The basic principle behind NR (Natural Rearing), is to keep the life of an animal in ones care as close as possible to nature. It involves feeding a fresh, raw diet, and developing a breeding program where no conventional vaccines, chemical wormers, antibiotics and synthetic drugs are administered. Providing a natural lifestyle and diet of fresh natural raw food is first and foremost in any animal rearing. It is important that we understand how commercial prepared food, overuse of vaccines, antibiotics, synthetic drugs, overcrowding and commercial housing affects physically and mentally the animal receiving it and the future generations. Some people own a large numbers of dogs, produce large amounts of litters and do not want or do not have the time to devote to the extra care the NR method involves. Natural animal care is not a recent development, or some "fad". The holistic animal care movement began well over 80 years ago when it was introduce by renown Juliette de Bairacli Levy. Our facility incorporates many N.R. methods into our breeding program. These methods, pioneered by Juliette are described in-depth in her book The Complete Herbal Handbook for the Dog and Cat, which is now in its 6th edition. I highly recommend this book and consider it my kennel bible. Juliette's methods, treatments and theory have been proven right by countless animal owners and top kennels through out the world. Juliette was a world renown herbalist who lived well into her 90’s. She has been considered a god send to the animal world and an inspiration for breeders whose intent is for the betterment of the breed. The N.R. and Herbal methods in Juliette's books have proven themselves to me often over the years of caring for animals. Improving both the health and strength of my breeding stock and their offspring. They treat the root of the problem, leave no side effects and strengthen the whole constitution. They do not cover up health problems as with many conventional treatments, that treat only the symptom, usually to have the problem re-appear stronger, or in a different form or area of the body. With this in mind I will briefly explain the following areas of our breeding program;
For a dog to maintain top mental and physical health and produce such, it needs to be reared in a non-kennel environment. By this I mean each dog is allowed daily, free off-leash time to exercise (to just be a dog), interaction with other dogs and animals, and to receive plenty of contact with humans through play and work. I limit the number of dogs in my facility to where I am able to provide each one with all of this daily. If I have more dogs than I have time for, they end up not getting the attention and proper care that they deserve and spending far too much time in a kennel. The quality of dogs I bring into my breeding program is high. The number of dogs I keep is low.
Our kennel facility has large outdoor runs. They provide daily contact with earth, grassland and sun. A large year round creek runs through our property were each dog has access to it daily. I am a believer in letting my bitches and pups run on natural ground (clean earth & grass and pea gravel). The following natural disinfectants are used: natural pine oil, neem oil, tea tree oil, & citrus extracts. Most of these products have many benefits and uses besides disinfecting and can be purchased at your health store or some of the larger drug and grocery chains.
I will briefly explain what I feed and refer you to the book section at bottom of web page for in depth information on this topic. These books contain some of the many recipes I use, listing the ingredients and amounts. Over the years I have witnessed an improvement in health, muscle tone, bone formation and temperament by feeding a natural raw food diet. Breeding stock and pups are feed a raw diet.
Feeding cooked meat is one of the most unnatural foods you can give your dog. Meat plays a major part in the canine diet. For the dog who has to digest cooked meat day after day brings about many health problems. I can not count the number of times I’ve heard people say they feed their dog only sautéed meat, skinless chicken, or “we don’t feed our dogs raw meat”. The dogs juices both of mouth and stomach are strongly antiseptic. Food which would kill a human in one day can be safely eaten by a canine without harmful effects. The canine consumes skin, feathers, fur, hide, bone, contents of stomach for pre-digested grains, bark and herbage from which the animal has grazed and in a form easily assimilated by the dog. True, the life span of the wild dog is shorter, but a wild dogs existence is spent looking for food and survival from other predators. The wild dog has not had to suffer the numerous modern day diseases that are plaguing are companions. We have close access to a year round supply of Beef, Lamb, and Chicken as well as occasional Buffalo and Venison. No matter where you live, you will be able to find some natural meat source to introduce into your pets diet. Plenty of raw bones are provided to our pups and adults for health teeth and jaw formation and intestinal exercise. A partial list of the following is fed on occasion:
Vegetables: Carrots, Squash, Pumpkin, Sweet Potatoes, Peas, Corn, Sprouts, Green Beans....
Herbs: Garlic, Rosemary, Sage, Parsley, Raspberry, Comfrey, Nettle, Tree Flour....
Fruits & Miscellaneous; Apples, Berries, Coconut, Raisins (non-sulfur type), Figs, Carob, Seaweed, Eggs, Raw Goat Milk, Cottage Cheese, Yogurt, Flax Oil, Cod Liver Oil, Molasses, Honey, Almonds, Peanut Butter....
Legumes: Kidney, Pinto, Soybeans, Lentils, Split Peas....
Grains, flaked or rolled: Oats, Barley, Rye, Millet, Amaranth, Quinoa, Brown Rice, Corn Maize....
Homeopath, Herbs, and Glandulars are holistic methods I predominately use in my facility. Conventional when appropriate. These methods are safe, non-addictive, have no unwanted side affects and often have a high success rate. They have proved themselves to me, sometimes when conventional methods have failed.
Homeopathic Complexes & Single remedies; I use precise German Formulations that have been used successfully by top Holistic Vets and Practitioners throughout the world.
Herbs/Supplements; I use fresh herbs and am a firm believer in Vit. C for joint health. They stimulate immunity, maintain health and promote a cure in the sick.
Glandulars; Nutritional glandular products have had a long history in aiding the body to heal and helping provide the “fuel” to enable the body to regain proper glandular function. I use pure, organic, specially processed glandulars that are used and trusted by physicians.
All adults and newborn pups receive this most important vitamin supplement daily. The form I use on adults and older pups is a pure imported sodium ascorbate and is available for purchase through our kennel. It’s buffered and easily digested without stomach irritation and is tasteless. The dosage differs from newborn to adult and is given under puppy care section. Pregnant females at Sapphire Shepherds receive 3 grams of vitamin C daily. Pups from birth are given 75 milligrams orally each day. At 3 weeks of age, the dose is increased to 500 milligrams daily. At 4 months, 1 to 2 grams should be given each day until the pups are 2 years of age. This is essential to strong ligaments, muscles and tissues surrounding joints. It is a good preventive against sub-clinical scurvy which has been found to play a role in a dog developing hip dysphasia.
Many of the breeding dogs at Sapphire Shepherds are now first and second generation dogs raised without any conventional vaccines! We do not believe in the practice of annual boosters. Besides from being far from 100 % effective, they are known to cause long-lasting health disturbances. If you chose not to vaccinate your dog you must take the responsibility to educate yourself on nutrition and the use of the well-proved virus killing herbs, formerly used to combat plagues (garlic, wormwood, southernwood, sage, rue, rosemary) and/or the use of Homeopathic nosode's. You also need to understand that both conventional and alternative therapies are not 100% (not foolproof). Most Vet's will be able to tell you they treat a number of dogs each year for Parvo that have both received the vaccine and those who have not. I never used yearly boosters on all my foundation imported stock. Pups I havr kept back for my own breeding program received no conventional vaccinations, Homeopathic nosode's administered instead. I have traveled with my dogs and have had no health problems with them. On our pups we sell to clients who wish to use conventional vaccinations, I use single or simple vaccines (vaccine for one or two diseases at a time) instead of the usual given complex vaccines (vaccine of 5 to 7 diseases at a time). If requested by a client, I will use only nosodes on a pup. Nosodes are Homeopathic remedies which are made from natural disease products. It is sterilized, diluted and carefully prepared in accredited pharmacies. First developed by a veterinarian in the1920s, this method of disease protection in animals showed impressive results even before vaccines were developed. When used properly, it can protect a dog from disease even better than the vaccine can. Given orally, the body gets a chance to process it before it's presented to the bloodstream. It is absorbed more naturally then the shot administered to the body without any of the side effects associated with the vaccine. And it avoids the introduction into the body of mercury, in which vaccines are preserved. I have been impressed at times with the results of Homeopathy used in my kennel. Nosodes are available for kennel cough, parvovirus, distemper, lepto, rabies and has been used successfully on most animal diseases more recently for heartworm. There is a large body of evidence that has been collected over the last 200 years showing they provide immunity in humans, more recently with animals.
Chinese herbs for the treatment of intestinal parasites when used correctly is one effective and safe way to treat Roundworms, Tapeworms, Whipworms, and Hookworms along with Giardia and Coccidiosis, especially in adult dogs.
I do not wean my pups at an early age. I allow the pups to nurse the bitch as long as she is willing. I have learned the longer the pups nurse the healthier they are and that a bitch knows better than I do the correct way to care for herself and her pups. A supplement diet is introduced around 4 weeks, starting off with a simple gruel. By the 5th week meat is introduced along with soft bones. By 8 weeks of age, the pups are eating 2 to 3 meals a day. Health records are kept and provided on each pup. Notes are kept on each pup starting at 3 weeks and are closely monitored over the next 5, regarding reactions to new experiences, environments and testing as well as temperament and drives. Temperament tests are ran at 7 weeks. This testing along with the compiled information we have gathered on each pup over the 7 week period helps insure that our pups are sent to the right homes and the needed characteristic for a particular working requirement is present. Older pups receive drive stimulation through rag play and are worked with on a daily basis. Pups are well socialized with our children and exposed to a variety of sights, sounds and experiences. A pup will receive a parvo/distemper shot at 8 weeks (unless a client has requested a different method as stated in the above vaccine section). Pups are usually tattooed or micro-chipped. Please call or email for our replacement warranty against dysphasia or other major health problems on a pup.
The following books and journals I recommend. Whether you are purchasing a pup or want to improve the health of your own animals or breeding program. We also keep on file a Directory of NR Breeders (of various breeds) and Holistic Vets across the United States and Canada. This is a wonderful reference for those who are looking for breeders who put forth the extra effort to incorporate natural health care methods into their breeding programs. Please contact our office, we will be happy to help you locate a Holistic Vet or Breeder of a specific breed in your area.
The Complete Herbal Handbook for the Dog and Cat. by: Juliette de Bairacli Levy
publisher: Faber & Faber $ 16.00 (please scroll to the bottom of this page for a complete listing of Juliette's many book's as well as a brief bio of her life's work)
What Vets Don’t Tell You About Vaccines. by: Catherine O’Driscoll
publisher: Our Pets, Inc.$ 16.95
Dr. Pitcairn’s Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs & Cats. by: Richard H. Pitcairn, D.V.M., Ph.D. & Susan Hubble Pitcairn publisher: Rodale Press, Inc. $16.95
Complementary & Alternative Veterinary Medicine. by: Allen Schoen & Susan Wynn
publisher: Mosby Inc.$ 90.00
The Whole Dog Journal. A monthly publication on natural health, feeding and training.
Juliette de Bairacli Levy was a world renowned herbalist, author, breeder of Afghan Hounds, friend of the Gypsies, traveler in search of herbal wisdom, and the pioneer of holistic veterinary medicine. Juliette had a long record of spectacular cures to her credit. The books she wrote have been a vital inspiration for the present day herbal renaissance.
Juliette was born in 1912 in Manchester, England. Her parents were Jewish, her mother from Egypt and her father from Turkey. Juliette was raised in a household with three sisters and two brothers, a nanny, chauffeur, maid and gardener. She was educated at Lowther College, one of the best girls schools in Britain, and went on to study veterinary medicine at the Universities of Manchester and Liverpool. Juliette did not approve of the vivisection and animal experimentation that was going on in the universities in the name of science and health. So she left the university after two years and went to study with the Gypsies and peasants of the world.
In the late 1930's Juliette ran a distemper clinic in London where, at a time when many dogs were dying from this disease, she treated and cured hundreds of dogs with fasting, herbs and a natural diet. Amongst others, she cured the dogs of Douglas Fairbanks, the tenor Richard Tauber, the owner of Sutton Seeds and Arthur Guinness (of Guinness Beer). Also, when many Afghan hound puppies were dying of distemper, Juliette raised a litter of puppies on her natural rearing methods and these puppies won Best of Show at Crufts Dog Show. Descendants of this litter, known under Juliette's kennel name, Turkuman, were later to become Champions in England, America, and all over the world. In the 1940's Turkuman Nissim's Laurel won Best Of Show at Westminster - to this day the only Afghan ever to win Best of Show at this event. Turkuman Nissim's Laurel was pictured on the cover of Life magazine.
During World War II, Juliette worked in the Women's Land Army gathering sphagnum moss which was used on soldiers' wounds. After the war she went to Yorkshire where she cured thousands of sheep who had been declared incurable by conventional vets. This work brought her to the attention of Sir Albert Howard, founder of the Soil Association and creator of modern day "organic" farming methods. Sir Albert Howard encouraged Juliette to learn all she could about herbal treatments for animals.
In the 1940's, while traveling in America, Spain, France, North Africa and Turkey, Juliette gathered herbal remedies from the nomadic and peasant peoples of these lands. When her Complete Herbal Handbook for Farm and Stable was published in 1951, it was the first veterinary herbal ever to be published as before this time, the art of farriers, gypsies and peasants had been passed on only by the spoken word. Thus Juliette became THE pioneer of what is known today as holistic animal care. She went on to write The Complete Herbal Book for the Dog. Both these books together with Juliette's Illustrated Herbal Handbook for Everyone and Natural Rearing of Children have become classics and many generations of humans & animals have been raised & healed on these books.
Faber and Faber, Juliette's publishers, have stated that for the past 50 years they have always received more inquiries about Juliette than about any of their other authors who include T.S. Eliot, Ted Hughes and William Golding.
Juliette's children were born in the early 1950's. She took her children to live in Israel where they raised owls, hawks, dogs, goats, donkeys and bees. Juliette became famous for saving her hives of bees from shell attack during the six day war. In Israel and later when she moved to Greece, Juliette continued to write, raise Afghan hounds, garden and to gather herbal remedies. As well as her herbal books, she has written several travel books, two novels and three books of poems.
Juliette traveled to America to give lectures, workshops and seminars on herbal medicine. In America she has become recognized as the grandmother of today's herbal renaissance. In 1998 at their HerbFest in Iowa, Frontier Herbs presented Juliette with a Lifetime Achievement Award for her contribution to the herb world. Juliette lived well into her 90's before her death.
Cats Naturally (Faber & Faber, 1991)
Cat lovers everywhere will be intrigued by the variety of natural foods, in addition to meat and fish, which are acceptable to cats, ranging from sweet corn to berries. Affectionate, clever, amusing and resourceful though they are, some cats do have behavior problems, and these are dealt with here. Finally the list of names from all over the world will be invaluable when naming a kitten.
The Complete Herbal Handbook For The Dog And Cat
(Faber & Faber, 1955. Sixth edition 1992) Since this book was first published, interest in and use of natural treatments for maintaining and restoring both human and animal health have greatly increased. The many new editions of Juliette's veterinary herbal books give proof of the progress made in this field in which she has been a pioneer. "I have not the slightest hesitation in advising all who have the health and welfare of their dogs at heart to study the book." — Country Life
The Complete Herbal Handbook For Farm And Stable(Faber & Faber, 1952. Fourth edition 1991)
The first veterinary herbal ever to be published. All farmers and horse owners interested in safeguarding and restoring their animals' health by natural, safe and inexpensive methods will find it invaluable. "Every farmer should have this book, for used with common sense in combination with modern veterinary and farming methods it could help us to avoid some of the mistakes stemming from unlimited use of chemical fertilizers, insecticides, antibiotics and the like." Farmer's Weekly