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Welcome to Health Mutt
Health Mutt is a company that started in 2012 in Cardiff, South Wales. It came about due to a set of circumstances that forced the owners to look closely at dog health matters and what was currently available for dogs.
Lisa Jazani and her family already had 3 dogs in their home. Having run Cardiff Guinea Pig rescue for a couple of years and realising the extent to which animals are dumped although unable to continue rescuing personally Lisa regularly looked in the ‘free’ papers to see what was going on with animals, how many were being dumped, and to pass on information to these people about rescues they could use. It’s a well known fact that lots of dogs that are offered ‘free to a good home’ go on to be picked up by dog fight organisers masquerading as caring dog lovers. They then go on to use these ‘free to a good home’ dogs as bait dogs in dog fighting. That is a dog used to encourage trained fighting dogs to maim and kill other dogs.
One such ad on a well known free to advertise site had a small dog being given away locally. The ad stated that the dog was very loving and needed a new home as they had new kittens and it was too big a work-load to keep the dog too. When Lisa enquired it seemed that the dog was 14 months old, had been passed from home to home already and that the new home would be it’s 5th home – in 14 months. Lisa decided to take the dog into her home on a temporary basis before contacting rescue organisations and finding her a place with a rescue that would rehome her properly – and with a forever home.
The people giving her away informed Lisa that she was named Bella, and that she had an issue with being left on her own. She barked when left alone. Refusing to give out their address they agreed to meet Lisa outside a shop locally and hand the dog over. Bella was very cheerful, waggy and pulling hard on her (too small) harness and lead. Upon meeting it became apparent that the dog had some kind of skin issue as she had virtually no hair on her back end or tail and very sparse hair everywhere else. The owners stated that it was apparently eczema and nothing was able to shift it – although when asked what had been tried there was no reply. When Bella was handed over (no questions asked) they walked away. Bella looked lost and really didn’t want to come with Lisa. However, she did and was quickly bathed, had flea treatment applied and was whipped out for a walk with the rest of the dogs and a trip for a new collar and harness that actually fit.
Bella was placed on a waiting list for a rescue.
After a very short period of time it became clear that Bella was in no state to go into a rescue kennels – even if a place came up. She would be extremely anxious if she couldn’t see one of the adults – even if the other family members were in the room. Even trips to the loo for Lisa and her family became difficult, so a baby gate was installed at the bottom of the stairs to prevent access to upstairs for the dogs during the day – which for the other dogs was normal. But for Bella this was a major cause for concern. She would throw herself at the gate, cry, howl, and make a very distressed loud, ongoing bark whenever someone was out of her sight. The only time she seemed to relax was in the living room with the one or both of the adults in the house.
A decision was quickly made as a family to attempt to rehabilitate Bella physically, mentally and emotionally. Her skin condition was nasty and where she was now wearing a collar all of her hair was coming out in that area – like her hair wasn’t even rooted properly. Next thing to change was Bella's diet – her bowel movements had been bright green when she arrived – proving she hadn’t been eating anything like a healthy diet or ever a dog diet. With no cross over food or idea of what she was already eating there was no choice but to immediately do a full switch over to the existing food being fed in the household to the dogs. Bella switched to a raw species appropriate diet – that is raw, meat, bones and offal. A family meeting decided that Bella was to live with the Jazani's - permanently.
Finally after numerous days research a rehabilitation plan for her separation anxiety was put into place. This involved a 3 pronged approach.
1. Bring Bella’s anxiety levels down – she was convinced that people were going to leave her and wasn’t happy to let people out of her sight. She was started on a natural dog relaxing supplement containing Valerian root, a relaxing plug in diffuser was used and she was walked 3 times a day to work off her excess energy – making her naturally tired.
2. Never leaving her – except as per a rehabilitation plan. This meant that for the first week the only times Bella would be left was behind a door while the humans in the household were the other side for 10 seconds. Then coming in. It was clear from research that Bella shouldn’t be left for any more than she was mentally and emotionally able to handle. And this was a very short period of time – seconds. Very gradually – as other parts of the rehabilitation took effect this was gently extended.
3. Counter conditioning and de-sensitisation to anxiety triggers. This basically involved spending lots of time acting like looneys. Putting coats on, then taking them off. Picking up the car keys, then putting them down and so on. Moving on to picking up the keys – giving her a treat (she was too anxious to take one at the start) – then putting the keys down.
During this time a camera was set up to watch and listen to her – see what she was doing while people were outside. And as her reactions began to lessen the time was upped and multiple anxiety triggers in one go were used. Slowly things moved forward.
After three months Bella felt secure enough to be left for an hour. After 6 months she could be left for 4 hours. This allowed the family to become sociable again.
During Bella’s rehabilitation so much information was being learned and her different ailments being treated whilst bringing her to optimum health. This set the seed for Health Mutt. Having 4 dogs there were always ailments being dealt with – and Lisa decided to look for natural remedies for some of those complaints. Lisa had been treating serious skin complaints for years on small animals - even creating a natural skin product that cleared up her daughters skin problems that previously has been treated with steroids and emolient cream.These had worked on Bella’s issues and with lots of research and an animal aromatherapy certificate being undertaken they were trialed on the rest of the dogs for problems like red stained itchy paws, hot spots, stomach issues. With a combination of a species appropriate diet and remedies created by Lisa the dogs all had an increase in health. Remedies were also successful in the human members of the family and other animals - as Health Mutt products are 100% cruelty free and trialed on everyone in the family.
Lisa started Health Mutt in September 2012 after months of researching what products could be stocked and made that fitted in with their motto of looking after a ‘dogs physical, mental and emotional wellbeing’.
While Health Mutt would never advise people to bypass their vet – that would be foolish – but rather that Health Mutt’s products can be used in conjunction with those prescribed by a vet. They are natural and cruelty-free and will never be sold by pet shops that profit from the sale of animals..
Health Mutt’s customer base has grown from strength to strength as people around the UK are turning to more natural, effective products to help their dogs. And all of this was inspired by a dog who was passed from pillar to post – until finding her forever home with the founder of Health Mutt, Lisa Jazani and her (very large!) family that Bella finally believes are hers forever.