Be Kind to Animals Week May 3-9

bekind_main

Be Kind to Animals Week” is sponsored by the American Humane Organization.  It celebrates the role animals play in our lives and promotes ways to treat them humanely.

We celebrate the bond we have with our own pets each and every day by loving them, caring for them, and basking in the uncondtional love they give us in return.   “Be Kind to Animals Week” may be an opportunity for us to remember animals who are not as fortunate as our pets.  Some suggestions on how pet parents can participate in “Be Kind to Animals Week” are:

– Donate cash, pet food, or cat litter to your local shelter.

– Volunteer as a fost parent with a local rescue group.

– Volunteer with your local shelter.

– Make a donation to your favorite shelter.

– Appreciate wildlife.

– Report animal abuse.

Rainy Sunday Reading

Another rainy Sunday here.  Amber has given up on searching for the sunny spot and is taking her morning nap.  I think I’ll settle in for a lazy day of catching up on my reading.  If you’re looking for something good to read, I’ve added some new suggestions to the Reading List on my website.

I always have at least two or three books going at the same time.  Today, I’ll finish a re-read of “The Feline Mystique” by Clea Simon.  I might also dip into “Conscious Entrepreneurs“, a collection of inspiring stories about the spiritual journey of entrepreneurship.  I especially like to re-read Chapter 22, which was written by one of my mentors.  I’m also indulging in a guilty pleasure, Nora Roberts’ “Tribute” – this is Roberts at her best, a combination of love story, suspense, and likeable characters.  And I’ll be catching up on my magazine reading – unread issues of Cat Fancy, Ali Magazine and Brigitte are stacking up!

What will you be reading on this rainy Sunday?  Share your favorites!

Amber, on a rainy Sunday

Amber, on a rainy Sunday

Afraid of the swine flu? Don’t be.

You can’t turn on the computer, look at a newspaper, let alone watch television without being bombarded with news about the swine flu.  Words like epidemic and pandemic are becoming part of everyone’s vocabulary.  It’s hard not to be afraid in the face of this barrage of fear-inducing rhetoric.

This is a good time to use your head, and to harness the power of your thoughts.  To begin with, don’t let yourself get caught up in irrational fears.  Think this through.   Statistically, more people die in car accidents than in an epidemic, and yet, we all get into our cars each and every day without giving it much thought.  Today, we have the best medical care, the best public health system, and the best world-wide communication methods in the history of the planet.  This is not 1918.  This is the flu – not the black plague.

Make smart decisions that support your well-being.   Make small choices each day that add up to make a difference in how you feel.  Eat healthier, get more exercise, cut back on sugar.  All of these choices contribute to boosting your immune system.  Find things that bring you relaxation – get a Reiki treatment or a massage, take a hot bath scented with relaxing aromatherapy oils, read a good book, watch a funny movie.  And of course, spend time with your pets!  That’s the best way to relax that I know of. 

And above all else, stop worrying.  Worry creates stress, and stress weakens your immune system.  One of the Reiki precepts is “Just for today, I will not worry”.  If that’s too tall an order, try it for an hour.  Another way to get a handle on worry is to allocate a specific time each day for worrying – during that time, let yourself go nuts.  Worry all you want.   Take it to the ultimate worst case scenario.  You’ll quickly realize how crazy most of your worries actually are.  In fact, take a clue from your pets – they never worry.  They live in the moment.  When you live in the moment, there’s no place for worry.

And those of you who’ve followed me for a while already know what I’m going to say next:  don’t watch the news!  Don’t fill your energy with all that negativity.  You have the power to choose where you direct your attention and what you let into your energy field.  You don’t have to stick your head in the sand, but make the choice to not let what’s going on in the world affect your mental and physical health.

Natural flea and tick control

As a follow-up to my recent post about the EPA’s increased scrutiny of spot-on flea and tick control products for pets, I tried to find natural alternatives that are equally as effective as the chemical-based products.  Unfortunately, I didn’t find anything that I’m comfortable recommending without reservations, but I thought I’d share my findings with you so you can make your own informed decisions.

Many natural products contain essential oils such as Pennyroyal, Tea Tree or Citrus oils. Essential oils are generally not safe to use around cats. This has become a hotly debated topic in holistic circles. Even though some practitioners or suppliers of essential oils will claim that their products or techniques are completely safe for cats, the fact remains that cats have a unique physiology and process these oils differently from other species. Some oils can even be deadly to cats. I do not recommend the use of any essential oils around cats.

It seems that the only safe natural flea control methods are as follows:

  • A good flea comb with tightly spaced teeth.  Comb your pet daily during flea season and drop any fleas you find into a bowl of soapy water to kill them.
  • Bathe your pet with a gentle shampoo such as oatmeal.  Don’t use  harsh flea shampoos, most of them have chemicals in them.
  • Vacuum vacuum vacuum.  I came across one suggestion to cut up a conventional flea collar and put it inside the vacuum cleaner’s bag – it reportedly will kill any live fleas, eggs and pupae you vacuum up.  I don’t know for sure that this will work, but it made sense in a strange kind of way.
  • Adding Brewer’s yeast to your pet’s food may help deter fleas from attaching to your pet.
  • Sprinkle diatomaceous earth in your yard to cut down on the flea population.  Diatomaceous earth also makes a great natural pantry bug killer, it works for all insects.  It’s reported to be safe around pets, but don’t sprinkle it directly on your pet!

I’ve been unable to find any information on natural tick repellants.

Ultimately, it comes down to weighing the risks of conventional flea and tick products against the risks of the health problems caused by fleas and ticks.  Many pets have been using chemically based flea and tick products safely and without any problems for many years.   Flea contact dermatitis and anemia are unpleasant health problems that definitely compromise a pet’s quality of life.  Lyme disease can be crippling, and, in its worst form (Lyme nephritis), it can kill.

Can my cat or dog get the swine flu?

There is plenty of information in the media about how to protect yourself and your family against the swine flu, but very little has been said about whether it can affect our pets.  While there is no absolute answer, I found this article by Janet Tobiassen Crosby, DVM helpful and wanted to pass it on.

On a slightly different note but on the same topic – I highly suggest that you turn off the news.   The media has a never ending propensity to report bad news and to try and put its audience into a fearful state of mind about the swine flu, or anything else for that matter.  Fear and bad news sell advertising – it’s as simple as that.    Worry is a waste of energy and a sure fire way to attract what you don’t want into your life.    For more on why not watching the news is good for you, refer to “Go on a news diet“, posted in March.

EPA increases scrutiny of flea and tick products for pets

It’s flea and tick season in much of the country, and pet owners are beginning to use products such as Frontline or Advantage to combat these pests on their pets.  While these products are effective, please be aware that they are also loaded with chemicals.

Last week, the EPA issued a cautionary statement about these products and their safety, and began investigating the recent increase in reports of adverse reactions. 

For a more indepth look of what this means, Dr. Patty Khuly, a small animal veterinarian in Miami, FL and founder of the veterinary blog Dolittler, posted an excellent article on her blog.

I’ve been researching natural alternatives to chemical flea and tick products for the past few weeks.  I’m trying to find products to recommend to you that are both effective and safe.  Not everything that’s natural is safe for your pets, and until I’m sure that the products I’m looking at meet both requirements, I won’t recommend them to you.   I’ll share what I find with you as soon as I can.

Animal communication

I came across this utterly cute video of two cats communicating with each other:

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NHD0halWkFU

I can’t say that I’ve ever seen cats communicate out loud with this level of intensity, but cats do communicate in many different ways – from “verbal” communication ranging from purring to hissing to telepathic communication.   This made me think about animal communication in general. 

How do pets communicate?  Amber is the “purringest” cat ever (and yes, I created this word just for her, there’s just no better way to describe  her!).  She purrs if you so much as look at her.  She is one of the most content beings I have ever come in contact with.   She can, however, be quite vocal when she wants a treat – especially lately, since she’s been on her diet.  Like all cats, she also communicates with her tail – from straight up in the air to indicate happy and friendly to bushy and puffed up to indicate either excited or scared.  

In addition to these behavioral ways of communication, many of  Amber’s, and all animals’, communications are done telepathically.  Research has long suggested evidence of telepathic communication.  If we accept that animals are thinking, feeling, sentient beings, it’s not much of a leap to accept the concept of interspecies communication.  Communicating with species other than human is not a new idea.  It is interwoven into many of the worlds’ tribal communities.  Individuals such as St. Francis of Assisi and Jane Goodall have demonstrated it in various ways.   We all have this telepathic ability, especially as children.  It is often expressed through imaginary friends or by reporting what the family pet “said.”  Sadly, as we grow up and are told by our parents and society that these abilities are not normal, we tend to block out this natural way of being.   Professional animal communicators have never lost this natural ability, or have trained themselves into recovering it.  They connect with the animals’ unique energy and they may receive information in pictures, or simply as a sense of intuitive knowing.  They can then “translate” what they receive into words the pet’s parent can understand.

What are your views on animal communication?

The joy of reading

reading005

I’ve been an avid reader as far back as I can remember.  My parents started reading to me as a very young child, and I surprised them by reading on my own long before it was taught in school (at first, they thaught I was faking it and only repeating the words from memory).  Through all the changes I’ve gone through in my life, good and not so good, books have always been there to provide entertainment, counsel, escape, advice and so much more.  Reading is as essential as breathing to me.

It should come as no surprise that I particulary enjoy books about animals, and I offer a wide selection of recent favorites on the Reading List on my website.  In the animal book category, some recent favorites are “Merle’s Door” by Ted Kerasote and “The Daily Coyote” by Shreve Stockton.  Longterm favorites are “The Cat Who Came for Christmas” by Cleveland Armory and “A Snowflake in My Hand” by Samantha Mooney.

For pure entertainment, I enjoy authors like Luanne Rice, Dorothea Benton Frank and Sue Monk Kidd to name just a few.  A particular enjoyable genre in the entertainment category for me are animal-themed murder mysteries, favorite authors in that category are Rita Mae Brown, Clea Simon and Blaize Clement.

When it comes to inspirational reading, the book that has influenced me the most over the last few years is “Ask and It Is Given” by Esther Hicks.  Others in that category are Wayne Dyer’s “Power of Intention” and Christine Kloser’s “The Freedom Formula“.

Why do you read?  What are some of your favorite books and authors and why?  Share your stories!

How are you celebrating Earth Day?

Earth Day was designed to inspire awareness and appreciation for our planet.  Living our lives in ways that honor and cherish Planet Earth is a key part of conscious living.   What are you doing to celebrate Earth Day?  Share your stories!

Happy Earth Day!  I hope you enjoy this video, created by the producers of The Secret, featuring our beautiful planet:

Flower power

Flowers make us happy.  It’s impossible to look at flowers and not feel good, or at least better. 

Feeling good is a choice.  We can choose what we focus on.  One of the best things we can do for ourselves is to make a conscious choice that no matter what we do each day, we’re going to look for things that make us feel good.  Once we make that commitment to be in charge of our own well-being, our energy shifts, we feel happier and lighter, and our lives flow better. 

There are a lot of tools to help us feel better, flowers are just one of them.  Others are spending time with our pets, being out in nature, or listening to a favorite piece of music.
flowers-003
On this rainy Monday, I decided to bring nature inside and treated myself to a bouquet of beautiful tulips.  They make me feel lighter every time I look at them.  And beyond the window, I can see the Dogwood tree in my yard just waiting for the sun to come out before bursting into full bloom.   Life is good.

Brighten your life or someone else’s with some flowers today!

Allergy Relief from a Neti pot

Spring brings flowers and trees and newly growing grass.  Unfortunately, for many people, these joyful harbingers of warmer weather and longer days also mean the beginning of allergy season.  Allergy medications relieve symptoms, but often come with unpleasant side effects.  A natural alternative that has been helpful for many allergy sufferers is the regular practice of a nasal wash by using a Neti pot.

The nasal passages are lined with a thin layer of mucus that is one of our body’s first lines of defense against disease.  A nasal wash keeps this layer of mucus moist, clean and healthy.  And compared to other nasal wash techniques, using a Neti pot is easy.  A nasal wash can be as routine as brushing your teeth.

Rinsing with saline solution is a time-honored practice in the Orient.  Here in the West, the nasal wash has been used for decades as a means of treating sinus problems, colds, allergies, and post-nasal drip and to counteract the effect of environmental pollution.

Breathing through the nose filters and conditions the incoming air. The nasal passages are lined with a thin layer of mucus that traps dirt, dust, and pollen and moves steadily to the rear of the nasal cavity and settles in the throat, where it is swallowed.  Saline nasal rinses carry some of these impurities out of the body before they reach your stomach.

They also keep this protective layer of mucus functioning properly.  If the mucus becomes too thick and dry or too thin and runny, it is easier for bacteria and viruses to penetrate the nasal lining and cause the swelling and excess discharge of mucus we call a “cold.”  That’s why gargling or sniffing a little salt water at the first sign of a cold is a staple of folk medicine.  The Neti pot continues these time-tested traditions of hygiene.

For some people, the nasal wash is as routine as brushing their teeth. Others use it for specific purposes. Suggested uses:

  • Do the nasal wash to wake up, clear your nostrils, and start the day breathing freely.
  • Use it to remove excess mucus when you are experiencing nasal congestion.
  • Do it several times a day during the allergy season to rid the nostrils of pollen and other allergens.
  • Use the nasal wash when you’ve been exposed to soot, dust, smoke, or other airborne contaminants.
  • Use it to dissolve mucus build-up in dry climates or in air-conditioned or heated rooms, or after air travel.

I’ve been using a Neti pot regularly for several years, and I rarely get a cold, nor do I have allergy problems.

A nasal wash is not a substitute for medical treatment. Anyone with chronic inflammation of the nasal passages or other ear, nose, or throat disorders should seek medical attention.

Neti Pot can be purchased online or at Whole Foods grocery stores and other health food stores.

Your pets can contribute to your pollen allergy.  If your pets go outside, they’ll inevitably end up attracting pollen to their fur.  Wipe them down with a damp towel when they come inside – that way, when you cuddle with them, you won’t breathe in a concentrated dose of pollen!

amberrelaxing
Amber prefers to enjoy spring from inside.

1 258 259 260 261 262 263