Contact Info: AskAriel1@gmail.com
Welcome to Ask Ariel Your Pet Nutritionist. Thank you for wanting to know more about our company! We would be honored if you could read "Our Story" and learn more about how our mission to use holistic care to help cats and dogs with "incurable" pet conditions got started. In the last 12 years, Ask Ariel has helped pets with tough health conditions such as IBD, collapsed trachea, autoimmune disease, kidney disease, cancer, feline asthma---to name just a few--to live longer and better quality lives. All of this came about from an effort to help rescued shelter pets get well so they could find their forever homes.
Pet Nutritionist Susan Blake Davis shares the Ask Ariel story below:
Susan: "For as long as I can remember, I have always loved animals. I had a Dalmation and a pet chicken growing up. Through all stages of my professional career, I was always looking to incorporate my passion for animals into my work but I could never find a good fit. My professional training was in business and psychology and for many years I worked in middle management corporate positions. I always felt a void that I wasn’t achieving my true potential. Moreover, I didn’t believe the jobs I held, no matter how prestigious, were enabling me to fulfill my personal dream to help animals and in some small way, make the world a better place.
When I got my first house, the first thing I did was get a dog. We named our husky/shepherd mix Ariel. She taught me how precious one dog’s life was. In 1999, I decided that I wanted to give back to the community in the name of my beautiful dog who had taught me so much. I wasn’t quite sure what was the best way to volunteer, so I went to a number of different animal groups in an effort to find an opportunity where my talents were best suited. I volunteered on a marketing committee at the Orange County Animal Shelter to try to help them find more homes for the shelter pets.
It was heartbreaking for me to visit the shelter as so many of these wonderful pets were being euthanized because of the high volume of animals coming in. (This was before the Internet which has made a tremendous difference because now potential adopters and rescuers can be informed about available dogs and cats.) What bothered me most, was that in many ways, the pets were being blamed for their unfortunate situation and labeled as having “something wrong with them” when in fact, the only thing wrong was their owner’s negligence.
I decided I had to do something to help and started by rescuing one dog and trying to find a home for it. My plan worked! I was a corporate professional during the day and a dog rescuer at night. I would drive into some of the poorest neighborhoods saving the lives of dogs that didn’t deserve to be in a high kill shelter. My family eagerly participated and we all helped to foster and care for these wonderful dogs. One dog successfully adopted after another led me to form a grassroots nonprofit called Ariel Rescue, Inc, an organization of volunteers that rescued and saved over 1,500 dogs sitting in front of PETsMART in Aliso Viejo. While after 14 years, I retired from rescue work myself, I feel honored to have been part of such an amazing community of hard working and dedicated volunteers who tirelessly give their time to save the lives of homeless animals.
While I was involved in rescue, many of the dogs had health problems such as diarrhea or skin problems that made them hard to place. Sometimes the dogs were even at the shelters because their owners didn’t want to deal with the health problem. Even though our charity would take the dogs to good veterinarians, the dogs would still have health challenges. I was very involved with holistic care myself and started to research what could be done to help animals using the same principles. What I discovered was amazing……basic changes in diets and a few supplements could turn the dog’s life around! We even once had someone look at a dog for adoption saying “I can’t take that dog, my last dog had skin problems” only to come back two weeks later and then comment on how nice the dog’s coat looked after we had changed the dog's diet and given him a few supplements. Holistic care made an immediate difference in the life and opportunity for a rescued shelter pet.
A few years later, my beloved Ariel was diagnosed with a fatal condition: kidney failure. The conventional veterinary treatments for kidney disease were very limited and I wanted to try to save her life. I did an enormous amount of research and developed my own diets for her, going weekly to my holistic veterinarian Dr. David Gordon for laboratory testing to assess the effects the food and supplements had on her kidneys. What was remarkable was that Ariel rebounded. She went on to live past her 14th birthday and maintained a good quality of life even with kidney problems.
I realized I had found “my calling”. I approached Dr. Gordon about my idea to become a pet nutritionist and he encouraged me to pursue it. I left my corporate position, went back to school, gained hands-on veterinary knowledge and established my practice slowly over a few years. It has now been 12 years since Ask Ariel was founded but every day I wake up and can't wait to get started. I love my job! I love helping pets feel better and sharing information with the wonderful, caring pet owners, who just like me, wanted to find a way to keep their beloved pets close to them as long as they could."
Susan Blake Davis
Certified Clinical Nutritionist (CCN)
Orange County, California
The Ask Ariel Story