Super Senior-Zak

Yesterday I took Zak to the chiropractor for his first adjustment. I was told he has a history of neck pain. Dr. Bud Allen, cracked his neck a few times and adjusted his back. Zak didn’t flinch and seemed to enjoy it. Bud said that Zak’s neck was out of whack and his spine clearly was showing signs of arthritis. We left there with a week supply of an anti-inflammatory, as well. Dr Allen told me that this new med wouldn’t help with nerve pain, but it would help the inflammation. If it helps, then we will know we are not dealing with nerve degeneration.

This morning, Zak woke up and leaped towards the door like a reindeer! He had such a remarkable joy and bounce to his step, something clearly worked!  I laughed and clapped my hands in shear surprise!

Zak feels good.


Super Senior-Kiefer


Grindstone!” Robert would shout, and Kiefer would put his nose to Robert’s out stretched hand! Robert never used an expected command, which made people laugh!

If Kiefer wasn’t home keeping Linda company, he could be found greeting guests at Robert’s photography gallery down the road. Kiefer had many friends there.

Kiefer deserves to be remembered for his whole life, not just the last leg of it. And to this day he has the softest and the sweetest eye-contact. Robert and Kiefer were a team. First in agility, and then as a therapy team for a children’s reading program at their local library.

Kiefer’s owners could no longer care for him, due to their own senior challenges. So he arrived here at Berkshire Hills six weeks ago.

The Super Senior Project

Caring for our older dogs

Suddenly, I took in two new senior dogs, and that’s in addition to three other seniors that grew up here, plus three younger dogs. With so many older dogs under one roof, and with the generous contributions and volunteering from the wonderful Berkshire Hills community, we have the perfect situation to find out what helps these sweet souls to:

  • feel comfortable
  • enjoy life
  • stay as healthy as they can
  • and make the final decisions about end of life.

My eyes just got misty writing those last words. I’ll talk about that, too.

I hope our discoveries will help you


Super Senior Project-Kiefer


Kiefer’s challenges

Having recently turned 14,  Kiefer strolled into my house and made himself at home. I could see his skeleton through his thinning hair. Large patches of his coat were missing from his legs and hips, and what hair he did have was very greasy. No one wanted to touch him because their  hands would end up with a thick layer of  yeasty smelling grease.

“BOOF, BOOF, BOOF”. He barks at me to make sure he knows where I am. He barks at me if he needs something or even if he doesn’t know what he needs…he barks at me all day and evening,

His challenges are now my challenges. What makes him comfortable, what makes him happy, can he get healthier, how to get people to want to touch him? What helps with the barking, can his diet improve, will supplements and bodywork help him feel better?

He is such a sweet soul. This is his journey.

Super Senior- Kiefer

Addressing Kiefer’s Needs


Kiefer looked at his lard covered prescription kibble and took a small bite. He gave me a look, like, “omg, not this again.” He ate about half a cup, not enough to sustain him.

Sadly, he went down the typical allergy rabbit hole when he was young. He was put on a prescription kibble and immune suppressing allergy pills for all of his life. The previous owner said that none of this helped his allergies. Well, I thought, if they aren’t working, why give them? So I stopped giving him Apoquel.

He looked up with sad puppy eyes when he smelled the real food I gave my dogs.  He’s starving, I thought, what’s the worse that can happen if I give him organic raw beef, chicken and duck with offal and ground bones?  I figured if the kibble wasn’t helping him thrive anyway, why not at least give him a delicious taste pleasure? I wasn’t expecting any miracles, I just wanted him to enjoy what time he has.

To my surprise, he didn’t have any allergic reaction to raw meat. The itching stopped, his coat became less greasy, and he had more energy. Is it possible he could have been eating real food all along?


Super Senior- Kiefer

Kiefer has elevated liver enzymes and an enlarged liver, as well as anemia. His back legs tremble and slip, his eye sight and hearing are also beginning to fail. But cognitively he’s all there.

For his sight, I make sure I turn the light on when he’s walking down the stairs. You can see that he has no idea where his paws will land when the stairway is darker. For hearing, I find a higher pitched voice seems to work better. For his slipping, we have rubber bottomed booties, but I want to make sure the yeast is under control before I cover his paws. I tried putting Dr. Buzby’s toe grips on his toenails, but had a hard time getting them positioned right. He still slipped. So yoga mats are the go-to for now.

As far as his “boofing” at me, well, it was me who had to adjust. I just make sure he knows where I am.

I checked with his vet to see if there were any supplements or herbs that were contraindicated with his liver issues, and they said not that they knew of. What about painkillers? With his liver in bad shape they ruled out Carprofen, perhaps Gabapentin. Besides going to specialists and doing further diagnosis procedures, they were out of suggestions.

So we’re on our own.

One of our Berkshire Hills pet parent, Kristen Hough is a professional energy healer. She read Kiefer’s “Emotion Code” and felt his liver was in pain. She suggested milk thistle.

He eats twice a day. For now his daily treatment is given in his breakfast (8 oz of raw):

  • a milk thistle tincture -3-4 drops for liver healing
  • a spoonful of pumpkin for some initial constipation
  • a probiotic for good bacteria in the gut, and digestive enzymes to help break down his food. As we age digestive enzymes decrease.

For a dog who is dealing with health issues or is older, it’s a good idea, in my experience, to go slow and give the smaller dose of things. It takes energy to process supplements even if they are natural.

I noticed that Kiefer seemed to be a bit more wobbly the following day of his first milk thistle dosage. I think he’s adjusting to a lot, so I started to reduce the milk thistle a little going forward. His spirits are up. He even tried to mount a girl in heat!

I have a little background in shiatsu and acupressure, so I started working along his spine. I stopped to watch if this was painful for him. Kiefer got up slowly, turned in a circle and then returned to place himself with his back right up against me so I could do it more. He looked up at me with eyes full of gratitude. My heart went, “ooohhh, buddy.”

Keeping cool and healthy

Hot summer days!

We are heading into a hot week and it’s important to keep our beloved Doods cool!

At Berkshire Hills we feed our dogs a lot of vegetables and fruits year round, they even have a garden!

Veggies have major health benefits for not only us but our dogs. Dogs who eat kale have lower rates of cancer, but most veggies and fruits have benefits for your dog*!

(*There are a few foods that are very dangerous to your dog including onions, grapes 

and raisins!) 

According to Ayurvedic principals these foods help reduce the temperature within the body:

  • Cucumbers
  • Alfalfa
  • Apples
  • Celery
  • Spinach

When I am making our meal I’ll often toss my dogs the ends of the veggies. My dogs LOVE fruits and vegetables!  The other day they devoured a papaya, competed for the ends of a fennel bulb and chomped on watermelon.

Some people tell me that their dog doesn’t like veggies and fruits. For those dogs you could try making PUPSICLES! Freeze up yogurt and bananas or other fruits. Put pureed veggies in a beef broth and freeze. See what your dog likes.

When I feed my dogs fresh food (meat, organs, veggies, etc) which I do regularly I  puree the veggies and fruits or slightly cook them so my dogs can access the nutrients better. I  give veggies and fruits separate from their dry kibble because they digest at different rates. Dry kibble alone is too dry for dogs. Your dog will be healthier if their diet includes fresh foods.


Happy healthy pup!



Life on Berkshire Hills Farm


What I love about living here at Berkshire Hills Farm is how each season, year after year, surprises me with it’s newness.

This Spring the quince trees are covered in vintage pink flowers, the daffodils that Lois Scott planted 60 years ago are coming up along the rock wall, the lilac blooms are preparing for fragrant mother’s day bouquets and our puppies’ eyes are about to open.