Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Carnival of Healing #178 - Animal Healing

Welcome to our edition of the Carnival of Healing, a weekly roundup of blog posts about healing, hosted by a different blog each week.

We're focusing this week on Animals!
I hope that by sharing this carnival widely I can encourage more animal practitioners to start their own blogs on animal wellness, particularly sharing with others about the different forms of holistic healing that are available. I hope you enjoy these blogs, and take part in the conversation by adding your comments to them.

I love Bridget Pilloud's writing. Her blog represents the best kind of blog, one you can relate to, be moved by, and learn something from. I always come away with something good. Honor The Now of Your Pet was the first blog post of hers I read, and one I'm so happy to share here. I can't tell you how often I urge pet owners to do just what Bridget explains here, but she does it much more eloquently than I have.

K9 Equine Therapy
is a new blog from the UK that has a great post about Why Do Animals Need Bodywork, and I'm so excited to share it because it talks about acupressure (Yay!). I do acupressure on dogs, and want to help share information about what a great healing modality it is. This particular article is about horses.

I also found this introductory post on bodywork for pets, with an interesting description of cranio-sacral therapy, which I've been curious about but never seen a good explanation of before.

Speaking of bodywork, Vida loves her chiropractor, Dr. Cheryl Ricketts-Mulvey. I see so many dogs that would benefit from chiropractic care I thought this post from Organic Pet Digest was a good introduction to chiropractic care. I also found an informative narrative on chiropractic care for dogs at blog4dogs which details the treatment of a tiny maltese.

My Life with Dogs is a brand new blog that posts useful introductions to a variety of holistic healing modalities for pets. They share their own experiences, as well as those of others. I look forward to reading more from them.

Reiki Furbabies has a wonderful post about the importance of recognizing how pets and their owners interact on an energetic level and can be helped with reiki.

Cats and Dogs Naturally is a blog dedicated to sharing their experiences with holistic pet care. This recent post about using Hawthorn for one of their cats with a heart condition is an example of the kind of personal post they specialize in. You'll see a great reference list along the right side if you're interested in learning more on your own.

While this post from Organic Family Circle doesn't go in to a lot of detail on allergies, it does give a thoughtful overview that most owners will find informative.

I do love this post about raw food for dogs for it's candor, but I especially like the photo (sensitive vegan's be warned) of little puppies chewing on raw meaty bones - those are gonna be some healthy dogs!

Detail is abundant in this post by an holistic vet on Kidney disease in pets. It's important to be informed about any health issue when it comes to your pets, so do your research!

Nadine Rosin has an informative post about the dangers of common commercial laundry products. I agree completely - I personally can't stand it when I have to use a laundromat and my clothes come out of the dryer "scented" (and I leave the place with a headache). I've been using Soapberries to wash my clothes for about a year now, and love them, and I know my dog appreciates them too.

In closing, I can't go without a link to
A Dog's Beach, a photo blog about one of our local dog beaches. I find that visiting dog beach is a complete Qi rejuvenator. And not just for me. The dogs love going there so much, being offleash, breathing the sea air. A visit to dog beach is as much a wellness treatment as anything else, am I right? So for those of you still stuck in snow, enjoy the photos.

To explore more Carnival of Healing editions:
Here you can find Carnival #177
Here you can find Carnival #179
Here you can find an archive of all past Carnivals

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Don't let seeking be the center

(when I wrote the title I wanted to clarify that I meant people, not dogs, because most dogs don't get enough seeking and trailing activities in their life haha!)

It's amazing how many new energy healing products and methods keep coming on to the market.

It's a good thing (mostly.. more on that), but it can get confusing. Just in flower essences it's a lot! And it does make you wonder if you're missing something good (Desert Alchemy, Australian Bush Essences, Alaskan Essences.. these are a few I've never used). But I keep reminding myself to keep it simple, and not jump in to everything. While I prefer learning new things to practicing old things, I also keep an eye on myself that I'm not simply seeking for something to fill an imaginary need.

When caring for a pet, and trying to negotiate the array of foods and products and advice, it can get not only confusing, but a bit obsession-inducing. My one piece of advice is to remember your pet in all of this. Seeking out the next and best can sometimes cloud your view to what is best for your pet. I see too many people who don't commit to a healing plan or lifestyle for their pet, but instead switch things over and over again without clearly attending to the animal.

"Attending" is a word that to me encompasses a few things in this context: seeing, caring, feeling, listening. With animals in particular, who don't speak our verbal language, this requires a quiet and clear attentiveness. Listening to an animal is akin to meditating sometimes. You have to let go a bit, and trust them.

This letting go includes letting go of worry - a habit that annoys our animals more than anything else. It forces our chaotic energy on to them, which if they need healing is the last thing they need, eh!

Energy healing is basically so simple. While I do Reiki, which uses a system of "attunement" for practitioners, I believe that if one truly attends to universal energy, there is no special system or school needed (and believe me, some of those schools are happy to take a lot of your money in exchange for their system!). For me, Reiki provides a structure, and perhaps it has attuned me to be more open to universal healing energy (I think if it as Chi/Qi).

Flower essences, for me, are a wonderfully simple source of Qi too, and while I don't pretend to be truly in tune with how each flower works (without reading up on what others have discovered), I've seen enough wonderful results to believe in them.

Food is another simple way to access Qi. That is why I'm such an advocate for fresh food and herbs for pets. If you aren't feeding some kind of fresh food, you're missing one of the easiest ways to bring healing energy to your pet. In most cases you don't need to learn a lot to make use of it either - relatively healthy animals will benefit from any basic fresh food diet. Animals needing to heal will benefit from some expertise that will tailor the food to their needs to bring added benefit and medicine (as in "let food be your medicine"). And I have to say, most pets in modern life do need a bit of healing.

If your energy is focused on seeking, and not attending to the present, you won't be doing yourself or your pet any healing favors. Mutual regard should be at the center.

So in that spirit, today I will commit to getting off the computer and spending some time with Vida, listening, and offering some healing energy and touch.

Don't forget! Carnival of Healing, right here, next Saturday. Let me know if you want to take part!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Blog Submissions Needed for Carnival of Healing #178

La Vida Fresca will be hosting the Carnival of Healing #178 on Saturday February 28th, and I'd like to hear from you about your own or your favorite blog on animal healing and holistic health.

Carnival of Healing is a weekly round-up of personal blog posts on the topics of holistic health, wellness, spirituality, and self empowerment, and this issue will focus on ANIMALS.

The week before mine is hosted by Reiki Help Blog, and you can also explore past carnivals here.

How to?
Comment here with a link, or email me at info@theartofdog.com, and please get the info to me by Thursday February 26th or I won't have time to integrate it.

While I know many people who write blogs have their own business related to their blog topic, I won't consider blog posts that are corporate-run or focus on product advertising (product mentioning is fine, I do that myself).

Looking forward to it!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Nature Walk with Dog

San Elijo Lagoon

Photo-Op Views are not designed for visitors of Vida's stature, so we make-do posing on the edge of a bench.

She looks a little bit like the host of a nature show here. We had a nice visit, both finding the variety of water and shore birds equally interesting to watch.

Here she looks like she'd be right at home - just take off her gear (Vida carries her own poop bag dispenser on her harness - Eco-Dog!) and she turns into a wild dog. She was very intrigued with the smells here - a raised boardwalk through a very large thicket of Arroyo Willow.

Though this park has a lot of native medicinal plants, we can't harvest from them. We can learn their natural growing habits, which can only enrich our learning. The dogs, of course, are more interested in smelling the raccoons.

The trails at this lagoon provide dogs with plenty of olfactory and visual interest, right at trails edge. And the view for people ain't bad either.

The Current Feeding Regime

Since I make adjustments every so often, and am a big believer is seasonal and/or health related shifts in feeding, I post the current plan every so often.

As for the word "regime" in the title I use that tongue in cheek. It's a joking reflection on the fact that I, as everyone does, gets in a feeding habit with my dog. It's also a joking reference to deflect the idea that what I propose is what you should be doing. Every dog is different. I just like to offer what I am currently doing, with an explanation of why.

My current feeding plan could be titled "Winter Plan for Middle-Aged Dog Harboring Quiet Cancer Cells (which we want to keep that way!)."

Daily Plan split in 2 meals (explanations further down):
  • 12 oz (approx) pre-packaged raw food
  • 2 patties of freeze-dried Stella & Chewy's, rehydrated with hot water.
  • 1 tsp Health Force Green Mush
  • 1/2 tsp Organic Pet Superfood's Super Immunity (overly long name for a medicinal mushroom blend)
  • 1 tsp In Clover Connectin
  • 2 caps Antioxident from U.S. Animal (aka VetriScience)
  • Splash of Liquid Health K9 Glucosamine
  • 2 Tablespoons Iceland Pure Sardine/Anchovy Oil

Ok. here's the lowdown on this, for those of you working out your own dog's health plan:
  • I use pre-packaged raw food for ease of use, but anything I do can be done from scratch, the theory behind it doesn't change. I'm using low-veg blends - under 15%, mostly around 5%. I'm also using specific meats and formulas that are warming and/or phlegm clearing. So that means Natures Variety Venison in a big way, as well as their beef (gotta love the barter system - acupressure for food), and Primal Pheasant (a great phlegm clearing formula!). I've been sticking with these three for a while now.

  • The freeze-dried food rehydrated with hot water is a good way to warm the meal, not just in an actual sense, but in an energetic sense. And it being winter that's an important part of my meal planning. I've been using the S&C's Duck-Duck-Goose formula, which as all of that brand is only 4% veggie. Crumbles easy, smells great. I tried a whole meal of that one morning ('cause I hadn't thawed) and it seemed a little too energetically warm for her.

  • Green Mush is great way to get in those green-superfoods in a dense, reduced-carb fashion. It also includes CoQ-10 & enzymes. Vida is doing really well with this mix - I swear her vitality has increased. I don't follow the dosage suggestions they use because it seems very high (they also recommend feeding vegan, so that, on top of wanting to sell more, colors their view - still a great product though).

  • I've switched medicinal mushroom blends just this week, from NK-9 to this one (of the too long title). I actually found out about it on Twitter, and liked that it included a broad range of species, grown in the U.S. organically, and at a lower cost. Now if they could just make the stylish container easier to open. I've become a big believer in medicinal mushrooms for dealing with cancer (should've started them sooner, I guess).

  • The Connectin is a joint supplement that includes anti-inflammatory herbs. I like that it's in a powder form, and it does have a good mix of herbs. It's hard to tell what effect it's having, but of course that's often the case. After all, I was already using a joint supplement (that I'm still splashing in - Liquid Health, 'cause liquid absorbs so quickly).

  • The antioxidant is the one recommended by Dr. Weingardt.This would probably be the first supplement I'd drop from the list, because I have the idea that she's getting these nutrients in her other supplements. It does ensure that the nooks and crannies of those nutrients are covered, and doesn't cost much, so there's no harm in using it.

  • Gotta have the fish oil! I keep mine in the fridge, and I wonder why it's so thick. I really need to ask the company about this because shouldn't cold water fish oil still be clear and runny at this temperature? How would the fish survive if it turned sludgy like this? Hate to he suspicious, but in other oils I've used it's the plant oils that thicken, not the fish.

  • Yes, she gets treats. Bravo Beef Straps or Icelandic Fish Skins for chewies, and dried organ pieces from Bravo & Primal (venison lung puffs) in the treat jar.
I read this and I think that I really should be adding some of this to my diet, eh. The Green Mush should go in the morning smoothy (but would it ruin the choco taste?), and the mushrooms into my miso/flax oil. Of course I'm sitting here writing - now I really should go out on a lagoon walk!

Of course I need to do a shout-out to Dexter's Deli, where I work & buy all these products. If you're in the San Diego area I hope you support the store. We try to make it a good resource for information as well as quality products.

La Vida Fresca is hosting the Carnival of Healing blog fiesta on Saturday, February 28th. The Carnival of Healing is a weekly round-up of personal blog posts on the topics of holistic health, wellness, spirituality, and self empowerment. I'd like it to be an animal-focused event, so please post a comment in my blog and include a link to your blog, or a blog you like, to be considered for inclusion. You can also email me the link at info@theartofdog.com

Don't forget to follow Vida & me on Twitter!

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Herbs... why the secret?

The more I learn about herbs, the more I wonder why they're so unknown these days.

Well, I don't wonder really. I know it's mostly to do with the marketing of pharmaceuticals.

Today I was doing some of my herb homework and was so excited to learn about the herbs that help with kennel cough. To read the descriptions of how they work (yes, the science!) fills me with confidence.

It also dismays me a little, because most people not only don't know about the herbal options, they don't have access to right herbs, much less advice on how to use them.

Health food stores these days do often carry a fair number of capsules and tinctures, but don't have information that is pet-specific, so you're kinda on your own.

Pet stores may carry some pet-specific products, but as someone who works in a pretty well-stocked store myself I can tell you that there are definite gaps in herb availability and knowledge.

I, for one, had no knowledge of the two herbs I just researched (part of my homework is putting together my own materia medica based on book research), and when I learned about them I really wondered why? To have herbs that will help coughs and lung congestion - who doesn't need that?

Coltsfoot? Elecampane? Do you know them?

Remember though, readers - herbs are not failsafe, nor are they all safe - please use your head!

And use your head to learn more for DIY care!