Wednesday, January 29, 2014

(Nearly) Wordless Wednesday (only not today!)

The only kind of snow day I like (and even then, it's too cold!).

While not directly pet-related, I learned my love of animals - terriers, in particular - from my parents. We had any combination of dogs growing up, a couple of stray cats, fish, gerbils.

Three weeks ago, we had a setback when the doc found my dad had a bladder tumor. Fast-forward to today, and the man who, at nearly 93, had never had anesthesia or surgery sailed through and the tumor, while cancerous, was caught early and is extremely slow-growing. And so today, I am celebrating my not-so-Wordless-Wednesday with a photo of my folks, who will celebrate another anniversary together next week. Happy day!

Monday, January 27, 2014

Pet holidays - January 2014

Do you celebrate holidays with your pets? More and more people do just that, so we'll take a bit of space each month to let you know what's going on and where you can find more information.

January is nearly done, but there is still time to celebrate together!

National Train Your Dog Month 

Walk Your Pet Month (although I will admit I'm not doing much about this, what with the really cold weather and all!)

January 29, 2014: Seeing Eye guide Dog Birthday

Technological interruptions

I'm sorry to report that we will have a brief interruptions in posts as my primary computer crashed over the weekend. I hope to make a Tulsa run this afternoon to buy a new one and then will go back in a few days, after they have (hopefully!) transferred all my data. Until then, I can't access my posts and/or photos.

Keep your fingers crossed for us! We have had a lot of interesting adventures in recent days and can't wait to share them.

Stay warm and safe. It was 70F here yesterday and 0F by this morning. Oh, Oklahoma ...

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Belly Lifts practice

This was definitely my biggest challenge yet as far as practicing on my own dogs. I would love to actually have photographic evidence but, since it's just the dogs and me, I don't have enough hands!

As I mentioned, Belly Lifts have a number of uses, including digestive issues, sore backs, nervousness and gait problems. It's best to use a towel with animals like dogs and cats. The idea is to gently and slowly lift the abdomen from underneath, hold for 3-5 seconds, then release very slowly (taking twice as long as the lift is recommended). Starting behind the front legs, the towel is moved along the body towards the hindquarters.

Carson was my best participant this week. She stood quietly as I worked with her, then wiggled and shook it off when we were done. She seemed to like the gentle pressure. Marley sat down after the first lift and had to be persuaded to stand again. I felt like he was tolerating me practicing on him each time I tried it, but he wasn't thrilled. Not surprisingly, Blue was definitely uncomfortable. First of all, I put something unexpected (the towel) around him. Then I lifted his abdomen - not once, but THREE times! He backed into a corner whenever possible, although her was more comfortable with having the front part of his body worked. As we moved closer to his hindquarters, he got more antsy. But that area continues to be a challenge with him, so not surprising.

This is one I need to work into the rotation fairly often so the dogs get more used to it. That way, when and if it is really needed, they may accept it more easily.

Week 4 will focus on Lying Leopard, which is a variation of the Clouded Leopard. The main difference is the curve of the hand is more flat, so there is a larger area of contact. This touch is good for animals that may be too sensitive to Clouded Leopard, as it feels less invasive.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

bugRIGHT, Made in Oklahoma

[This post first appeared on my sister blog, Pawsitive Places. But in the interests of doing less and doing it (hopefully) better, I plan to write only this blog for the time being.]

Even when the temperature dips well below freezing, most Oklahomans know it simply doesn't get cold enough here to kill off "critters" in our homes, yards and on pets. And now there is a new, natural solution for Oklahomans and their pets – an organic, non-poisonous bug repellent called bugRIGHT. Even better, it’s made in Oklahoma!

bugRIGHT products are natural and safe for people, pets and the environment. The bug repellent powder utilizes natural ingredients, including essential oils, to kill bugs and discourage future infestations. According to inventor Paul Goss, essential plant oils attack the central nervous systems of insects, killing them within a few hours. These same dosage amounts are harmless to humans, birds and mammals, and the environment. bugRIGHT utilizes clove thyme and wintergreen essential oils, along with soybean oil, diatomaceous earth, sodium chloride (table salt), sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) and 2-phenethyl propionate (a derivative of peanut oil).

It's tough to find a balance between a nice lawn and a safe environment for pets. Vegetable gardens are most abundant when free of pests like squash bugs. The same is true for inside spaces. No one wants to live with ants, fleas, roaches, scorpions or ticks. And bugRIGHT offers an option. It is important to note that a study presented in the January 2012 issue of the Environmental Research journal found that exposure to professionally-applied lawn pesticides was shown to a significantly higher risk – 70 percent – of canine malignant lymphoma (CML). While the study did not contain many specifics, there was enough information provided in the results to raise a red flag. And there is certainly enough concern to show a link between CML and pesticides. In reporting the study, Whole Dog Journal noted that dogs “can serve as sentinels for human disease because they are our close companions and are subjected to many of the same environmental influences.” The article, authored by Barbara Dobbins goes on to say that while the goal of the study was “to identify risk factors for CML from exposure to environmental chemicals … for humans,” it is important to note that canines and humans experience different exposures to lawn care products. Humans generally do not come in direct contact while dogs – their bodies and their toys – do.

Goss and his wife, Freda, developed bugRIGHT after they recognized their own need for a nontoxic alternative to garden chemicals. bugRIGHT is safe to use inside and out and even directly on pets. While made of food-grade materials, bugRIGHT should still be kept away from children and pets and should not be ingested. The dust from bugRIGHT powder could be irritating to respiratory systems and because the product contains essential plant oils, it may cause reactions in those sensitive to fragrances.

bugRIGHT comes in two containers so users may select method of delivery.

The 11-ounce shaker canister (suggested retail $15) is best for spreading evenly on gardens or carpeted areas.

Even though it seems like winter will never end, it won't be cold forever. Look for bugRIGHT today. You won't be sorry.

bugRIGHT is available at stores throughout northeastern Oklahoma. Distribution is expanding east and into Texas. To find out where you can buy bugRIGHT and to read more about the product, it's history and plans for the future, visit bugRIGHT

(Nearly) Wordless Wednesday

Celebrating dog beds!

We have five for three dogs, with two located on my bed and another on the floor of my bedroom, one in the living room and the big one in front of the dining room window.

How many are in your home and where?

Friday, January 17, 2014

Practicing Clouded Leopard

As I mentioned last week, Clouded Leopard was one of the first touches I learned. I think a lot of people do something like this pretty much naturally, at least the touch part. What I believe is equally important is the intention while touching, along with simply being present. Being present is a lesson I seem to have a hard time learning, by the way! Clouded Leopard uses the pads of all five fingers. The fingers are slightly curved, but not perpendicular as with Bear. The idea is to get below the fur to the skin, but certainly not to apply enough pressure to be considered massage. It is easy for me to go too quickly with Clouded Leopard, so I consciously try to slow my breathing and stay relaxed.

Blue is not nearly as fond of Clouded Leopard as he was of Bear. I will continue to work with him and try to help him reduce his stress levels. Marley and Carson both melt into this one. I use it quite a bit along Carson's neck under her chin, which is a bit of a touchy area for her. I need to find my rhythm, however, so I can flow from one circle to the next without it feeling so "jerky" to me.

Week 3 will be spent on Belly Lifts. These are used not only for digestive issues, but also for sore backs, nervousness, pregnancy, hypersensitivity, timidity, poor balance, arthritis, gait problems and in helping redirect negative behavior. While I could use my hands in a pinch, it works best to use a towel for most companion animals like dogs and cats. I am particularly interested to see how Blue responds!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

(Nearly) Wordless Wednesday

Sorry! The day almost got away from me. Here are a few bits of the natural world to share from our little corner of the globe. Offered with love from Blue, Carson and Marley.

Storm clouds southeast of town

A tiny nest made from the native grasses
in the back yard. Recent winds blew it down.

Sun through the clouds as I left for work this morning.
It was even more red 30 minutes earlier!

Monday, January 13, 2014

Post-holiday letdown

The holidays are gone and now the college-age children gone, as well. My son left on Thursday for a four-month internship in Florida. As he does each time he leaves, he spent some quality time with Blue before he headed out, talking and telling him to "take care of the terriers and the girls." Then, yesterday, my daughter headed out for her second semester at college.

The dogs played all afternoon, taking advantage of sunshine and warm temperatures. I left the back door open so they could come and go and they got plenty of exercise. But it was much more quiet that it had been in recent weeks - no voices, no guitar and singing, no television.

We were all a little blue. Marley couldn't get close enough, as this picture shows. It will take everyone a bit of time to find our middle ground again. Of course, by then, the kids will probably be back home!

Friday, January 10, 2014

Hibernating with Bear TTouch

My apologies in advance if these experiments aren't as interesting as they seem to me! This week we worked with Bear, which means using the fingertips at a 90 degree angle to the skin/coat. I realized I use it pretty often and without realizing that's what I'm doing.

A huge (for us) cold front moved in on Saturday night, so I had a lot of forced hibernation time with the dogs - and the kids. It gave me plenty of chances to get my hands on the dogs, as the temperature dropped and the winds howled.

Bear TTouch puts Carson into a zen state pretty much every time. Her eyelids slowly close and she sinks into me, the bed, the sofa - wherever. I consciously try to slow down the circles, as I find myself going too fast much of the time.

Blue is much bigger, with a ton of coat. For him, the circle moves his fur around more. He will even back up to have the area around his tail touched with Bear, which is nearly unheard of with him.

As for Marley, well, he's pretty easy. He loves almost all touch.

Week 2 focus is on Clouded Leopard, one of the first touches I learned. Founder Linda Tellington-Jones wrote that this touch got its name from a Clouded Leopard at the Los Angeles Zoo who was worked on with TTouch. It's a very light touch to help reduce all kinds of stress and stress-related reactions and to increase self-confidence.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Monday, January 6, 2014

Baby, it's cold outside!

Much of the country has been dealing with winter storms and bitterly cold temperatures. Here in Oklahoma, the thermometer plummeted on Saturday afternoon, taking with it the ability to spend very much time outside - at all. As I hustled the dogs in and out - always a challenge since Carson gets distracted and doesn't take care of "business" - I watched the cows across the road. They huddled together, braving the elements stoically. They seem so passive, well, except for at dinner time, when Rosie the red cow always gets very vocal and moves right up to the fence!

A quick online research adventure revealed that cows in good coat and with adequate body mass can survive bitterly cold temperatures pretty easily. It is harder for calves, who haven't had the chance to fatten up. There are four calves across the way. The articles I found mentioned windbreaks and plenty of water as important to survival. Luckily we haven't had rain, as wet coats, combined with wind and cold, increase the odds of hypothermia in cattle.

The herd across the way is well-cared-for, so I am certain they will be fine during this cold spell. And I have to say I'm glad I'm not the one feeding and watering a couple of times a day. Thankfully, I can watch them from my sunroom and stay warm!

Friday, January 3, 2014

New year, new goals

I hope everyone had just the kind of holiday season they hoped to have  - and now it's time to create the best year ever. At least that's my plan. My writings here will (hopefully!) be a bit more organized and regular. Friday's posts will follow my journey in learning and practicing Tellington TTouch. I have three sessions under my belt and hope to finish the remaining three for my level one in the next 12-14 months. Each week, I plan to focus on one touch and use it on myself and the dogs throughout the week. Then, on Friday, I will share my experiences and let you know which touch I'll be using the following week.

Okay. Ready? Here goes! Beginning today, I am going to work with Bear TTouch. Bear is described as having "an activating effect and is soothing for itching hot spots from fleas or skin allergies." Bear is also useful for "large, well-muscled dogs who lack focus or are hyperactive."

Marley is always ready to snuggle and help out
with TTouch practice.
Here is one of my pack, Jacob Marley, waiting his turn for the week. From all of us here, stay safe and warm on this first weekend in January.