Raising dogs naturally means many things to different people. I'm going to explain to you our philosophy here at Banda. My whole life I have had a love affair with dogs. I read everything I could; took courses; got hands-on practical experience. But since 2001 I have been taking an intense alternative view at previously accepted methods of raising dogs. I wasn't happy with what I was seeing. Not just in my chosen breeds, but in all breeds of dogs - and not just pure breds, but 'mutts' as well.

Dogs are living shorter lives, plagued by minor illnesses which mean more trips to the Vets. Huge jumps in auto-immune diseases, cancers, etc. Temperament and behaviour issues with pups coming from stable parents, raised in homes with responsible, caring owners, etc. And again, I stress, this is not just within Mastiffs and Cavaliers, but across the board with domestic pets, period - dogs, cats, ferrets, etc.

The first link I discovered was food. Processed dog food was developed in the 50's, which is exactly the time when we started to see an increase in the problems previously mentioned. Even today the regulations governing dog food is sadly lacking. Remember the dog food recalls of 2007? A CBC documentary recently showed that a mixture of leather boots, motor oil, sawdust and vitamins can pass as dog food. A very minute part of a Vets studies are about nutrition and that is generally taught by someone from one of the dog food manufacturing companies. Due to the 'dog genome project' it has been proven that dogs are 99.97% related to the grey wolf. As a result we are now feeding our dogs a species appropriate diet. Raw meaty bones, which we have been using since May of '07 with spectacular results. You can read all about it at www.rawmeatybones.com  

The second link I discovered was vaccines. All 27 of the Veterinary schools in North America have adopted the drastically modified protocol of Dr. Jean Dodds. In short, we have been severely over-vaccinating our dogs.  I am currently taking a course on vaccines and am quite disturbed about what I am learning.Vaccines binding to, and changing DNA; increasing numbers of reactions; heavy metals used as preservatives, etc. In actual fact, vaccines by-pass the natural way the body builds immunities to disease, and they actually suppress the immune system. Take at look at the link between vaccines in humans and various diseases such as autism, MS, diabetes, Alzheimers, ADD/ADHD, etc Many dogs actually come down with symptoms similar to the disease they were vaccinated for! There are many shyness, aggression and behaviour issues due to vaccines, particularly distemper and rabies. Many seizure disorders can be directly linked to vaccines. We are no longer vaccinating our dogs, or vaccinating as little as possible as allowable under the law. And we do not vaccinate puppies any more. We will send puppies home with a complete schedule depending upon where you live.

For more information go to: www.truthaboutvaccines.org, www.caberfeidh.com, www.rabieschallengefund.org, www.greatdanelady.com

And finally pesticides. We haven't used any sort of flea/tick/heartworm preventative since 2003. A healthy dog can fight off most of these parasites, and I wouldn't bother unless you actually had a problem. In the 19 years we have been at our current location, we have had fleas twice. As for heartworm, the literature right from the Manufacturer states that it is not necessary to use unless the dog population where you live has an incidence rate of over 3% - here in Ontario we have less than 1%!!!!! Why are we slowly killing our dogs with pesticides? Nor do we microchip anymore - they have been found to cause cancer.

I am being mentored on my new journey by many long-time breeders who have been following the same philosophy for 8, 13 and 24 years!  They have wonderfully healthy dogs, with few ailments and living long lives, well past the average for their breed. We are also using homeopathy to care for the dogs with good success. Very special thanks to good friend Michelle Scott of Brielle Kennels. I am surprised at the depth of the nasty arguments and vitriolic attacks about my philosophy of raising dogs.

I would like to quote Albert Einstein: "Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition by mediocre minds" "We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them" This isn't for everyone and we recognize that. We do not demand that you follow our philosophy, but we do ask that you research what you are doing, and become informed.