The term “holistic” means different things to different people. Wikipedia defines holistic health as a “concept in medical practice upholding that all aspects of people’s needs, psychological, physical and social should be taken into account and seen as a whole.” The term “holistic” is often used interchangeably with “alternative” when it comes to health.
When I refer to a holistic approach to health care, whether it’s for cats or for humans, I mean an approach that takes into account all aspects of what make up a living being: physical, emotional, mental and spiritual. Looking at health, and illness, holistically, also means looking for, and treating, the cause of a problem or illness, rather than just treating symptoms. Symptoms are almost always a manifestation of a deeper problem.
Holistic therapies such as acupuncture, homeopathy, chiropractic and herbal treatments are gaining increasing acceptance for cats, as moreContinue Reading
Did you know that today is National Holistic Pet Day? Who knew, right? It seems like if you look hard enough, there’s a “holiday” for just about anything these days.
Since holistic medicine and health are subjects I consider important, I decided to look into this particular “holiday” a littlemore. I actually don’t like the term holistic health all that much since it is often interpreted as only encompassing what are considered “alternative” therapies such as acupuncture, massage, Reiki and more. I prefer the term “integrative.” Integrative medicine is defined by The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) at the National Institutes of Health, as “combining mainstream medical therapies and CAM therapies for which there is some high-quality scientific evidence of safety and effectiveness.” That, to me, is a truly holistic approach: combining the best of all worlds.
I suspect that if I surveyed our readers, the percentages of those who already do some or most of these things would be much higher than those in Halo’s survey. I’d love to hear your experiences with holistic or alternative therapies – please share them in a comment!
The Healing Art of Pet Parenthood is the moving story of a nineteen year journey of the author and her dog Buttons – a story about how the unconditional love of one dog can transform and heal a wounded human heart. The author, who has been studying alternative healing for over thirty years, also shares her experience with holistic pet care. When Buttons is diagnosed with cancer at age eight, the author decides against conventional treatment and instead seeks out various holistic and alternative treatment modalities for Buttons, who recovers and thrives for another eleven years. Reading this book is a deeply emotional journey for anyone who has ever loved and lost a pet. Unlike many other books that attempt to address the issue of pet loss, this book truly acknowledges the often devastating grief that comes with losing a beloved animal companion as well as the spiritual connection we share with our animals even after they die. The story of Nadine and Buttons is a celebration of the love we share with our animal companions – a must read for all pet parents.
Please join me in welcoming Nadine to The Conscious Cat!
Nadine, The Healing Art of Pet Parenthood is your first book. How did you become a writer?
Although I’ve never had any formal writing training, I’ve always considered myself a decent storyteller. According to the reactions of readers and reviewers of this book, it seems I have a knack for telling a story on paper, too.
But I also have many years of experience writing and performing nondenominational wedding ceremonies and memorial services (over 600 to date). In that process, the goal is identical: to both touch people’s hearts and keep their interest- making it perfect practice for writing this book.
What was the process of writing about Buttons like for you?
For the first time in my life, I felt I was doing what I was truly meant to do. I felt energized, in the flow, at one with Source, and deeply connected to Buttons’ spirit. Her paws were all over that manuscript 🙂
What do you hope your readers will take away from the book?
My wish is that that every reader’s heart is touched and opened- that they can relate to many of the things I experienced and described and that in turn, they find themselves empowered from the read. I also like to say the book has a 3-fold mission:
Helping pet parents realize we may be unconsciously contributing to the skyrocketing increase of cancer in our pets by unknowingly creating highly toxic environments in our homes.
Providing comfort, camaraderie, and validation for pet parents experiencing the devastating loss of a beloved pet
Helping to remove the words, “It’s just a dog/cat” from the lips of non pet parents everywhere
A core part of your book is the story of Buttons’ cancer diagnosis and how you choose to deal with it. What was most difficult for you during that time?
The thought of losing her was terrifying. As you know from having read the book, when the diagnosis came, I was in the midst of dealing with my fiancé ending our relationship and my heart was already shattered. I was forced to reach down even deeper into myself to find strength I didn’t believe I had.
How did you deal with the many challenges such a diagnosis brings?
Initially, like most people, I took a very logical approach, but that only led me to more frustration and confusion. A short excerpt from the book will illustrate:
“I lay awake all that night. If the cancer was in my body, I would absolutely forgo the surgery, chemotherapy and radiation. It wouldn’t be my choice to cut, burn, and poison. My beliefs, based on all the years of reading I’d done and exposure to alternative methods I’d experienced since childhood, were that one needed to boost the immune system in the presence of disease and not destroy it. Western medicine’s focus was on treating or suppressing the symptoms. A holistic approach called for focusing on the cause in mind and spirit, clearing it, and then strengthening the body so it could heal itself.
If it were in my body, I’d go to Mexico and cleanse and detoxify, meditate, visualize, and drink massive amounts of raw vegetable juice at one of the alternative cancer clinics there. But it wasn’t in my body. I tried to imagine Buttons without her tail. It would be like amputating her personality. I thought about what it might be like for her to go through radiation treatments and doses of chemotherapy. Horrendous. Demons wrestled violently in my mind. Who was I to force my beliefs on this innocent soul whose well-being I was responsible for? Who was I to risk her life for the sake of my preferences? How big a risk was it? The entire allopathic, Western perspective was screaming for me to follow the vet’s advice. He was a trained professional, and I was a self-taught, quasi-hippie health nut.”
After 2 days of listening to my mind, I finally began listening instead, to what my heart was telling me (also described in the book). Once I had THAT guidance, there was never any question or doubt as to what my next steps would be.
Do you have any tips for others who are faced with a cancer diagnosis for their pet?
Everyone must take the path that feels right for them. I WOULD, however, encourage all pet parents to start doing some research about pet food, the chemicals in household products, etc. BEFORE ever getting a cancer diagnosis (a good place to start is my blog).
I believe if all pet parents simply followed the approach I talk about in my book and my blog, many would be spared having to deal with any form of cancer or other forms of disease.
Fifty years ago, it wasn’t unusual for a dog or a cat to live to be in their 20’s. Today, vets consider a 12-year old cat to be old and a 12-year old dog to be ancient. I cannot help but believe that environment and food have nearly everything to do with that.
Who or what inspires you?
I greatly admire people who are humble, open-minded, and authentic. I have tremendous respect for those who are willing to look inside themselves and take responsibility for their own feelings and experiences, rather than blaming others. I’m inspired by those who are genuinely kind and forgiving to everyone, even (and especially) to the ones who bug them the most. My current “heroes” are Byron Katie, Colin Tipping, and Caroline Myss. All of their work can be found online.
What is one of the most memorable experiences you’ve had at a book signing or event?
One sweet memory is from my very first book signing at the Latrobe Country Club in Pennsylvania, where I was keynote speaker for the annual fundraiser for The Action for Animals Humane Society. I was sitting at the table at the end of the event signing books when a woman handed me 2 to sign. The first she wanted made out to her. The second she wanted made out to Arnold Palmer and his dog, Mulligan! It turned out that Mr. Palmer owns the country club, but was in Florida at the time of the event. He had wanted to make sure he got an autographed copy of my book even though he was unable to attend. FYI- in golf terminology, a mulligan is a “do-over” shot.
Are you planning on writing another book?
Most definitely, but for now, I am spending every spare moment getting the word out about this book. When it takes on a life of its own, I will begin writing its sequel, which will be a more technical, fact-filled text on holistic pet care.
What are you reading at the moment?
I am thoroughly enjoying The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski.
Thank you so much for this opportunity, Nadine!
It has been my pleasure, Ingrid. Thank you for reading and loving my book. I gratefully embrace every opportunity to spread the word about it in order to help pets and pet parents have longer, healthier lives together. Thank you so much for your help and your own work in that arena!