An Open Letter To Nestle Purina PetCare Co. and Waggin’ Train LLC


Dear Purina and Waggin’ Train,

You don’t know me.  You don’t know that you forced me to do the unthinkable.  The sort of decision I prayed I would never have to make.

On August 2, 2012 after monumental efforts to save her through fluid therapy, and after much suffering, we “let” Bella go.

On August 23, 2012, after days of aggressive fluid therapy treatments and ultimately significant, rapid decline, we “let” Kiwi go.

Let is such a polite word.  What we actually did was make the decision to euthanize them.  I still get sick thinking about it.  I still cry.  All these years later.

Bella & Kiwi

I realize I’m only one of hundreds of thousands of consumers who bought pet treat products made by each of you.   Great sounding treats like Duck and Venison jerky, and Yam Good.  I was so excited about these products because both of the girls tended to have skin issues, and my vet recommended a diet excluding chicken and beef.  They ate a prescription dog food by Innovative Veterinary Diets, Royal Canin Hypoallergenic, and to find a treat they could have meant so much.  I will readily admit, they loved them.  They begged for them. And I enjoyed seeing their excitement, tumbling one over the other at having a “TREAT!” as I used to squeal at them while rattling the bag.

And that’s part of what made all this seem unbelievable.  After reading article after article of other dogs becoming sick, I thought, “Oh no, what have I been giving them?”  I immediately stopped, only, by then, unbeknownst to me, it was too late.   They’d eaten them for 18 months, and then, just like that, they were gone.

Imagine that.

Think about it.

I sure have.

And, there’s this to consider too.  Bella and Kiwi came from completely different litters.  They began eating the treats at the same time.  They began consuming more water at the same time.  They developed incontinence issues at the same time.  They became lethargic at the same time.  Lost weight at the same time with no change to their regular food.  They developed renal failure at the same time.

Bella was only 12, and Kiwi, was only 11.  Both young by Yorkie standards.

I’m sure by now you’re probably sick and tired of the whole jerky treat saga, considering the latest Class Action lawsuit regarding Beneful, but I’m here and I’m writing this now because the Class Action suit involving jerky treats has recently been settled.  And because, like a strange, twisted reminder, August of 2015 is the possible timeframe for the payout.  How very odd it will be three years to the month since “the unthinkable” happened, isn’t it?  Maybe that’s just how I view it.

They are now, sadly, counted along with statistical numbers tracked by updates written and printed by various news media.  Statistics that seem way off by the numbers in the Class Action suit.  All along the reports said 1,000 dogs killed and 4,800 sickened.  If that’s true, what about the other 5,200 who made a claim within the Class Action suit?  Yeah, 11,000 claims.  250,000 separate views of it.  A quarter of a million people who went out and looked at it.  Not 250,000 combined or collective views – individual or unique views.  Why do I believe that some of these folks (perhaps many?) didn’t file because they figured what difference would it make?  If they lost a pet, it sure wouldn’t bring them back.

I suppose I circle back to the “girls” again and again every now and then because I still feel them with me.  Filing my claim was hell.  Re-reading all of the vet reports which discussed their bloodwork and the BUN, creatnine levels, as well as personal notes like “she’s not feeling so good today,” and, “still not eating.”  Remembering all over again how I felt they’d been cheated of time with us, and that we’d been cheated of time with them.

Some who read this might think I ought to just get over it already.  Some might wonder why I would participate – since it IS true, participating doesn’t bring them back.  It doesn’t matter, and I don’t owe anyone explanations.  Maybe I’m trying to feel “settled” myself somehow.  It hasn’t worked yet, despite the fact after it happened, I wrote to EVERYONE, like my congresswoman.  My senator.  The FDA. The Veterinary Medicine branch of the FDA, CVM.

This was simply one more avenue where I could be heard. To tell the “girls” story once more, no matter how it resurrected the heartbreak all over again.  I still dream about them.

And so, this was my voice, amongst and with the other 10,999 heartsick pet parents.

Can you hear us?

037

The Hunter

 

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13 Comments

Thank you, Craig. After all that happened above, a few months later I got Little Dog and I said “never again.” I fed him a homemade diet (formulated specifically for him by the NC State School of Veterinary Medicine) for almost two years. Then, he stopped eating it, lost weight, and no matter how I tried to entice him to eat it – nope. I was forced to go back to a commercial brand – and the idea of something “wrong” with it almost gave me hives. I follow a site called Dog Food Advisor. The food he eats is not a 5 star ranked food, it’s four star – but, recommended by them. I had tried a 5 star (Blue) and he started getting sick. – which freaked me out as you can imagine. I went back to what he was eating when we adopted him (the 4 star kibble) and he’s doing GREAT.

I humbly accept your apology, although truly, none is needed. It’s HARD to communicate on line when we can’t see expressions, gestures, or hear the tone of voice. I gripe about this to myself all the time and worry worry worry how something I’ve “said” might come across. Just the other day I was eating yet another slice of “humble pie” after the Sea World comment I made. Who knew someone from THERE would be reading La Sharque’s blog? I still stood by my position, and she was gracious enough to educate “us” on the work they do.

Anyway, no harm, no foul, my friend.

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I am sorry that this happened. The feeling of betrayal can go on for a long time. It is even worse when it has to be pulled back into the light because of lawyers. I hope you can get it settled soon and begin to heal on this too. The problem of don’t buy it goes back to the melamine problem when you found out that the cheap Walmart brand was the same as Iams. It makes you leery of all brands of dog or cat food.

I also wish to give you a personal apology. I feel I went too far and can see now that it could be construed as another heaping of betrayal. I am sorry and hope you accept my apology.

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I’m so sorry

We were lucky lucky lucky that we only got those for Elka a few times and she hadn’t had them for a year or more by the time I heard about dogs getting sick. IT makes ME sick and I’m reminded of families like yours every time I walk past the pet food aisle at the grocery store.

So many companies, with treats and with food, make their customers sick, and so few are willing to accept ANY level of culpability for it. And our dogs are so vulnerable, and so frequently internalize their hurts, so it takes vigilance to catch any change, and even then, but the time there’s a change it can be too late.

Made in China is a big deal, and also whether the chicken is SOURCED from China as well, because if it is, Made in USA or Made in Canada means squat.

Liked by 1 person

    Exactly. Sourcing is key, and trying to find out about that is an exercise in of itself. Many times the person on the other end of the phone has no idea where they get the x, y, or z of what’s IN the treat/food. And you’re also right about how dogs internalize their discomfort. Dogs “hide” discomfort because it’s seen as a sign of weakness by their “pack.” It’s ingrained in them to behave this way – even now. I’m so glad you found out before Elka consumed too many.

    And yeah, I feel the same way when I see products in stores which are camouflaged to look different (different packaging) or more of the same old same old…, and I almost want to take on a vigilante approach and hover about so I can WARN people – “don’t buy it!”

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I shared on FB as well, Donna, because I had no idea about these treats. How could I have missed this, I belong to two doggies news sites! But sometimes I don’t have time to read and skip over some stuff. Not now! I’ll read every scrap of info they send out.

So sorry for your loss, I don’t want to think about what you went through, but I’m glad you bled onto the page and warned us. I better go research Purina Chewies (they even have a pic that looks just like Maple on the box).

Liked by 1 person

    Just to give you a bit more info, the specific jerky treats identified during this were the brands of Canyon Creek, Waggin’ Train and Milo’s Kitchen. And, here’s what I believe (110%) – ALL jerky treats – not matter what brand – are under scrutiny IMO, and ought to be questioned. Made in the USA doesn’t mean a thing, unless a consumer knows where the ingredients come from. The good news about this Class Action suit is the quality control methods are to be enhanced (whatever that means) and the packaging has to be changed to show “Made In China” etc., more prominently.

    Liked by 1 person

I shared your piece on FB. This is what I wrote.

“There is nothing worse than offering what you think is best, only to learn it is the worst.”

So sad, and again, I offer my heartfelt condolences.

Liked by 2 people

    Thank you 2N’s! I appreciate you sharing b/c I still “feel” people don’t know! And I see jerky this and that creeping back into stores – could be sourced elsewhere other than China – but, who really knows? “Made in the USA”doesn’t mean the ingredients come from here – a fact a lot of people don’t realize.

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      Our daughter’s miniature dachshund came very close to dying (I wrote about it) from the white chew bones from china. Intestinal bleeding. The vet said had treated many dogs suffering the same fate. It is a miracle that the little guy is still around.
      He is ours now (sort of on loan) and we give him nothing but what we believe is the best and what the vet recommends…BUT …you never know?

      I just don’t get how anyone can offer something, be it food, toys, or whatever, to animals or humans that is so harmful. Have they no shame, no conscious.
      There’s a place in hell for all of them.

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      Well, it did me no good to hear on a.m. radio the other day, of the slaughter of dogs (10,000 a day during this “festival”) in Guangxi province. I won’t link to it. It’s too horrific to imagine. I’m glad your little buddy “on loan” (haha, yeah, right) is okay!

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oh my goodness, I could cry reading this 😦 May your poor pups rest in peace

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    I hesitated writing this b/c I didn’t want to upset folks all over again (myself included) but I get stuff in my head and writing is how I get “it” out.

    I’ve been told time and again, “if I were a dog, I’d want you to be my owner.” I have to laugh at that, b/c yeah. The girls were spoiled, but mostly loved. And so is the Little Dog I have now.

    Liked by 1 person

      With two pups myself, and having lost a dog a few years back, I can only imagine the heartache. I agree that writing it out can be really therapeutic, and maybe the right people will read it and can do something about it!

      Liked by 1 person

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