Pioneers: Stepping Boldly in Truth

Moving Ahead, Obstacles Not Withstanding

You may have read my last issue of Vital Animal News where I brought up the pentobarbital contamination found in Evanger’s canned food, and the ensuing recall.

One woman had four dogs eat this food, and now one is no longer alive.

Her story is one of pioneering and bravery and inspiration.

Nikki Mael fed her Pugs a New Years Eve “treat” of a supposedly beef based food, and within 15 minutes, all four were acting dizzy.

A rush to the E.R., the last place on earth she imagined she’d be on New Years, and she came home with one dog seizing and on meds, and her pack leader, Talulah lost to poisoning.

Evangers ran some tests. Negative for bacteria. Negative for endotoxins.

Nikki knew in her heart her dogs were made sick by this food, and sent some cans of the food to the veterinary diagnostic lab in Michigan. The same lab received Talulah’s body for a post mortem exam.

Contrary to Evanger’s negative tests and trying to paint a bright picture, pentobarbital was found in both Talulah’s stomach contents and the cans of the same food the Pugs had eaten.

Recalls ensued, and the company has tried valiantly to look like the good guys, blaming their supplier for sneaking euthanized horse meat into their “beef,” and blaming the government for not policing pet food more thoroughly.

In short, doing everything but taking responsibility for marketing dangerous food to an unsuspecting public.

[For an enlightening, in depth time line of this scandal, visit Poisoned Pets.]

Popular or Not, Tell it Like it Is

What really struck me in all this was the courage it took on owner Nikki Mael’s part to go public with her story.

Nikki posted her sad tale to a crowd funding page, to help recover her vet bills.

And, after realizing where they stood, she refused to communicate with Evangers, while helping the FDA and petitioning her state congressman to get involved.

Her goal: help clean up this messy pet food industry so no other animals need ever die or be sickened from eating food that was supposed to be good for them.

On this public posting, comments came in. Some were downright negative, accusing her of poisoning her own pets to get money!

Can you imagine, grieving as she must have been, the guts and heart it took to stay the course?

It’s this kind of bravery that I want for all of you, dear readers. It comes from knowing what’s true and striding forward on behalf of your innocent animals, even when you know it’d be easier to be quiet.

Together We Stand

When my last course, the Natural Rearing Roadmap was in mid-launch, I posted to this blog about one of you who was being downright abused by her vet.

The post was shared to Facebook multiple times, as I suspect it struck a chord.

The hew and cry from my conventional colleagues was outrageous.

I had a slew of vets and vet techs claiming I had no right to hold a license, to say such inflammatory things that impugned their practice standards (largely, gross over vaccination, based on what we’ve long known to be true in immunology).

My Facebook page was smeared with negative reviews and invective.

I got a letter from a classmate I’d not heard from since we graduated 37 years ago, calling me names for acting so openly critical of my fellow professionals.

Amazingly, while I was busy working to bring out the course (teaching you how to step out of conventional “prevention” and create truly amazing health in your next pup), my pack members rose to my defense.

Taking the high road, they repeatedly called for the naysayers to offer up any data, anything, that refuted my stand.

They had nothing.

Just empty shrieks and foul mouthed outrage.

My pack of pioneers rocked it, in the name of upholding truth and honesty. The negative reviews disappeared and were replaced with glowing ones.

Pioneers All

I write this mainly to point out that being a pioneer is rarely easy.

And yet, it’s the only way we can hope to change the system.

Pioneers who dare to stand up to lies, to greed, to practices that stand to harm innocent animals are who move mountains and make a difference.

Your making a ruckus, calling out injustice, or minimally, choosing where you spend your money (on food, on vets, on groomers, breeders, kennels, etc.), it all takes a certain amount of courage.

It’s far easier to do what everyone else seems to be doing.

And, if we all choose to be anesthetized into not making waves, the system continues to roll over the top of us, and our animals, and nothing changes.

You may well have your own story to tell, if this is at all resonating with you, I’d encourage you to share that story in the comments below.

When we stand together, pioneers are a force to be reckoned with.

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  1. Sue Granger on May 8, 2017 at 9:22 am

    There is a worldwide movement started by Dr. John Robb in Conn. called 1. Rabies vaccines doses should be done by weight to animals that need a vaccine. 2. Rabies titers should prove immunity. Please check out the website with much info about the topic.

  2. Elle on February 28, 2017 at 8:56 am

    Great work, Dr Falconer. Does anyone have any idea about how to find puppies that have not been vaccinated, microchipped or dewormed? My request goes even further- -with parents and grandparents free of the same? Just starting to research this now. Thanks!

    • Dede on March 3, 2017 at 12:48 am

      Yes, from natural rearing breeders. Dr. Will has more on this on his website but you can also find them at and elsewhere online. Good for you! Hubby and I want our next pack to be at least 3rd generation naturally raised. 5th generation is even better. No shots, drugs, toxic products; only raw fed and natural/homeopathy for health care if needed. Juliette de Bairacli Levy books have all the awesome info on natural rearing.

  3. Martin on February 27, 2017 at 7:40 pm

    What people need to understand is that it is up to them to know about all things that concern their dogs health. People need to research and make the final decision themselves with some advice from the vet. Vaccines, diet, preventatives, spay/neuter all of these things are controversial and have a huge variety of ideas on what should be done. Some even advocate no vaccines at all. If you can’t trust your vet it’s up to you to either find one you feel you can or make these decisions your self. If you can’t find the time it is on you! throw down a bowl of kibble and be done with it.

  4. Darci Michaels on February 27, 2017 at 2:35 pm

    Thank you for everything Dr. Will
    Because of you and like minds I have some knowledge to do better and to stand up for my animals. As well I no longer fear publicly sharing the truth and being an advocate for our dear animals. For me education was key. Putting the pieces together led to only one conclusion, this catastrophic beast known as main stream medicine needs a serious overhaul. There ARE healthier and more efficacious alternatives. Thank you and a big shout out to all the “pioneers”! Let’s not stop. I think we’re getting somewhere!

    • Will Falconer, DVM on February 27, 2017 at 4:42 pm

      Right on, Darcy. I just listened to a talk by Andrew Wakefield, MD last night, and was heartened to learn two things:
      1. He’s done defending his work to the skeptics. He’s now on the offensive, taking on the vaccine industry and all their dirty tricks (Merck is one of the biggest frauds in history, caught changing their data to make MMR vaccine “appear” to be efficacious when it clearly wasn’t)
      2. A clear majority of Americans now is interesting in learning more about vaccine safety and efficacy (meaning, they are questioning both, not swallowing the party line).

      • Darci Michaels on February 27, 2017 at 5:29 pm

        That is awesome! Good for him. I think too having JFK stepping forward asking for safe vaccines and mercury out is a very nice invitation for dialogue at least. Although, it’s going to be tough running up against the machine, but thats where the rapid fire must be aimed at. those manufacturers are indeed a lying lot. Very true Dr. Will. That kind of fraud and corruption is harming our children and animals.

  5. Suzanne on February 27, 2017 at 9:47 am

    Thank you, Lisa, for the reminder about Thimeresol. I knew that it’s included in human vaccines but it didn’t occur to me that it could also be in veterinary vaccines. I’ll ask my vet about that.

  6. Lisa Cate on February 27, 2017 at 2:40 am

    Those of us charged with making care decisions for our beloved animal companions are not only shamed by VETS for not following all their desired regimens but also suffer from their lack of basic knowledge. After I INSISTED on a titre test on my French bulldog pup before allowing another round of “prescribed” vaccinations, my vet called and very arrogantly stated that he was not “AT ALL” immune. That he MUST come in for more vaccinations. She further stated that his stool specimen showed Giardiasis, and insisted that my otherwise healthy pup MUST go on high powered drugs to rid him of these. He had no diarrhea, no mucous in his stools, no vomiting and was gaining weight normally and playing vigorously. This information that I relayed failed to impress her as she ground it into me that my pup was NOT receiving the care he should be. That he needed more vaccines and must be treated for the Giardia. More shaming. More “I told you so”. Fortunately, I am not easily cowed. There was NO WAY I was going to treat a healthy pup with those gut killing drugs absent A SINGLE SIGN OF ILLNESS!!! My job was to build up his immune system, not destroy it! To stop the argument , I said she could leave the drugs at the desk for me to pick up. It was never going to happen I can tell you. However, I did go a homeopathic route and gave him natural herbal treatment for Giardia that would NOT destroy the beneficial bacterial balance in his gut.
    I was quite surprised about the titre results as my breeder had been following a very reputable regimen and all her pup’s tests had come back with more than adequate immunity without unnecessary over- vaccination. Before making the appointment for further vaccination, I requested that the results be sent to my email. Well, here’s where being an RN saved my sweet pup’s bacon again. The VET had interpreted the results absolutely BACKWARDS!!! I could hardly believe my eyes! One glance at the results told me that he had immunity off the charts!!!
    I called my vet and explained my interpretation of the results. FIRST she said I was wrong! THEN, I said, ” with all due respect Dr.——-, you are reading the results incorrectly.” Boy, did that go over great! I then quickly went on to explain how a titre is read. She was fuming at this point and THEN SHE SAID, ” Of course, I know how to read a titre! I just LOOKED at it wrong!! “‘And now I’m thinking, twice? You looked at it wrong – twice? The fact was, she would not even take responsibility for her blatant mistake. Had I not had some training of my own, I might have never discovered her inadequate grasp of this basic knowledge and given my pup unnecessary extra vaccinations! Don’t even ask me how much she charged me for her incompetence! Of course, she had already been paid! I wonder how many other tests on other animals she just “looked at wrong”.
    Needless to say, I severed her service then and there. She actually thinks I believed her, about “reading it wrong”. I was so flabbergasted at the entire encounter, the sheer lack of professionalism, the “hoilier than thou” attitude that was supposed to keep me in awe with my mouth shut and my purse open. But I’m not “in awe”, and I will NOT sit quietly and shove your pills down my poor pup’s throat. Sadly, she had cared for my prior dog who died of congestive heart failure. With that sweet dog, I gave the medicine she ordered. I tried to make the right decisions, but I trusted her. I have no reason to think that she was incompetent in any way with his care. The trust and respect I once had for her as a VET and a human being was destroyed when she would not acknowledge her mistake with my pup and her continued willingness to strong arm and shame me into doing things the way she wanted them done. I pray my poor Papillon did not suffer any due to incompetence that I had failed to discover.
    I’d love to say I found a wonderful new Vet. After much searching, I finally found one who used the “Thermosol Free” rabies vaccine I had been looking for. I was hopeful. After explaining to her my last recent bad experience openly and honestly, I handed her the titre results. She said, “But she was RIGHT, he ISN’T immune!”. Oh God spare me. I stood there in disbelief. I gingerly explained to her how to read the titre results…..her tech was standing there looking like a frightened rabbit as I attempted to school her VET of 28yrs in practice. She looked at it again, and in a barely audible voice said, “You’re right.”. I am now officially afraid to take my puppy to any VET. Can you blame me? Lisa Cate, Texas.

    • Will Falconer, DVM on February 27, 2017 at 10:01 am

      Oh, Lisa, oh my. This floors me, and I fear there is far too much of this in my profession.
      I can only take my hat off to you and commend you for persisting in the face of fire coming at you.

      • Darci Michaels on February 27, 2017 at 5:22 pm

        I am so very impressed with your tenacity to not back down! I only wish I could share your story because it is a fear of mine that those damn titres are being misread and once again our animals will be needlessly vaccinated. I shuddered reading your story thinking about how many animals has that vet harmed with her lack of knowledge and bullying tactics. Thank you for sharing.

    • Karen Anderson on March 6, 2017 at 6:33 pm

      Wow. So who do you trust? You can only trust yourself then. Two vets w/ that kind of stupidity or ignorance.
      Why bother going to them then?
      We just adopted a new dog a month ago. A very beautiful young Flat-Coated Retriever who got his Rabies vaccine done in December 2016. I am not going to take him in anywhere for more vaccine. He has that in him now. That’s it.
      If he needs care, it is homeopathic all the way.

  7. Jane on February 27, 2017 at 12:40 am

    I recently took my two female cats in for their well-checks. One is 11 and the other is 16. I told my vet their eating drinking and elimination habits, and then he looked them over, and said that they are in great shape. This is a clinic that has always looked for a way to make money, so I was quite surprised that he didn’t want to do any lab work. He did the same thing last year with one of my cockers who is 12 and bounces and runs like a dancer. He is always amazed at how healthy and our dogs and cats are. I always remind him that that’s what happens if you feed them a raw diet and don’t vaccinate! He’s no longer arguing with me….that’s progress! But slow….we’ve been working on this for about 20 years.
    And like someone else said, we pay more for food but WAY less in vet bills, and grief over illness, and early death.
    Thank you Dr. Falconer for helping to keep me strong when there are so many other voices on the other side.
    With gratitude, Jane

    • Will Falconer, DVM on February 27, 2017 at 9:57 am

      Jane, this is a brilliant testimony of a little progress in a professional’s mindset. Even if it took a long time, this vet has to admit, at some internal level at least, that you’ve done brilliant work here. And it was counter to what he’d recommend! Bravo!

  8. L Coggins on February 26, 2017 at 10:44 pm

    I agree with your comment of being a pioneer is not easy. I have 2 dogs with Addisons (unrelated,diagnosed 2 years apart) and I have to go get testing quite a bit at my conventional vet’s office. I sometimes feel like a freak with my beliefs and special requests. For the most part she has accommodated me with my requests for titers and low dose protocols…but I hope for a day when these things will be common practice and I don’t have to feel this way. A day when I can say no to a rabies vaccine and no one looks at me in puzzlement.

    • Suzanne on February 27, 2017 at 9:41 am

      In our state the rabies vaccine is required with no exceptions and owners who refuse it face legal penalties if discovered. We can’t get a license for our dogs (also required in my county) without it. I’m somewhat comforted by the fact that I can have titers run to avoid the other vaccines but it makes no sense to me that we can’t do the same for rabies. And it’s become a serious health concern for my dog because she has cancer and needs to avoid anything that will compromise her immune system.

      • Nora on February 27, 2017 at 9:47 am

        This is the point where you just say no, and stick to your guns.
        Vaccine inserts state they are to be given to HEALTHY ones, only.

        • Will Falconer, DVM on February 27, 2017 at 9:55 am

          Another way to put what Nora just said: It’s malpractice to vaccinate a sick animal, especially one with cancer!
          And please see my response to Joanne above, and stop needlessly spending titer testing money. Completely unnecessary.

  9. Nora on February 26, 2017 at 10:39 pm

    You know, it’s not just vets parroting the conventional, I received a “bonus report” with a supplement purchase that had so much misinformation in it, I was shocked. There was the usual nonsense about how dangerous bones are for dogs and cats, and how they should NEVER be given raw food! They continued to fulminate against a list of forbidden foods, some of which I’ve been feeding my cancer patient cat for four years with great success. It admonished me to not give pets mushrooms and the like. Their report smacks of being generated by a White Coat, injection wielding, commercial food stumping veterinarian.
    Instead of tossing their hum buggery into my trash folder, I sent them an email challenging them to visit your site and do some research, and subsequently correct their erroneous report, before sending it to anyone else. If you set yourself up as an authority, you have an obligation to provide accurate information, in my view.
    They actually responded positively, and agreed to correct their report where it needed correcting, (subject to their judgment,) which is a far better reaction than you’ve received from a few of your peers, doc.
    We have to get on our hind legs and demand better, if we expect to get it. The power to change things for the better rests with us.

  10. Joanne Keenan on February 26, 2017 at 10:05 pm

    Your quote just hit me! “Your making a ruckus, calling out injustice, or minimally, CHOOSING WHERE YOU SPEND YOUR MONEY (on food, on vets, on groomers, breeders, kennels, etc.), it all takes a certain amount of courage.”
    It just clicked! A few years ago I calculated that I spend about $200/month or so for meat and such for 3 dogs (at the time) rather than $80 on a bag of food for the same time period. But I don’t spend a nickel on veterinary visits (had titers done 2 years ago) — just food. And if my dogs need homeopathic care, I know it’s money well spent and I don’t have to be leery of motives. Such a good feeling!

    • Will Falconer, DVM on February 27, 2017 at 9:50 am

      Nice, Joanne. It truly is often a “spend it now (on good food, good learning) or spend it later (on chronic disease and its attendant ‘sick care’).”
      p.s. I’ll save you a bit more, if you haven’t already figured this piece out: if you had positive titers a couple of years ago, no need to continue to track them. They will fall over time, Nature conserving energy as she is wont to do, but that in no way means immunity is lessened. Here’s a page with more on that, for anyone that’s trooping in for yearly titers.

      • Kelly Hall on February 27, 2017 at 11:56 am

        Joanne, you are soooo right! Same thing I think each week as I am grocery shopping for my pack of 5. They get two home cooked meals each day in which I try to hit all the requirements and produce a tasty meal. Last year they only went to the vet for heartworm tests. But I did have one rescue titered and her rabies did come back low. She is an intact female Basador that was lactating when I found her. She was housed with my 5th rescue, Duke who received a rabies vaccine in order to be neutered so I wondered if she received some indirect immunity. Dr. Faulconer, your reply to Joanne touched on this and it is something I need to understand as I am receiving reminders from my vet to have her vaccinated and want to take an educated stand. BTW, you treated Duke to assist a leg injury and he is doing fabulously. Thank you, thank you for your boundless dedication to truth and healing, REAL healing! Kelly

        • Will Falconer, DVM on February 27, 2017 at 4:57 pm

          Hey Kelly,
          Glad to hear Duke is mended. Very cool.
          If your rescue’s titer was positive (i.e. not less than the labs lowest dilution), but not considered “protective,” odds are you’re done.
          This comes from Dr. Ron Schultz, who, as a veterinary immunologist, recognizes that “any titer means protection.” If you have a question, you can email me a copy of the results, and I’ll get back to you with an answer.
          Keep up the good work with your charges! Two home cooked meals a day, and less vet bills than ever. Love it.

  11. Marsha Kulley on February 26, 2017 at 9:05 pm

    You are so right about it being hard to be a pioneer. Thank goodness I “refound” you, your new website, and newsletters. I feel supported in what I try to do for my dogs. You and your Vital Animal pack inspire me to keep going against the conventional vets whom, unfortunately, it seems I must continue dealing with when a vet is necessary. I look forward to the day when holistic and “alternative” become the norm. Thank you for all you do, Marsha

  12. Tiffany on February 26, 2017 at 8:40 pm

    I too also love the work you do and the in depth teaching you provide. Don’t know an online Holistic Vet that is as good at conveying important and life saving information to pet owners as you do. You are award winning in my book. Without the knowledge I’ve learned from all your posts and books and courses I am certain I would not have the healthy and vibrant dogs that I do. (My other deceased dogs weren’t like this, but then I didn’t know you and the knowledge you share and I’m forever sad about that). As you’ve said many times we are our pet’s only and steadfast advocate. I ignore my vet and his notices to revaccinate. Are they hard headed or just ignorant or is it all just about the money? At every opportunity that arises, I tell everyone I can about your website and how intelligent you are on the health of our pets and hopefully they explore your website and learn just like I did. I am forever greatful to you. Both my dogs send their woof woof of love.

  13. ForgeOn! on February 26, 2017 at 7:25 pm

    I think I am in love with you! {Don’t worry!! Not that way!}
    I love that you practice & preach the values you do & that you so willingly share your wisdom with us. Our critters are so incredibly important to our mental and emotional stability, to the cycles of life. They are truly a precious gift. Caring properly for the animal creation is one of our God-Given privileges & when we do not fulfill that assignment……well, Our Creator will deal with that in due time!!
    To see critters so mistreated by the very professions that are supposed to care for them….Sick, just like the way things have gone to “poop” in human care. Personally, I have used a natural Vet, trained in TCM, for the care of my critters for the last 15-20 years or so. Love her to pieces!
    My current critter, an intact male Great Dane, gets chiropractic adjustments & acupuncture about every 6 weeks now. Has been going since he was just a pup. He has ‘wobblers’ (born with it / deformed vertebrae) and because of this fine care, he is still with me at age 9 years and 5 months.
    I am so thrilled you are using your gift to truly care for the animal creation.
    I also want to thank you for sharing your experiences while in India. Loved every post you wrote & every picture you shared.
    Love the flower pics from your ‘Home Base”. My parents also live in the Hill Country, closer to Marble Falls, so I really enjoy seeing what is happening in your ‘neck of the woods’.
    Take Care, My Friend…..

  14. Karen on February 26, 2017 at 6:53 pm

    I appreciate all you do! You have given me the courage to stand up to all the heavily pushed meds and vaccines. Our dogs and wallets are much better off now!

    • Will Falconer, DVM on February 27, 2017 at 9:43 am

      YES! Karen, I’m so happy for you and your courage to stand for just what you want, and no more.

  15. Donna Harris on February 26, 2017 at 3:43 pm

    Thank you for the work you do. Keep it up. The conventional vet community is in a sad state. I don’t know if you saw the vet, Dr. Mahavir Rekhi, who abused animals in his practice and was caught many times on camera. He got off with 5 months suspension and had to take a 2-day course on how to treat animals.

    Between the vets I used to have and this nonsense about letting this vet go back to practice, I avoid vets at all costs. If there is an emergency, I will be careful about what they do to my dog.
    Keep up the good work!

    • Will Falconer, DVM on February 26, 2017 at 4:46 pm

      Unbelievable, Donna. In Canada, where, in another province, I think BC, they threw the book at a colleague practicing holistic methods. Pretty sure he lost his license and had a 5-figure fine that was quite a bit more than 10K.
      And yes, be careful. A good idea to never let your dog out of your sight if you have to go in for something.
      Shame to say this about what was once an honorable profession, but that’s the state of affairs we live with now.

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