November 10, 2009 Feasting on Thanksgiving

Feasting on Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving! What a wonderful holiday! It brings to mind all of our blessings and that which we are thankful for. The feast of turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes, gravy, yams, cranberry sauce, and pumpkin pie! My mouth is watering just writing this! If your pets are anything like mine, and you are having Thanksgiving at your house, you may want to take a few precautions.
If you are having company and your pet isn’t really comfortable with company, please give them a space of their own, in a room of their own or in their crate where they can feel safe from the noise and activity going on. Nervous dogs and noisy crowds aren’t good combinations.
The smell of food is so tempting for your pet; you know they are bound to be underfoot waiting for you to drop a few morsels for them. Make sure your pet isn’t in your way while you are cooking or serving, nothing like tripping over the dog and dumping the turkey platter on the floor to make you re-think your blessings. Put your pet in a safe place away from the kitchen and dining areas until you are finished. Then you can share a few leftovers with them.
Here is what is normally okay to share with your pet, turkey, potatoes, veggies, but not in huge quantities. Most pets will gorge themselves if you let them on the good stuff. What is NOT okay to share with your pets are cooked turkey bones, or any cooked bone for that matter, cooked bones tend to splinter and your dog may not be lucky enough to pass them easily. You also don’t want to have to rush your pet to the emergency vet on Thanksgiving. Raw bones, oddly enough don’t splinter and if your dog can chew it, those aren’t so bad. Also on the no-no list are grapes, raisins, onions, garlic and chocolate. Those foods can be toxic and deadly to your pet!
Which brings me to my next point, large dogs, agile smaller dogs and cats are experts at getting to your food no matter how high you think it is safe from them. We have learned at our house, that as soon as you cook a meal, you better put it in the microwave or oven until you are all done otherwise you will have critters getting at it!
Jasmine is an expert at opening things and getting high enough to reach whatever she wants. It’s hard to break a bad habit when you aren’t in the room to catch them. She would never do these things in my presence, but if I go to answer the phone, or leave the room however briefly, she will go for it.
Luckily pumpkin pie isn’t toxic to dogs, that I know of, because just a couple of weeks ago, my husband, so happy from his trip to the IGA to get some food, got a hankering for pumpkin pie and bought one and baked it. The smell of the pie swirled around the room and I remember warning him when he took the pie out of the oven and put it up on the stove, that isn’t a good place for the pie. He of course scoffed at me, saying there was no place else to put a pie to cool, it would be fine.
I was envisioning kitty cat paw prints going through the pie since cats can jump up on counters. Luckily the cats were busy doing other things and didn’t go near the kitchen. The phone rang and I went to answer it, it was my mother long-distance and I sat down to chat with her and we were having a great conversation when I heard the yelling; “Mom! Jasmine got into the pumpkin pie!” and then heard my husband yelling and doors being slammed, chaos had erupted. So much for a lovely Sunday meal, half the pie was gone, the other half now in the trash, sigh. I told him that wasn’t a good idea. One day he’ll learn to listen to me.
I can’t wait until someone invents a pet proof kitchen. Until then, like I’ve always said, dogs are like children. Just like a 2-year-old child but FOREVER! You cannot leave them outside on their own, or with tempting things in their sight. They are bound to get into things just like kids. You have to watch them, or put them someplace safe until you are done. We have lots of places to put the dogs with gates to keep them out of rooms, but nobody did it. I can’t blame the dog for doing what she did, she’s a “toddler” but if the person supervising the toddler doesn’t make sure the toddler doesn’t get into things, then whose fault is it?
This dog is amazingly smart, and cunning! She can open cabinets and eat the food in them that are in boxes. She can open the refrigerator too, and pulls out leftovers and shares them with the other pets. She can open the trash cabinet too, and has been known to close it after the cat has jumped in to feast on the garbage, trapping the cat inside it.
I’ve actually installed cabinet locks and alarms for the fridge to scare her away from it. So much for tossing out the baby-proofing items from the kids, now I have to get more. I was so glad when the toddler years were over, sigh.
Here is another suggestion, one I should heed. Exercise your dog thoroughly before you have company or plan a large meal. A tired dog is a good dog! I’m not talking a little walk. I mean RUN that dog, wear them out! Make them so exhausted that all they can do is collapse on the living room floor when you get home. Enlist the aid of the younger members of your family to wear Fido out. I’m sure that would help out Jasmine and her antics. Like I tell her, “good thing you’re cute”.
I am still thankful I have a smart dog, albeit too smart at times. .
So count your blessings this year, for they are many, and keep an eye out for your pets, no matter how mad you get, you are still thankful for their company.

October 31, 2009 When It Rains, It Pours

When it rains, it pours.

I don’t know what it is about bad news, but as they say it always happens in three’s, well the past couple of weeks have been rough, I lost a dear friend, one of my friends lost a sister, and one of the sweetest dogs in the world died. I’ve been very depressed.

Then I have had clients with bad news, missing dogs, lost dogs, and a lost cat all in one day! I put out an S.O.S. to all the rescues and contacts in the areas the pets were missing in hoping somebody might spot them. So far, I haven’t heard much.

Now you all may think I’m crazy, (and some of you can confirm it) but I have met a person who is a “Natural Health Consultant for Body, Mind and Spirit” She specializes in herbology, kinesiology, body work and flower essences. Her name is Stacy Lowe and she lives in the Greencastle area, but comes to Waveland on Wednesdays. The amazing thing about Stacy is that she has a gift, she is an animal communicator. What that means is that she is sort of a psychic for animals and can give a reading on what is going on with them emotionally and even physically.

I’ve seen her work on animals and I am of course, ever the skeptic, but willing to keep an open mind. She did readings on my animals and although I didn’t find out anything really earth shattering, what she told me made perfect sense and I took it to heart. I’ve seen her do some work on animals that were suffering and she eased their pain. She does everything “prayerfully” and gives God credit for her gifts, and encourages her clients to pray and have faith as well.

Well, one of my clients who has 2 dogs missing called her to see if Stacy could help her find her dogs, Stacy told her the dog was 1 ½ miles northwest of her house, gave her some identifying markers and my client looked there and she found one of them! She was exactly where Stacy told her! Even my client’s husband was impressed! (You know men, if their wife calls an animal communicator to find a missing dog; he thinks his wife is off her rocker). Imagine the surprise when it worked! The other dog at this time is still missing but Stacy keeps “seeing” her within ¼ mile of the house. So I’m sure as I write this my client is busy searching that area.

The amazing thing is that all of this was done over the phone and she read through my clients vibes. She didn’t have a photo to look at, and Stacy can do readings by looking at your pet’s photo, so they can be emailed to her and phone readings are possible.

After hearing about her success in finding one dog it made any skepticism I had before go away. I am impressed!

I know there are psychics out there and many are truly gifted, I’ve had one give me a reading that was so right on it was scary! I myself have had some “visions” myself before that were after the fact, but amazingly accurate. I think most people have a little psychic ability but it’s not usually tapped into.

Stacy also does a lot of work with flower essences, which I am just learning about the benefits of and intend to have her work on me soon. There is just a big world out there with things that can help us we’ve never heard of and I’m always ready to learn.

So if you want to learn more about herbology, flower essences or are in need of an animal psychic, give Stacy Lowe a call at (317) 919-7262 or email her at

October 9, 2009 Service Dogs

Service Dogs

It never ceases to amaze me the talents of dogs. Many people have heard of Seeing Eye dogs, but I recently talked to a lady who told me about her son’s service dog. A Standard Poodle for her son who has juvenile diabetes and has Down’s syndrome. Jazz is a male standard poodle. He came from Missouri, he was a Seeing Eye Dog School drop out because he was too “in tuned” to everything going on around him. The people training him noticed he was very close to children and if they were crying he was right there. So he became a service dog for autistic children. Christie Vandivier and her son Josh age 8 found Jazz this past summer. Jazz was the perfect dog for them because if Josh is moving, so is Jazz. He stays with him constantly and comforts Josh during a meltdown. They also found that Jazz will smell her son’s face and starts licking his hand to alert that he needs to check his blood sugar. He wasn’t trained to do that but they found it’s one of his hidden talents.

When they visited Christie’s sister Angie who is pregnant, Jazz came up to her and started licking her hand. It was then that Angie found out she had gestational diabetes.

If a dog has a temperament for a service dog, but doesn’t have the skills for one area, they are tested in other areas.

I have a friend who is a groomer in southern Indiana who has Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) due to her former job as a mail carrier in Chicago. She was attacked from behind twice in her career and as a result, can’t stand for anyone to be behind her. Her service dog Sophie will lie down in the aisle at a store and keep other shoppers several feet away from her. When the disgruntled shoppers say, “Hey lady, your dog is in the way”, she simply says, “She’s working” and goes on about her shopping.

There are many kinds of jobs that service dogs can do, and many family pets have been known to alert their owners when something is wrong. Sometimes you just have to know what they are trying to tell you.

I know of one man whose 9 week old puppy woke him up as he was having a heart attack in his sleep. There are other dogs that can be trained to pick up objects and open things for different disabilities. There are even emotional disabilities such as bi-polar disorder, schizophrenia and multiple personality disorder that can have service dogs trained for them. There are dogs that can alert to cancer! Seizure alert dogs come in very handy for those with seizure disorders so they can alert the person one is coming on and to get on the floor so they don’t fall and hurt themselves, and can be trained to go get help as well.

While visiting public places, many proprietors may ask a person with a service dog to show proof their dog is indeed a service dog, it’s actually against the Americans with Disabilities Act to ask for it. According to the Delta Society what a proprietor may ask is:

Ask the handler, “Is this a service dog?” You may also ask what tasks the dog has been trained to do for the handler. A service dog can be any breed or size.

There is no Federal requirement that the dog wear any special gear or identification. Also, there is no requirement that the handler carry any certification papers showing that the dog has been trained as a service dog. You may not ask the person about the nature or extent of his or her disability.

However many of those with service dogs choose to put a vest on their dog to identify it as a service dog just to keep questions to a minimum.

Service dogs are allowed everywhere, and cannot be denied access to restaurants or any other building, however if the dog isn’t well behaved or poses a problem they can be asked to leave.

Remember, if you meet someone with a service dog; do not just automatically try to pet the dog. Many dogs have specialized tasks and they are working, so petting a service dog may be strictly off limits. Always ask the person if you may pet their dog first. They may tell you “No, he’s working”. Please respect their wishes. No matter how well trained a service dog is, it’s not fair to tempt them to get off task. Please be respectful.

Dogs are just such amazing creatures, they can hear for us, see for us, open and close things for us, and help us to walk, help us to balance, help us to get control of ourselves, help us for any number of medical problems. I don’t believe there is a task out there that a service dog cannot be trained to do. No wonder to me that dog is just God spelled backwards.