Media personality Glen Beck recently ended his show with a tribute to his dog Victor.  Whether you like or dislike Beck, any pet lover can empathize with the agony his family is going through dealing with an ailing pet.

Beck’s tribute to his dog Victor: (read the transcript Here)


Two things struck me when I watched this video.

One.  Thank goodness Victor has lived a long life.  The agony that Beck could not hide caused me to think about so many of us that have had to make ‘that decision’ for a pet whose health was destroyed by a pet food or treat.  While it is always gut wrenching to say good-bye to our pets, there is something stolen when they are taken from us early.  Magnify the pain and heartache 100 times over when a previously healthy dog or cat is suddenly ripped from our lives, sickened by a food or treat that we gave them.  Guilt doesn’t even come close to describing the emotion.

This is what thousands upon thousands of families have had to silently endure.  A manufacturer that refuses to be held accountable, a government agency that refuses to thoroughly investigate the death of a family member, and a hole in your heart that might not ever heal.

Two.  “Great teachers are found sometimes in the most unlikely of places.”  Our pets certainly are great teachers.  They teach us to enjoy the simple things; a walk around the block, or a good nap.  They teach how to love unconditionally.  And though a ‘love of your life’ might be gone, I encourage you to remember and learn from their teaching.

11.8.08 014Twenty plus years ago my life was blessed with a fantastic four legged friend (I’ve been blessed with many furry friends).  Sam was commonly a headrest for my children growing up; she helped them learn to walk (both of my children would stand by taking a good hold of Sam’s coat/skin).  And, she worked with me every day, being the ‘demo’ dog in all my obedience classes.  She had a sense of which dogs were intimidated; she’d wiggle over to them and kiss them to calm their fears.  Alternatively, if another dog attempted to be a little bossy with their classmates, she quickly let them know she was top dog in the classroom.

At eight years old, almost overnight, I noticed a tumor on Sam’s pelvic bone.  The worst news was the veterinarian I had known and trusted since I was a child, told me the probable cause of Sam’s cancer was from the chemical preservatives in her food (ethoxyquin).  The food that I gave her.  My trusted vet told me this chemical was added to the pet food to extend the ‘shelf life’.

Though this cancer quickly ended Sam’s life, she was just beginning to teach me valuable lessons.  I called the pet food company and asked them what the shelf life was on this food.  I’ll never forget it – they told me the shelf life was “25 years”.  Sam was a teacher – she taught me an unforgettable lesson in the worst of circumstances.

Hug them, take them for a walk, take the time to drag a string around the living room for them.  Listen to them, allow them to teach you.

To the Beck family, you have my deepest of sympathies of what you are going through.  Making ‘that’ decision is one of the most difficult decisions a pet lover ever has to make.  Please, out of respect of Victor and his many years shared with your family, please consider helping the thousands upon thousands of families whose pets were stolen from them due to a tainted pet food or treat.  We need your voice.

Wishing you and your pet(s) the best,

Susan Thixton
Pet Food Safety Advocate
Author, Buyer Beware
Co-Author Dinner PAWsible

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