Breathing New Life into Cora

Shortly after we adopted Cora and Dusty, we brought the dogs to Dr. Steele at Thickson Road Pet Hospital for a checkup. We learned that Cora had a slow heart rate. She also had a few other symptoms that led Dr. Steele to suspect she had an underactive thyroid. As it turned out, her bloodwork showed that her thyroid level was low, but not low enough to diagnose hypothyroidism (it was 14, and “normal” is anywhere from 13 to 55).

Cora dancing at dinnertime

Since I have hypothyroidism myself, I know well how much better I feel when I have a thyroid level boost, so I looked into supplements that would give Cora just that. The owner of the Herbal Pathway in Pickering pointed me in the direction of L-Tyrosine. And since he knew a dog on it, he was able to suggest a dosage to start with, too. (About a month and a half later, Cora’s blood test would show that her level had increased to 29!)

Two days after putting Cora on L-Tyrosine, we saw her run for the first time! Around the same time, I changed the dogs’ diet to a mix of homemade (click here for recipe) and good-quality kibble (Orijen). After her first couple of homemade meals, Cora started dancing around the kitchen at breakfast and supper time (click here to see a video, courtesy of my fantastic niece Sara!). Now every day as I prepare their bowls, Cora dances around the kitchen, balancing on her back paws and making what we call her “monkey noises.” Often, too, she’ll get into the “play position” (bum in the air, elbows on the ground). When all this started happening, Dusty didn’t know what to make of it! He would bark at her as if to say, “That’s enough!” Wes and I, though, have encouraged this craziness, and every morning and evening, it brightens our day—she brightens our day.

Cora constantly wavers between being a shy, frightened dog (see more about Cora’s history here) and a playful, silly nut. We hold out hope that the shy, frightened version will recede for good to allow Cora’s true happy self to shine through permanently.

(P.S. Watch this short video from Pedigree to help other dogs like Cora find happier homes.)

6 Responses to Breathing New Life into Cora

  • I’m elated to read about Cora’s happy dance. And that’s down to you and Wes and your gentle nurturing to help Cora feel safe enough to let her true spirit shine though.

    Keep posting, Cathy. I’m really enjoying getting to know your new family through your words.

    And WAY-TO-GO, CORA!

  • Cathy says:

    Thanks, Deb! And one of these days soon, we’ll have to get together for another visit so you can get to know my canine kiddies in person, too!

  • Heather (TAGS) says:

    I’m so glad you gave Cora & Dusty a chance together. I was at PS when you 1st came to see Dusty. They were meant to be together. God bless you. This video is delightful.

  • janelle says:

    I too have a dog with an low thyroid and elevated liver enzymes. I started cooking her food and have seen her make a huge recovery. I also give her supplements. I smiled when i heard that your dog dances before meal times because both my dogs do now and they sing to me if i am taking to long to get the bowl to them!!! I am going to try the tyrosine supplement.

    • Cathy Witlox says:

      Hey, Janelle! Thanks for sharing! It’s great that your dogs are loving your cooking, and I’d love to hear the singing. How cute!

      Cora was on L-tyrosine for six or eight months. Shockingly, we were able to take her off it, and her thyroid levels have been normal ever since. I don’t know what made them low in the first place or what has kept them within normal level since. I attribute a lot of it to diet and exercise, though. You might find that you don’t need the tyrosine supplements after all since you’ve started cooking your dogs’ food! 🙂

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