*Col Sanjeev Vij, SM (Retd),
Our ancestors lived a long, healthy and ailment free life up to the age of 90-100 years, and their ancestors in turn lived even longer, were stronger and healthier too. So what is it that has led to the deterioration in our quality of health, and reduced our life span? To begin with, industrialization, followed by commercialization, and open market economy which increased the demand rapidly, and finally, urbanization, nuclear families, etc, all these changes have led us to make several compromises in our lives, eg, environmental pollution, lack of natural resources like adequate sunlight, fresh & healthy food, work-life balance, resulting in lack of physical activity & increasing mental stresses. All these have gradually led to genetic changes in our bodies, and a plethora of lifestyle diseases along with it, which were unheard of, or at least rarely heard of by our ancestors.
Animals, like cattle, sheep, horses, camels, elephants, dogs, cats, etc, have always been co-existing with humans, but the dogs & cats have been closest to humans, than any other animals, they have in a way become our closest companions. But the dogs and cats which we kept with us in our yesteryears lived comparatively free & active lives than they do today. There was a strong physical bonding, the pets were physically & emotionally well balanced, and in effect, healthy & happy. They ate home-made food, packaged food was unknown & not thought of. Pets lived their lives to the fullest, there was no need for them to be euthanized prematurely. In effect, pets too are affected by the same lifestyle ailments as humans. The challenge to bring up their pets ailment free & provide a healthy life is not only faced by the parents, but also by the vets because these issues are not addressed in their curriculum as students of veterinary science/medicine.
Rodney Habib, and Dr Karen Shaw Becker, the authors of the book, share a common passion of increasing the awareness of pet parents & veterinarians, about how the lifestyle changes in humans have impacted the lives of our closest companions, and how the natural resources available to us help in fulfilling the needs of the pets to compensate the deficiencies in their system, backed with immense amount of research, adequate scientific explanation and evidence to justify the same, in a very lucid manner. Its an owner’s manual, and a must read for all prospective and current pet parents, who are equally concerned or passionate to provide the best life to their companions.
Dr Karen Becker has spent her career as a small animal clinician, empowering animal guardians to make intentional lifestyle decisions to enhance the well being of their animals. She also lectures extensively & serves as a wellness consultant for a variety of health oriented organizations. She is the first veterinarian to give a TEDx talk on species appropriate nutrition which has been a lifelong passion for her.
Rodney Habib is the founder of Planet Paws – the world’s largest pet health page on Facebook, and most importantly a pet parent. He established the non-profit organization, Paws for Change Foundation, to further education & research in the area of nutrition & lifestyle as it relates to longevity & health span. His first TEDx talk on pet health stands as the highest viewed TEDx talk in history pertaining to dogs. He was recently honoured by the Canadian Government as having the most influential platforms in Canada.
*An Indian Army veteran, and a budding entrepreneur, started Sanah’s Pet Friends, a pet grooming salon and essentials store in Noida, in 2020. He belongs to a family of ardent pet lovers. He loves reading, to acquaint himself & keep abreast with the latest information on pet management, and assists pet parents in doing so.