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