A little over a week ago our 161/2 year old Chocolate Lab Guinevere passed away.  I bring this up for a few reasons.  First because we miss her, let’s just say that right away.  Second, Lab’s have a life expectancy of 12.6 years and she exceeded that by 4 years.  I believe we had that extra 4 years with her because we applied the health care principles to her that I offer our patients.

Exercise.  She ran on the trails at Falls Lake 3-4+ times per week her entire life with us.  Even as recently as a month ago, she was still walking to the Point at Blue Jay Park to wade in the water.  Maybe you saw us out there.  Exercise maintains not only muscle, joint and cardiovascular health, but brain, gastrointestinal and immune system health.

Diet.  When she was around 5, she developed skin conditions and hypothyroidism.  For our patients, I would recommend a wheat based grain (gluten) free diet and thyroid medication.  We did the same for Guin and her skin condition cleared quickly.  The grains and fillers in her food were causing systemic inflammation and thyroid auto-immunity.  This would have effected her organs as she aged, but did not because of her diet.

Stress management.  Well, she did not stress much and tried to teach us to do the same.  This was among many other lessons she taught us for which I am grateful.

And last, I am writing to mention a non-profit rescue organization upon whose Board of Directors I serve.  Pilot.dog.  This is a husband and wife team, Pam and Steve Rhode that have an airplane and fly dogs from kill shelters to foster and adoptive homes up and down the East Coast and even out to Ohio.  To date they have flown 59 dogs to rescue.  Much of their work has been done out of their own pockets because of their passion to save these dogs.  Their website:http://pilot.dog/  has videos of the rescues and offers the opportunity to make a donation to help fly dogs to new homes.  Please consider visiting and donating.

Dr. Shawn Phelan

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