Meg Norris

Writer, Educator, Advocate, Activist

I am a writer, passionate educator, parent and student advocate and activist for public education. I am a doctoral candidate in special education and brain-based teaching, learning and leadership. 


We are seeing a little sparkle back in Sage's eyes. She is STILL scratching like crazy. Today will be nail trim day so she isn't tearing herself open. Did a Benedryl booster the night before last and it seemed to help with the eyes. He nose is wet and cold and the tail wags like crazy. Still doing 2-3 pounds of beef food or grind (alternating days) 16 oz of pumpkin and coconut oil with egg shell and probiotics. I think I'm going to switch the probiotics to something higher end. Still looking to treat Sage's "surface" and heal the yeasty skin. Daily we can't help but wonder if there is more going on than a food allergy. When she is miserable I just cry. She is such a gentle and loving giant. I hate that I cannot wave a wand and fix it all! 

Slow and steady!

Sage lost a good bit of weight during this transition but I feel like we are finally back into a good pattern. She is still scratching but her skin is not as flakey and Im not having to dust every single day! She is eating 2 to 3 pounds of beef food or grind (alternating days) with a can of pumpkin added. She also gets a tablespoon of coconut oil along with a probiotic (and egg shell on grind days). We are working on some vitamins to help her goopy eyes. Now that we have the insides on a healing pattern we are working on the outside with baths every week to soothe her skin and try to get some of the yeast off. I think she is going to always be allergic to the world and this will be a constant fight. We still do an occasional Benedryl booster but no more than once a month. It seems to help with her eyes. She is back to drinking a good bit of water, but not as much as she used to. I wash her face twice a day just to keep her eyes clear. You can see in the picture she scratches her face occasionally. Her left eye seems to be always be much worse than her right. 

This is just going to take some time. Hang with us! Her attitude has definitely changed and she seems happy again. 

Back on track!!

We got Sage moved over to all beef food and she is doing well. She has lost some weight as her body adjusts to the high protein diet. Poor girl was so used to the poison we fed her that her body is having to really adjust. The wonderful folks at Green Earth Pet Food mixed up a batch of food and removed every possible allergen. We were told it could get worse before it gets better, and it did. The turkey feet had to be stopped. I guess a chicken allergy also means a turkey allergy. Even 2 days with one turkey foot treat set us back two weeks! Probiotics were added and we saw even more improvement. Today we add pumpkin to see if we can put some weight back on her. We have added Coconut oil ( 1 T a day) as her treat. She loves it and it is helpful in fighting the itchies. Her skin is not as flaky and we are NOT seeing the dander dust on EVERYTHING anymore! 
We are back in the right direction!!! MANY thanks to Kristi at Green Earth, who has lived through every one of my silly panic moments. She has been calm and helpful and EVERY suggestion has worked! 
I will report back on the pumpkin!! 
PS. I swear I can see tiny fuzzy hair growth in spots. Hubby says Im nuts....We will see!!! Pictures soon!

Day 19 3/14/15

What a crazy week! Sage was adjusting to her beef only diet but it was very slow. She managed to scratch her face pretty badly and we decided on a Benedryl intervention. It worked. After a trip to Green Earth Pet Food we are back on track! I think the Benedryl may have kickstarted the healing process once again. She has lost a good bit of weight, but we will get it back. Green Earth worked with us to turn our chicken into beef. We even got a little pork to try LATER! We aren't going to risk another reaction!!
Sage is definitely allergic to chicken! Green Earth made up a batch of pure Bow Wow Beef without any possible allergens. Sage is a new dog! Very minimal scratching after 2 days. She is resting more but I think she is exhausted from scratching all the time. Her skin is less red again. She is back on 2#s a day of the Beef ONLY. Again this is a practice. Finding what it is that is setting off her immune system has been a challenge. I am so grateful that Green Earth - Kristi - has been there with me. A vet would have just drugged Sage. We will have a healthy happy girl!

A few more days on the beef and she will be ready for her favorite new treat! A turkey foot! Once again I cannot thank Green Earth Pet Food enough for caring so much about their customers! I cannot wait to bring Green Earth to the Atlanta market! Or, at least, to all my friends!! 

Day 12 3/7/15

MUCH better day! Sage is scratching MUCH less today. Her eyes are still a bit goopy but she is more alert. I think we have located the culprit! Who knew it could be the chicken?!?! KRISTI at GREEN EARTH PET FOOD! She knew exactly what it was. How on earth did I find such an amazing person who loves my dog as much as I do to help me!?! Divine intervention!
Sticking with 3 pounds of beef bow wow food today and I will give an update tomorrow! Not sure if we are going to risk trying pork at this point. But the possibility of introducing an brand new protein may be a good idea as her allergy may be even less to pork! It looks like a trip to Asheville this week for more Bow Wow Beef (and turkey feet too!!!). 

Day Ive lost count 3/6/15

I think owning a dog should also be called a "practice." Like medicine everything you do with a dog is an educated guess. Unlike medicine, the dog can't TELL you what is happening. You have to search for clues. Sage has had a minor setback that we think is related to a CHICKEN allergy. Her eyes got goopy again and she is losing weight. We have switched to an all beef dog food diet and put the chicken on hold. This is day 3 on all beef and today I upped her to 3 pounds a day. I threw in a little organic coconut oil to see if she might like it. Dumb question.

Her tummy is grumbling and gurgling after dinner tonight, but she seems very content. Her water intake continues to go down but the scratching is back up. Maybe its the beef? Like I said, we will keep practicing!!! Many thanks to Kristi at Green Earth for her mentorship. She is watching Sage's improvements (and little setbacks) and sharing her experiences! We may need another run to Asheville! Perhaps it is time to use the chicken and switch our other dog to raw!!! We will know in a few days! Thanks for reading and following Sage! 

Day EIGHT 3/3/15

The goopy eyes are back. I'm not sure why. I'm wondering if she may have a chicken allergy. When I was doing 2#s of beef her eyes cleared up. Now Im doing 1# beef or chicken food with 1#chicken grind. She is still acting much more alert. I'm beginning to think she is just allergic to herself! We definitely have a routine going for thawing and dividing the food! 

Day SIX 3/1/15

Almost a week and we have a new dog. I'm not kidding. Sage now gets up and greets us at the door when we come home! Her stool is back to normal and there is MUCH less of it. The 5 gallon water dispenser that we were filling twice a week has only been filled once. She is not drinking water constantly and she can now sleep outside her crate because she doesn't have accidents at night. Even our Shih Tzu is playing with her a bit. Her legs are no longer red and hot. She is still chewing occasionally, but the constant scratching has stopped. I will post pictures again in a day or so! 

Day FOUR 2/27/15

A quick entry: less scratching, more active (she has always loved to hold down the floor, but when she doesn't feel well its even more noticeable), much less gunk in her eyes today. Ive only had to wash her face once today! GO SAGE!!

Day THREE 2/26/15

Today I think I got a smile. We did chicken dog food only today and Sage seems to like EVERYTHING. She even got a turkey foot for a treat. Her stool was very runny this morning, but Kristi at Green Earth Pet Food assured me that it would take 3-7 days for the old yucky food to get out of her system. Sage doesn't seem in any distress about it. She is already drinking MUCH less water! 

Day TWO 2/25/15

Don't worry. Im not doing to blog EVERY day. But I want to keep a close eye on Sage this week and this reminds me to do just that. She did very well this morning. Stool was pretty soft so she may have just a little bit of an upset tummy. She seemed to sleep a bit more than usual today. I hope that is because her body is healing from the inside out. Today we had chicken 1 pound of grind, 1 pound of dog food. We skipped the turkey foot. She seems to be much more relaxed. Maybe its just me. Maybe Im more relaxed because I feel like this will be the answer for her. She ate again today turning and looking at us to make sure it was ok for her to be eating what was in her bowl. We assured her and she LOVED it! I did find a local place to get turkey feet, so I won't have to ship those from NC. I can see us going through bunches! I wonder if she was fed raw food by her first owner. I know that her teeth are all worn down to nothing from chewing on a fence or cage of some sort. I had her about a year and a half before her skin issues began. The joy of rescue dogs, you never really know what baggage they bring! 

Enter: Green Earth Pet Food

In the blog with Ramsey's picture was a link to Green Earth Pet Food, a raw diet dog food company based in Asheville, N.C.  or 

The owner, Kristi, emailed me back immediately and together we came up with a plan for Sage. Once the weather permitted I made the 3.5 hour drive to Asheville to pick up 112 pounds of MAGIC! Kristi was so sweet and kind and helped us load our goodies into my car. She even gave Sage some turkey feet to try! 
I cannot put into words how I feel having even a small hope that this will be the answer for my sweet girl. 

Day ONE 2/24/15

I have been so excited for Sage today! I have checked the fridge 100 times to see if her new Green Earth Bow Wow Beef had thawed. We have decided to give her 2 pounds of dog food per day. I found that the beef was defrosted and we began on our journey! Sage ate 2 pounds of her new raw food diet today. Her evening treat? A turkey foot! She loved everything. We have been watching her for any signs of tummy upset and there has been nothing so far. Our fingers are crossed!

The Beginning...

Sage is my 6 (?) year old Lab/Newfie mix rescue has been fighting the past 3 years with a skin issue that has left her balding and itchy. It has left my house covered in a layer of nasty skin powder as she scratches nearly 24/7. She has become sad and loppy and we have tried everything. Steroid shots worked once, but the itchies came back with a vengeance. Round two of shots did nothing for her. Her skin is black in some places and red and angry in others. She has lost fur nearly everywhere. We have tried every spray, shampoo, mousse and cream known to man. She was even on prescription drugs for a while. The vets had said it was not her food. They checked her hormones, they were fine. 

We changed her diet 100 times. Removed grains, only salmon, only veggies, no chicken, only sweet potatoes, every combination you can imagine. What we missed was the raw diet. I never even considered it. Sage began to lose weight and I was getting scared.

Turning point:

Into my life came an amazing herbalist, Crystal Merrell who sent me a FaceBook message from a holistic vet. Attached was two pictures, a before and after of a black lab named Ramsey. Ramsey looked like Sage’s twin. Ramsey had lost his hair in the exact same spots as Sage. In the after photo Ramsey had begun to grow his fur back. The magic potion? I hoped I had found it through Ramsey!!! 

Even Sage's eyes had begun to fill with gunk. She had a "mask" on her face where the fur around her eyes was gone.  Her neck was black "elephant skin" and even her "Newfie" white spot on her chest was falling out. Her front legs were red and warm to the touch. I was heart broken over how sad her face was. I fought so hard to save this sweet giant. Family members had watched this battle for so long the idea of "letting her go" had been mentioned. I squashed that idea immediately.  I can't give up on her now!

My sweet girl's sad face. I wash her face and eyes two or three times a day. 

My sweet girl's sad face. I wash her face and eyes two or three times a day. 

More evidence of missing fur. Even the tip of her tail is losing fur. 

More evidence of missing fur. Even the tip of her tail is losing fur.