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Sunday, August 21, 2011

Introducing Avery Liska, the Auto Immune Diseased Vegan Maltese

Hi everyone!

Hope you have had a great week/weekend.  I have to say, having time off is such a blessing. I am literally high on life right now.  I am so grateful for everything I have, all of the wonderful people (and furry people :) I have in my life, and the opportunities I been given to fulfill my dreams.

One of my favorite presentations from IIN was about positive psychology.  The most important (and simplest) thing I left that presentation with was every night before going to sleep do a "gratitude journal".  Simply, write down (or even easier, say aloud) three things that happened that day that you are grateful for. This will help you to go to bed happier, and in turn wake up happier-- AND this, my friends, will lead to an overall happier life! So simple!  So wonderful! So powerful! One of the three (many times I have more, you will too) things that I am ALWAYS grateful for is my dog, Avery.  Not only because she is the cutest damn thing in my whole wide world, but because back in April (right around my 24th birthday), Avery almost died... so here is the story of Avery Liska, and how she became a vegan Maltese:

Avery Liska, our 8-years old, Maltese

I remember it like it was yesterday... It was March and John and I were cooking dinner while watching one of our favorite shows, How I Met Your Mother.  Suddenly on the side of my eye I saw Avery, our 8lb Maltese, throw her body on the ground as if she were having a seizure. John and I were in shock, we couldn't even think of what to do.  With such fear, we dropped everything we were doing and rushed to the animal hospital.  A few hours later Avery was returned to us, weary, scared, but okay.  They said it was not a seizure (apparently those are very rare in dogs), and that we could bring her back the following day for tests.  A few weeks earlier John noticed Avery becoming disoriented.  So, we called our vet, who got us in right away for blood tests, which came back fine.

After this "seizure like" episode, we met with a cardiologist. Her heart was fine.  We then met with a neurologist.  He believed that her brain was fine, and did not want to run the $2,000 MRI scan when from the outside, neurologically she looked fine.  A few days later she had a whole day of episodes... she could barely move.  She now had an obvious head tilt and was walking in circles.  The Neurologist said she is Vestibular and in order to find out why, we would need to do the MRI.  Unfortunately we could not afford the MRI, so we tried antibiotics which would cure the vestibular.  That night we came home and she was not moving... the antibiotics were not working. We were sure we were going to lose her...

The baby on my Birthday, after seeing my homeopathic chiropractor-- Dr. Salmon adjusted her, to make her more comfortable

Me and my baby, on my 24th birthday
The doctor said he believed she has an autoimmune disorder, so we put her on a low dose of steroids. After a lot of research, we  found out that dog food, even "Veterinarian recommended" brands contain preservatives that have been linked to many illnesses in dogs.  Also, that pesticide, a.k.a. that flee and tick treatment (which is a PESTICIDE), has adverse effects on her immune system.  Every single time I would give her that treatment, I would wheeze for days... hmmm!  Now, we do not know for sure the direct cause of her getting sick.  It could very well be something that was put on the lawn, or something she ate.  However, when her blood was tested, nothing came up... so we put her on a vegan dog food diet. We feed her a brand that is sold at PetsMart and Petco called Natural Balance, which is made with non-meat protein and nutrients that are to build the immune system. I read many reviews from people who have had dogs live years beyond what they are expected, on a vegan diet.

Reading up on a Vegan diet (Summer, 2010)

The very first day I gave Avery a green smoothie (see pictures below), she ran a straight line. Today, she eats a complete vegan diet: Natural Balance dry food,  lots of fresh vegetables, even salads, along with a probiotic and a little bit of magnesium to supplement what is lost with the steroids.  The doctor was sure Avery only had a few weeks to live... today, over 4 months later, she is back to herself (well, she walks in lots of circles-- that is until you call out "TREAT"-- then she can run a straight line!).  As you will see from the pictures, she is still adorable, has only had some thinning of hair due to the steroids, and best of all- she is still here!  I have heart-fluttering love for her,  and everyday I am so grateful to have her here!
Enjoying her first smoothie: Vegan protein powder, spirulina, flax oil, wheat grass, kale, and banana


I believe that Avery's miraculous come back is in great part due to her new diet.  If a vegan diet can help a dog (a natural born meat eater) recover from a life threatening disease, what could it do for us? Did anyone watch CNN Sunday night and see what it has done for Bill Clinton?

Back to her self... this is what I came home to after a Bikram class: Avery tangled up in the cooler bag trying to get the goods :)
Today, August 21st, all smiles (and messy!) after enjoying a smoothie with some organic peanut butter


  1. Aw, little Avery! My niece! Haha! So glad she is doing better, we have Sueshe eating a lot of that stuff. And I don't give them frontline either. We use a natural tick repelent made of essential oils, smells like cinnamon!

  2. cute post and so informative! That is very encouraging to know that a vegan diet can help dogs. I've heard stories before but your story was very personal and I enjoyed reading it. I wonder how kitties would do on vegan food? My cats are so picky!! :(

  3. Thanks Lindsay! Avery was a pretty picky eater too-- she was hooked on bacon for a while, and wouldn't eat any veggies... I started with carrots, she loves them, strawberries too, and just worked our way up. She now eats anything I eat, except for my green juice (I think it's the lemon she doesn't prefer :)

  4. Great post Amanda--so funny that Avery eats carrots like a rabbit! Hope you shared this information with the vet!