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Article | April 30, 2001
The dog story, as promised
A couple of months ago, I mentioned in this space that I planned to write a heart-warming dog story. However, at the last minute, I had to substitute another topic.
This month we go back to Mollys story. As some of you know Im a dog lover specifically fond of English bulldogs like Delilah Rose the current axis around which our household revolves. So late last year when I read about a local veterinarian who had rendered unusual service to a couple of dog owners I was acutely interested especially since packaging played a role in the saga. The story concerned a cocker spaniel Molly who had developed an inflammatory bowel disease. The veterinarian Dr. Yael Cidon was treating the problem but the dog owners were having trouble finding a dog food that Mollys condition would tolerate. Dr. Cidon began to experiment with some special dog food recipes that were available only through veterinarians. One was a Purina special hypoallergenic diet that Molly was able to eat safely and Scott Feinstein one of the dogs owners was delighted.Ralston Purina soon to be part of Nestlé S.A. manufactured limited quantities of highly specialized dog food diets that could only be purchased through a registered vet. At one time these were known as Clinical Nutrition Management brand foods. Id love to say that Molly thrived on the new food. But as Feinstein later told me Molly was already 14 years old and had other health problems. Still Mollys bowel problem grew no worse and she was able to take on nutrition. Now the packaging part comes in to play Feinstein tells Packaging World. After several weeks on the new diet Mollys condition had stabilized and Feinstein was delighted to see his dog without distress. However Dr. Cidon was informed by Purina that the particular formula used by Molly would not be available due to some unspecified problem with packaging. After Dr. Cidon tried other sources for a similar formula that Molly could take she realized that there was no suitable substitute. So she contacted Purina to see if she could have the special formula supplied in some other way. Dr. Cidon was unsuccessful until she personally contacted one of Purinas top veterinarians. In the end Dr. Cidon was able to talk that veterinarian into sending the food formula in plain brown paper bags rather than the normal package Feinstein told us. I believe that Molly was the only dog in the country getting the food during this period. Later Molly was unable to eat any commercially prepared food and Dr. Cidon taught Feinstein to prepare a home-made concoction that worked for a while Feinstein says but eventually the dog died from the disease. She was 15 when she died. I cant imagine how we would have survived the past few years without the care concern and deep friendship displayed by the veterinarian. To show his appreciation Feinstein nominated Dr. Cidon in the Best Vets competition sponsored by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. The story touched me especially since Delilahs predecessor had been virtually brought back from death by a quick-thinking vet during an operation. The problem with writing this story was that I couldnt get the facts verified. Dr. Cidon never responded to several messages I left at her veterinary clinic. And Keith Schopp a Purina spokesperson reported that he was unable to find any period of time when that dog food has been withdrawn from the market so he also could not explain any packaging or labeling problem that could have caused the product not to be available. Id love to believe that Dr. Cidon was simply being modest and didnt want to bring any extra attention to herself by talking with me. Id also like to believe that perhaps Purina simply didnt want to go on record and admit to a problem it might have had even though the Purina house vet who supplied the food would get great credit. What I do know for sure is that Scott Feinstein truly believes that this is an accurate account of extraordinary measures made on behalf of his late pet. And thats good enough for me.
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