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The Legacy of Libby



Libby rode on my lap during our trek home. I could feel our bond beginning immediately. Our shepherd mix, Saba Francis, took Libby under her wing. Our two cats, Bonnie and Casey accepted a new puppy as they had done before. I imagine with some mutterings under their kitty breath. We settled into life together, taking pictures daily of Libby basically being adorable. What beautiful memories those pictures created.


In a few years the dream of most border collies, I might assume, was realized. We moved to an acreage we called ‘the farm’. I think those were her two favorite words as we were building our home and getting the property ready. Asking ‘Libby, do you want to go to the farm?’ would egnyte a series of barking and running around, raring to go. Libby and Saba had such fun exploring their new ‘digs’ together. Soon after we all moved in, a horse was added to the family. Time for the real action to begin! It’s hard to have ‘just one’ horse so another horse family member was added, followed by two goats. Now, Libby is in business!


Life on the farm was great...Libby accepted new dogs into the family and was my best chore helper. She killed snakes lurking in the hay and always found the biggest sticks to play with.


In March 2012, about two weeks after receiving her rabies and distemper/parvo vaccinations, Libby became critically ill. She was diagnosed with Autoimmune Hemolytic Anemia (AIHA). This is a life-threatening disease in which an animal's immune system destroys its own red blood cells. Many traditional veterinarians do not see the correlation between over vaccination and many diseases. I knew in my heart, the vaccines caused this horrible disease. After conducting my own research and learning how holistic veterinarians feel about the subject of over vaccinating, I knew my heart was right.


We treated Libby with strong medicine and she improved for a short time. We were hopeful she would make a full recovery. One Sunday, Libby showed the signs of AIHA and the progression was rapid. While out doing chores with me she was slow but still wanted to play, just with less energy. Within two hours, she became weak with very pale gums - an emergency situation for an AIHA patient. We raced to the veterinarian’s office.


One of Libby’s favorite things to do when riding in the car was what we called ‘car chomping’. She would look out the window and ‘chomp’ at the cars passing by. It always produced much laughter which of course, encouraged her to it more. I was sitting in the back seat, holding her on my lap when she suddenly sat up and did one last ‘car chomp’. I believe she knew what was happening, her energy was slowing leaving her body.


In the vet’s office we were told the worst, there was nothing else to be done for our sweet girl. It was time to say goodbye. Our love for Libby filled the small exam room and our tears flowed freely. My husband Ben and I were looking into her eyes as she made her transition. The hole in my heart became permanent.


I share Libby’s Legacy to encourage others to think for themselves. Do the research. What seems reasonable to you? I know how I feel about vaccinations and over vaccinating. Libby was not our first dog to suffer the consequences of this practice. This is a very personal topic and my intention is to simply share what I learned from Libby’s illness and not to suggest what others should do.


Libby’s spirit is with me daily. She is with me as I do chores, on the lookout for snakes. When I see a big stick, I think of her. I miss her car chomping. I miss her, period.

As children we are vaccinated against diseases like measles, mumps, rubella and DPT, and the immunizations provide lifetime protection. They are not given again in our entire life, much less repeated every year. Why is this not the case for our animal companions?


I have found holistic veterinarians follow a far more sensible protocol rather than the standard over-vaccination routine many veterinarians continue to practice. Rather than automatically vaccinating every year and including non-core vaccines that may not be necessary, a far more sensible approach is to realize that the efficacy for most vaccines lasts a lifetime. One of the most helpful teachers I found on this subject is Dr. Will Falconer, a homeopathic veterinarian in Austin, TX. His website is listed below.


As I learned about the dangers of vaccines, I discovered a new term; vaccinosis. Dr. Richard Pitcairn, who holds a PhD in immunology, defines it this way: "Vaccinosis is to be understood as the disturbance of the vital force by vaccination that results in mental, emotional, and a physical change that can, in some cases, be a permanent condition." Libby’s illness fell into the vaccinosis category and is one of the more deadly effects possible. An example of some vaccine reactions that have been documented are:


  • Behavior changes such as aggression and separation anxiety

  • Obsessive behavior,self-mutilation, tail chewing

  • Pica - eating wood, stones, earth, stool

  • Destructive behavior, shredding bedding

  • Seizures, epilepsy

  • Fibrosarcomas at injection site

  • Autoimmune diseases such as those affecting bone marrow and blood cells, joints, eyes, skin, kidney, liver, bowel and central nervous system

  • Muscular weakness and or atrophy

  • Chronic digestive problems


The following resources have been helpful to me over the years of researching and studying this topic:  Working to lengthen the proven efficacy of rabies vaccine  Dr. Will Falconer, homeopathic veterinarian ‘Vaccinosis -- Mark of the Beast’ Holistic veterinarian, Dr. Karen Becker has many articles and videos about vaccines and dozens of other important health topics for our pets.


I have been a passionate advocate for the holistic options available for our animals for years. I created Animal Soul Connection to continue to help animals and their people every day by sharing what has helped our animal family and the many other animals I’ve encountered.

A voracious appetite for life as a Border Collie describes dear Libby. Quirky and the self-imposed ‘play police’ of our other dogs, Libby was full of heart and soul. Her life began on a working ranch in the rolling Sandhills of Nebraska. My husband, Ben, and I drove to the ranch to choose a new member of our family. Quickly, we realized it would not be our choice to make as Libby clearly chose us with her antics. A tiny ball of tri-colored fur came running right up to us and then joyfully rolled down a small hill. Her zest for life was contagious and we knew Libby had chosen lucky we were.

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