moss, a crystal clear river running alongside us providing water for my pup and a cool down for me. When I’m not in my happy place I’m teaching high school Medical Science or writing lifestyle, pet, and travel pieces.

Canine & Feline Arthritis: Origins, Clinical Signs, Diagnosis, Treatment, and Prevention
Meet Willow: A Lovable Pooch Who Won't Let HGE Keep Her Down