Herbie's Story

02nd September 2023 2 min read

Herbie was diagnosed with osteosarcoma (bone cancer) in 2008. We were advised to PTS or amputate his leg. The amputation is carried out to relieve his pain, but the prognosis is grim. Read on to find out how Herbie became the inspiration of Paleo Ridge.

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How Herbie Became Part of Our Family

Herbie was born on the 14th October 2002. He came into our lives just before Christmas, he was a total surprise for my family as I had always said no to their requests for a dog, mostly because it was never the right time.

I had grown up with dogs and horses but as a recently divorced mother of 4, I had my hands full. Something shifted that autumn, I was walking with my kids in one of our favourite places. I saw a black dog with a distinctive ridge on its back. I had never seen this before so sped up to quiz the owner! The black dog was about 6 months old and was a cross between a black lab and a Rhodesian Ridgeback. That was definitely the moment that dictated Herbie would come into our lives.

I had never heard of a Rhodesian Ridgeback before, so i went home to investigate. The very first thing that I read was that Rhodesian Ridgebacks are the most handsome of breeds'. The images that appeared in the search totally sealed the deal for me, this is a breed that would perfectly fit into my family.

After much more research I set about looking for litters locally, not easy as they are not common. I went to view a litter about 2 hours away. My kids had no idea! Herbie was the only ridge-less pup in a litter of 10. I wanted a ridgeback not a ridge-less. After spending time with the litter, all the pups settled with their mum, but not Herbs. He would not leave me or my trouser legs alone. He was making it quite clear that his choice was to come with me. There was something about this pup, he was making it very clear that he was the one. I spent all of 5 minutes wrangling over whether a pup with a perfect ridge was what I most wanted in the breed. The answer was a resounding no! I wanted this pup without a ridge because he had chosen me.

4 weeks later I went back to collect him, I had not said a word to my kids.

Ridgebacks are not touted as ideal first pets. They are highly intelligent and independent thinkers, training is not easy as they are a strong willed breed. I read every book, but I was still terrified that I may have bitten of more than I could chew. To say it was a challenge was an understatement, but boy was he a character. Needless to say my kids were over the moon to walk in from school and find him in the kitchen, one December morning in 2002. My extended family thought I was nuts and had brought a child-eating monster into my house.

I had grown up with dogs, but not one like this. He was everything the books said he would be, a challenge. My kids could often be seen running down the hall way screaming with said puppy chomping their heels and shredding the bottoms of their trousers! I must admit that at around 18 months, I sometimes wondered what I had done. At around 2 it was like a switch flicked. My wickedly naughty, full-grown pup, who delighted in terrorising my kids and all their worldly belongings, became the dog he was meant to be. Herbs was a suave aristocrat. He was our protector, our joker, a distinctly independent dog who was unwaveringly loyal and loving until his last breath.

Herbies' Diagnosis

Herbie was diagnosed with osteosarcoma (bone cancer) in Feb 2008. In the space of a 10 minute vet appointment our world fell apart, x-rays confirmed an intermittent limp was indeed bone cancer. We were advised to PTS or amputate his leg. The amputation is carried out to relieve his pain, but the prognosis is grim. 90% of dogs die within one year, even after amputation as the cancer is very aggressive. I could not give up, Herbs was a strong and fit 7 year old dog. 48 hours later he was a tri-pawd. It was all a traumatic blur but he was still with us, but for how long?

I researched and read every single article I could find on bone cancer and on strengthening the immune system. Herbie hated the vets with a vengeance. I knew chemo was out of the question as I could not carry him in and leave him overnight, twice per week. Raw kept coming up in searches. I had never even heard of raw feeding up until this point. Raw was coming up so often in searches that I really started to take notice. I read everything (and I mean everything!) One week post amputation, Herbs was switched to a raw diet. It was clear that even back then (almost 14 years as I write this) that raw made a huge difference to the health of our dogs.

Back then, there were very few options. Of the few companies selling raw dog food (approx. 10 in total) not one could give me any detailed information on the ingredients, the sourcing or the percentages of meat, offal and bone in their products. Increasingly disappointed with the lack of information and transparency, I decided to go direct to source. I applied for Cat 3 haulier licence that legally allowed me to collect direct from abattoirs myself.

The rest is history as they say. Our core values have not changed from those first days. Quality without compromise. Full transparency of ingredients on our labels. A moral compass that ensures that Herbie's story, runs through everything we do. A picture of Herbie adorns almost every single pack that we make. Paleo Ridge only exists thanks to Herbie, we know that our customers love their own dogs as much as we loved him.

We are very happy to say that Herbie lived for a further 7 years on three legs! We cannot claim a raw diet saved him. He was very lucky to beat such odds! But we do firmly believe the switch to raw helped.

Sadly we lost Herbie on the 13 Aug 2016 due to old age, not cancer! He was 2 months short of 14. He was the most handsome, smart and loyal Ridgeback and will remain forever in our hearts. Paleo Ridge is his legacy, we owe it all to him.

How Herbie Helped to Create a New Business

Pawfessor Herbie

Although Herbie is no longer with us, he lives on in everything we do at Paleo Ridge. Keep an eye out for Pawfessor Herbie, he pops up all over this new website to offer information and tips, such a good boy ❤

Further Reading

23rd May 2024

Guest Blog: Anna Webb

It’s interesting that there are many flea ‘species’, including dog fleas, hedgehog fleas, human fleas, but 90% of the world’s flea population is the very well adapted ‘cat flea’ otherwise known as 'Ctenocephalides Felix’.

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