A SENIOR'S a senior for all that. She's every inch a lady. She is in her mid-80s, give or take a few months for error in calculations. Although she has become quite grey in the past few years she still has lots of beautiful, thick red hair. She wants everyone in the world to be her friend and goes out of her way to show it when she meets someone new. She is loyal beyond belief and will do anything to please. Her name is Amber, and she has four legs, because she's a golden retriever. But Amber hasn't been well lately. She, like many of us seniors, has arthritis.
Amber and her people, Bev, an accountant, and Rick, a firefighter, live on a boat. When their home was moored in Richmond, Amber's greatest joy was to run on the dike while Bev cycled to Steveston and back - about 10 kilometers. She had her favorite swimming hole in the Fraser River where she stopped to cool off while Bev waited. She was quite a showoff. She loved to ferret out and carry such big pieces of driftwood that her head was at half-mast as she dragged them beside her wagging her tail at passers-by.
Gradually over a couple of years, Amber's joints stiffened. Her running became a trot, and then a walk. The joy in her life, herdaily run, became a trial.
"We didn't know what to do about her," said Bev. "She's precious to both Rick and me and it broke our hearts to see her suffer."
About a year ago, Bev and Rick moved to False Creek. By that time Amber was so paralyzed they thought they might be forced to have her put to sleep. "Amber knew it, too. Dogs have ESP, I'm sure," said Bev. "We took her to vets who put her on a regimen of cortisone." Eventually she got so bad Rick had to lift her off and on the boat." One day Rick was buying dog food at Tisol's Pet Food Markets on Main Street and the clerk said customers raved about Dog Cross products made from Chinese herbal mixtures that had eased their dog's arthritis," Bev says. "I can't say for sure yet, because Amber hasn't been on it that long, but something is sure working where nothing worked before."
As a human arthritis sufferer, I wanted to know more. Here's what the sales manager of Dog Cross Natural Products Ltd., of Richmond, told me: "We don't claim our products are a cure-all. They are Chinese herbal formulations that have been used and proven beneficial for centuries by people in China and later in Europe.
"Making the herbal formulas for pet use provides a way of demonstrating the effectiveness of herbal supplements and creates interest in human use. The purpose is to educate people about herbal formulations, support local professionals and meanwhile utilize the products for reducing animal misery."
Pet food isn't controlled by the same laws as human food, Bocking says." There are no animal components or chemicals in the formulas. We get the very purest herbs from China. Our products are easy and safe to use. They can be fed to pets as they come out of the package or can be mixed with food. They are natural food products made from herbs and vegetables and may be used in harmony with medical drug treatments."
Anyone can push their own products, right? But nobody twisted arms for the glowing testimonials I heard from pet owners, plus an endorsement from a veterinarian in Campbell River, Marlene Smith, who uses the Dog Cross herbal products in her practice.
Susan Olson, who lives in Surrey and is legally blind, was worried about her 12-year-old, retired seeing-eye dog, a golden retriever. Olson told me: "Alexa was getting progressively more crippled by arthritis until Brad and Greg, who clerk in Bosley's Pet Food Mart here in Surrey, told me about Dog Cross products. Since giving her T24 and T29 on alternate days, I can't believe the change in Alexa. No more arthritic spasms, and she wants to play like a puppy with every dog she meets in the park across the street."
Dog Cross also supplies herbal mixtures for itchy canines. Diane Martens of Langley, who has a miniature schnauzer, told about a preparation called Skin Comfort. "We had tried everything including cortisone shots and penicillin. Riley was bathed every other day in prescription shampoos and nothing helped until we finally tried Dog Cross's Skin Comfort. Within three days she was a different dog. No more vet's bill!"