Integrative health care is not only for humans, it’s for the dogs, as well.
Lance Fargo of Ocean View and his Weimaraner, Blitz – whom he refers to as his “pride and joy” – can attest to that. Fargo just finished a taping of “The Martha Stewart Show,” on which he was featured as one of holistic vet Dr. Marty Goldstein’s success stories. Goldstein is also the author of “The Nature of Animal Healing.”
Backtrack a few years, and Blitz was a pretty sick pup.
Blitz fell about 12 feet onto a concrete patio when he was about nine months old but seemed to have fully recovered. But Blitz – an American Kennel Club field-trial competitor – appeared to have trouble breathing during one of his field trial competitions in Michigan.
Although he had been training and competing during the 18 months or so after his injury, Fargo eventually learned that Blitz had a hernia in his diaphragm – presumably an old injury from the fall – and needed to have surgery. During that surgery, they discovered his intestines had moved out of their natural place, and the veterinarian had to put them back in their proper location.
After getting back into the swing of things, Blitz then seemed to have symptoms of pneumonia, and they found that he had an abscessed lung, as well, so he had to have a second surgery. The second surgery, performed at the University of Pennsylvania Veterinary Hospital, removed most of one of his lungs and left him with a scar from the top to bottom of his chest.
“While he was recovering from that,” explained Fargo, who owns Coastal Printing & Graphics in Millville, “he was very frail and weak. And I took him back up, and they found an infection in his chest that was literally eating away the bone in his chest. Surgically, they tried to clean it out three times – but, finally, the doctor told me there wasn’t anything else he could do and recommended euthanizing him.”
It was then that a friend told Fargo about Goldstein, a world-renowned holistic veterinarian out of New York City.
According to his Web site, the simple idea Goldstein “has brought to the profession is the powerful curative effect of combining the best of both conventional and holistic medicine. The term used is ‘integrative medicine,’ where both types of therapies are combined in a collaboration for health and against disease.”
So, in 2005, Fargo took Blitz to Goldstein and left him with the vet for four days.
“They pumped him up with Vitamin C, because his immune system was so weak, and it worked! Dr. Goldstein said he could return to his normal activities, as long as I brought him back very slowly.”
Fargo said he worked with Blitz slowly for two years but, because he had had “so much promise as a young dog,” he did finally bring him back to competitions.
“I brought him back, and the boy still had it,” he noted.
Fargo said Blitz now competes with his one lung, often beating dogs with two normal lungs. He still takes supplements and sees Goldstein once a year, but he hasn’t had another surgery.
“He’s able to hang on with only one lung. He’s got a lot of heart,” he said.
Fargo – whose mother, Lois, is a co-founder of Safe Haven Animal Shelter – noted that Blitz almost has enough points to be an amateur field trial champion and has been on the Top 10 list for field trials for each of the past three years.
“He is famous in Weimaraner circles. Everybody knows who he is. He competes against healthy dogs with two lungs and beats them, and then afterward, when I tell the judges, they are just stunned.”
Goldsteins’ integrative way with animals has caught the attention of such famous animal lovers as Martha Stewart and Oprah, who both use him as their vet. That’s how Fargo got up with “The Martha Stewart Show.” Although Stewart has had Goldstein on the show previously, she wanted to bring him back and hear some of his success stories.
“Blitz’s story is pretty dramatic, because he’s a competitive dog, so it makes for a good story,” explained Fargo. They just finished the taping last week, and the episode will air on Feb. 24.
Although he admits he originally thought of integrative or holistic health for pets as a “quack-science voodoo type of thing,” Fargo said he has completely changed his mind.
“It’s outside of what most people do, but now I look at it in a whole new light. It certainly has a lot of value and, in some areas, out-performs standard medicine in terms of healing and maintaining proper health,” he said.
But besides the fame of doing a TV show and working with a renowned animal doctor, and the thrill of being able to compete again, Fargo is just grateful to have his friend back.
“I am really proud of him. He went from being on death’s door to being a very healthy dog. And we do a lot of fun things together. I am grateful he got a second chance.”