All posts by Suz

I was a Project Manager and writer for many years. I have had a passion for animal and human welfare, natural health and beauty and was laid off my corporate job this year, allowing me to go from a time famine to being able to start this blog and potentially inspire and help others on their journey to living their best holistic life.

Preventive Maintenance & Daily Lifestyle Detox

Functional Medicine, Detox for You & Your Pets

This week I heard two things that set my mind on fire. Someone was using the cleaning product Fabuloso and another, after reading my post on ‘crooked butt syndrome’ explained her spayed 4.5 year old female would be taken for therapy just as soon as she begins to see signs of mobility issues. Firstly, it is very important to clean up the environment the animal and we live in. Next it is critical that we take seriously the work of daily, monthly and quarterly maintenance and understand just how important it is.

With a certification in Plant-Based Functional Medicine coaching working as a Lifestyle Detox Consultant and Canine Massage Therapist, I am passionate about evangelizing on detoxing our lifestyle and amping up our preventive maintenance because it is so important for the entire family, including our pets. Therefore, I am a brand partner for certified organic and wild-crafted safe home and personal care products and superfoods supplements for both people and pets to help my busy clients make good clean decisions that are pure and potent and not carcinogenic but life affirming. If you would like guidance here or to discuss kindly reach out. I don’t do big sales pitches, I am just here to help as a guide with what I know so far.

We are all at various levels of awareness. This is based upon how we were raised, who we hung out with, where we are going right now in life, how busy we are and where and how we choose to continue our education. It is my belief that here is a practice. We practice everything because here we never get it 100% all in. But if we are doing it right, we continue learning and doing better and are both leaders and mentors as well as students and grasshoppers. We can be both in one day.

Preventative maintenance is about taking care of you, your family, your pets, in such a way that you keep the systems humming rather than waiting on a breakdown landing you or them in the hospital. Our furkids rely upon us for everything, from when or if they get a walk to what and when they eat and when they can get out and potty. We orchestrate their lifestyle, co-create their resilience and happiness and finally, hold their lives in our hands with each decision we make for them.
Because they have no choice, it is very important to understand that what we use around them as well as what we feed them and what importance we place upon Veterinary checkups and maintenance therapies such as acupuncture, chiropractic and massage, all have a huge impact on them from temperament to how long they live and the quality of it.

BAD ATMOSPHERE – Fabuloso off-gasses so badly it has been equated to smoking a pack a day. Someone on one of the pages I am a member of noted their dog was having bad skin reactions and this stuff was used to clean the floors. By stating this I am not saying that this product was the cause, but it certainly is not a helping agent either. When we eradicate all the man-made chemical stew in our lives, we live cleaner lives that help our liver and kidneys and bodies detox and also not have to work so bloody hard at it. Our air, water and soils are no longer pure. At my home, we purify the air, the water and use only organic soils. Food is wild-crafted or organic. I incorporate juicing and superfoods into my daily lifestyle and that trickles down to the fur kids who are also on the superfoods I sell and recommend. Nothing is perfect but everything, every step helps. Its important to just take the small steps.

Rather than feel overloaded with everything about your current lifestyle (and that of your pet), that you must now change, please think of it as a loving embrace with each baby step you take. If all you can do is one step today, just take that one and don’t worry about step two until later. No pressure, life is already full of it. Just love ♥

In the above photo, I am drinking a green juice, an Hippocrates Recipe. When I post I sometimes get an ‘Ew, I would never…’ But like most things, there are easy ways to incorporate detoxing foods and beverages and household cleaners, foods, cosmetics, and personal care into our lives that are easier than we ever thought.

Just like human babies, animals roll around on the floor, lick their feet, put things in their mouths when you aren’t looking and absorb their environment. From pesticides and antifungals to what you wash their clothing and bedding in, everything we do adds up into what is known as a ‘body burden’ of chemicals our bodies store in our fat cells. This is one reason eating meat is toxic, because plants don’t store toxins in the same way animals do.

I am not here to make everyone go plant-based so calm down. 🙂 But I do want you to be aware that even the very cleanest of meat, fish, poultry, has some toxic components due to its nature as well as how man has brought harm. Nothing is pure anymore. So minimizing animal products, going organic when you do, and putting a focus on organic produce is in your best interest.

For the true carnivores, Lamb and Turkey are the least toxic. We have a growing puppy right now and so I focus on the cleanest organic dairy, eggs and meats possible for her with loads of veggies and organic mix ins, from Honest Kitchen and Dr. Harveys primarily or I make everything from scratch. Both of these companies offer full meals, just add water or you can shop your own protein and add to a mix in which is what I typically do. Our pup is a big fan also of Stella & Chewys. And for whatever reasons, our kitties are too, provided I do NOT rehydrate the product. So I just assure they have plenty of water.

Animals hide their pain

Critical Supplements – What They do, Why You need them

Two of my adorable patients, Biggie & Tater Tot ♥

You don’t need to shop with me, but it is kind and nice if you do as this is how I make my living, coaching on lifestyle detox, proper supplementation, and species-appropriate diet, for families; for pets and their people. ♥ In the dropdowns are wellness supplements I sell/advocate for. Feel free to reach out with questions.

Critical supplementation includes bone & Joint, Probiotics, Superfoods, and digestive enzymes. Supplements should always be food rather than synthetic-based and bonus points for being organic.

Food is medicine. Food, the nutrition we take into our body, as well as avoidance of any man-made chemicals we ingest either by eating or by applying on our person, are the very first steps to look at when looking at living the longest, most abundant, resilient life.

People will say they will check with their doctor/vet or they’ll take Something for joints but wait on something that helps the digestion, hold off switching to holistic home-prepared food until the medicines for diseases, such as diabetes or cancer are in place.

A friend, just 60, noted she can no longer stand on her own, she can’t make it to the front door. My neighbor, just 40, died yesterday, colon cancer. Dogs (and cats) are dying of the same diseases we are ramping up on and we are now seeing that 50% of all canines will get cancer in their lifetime. According to Medical News Today, 1 in 2 women, and 1 in 3 men in the US will develop cancer within their lifetime. The goal is to minimize damage to our DNA. There are 90,000 man-made chemicals in the world with not one place pristine any longer. While nothing is a magic bullet, daily exercise, getting out in nature, living as cleanly as possible, eating clean wholesome food, proper supplementation, and purifying your water are key elements to thwarting disease, keeping mobility up, and living robustly.

Herbals and Culture – Cultures found healing herbals from the very beginning, by watching fellow animals heal themselves with it, rolling in or eating specific plants. There are Jungle, Asian & Indian Ayurvedic herbs.

Superfoods STEP ONE – Go organic and wild-crafted, no heat applied, gently air-dried, and preferably powder rather than a capsule. Watch out for ingredients like Mag Stearate, fillers, maltodextrin, sugars added, and any man-made chemicals. When looking at superfoods, there are alkalizing greens and antioxidant reds. There is such thing as food combining, for proper digestion, ease on the body to absorb these nutrients. The mark of high though, high quality is when you see a company that separates out their superfoods fruits from their veggies. Only avocados can bat in both camps well. Superfoods come in abundant sources. I like to get everyone on alkalizing greens, to detox the body, mediate inflammation and spark healing and vitality & recommend taking the Super Reds at another point during the day. Because our crops have been dumbed down with soil erosion, lack of rotation of crops, pollution, we now require superfoods to augment our daily food intake, to add missing micronutrition. When the body is missing something, it robs from the bones and teeth. This also happens to humans when we eat meat, sugars and acidify our system. The body robs our bones to help alkalize again. Eventually, we suffer a weakened structure. So, superfoods are basically amping up your nutrition, which is huge for the prevention of DNA mutations/thwarting cancer and other illnesses. I am also a huge fan of medicinal mushrooms.

Probiotic – STEP TWO – Gut-Brain Health! Probiotics should be taken every day with meals and are so vital. A healthy gut kills off diseases before your body is taken asunder. Probiotics help build up good intestinal flora and are THE primary thing that keeps you healthy. I have a beautiful organic probiotic that contains fermented superfoods that both animals and their people are on and I also have a pet-centric one that also contains enzymes too, for digestion.

Enzymes – STEP THREE – Most of us eat cooked food. Anything cooked above 118 loses natural enzymes and vitamins. It may taste good, but it has been denatured. Imagine kibble for a moment because, sadly, that is what MOST dogs in the US are on….every day…..and that is something I aim to change. Avoid anything overprocessed, high heat extruded, mas produced. That really is no longer food. Enzymes are natural ways the body digests or processes what we eat, making everything we do, more bio-available to us. For people, anyone above 30-35 really needs to be on daily enzymes ahead of their meals, raw or cooked. Also of note is the fact that raw food requires far fewer enzymes for the body to make so it is far less taxing on the body to process raw prepared food, such as vegetables, salads, than it is for anything cooked. One of the reasons elders have more bruising and thin skin is that they lack the enzymes to properly digest what they eat. Enzymes are life.

Bone & Joint – STEP FOUR – Yoga and exercise is very important and so is vibration therapy which has been proven to increase bone density! I use vertical vibration therapy in my practice for sarcopenia, muscle atrophy, lymphatic drainage, mediate inflammation in the body, and strengthen a dog recovering from hind end weakness or surgery. You also want a good bone & joint supplement that is food-based. I have a lovely feline supplement for the kitties that is an overall tonic and for the dogs, I have 3. In my 30s-40s, I was really unclear whether I was throwing away money at these supplements. Did they really do a thing? Now that I am in my 60’s, firstly, thank you, younger self, for doing that and yes, I absolutely do notice a difference on days I forget to take my bone and joint supplement! I also notice better energy and stamina when I take my daily superfoods and notice when I miss a day.

I will close simply reiterating that our bodies are amazing healing machines, equipped with an awe-inspiring immune system and the very best that you can do is feed it using mostly organic and wild-crafted food and supplements and not skimp on these very important 4 key supports!

Canine Health Food As Medicine & Lifestyle Detox

Your dog can live 20, 30+ years. So can your cat. Humans can live easily to 110+. It begins with good stock, good genes. We amplify good genetics with lifestyle. When they’re fed over-processed foods, breathe polluted air, drink toxic water, live around man-made chemicals, don’t get enough purified and fresh air, and exercise, this affects their DNA. Their offspring inherit those DNA changes. And so it goes down that line, mutated, degraded. Genetics is the gun, our lifestyle pulls the trigger.
To enjoy your animal companion for decades takes a practiced approach on nutrition and environment or lifestyle detox as I call it.

Our dogs and cats used to live far longer in the 60’s, 70s and even the 80’s. Cancer has risen with 50% of canines 9+ years old now getting it. This doesn’t happen in the wolf community. We have been conditioned to thinking our cats and dog are seniors at 8 or 10 years of age.

Food and environment can be the most potent, safe form of healing medicine or the slowest deadliest form of poison.

We, humans, are the only species that purposely poison ourselves (and our family members) over profit and convenience. Let this sink in. How smart and high ranking are we, exactly? I believe we can be the most stupid of all the animals because no other creature does this. None would. Those other animals who also communicate, use tools, build homes, have friends and family they protect, leave a small footprint, and show us that they are far truer, more compassionate, and more mentally balanced than the folks behind most of the corporations, government, and highest powerful places with mankind. Absolute power corrupts absolutely? This is not our world, it is ours and theirs. We are the ones who forget that. They know the truth of it already. We build fences and ignore reality.

As guardians over our animal companions, we are to be good stewards, looking at their best interests and welfare. Those under our care trust us to do this very powerful role. But this can get so complicated when we are not educated on the state of chemicals in our environment and those outcomes, what processed food is, why it’s not good, what a species-appropriate diet is and what our options are.

Most corporations are driven by profit and not by what is best for the consumer. I look at plant-based options for health and animal kindness and what I see is carcinogenic canola oil in everything from prepared foods at Whole Foods (they used to use only olive oil) to vegan foods from veban eggs on the market to salad dressing and pretty much everything, you must read your labels and yes, canola is in a ton of pet food out there including a couple of pet-centric MLMs that ostensibly are selling you better holistic fare. READ LABELS!
FOOD
Kibble is inflammatory and dehydrating. Home prepared is ideal.
Canines are primarily carnivorous but also eat plants, typically in the stomach of their prey. I sell and promote Dr. Harveys which makes complete meals as well as several holistic base mixes that you add your protein to and quality oil. I prefer the base mixes so that I can select wild, organic, kosher or halal meats and dairy which are going to be the cleanest source. Nothing good comes from factory farming. You will want to augment with about 10-15% organ meats, too, spleen, liver, heart, pancreas… I am a raw proponent but otherwise recommend slow, low heat cooking to retain as much of the digestive enzymes and nutrition as possible. Our intestines are long and we do not process meat well, but a dog or cat has short intestines and processes quickly. Nothing sits long and festers. They are designed for meat. We are not. I know a hamburger is delicious but we simply, from our teeth to our guts, are not really made for it. They really require it, especially felines who become sickly without a meat-based diet.

If you are buying food, premade, the first ingredient should not be corn. No dog is sitting in a field just waiting for the corn to ripen up. They might be eying that rabbit in the field, but not the corn.

ORGANIC – WILD-CRAFT INGREDIENTS – When you go organic and wild, you are avoiding GMOs, genetically modified (God Move Over) bull-hockey Frankenfoods and amping up nutrition. Just saying ‘Non-GMO’ is malarky and here’s why: It does NOT mean the product was not sprayed or came into contact with Glyphosate/round-up ready crops and pesticides.

GMO’s & Glyphosate ROUND-UP POISON
Glyphosate was originally created as an antibiotic or anti-life. Many of the foods we eat are composed of up to 60% chemicals. The 1990s is when Glyphosate was heavily used and why the 90’s were the crest of the gut issues we are seeing today, leaky gut, SIBO, IBD, autoimmune conditions, cognitive brain diseases. HRI Labs, HRIlabs.org/ will test urine for glyphosate.

SUPPLEMENTS
Just as it is for us, food has been dumbed down and pollution amped up. You should augment meals with enzymes, probiotics, glandulars, and alkalizing superfoods.
Avoid synthetic supplements and opt for whole foods, preferably organic, supplements. For omegas, there is Chia, Phytoplankton, and Dr. Harveys has a cleaner small fish oil using sardines and mackerel.

STRESS
I see it in some people who get hooked into drama, living in the sympathetic nervous system mode, high on adrenaline and caffeine. This flight or fight mode is meant to be temporary, to get us momentarily out of harm’s way. Our goal should be to live in the parasympathetic, the rest and digest mode. Our animals mirror us and pick up on our stress so they also end up living in the parasympathetic mode which shortens their lifespan. It is so important to dial down.

LIFESTYLE & TOXINS
We are bombarded with man-made chemicals daily. It’s in our air, water, soil, and many of the items and products in our homes. There is no pristine place anymore. Our fur kids are at ground level, touching everything, grooming themselves, and ingesting everything. Some toxins are:
Fire Retardants in clothes, furniture, carpets
Treated Lumber
Herbicides
Pesticides
Vaccines (mercury and other carcinogens)
Fish (Mercury, plastics and pharmaceutical drugs)
Household cleaners
Laundry soaps, detergents
Medications, including heartworm, flea, and tick treatments
Petroleum
Extruded processed foods and bad oils such as canola

There are safer, natural ways to ward fleas and ticks away, and please limit vaccines to what is absolutely necessary. And, no, you do not need annual boosters of anything. Get titers if you have parvo or what have you running rampant in your area, before getting vaccines.
Sometimes it is necessary, but try to avoid antibiotics, (going into the body) as they wipe out the gut flora which is vital to healing.
Medications, over time, can deplete body stores of nutrients and minerals and increases levels of toxic metals.

VETERINARIANS – THE best vet is one schooled in holistic modalities after finishing allopathic studies. This means they have taken training in nutrition, TCM or western acupuncture, herbals including homeopathy. When you have a vet like this, you are getting a very well-rounded, educated approach to wellness. The best vitality comes from an approach that marries allopathic with holistic old-world modalities.

HTMA – Get a Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis to detect shortages at a cellular level. This will also test for heavy metals and up to 48 minerals.

Lastly, I want to discuss Spay/Neuter. There’s a great Facebook page on Ovary Sparing Spays and canine vasectomy. I bring this up as when we remove all of these hormones, we affect not just sex, but growth, the growth platelets, the development of the bones, muscles, tendons of the dog. There is no cut-and-dried answer here. We chose an OSS for our Doberman which we did at 6 months of age, prior to her first heat. Another option would be to let the dog go through a cycle or two before neutering. Our vet stated this is most likely why our boy died at 9.5 seeming to be perfectly healthy. She stated that all the longer-lived dogs she sees are either intact or were de-sexed later in life. As a therapist, I see my share of hip dysplasia and stifle/ACL/CCL issues, and TPLO surgeries. Retaining these hormones helps to mitigate that.

Our fur babies are a bit like toddlers, at ground level, innocent of dangers and into everything! It is up to us to proof our place and be our animal companion’s best advocate at home and at the veterinarian’s office. If you would like a consult, kindly reach out.


Lifestyle Detox – What is it?

If you want to understand any problem in Americayou need to focus on who profits from that problem, not who suffers from that problem” – Dr. Amos Wilson “Nobody in the world, nobody in history, has ever gotten their freedom by appealing to the moral sense of the people who were oppressing them” – Assata Shakur

What is lifestyle detox? I coach families on how to shop, read labels, and select the safest, cleanest items from food to floor cleaners. When I set upon this path as a practice, I researched product lines and companies I could use and recommend that provide something unique in the marketplace, are potent, clean and are priced fairly. I do encourage anyone to pick something I market and go out and try to beat that price, quantity, and quality. Not saying it will be utterly impossible, but you will struggle. ☻ For clients who totally rely upon my word, they do not take time to read all the ingredients on everything, they just pay me to put together superfoods, dog food, CBD, skincare, supplements and hand them a packed up box, this is not only an honor but I take trust very seriously, so it is my job to sell them something beautiful, full of natural vitality without bull-hockey ingredients. Therewith, here are just a few things you will never see in my promoted products:

THE BAD & THE UGLY
Read your labels, look up what you don’t understand, and align yourself with someone you trust that can help steer you to things that work and are safe. This list could go on for lightyears, this is just a few popular offenders I see regularly:

Plastics – ALL PLASTIC IS BAD, some are worse. # 1 Plastic is BEST. The higher the #s go up, those have more toxins in them. NEVER freeze or leave in a hot car. The softer the plastic, the more you are absorbing. I look for glass, sugarcane or otherwise eco-friendly containers. Not everyone is there yet so I also look at safer hard plastic as I keep up with that company on when they are switching out of plastics altogether.

Chlorine – This chemical was developed as a weapon of mass destruction in WW1. Trust science, remember DDT and Agent Orange? ☻

EDTA, PEG (Propylene Glycol), Canola Oil, Mineral Oil, Petrolatum, Fragrance, Meth anything, for example, Methylparaben, Parabens, BHA, BHT, Phalates, Nitrosamines, 1,4 dioxane, MEA, DEA, TEA lauryl sulfate, DBD, DEP (unless it’s Johnny), Formaldehyde, triclosan, Quarternium, Diazolidinyl urea
GMOs, anything Genetically modified (God Move Over) which is prevalent in everything including pet food.

Why is this important? Pollution is largely unregulated and affects our AIR, WATER, and LAND/SOIL quality. – There are 2000 newly created chemicals annually with an estimated total of 80k new chemicals. Man-mined debris fools the body. Mercury looks like selenium, lead looks like calcium, cadmium looks like zinc. Aluminum, nickel, and uranium look like magnesium to the body and all these affect the body at a cellular level. What we apply topically and otherwise ingest, affects our body at a cellular level. These man-made chemical pollutants affect every being on this planet, our quality of life, and our longevity. There are 85,000 chemicals in our water. Due to factory farming methods, and not rotating crops, we have bad soil and mineral erosion. Then we lace the land with pesticides and other pollution.

Most women of childbearing age have unsafe levels.  This is passed down to the child and each of us has what is known commonly as a Body Burden of harmful chemicals stored in our fat. Many times the body stores additional fat and fatty lipomas to contain what would otherwise harm us further. When we detox, our body slowly begins to release these toxins and heal.

This is important because we really do not get the straight truth of how safe any of these man-made chemicals are by themselves, let alone the fact there have been no studies on how all these chemicals work together, especially over time and re-application.

We are creatures of habit, use the same products repeatedly when we find one we like that works. It is crucial we find products we like that are effective that do not contain toxins.

How Our Lifestyle Affects Our Animal Companions. Our fur kids suffer many of the same diseases we do but are even more at risk since they have noses and paws on the ground, get into the yard and home at ground level then groom themselves, taking in whatever chemical stews there may be in our laundry soap, our floor cleaners, our yard sprays. Add to this high heat extruded kibbles with questionable ingredients, pesticide pharma flea, tick and heartworm treatments, so many completely unnecessary annual shots which are a known carcinogen, and you have the perfect storm for your 4 legged to present with skin/fur issues, allergies, food intolerances, itching, and neurological disorders just to kick things off with!

Help! Ok, How Do I Detox My Lifestyle stat?
For us and for them, you may begin at baby steps. As stated, there are a plethora of chemicals out there and I cannot possibly note them all but I have listed several insults above under THE BAD & THE UGLY plus below tips! Keep in mind that all man-created chemicals should be avoided. This means reading and googling labels.

  1. When in doubt, the EWG is a great resource for chemical info.
  2. Don’t separate ‘topical from internal’. Whatever you apply topically, gets absorbed into the body. Something isn’t ‘safer’ because it is a topical vs an ingestible.
  3. To avoid many man-made contaminants, it is important to look into certified organic, wild-crafted products.
  4. For meats, go Wild, Organic, Kosher or Halal
  5. Supplements should be low/no heat processed whole foods to contain their natural components, enzymes, nutrition.
  6. Least processed food is preferred over high heat snacks & kibbles.
  7. Go non-toxic, natural with soaps, cleaners, sanitizers and organic and wild-crafted with all personal care products.
  8. IF you see corn, soy and it is NOT organic, it is most likely GMO with pesticides.
  9. Avoid the chemical isles at the grocery store. Honestly, this is a really good indicator for you and your toxicity load if you are a-ok with walking down that isle. As you lean toward cleaner ingredients, your body will shift too and become intollerant to the bad things you were once bombarded prior. While there are many of us who break out immediately or go into an asthma attack or otherwise get immediately ill when they encounter a toxin, for most of us, this is actually a slower process as the body atempts to cope and store offenders in our fat.
  10. As you adopt a detox lifestyle, you and your fur kids may shed unnecessary weight.
  11. Use superfoods to help with detox, amp nutrition and build resilience.
  12. Deer in headlights? Schedule a consult. ♥

Healing stories

Bruiser the Chihuahua; I worked on a little Chi that could put no weight on his right front paw, due to cervical/shoulder pain. He was off his food, didn’t want to play, shook unless carried. After X-Rays showed nothing broken, the veterinarian wanted to put him on pain meds. When Bruiser arrived with his adoring human, Amanda, I assessed and let her know we’d most likely need 4-5 weekly sessions to see full results, then get him on a monthly or quarterly maintenance plan, depending upon how he accepts treatment. Amanda stated Bruiser always shook unless being carried, this was not new behavior for him. 30 minutes into the treatment, Bruiser stopped shaking. Then he put weight on that bad leg. At home, he played with his friends, jumped around, ate all his food, happy again! Amanda was shocked it took just one treatment to see all this as a result. We did a couple of follow-ups and he should have quarterly maintenance sessions to maintain himself, but as Amanda acted quickly (Bruiser had just been limping around a few weeks) the results were more ‘magical’.

Bucket – Couldn’t ‘Go’ 72 hours. Bucket was a sweet elder with severe back end mobility issues. Working on his hind end would require months of therapy to resolve and help him walk again. Meantime, as we worked on his whole body, his person was concerned about him not going. This is typical whenever there are mobility issues because movement is life! Movement helps the body detox properly, so whenever we cannot move well, get our exercise and fresh air, we block up. I worked the acupoint protocols for intestinal issues and within a few minutes, the boy was getting squirmy. We took him to the yard and he went!

Rose The Husky – This lady is 14. A year ago, the veterinarian suggested the family put her down, it was time. Her hind end was failing her and she was on all accounts, miserable. The gabepentin just flattened her out. She had been seeing me weekly 7 months when she had her annual checkup. I saved a copy! ‘Rose is doing absolutely fantastic!!! The Gabepentin is doing it’s job!!!’ Rose’s bloodwork was great, the girl is on Dr. Harveys supplements and the Gabepentin? She’s been off of that for months now!

Sir Winston The Pug – This boy is 14. After his first appointment with me, I looked up how long Pugs typically live (12-14) because this little one did not seem happy at all, was glazed over in his look, stutter walked with a really bad limp on his back left leg. Winston could only lay down to sleep in one position and did not sleep soundly. His nose was all crusted over as well. Amazingly, I found that Winston had also been on Science Diet his whole life. We set about gradually changing that to Dr. Harveys holistic. His person, Josie, really wanted more time with him longer. Referred to me by his acupuncturist, Lisa Molidor, to help with that back leg muscle atrophy, we set to work. Josie saw improvements after the very first visit but Winston had a long way to go. ANMR, Light therapy, Vibration therapy, Massage and acupressure treatments every week. Each session brought more goodness and relief for Winston. I used a cream on his nose and his crust that Josie had tried everything for cleared up. 5 months into regular thereapy had Winston playing with toys again, hiking his leg to pee, chasing squirels, laying down in any position he wanted, sleeping soundly and dropping a bit of weight. Where he would just lay there eyes glazed over, he will now look at you, very animatedly, demand treats and cock his head and really communicate. His acupuncturist wrote on his recent chart ‘Exceedingly mobile!’

Stop The Leash Pulling!

5 Easy Ways To Get Your Dog to Chill On Leash

Some dogs pull more than others and some train easier too but most start out pulling because it isn’t natural for them to be on a leash, they get excited and just wanna go sniff go sniff go! With my Boxer, after training with a prong collar, we’d walk nice and politely most days. Whenever he acted up, all I’d have to do is show him his prong collar and ask, ‘Do we really need to go back to this?’ and he’d immediately straighten up.

Another time, not having the prong on me to show Baron, I scooped his 70lbs up like it was air and walked with him cradled in my arms the length of the block explaining that he had to be a big boy to walk with me or he would be carried on walks like a baby. When we got to the end of the block, I flounced him down on the grass and he sat perfectly upright looking at me for the next direction he was absolutely intent upon following, totally getting it. What I did not understand up until that moment was that dogs get embarrassed too. It’s not just us. Anytime I threatened to ‘carry’ him, asking ‘Do we need to be carried today?’ He would (and my Doberman too) straighten right on up!

I am not recommending either of these strategies above., only sharing the pain and lessons I have personally been through in getting dogs to walk politely on leash. But hey, if threatening to carry them works, why not? I did this on my big boys before they got larger when I could actually physically carry them. And I had the luck of two boys that tended to pull that hated being carried.

Where Baron the Boxer was in short order oh so well behaved on a leash, our Doberman just never ‘got it’ completely. Primarily because he didn’t want to. In fact, it is my dog that provided the old saying ‘Stop Jerking My Chain!’ 🙂 Sure, he stopped jerking my arm out of socket but even years later there was this near-continuous low ebb pulling. The leash was basically taught at all times. Sadly, I thought I had to just live with this until I ended up with nerve damage in my hands and he ended up with spinal trauma and needed thousands in acupuncture, acupressure and massage therapy which is how I got into Canine massage therapy as a practice and why I am writing this today (see my article on ‘Canine Spinal trauma’).

Our Rules Aren’t Theirs – We as people have house manners, leash manners, people greeting and play rules. Dogs are intuitive, with patience and consistency, they pick up on how we wish for them to behave but it is important to understand that they come into this world with a whole other species rulebook. IF your pup spent enough time with their mother and the bitch was housebroken etc, she may very well teach or help coach her puppies on such things as potty training. I’ve seen dogs who suddenly get a new sibling, teach the new puppy potty training and even how to sit! It’s pretty amazing. But when your sandwich gets stolen, your carpet gets peed on and the leash snaps your back out of joint, just understand their rulebook is not yours until you train them appropriately and that can take some time and ample patience.

Consistent Kindness – When I get impatient, I remind myself that I am dealing with the equivalent of a 4-year-old human, both intellectually and emotionally. As smart as your dog is and no matter their age, they are always going to be a bit infantile in the sense that they will be eyes wide open to the world in a very innocent way that we grow up and out of and lose sight of if we aren’t careful. I think this is one of the reasons we love dogs so much. Once they give of themselves, bond with us, they never doubt our loyalty to them, they come to us completely trusting. Animals have a ritual that we have lost sight of in our busy ways; the greeting. If we awaken and allow it to happen, our animals will come from wherever they are in the house and greet us. If you’re in the habit of bounding out of bed to get things done in the morning, try pausing a few moments and see what unfolds. A new day is a gift and they seem to sense this. My cats and dogs have always done this as well as the door greeting when I have left and arrive home again. They are happy that everybody woke up, ready for the new day and that you came back home safely. While our fellow animals can be quite crafty, unlike a few of us humans, they generally don’t do something to intentionally anger us. Therefore, they require our loving-kindness. Every day with them is a blessed gift, even if there’s pee on the floor because there’s an app, crate,pads and a training book for that.

Set Your Boundaries – Firstly, you must be very consistent in what the rules are otherwise you confuse the issue. And when I have new dogs over at the house, I have to be mindful that their rules may be quite different than ones I have trained my dogs to. For example, ours do not counter surf or steal food…ever. Yes, that took a while. With leash rules, this means managing situations during a walk where your pup is not listening, caring or minding you. He will gradually learn to focus on you and your boundaries as they are firmly but gently adhered to.

With that, here are the 5 easy ways to halt leash pulling.

#1) Equipment that fits – Everything starts with a proper fit. Collars and Harnesses – Whether you go for a collar or a harness it should fit properly. Collars can cause a lot of damage to a dog’s delicate neck and cervical spine so it is imperative to stop the pulling. This usually means a prong or training collar. When using a prong collar, it should ONLY be worn for training purposes and not left on the dog and certainly not left on the dog while enjoying the dog park. The reason for that is dogs like to rough house and play bite at the neck. This can turn deadly if a tooth gets caught in a prong. The prong collar should fit snug at the top of the neck just behind the ears. It should not be loose enough to slip from that spot, otherwise, you are in jeopardy of harming the dog’s neck and trachea as well as lessening the power of this tool. Leashes – I have horse leads that are thick and soft, easy on the hands, and extending leashes so my dog can get way ahead of me and sniff out things. I do a mix of ‘heel’ and ‘sniff’ commands and I did so because I want my dog to be a dog and enjoy the walk as he would in nature with roaming a bit and sniffing etc. Now, here’s a great tip for those of you who love a long leash but run into situations where your dog goes around something and gets tangled up…I call it ‘spin’ but you can name it how you like. I ask the dog to ‘spin’ and make a spinning motion with my finger in the direction I want the canine to go in. Eventually, he gets it and gets high praise. Meantime, he gets praise for just going partially in the right direction as I coax, show and help him around the obstacle. Teaching this really helps you have a great easy walk! But this command has also come in handy in other situations where I needed my boy to go around something in the yard etc. For those who want hands free, this bungee leash is pretty sweet.

id I mention my Doberman and spinal issues? I stopped using collars except for bling (Rhett really loves his bling) and ID tags. I am a big fan of using a harness but not just any harness and I’ll share why. Typical harnesses, coming from working dog/Shutzhund etc, amp up the dog and we want a calm dog when we are strolling. The typical collars put pressure on the dog’s neck, throat, and head. Most harnesses put pressure on the rib-cage and thoracic spine for a dog that habitually pulls. All this promotes pulling and straining against the device as a natural opposition response to restraint. What happened with our Dobie is that he ended up with cervical spine issues. When I switched from collars to a harness, he ended up with thoracic issues. Acupuncture, chiropractic, ANMR & massage therapy made the boy right as rain again. I recommend the BrilliantK9 Dog Harness. Use this link and use code ‘Pure’ for your 10% discount! The BrilliantK9 girth strap is behind the rib-cage where most are tight over the ribs. The leash attachment is mid-back (behind the core strength), making it hard to pull as there is nothing to pull against. Their spine is in alignment, and they are able to flex at their natural pivot point.

#2 Short Sessions – You want to work on no pulling when you are both fresh and not frustrated. This might mean the 40-minute walk you planned on ends up being down the length and back from your driveway. Keep sessions as short as they need to be, based upon where you are in training your pup to ‘no pull’. I think sometimes we really wanna get that training in, get it done and exasperate ourselves.

#3 The Leash Touch – This is part of the massage training I took and is a gentle signal from your end of the leash to theirs which is simple and highly effective. When walking your dog and he is tugging, gently take your finger and run it down and back a few times on the leash. Your dog will feel this and back off. Repeat as needed with a command such as ‘No pull’.

#4 – Direction Change – SQUIRREL!!! Another great way to get your dog in line is the swap directions. You may think any neighbors watching you believe you’re crazy, but toggling back and forth from one direction to the next whenever your dog pulls will help him understand that you are in charge of the direction of the walk and lessen pulling.

#5 – Just Stop – Our Doberman was v-e-r-y stubborn. So what is supposed to happen is the dog is pulling, you say No Pull and you just stop quietly in your tracks. Your dog will eventually turn around to look at you. Smile. Then when your dog comes trotting over to you looking up, making eye contact and of course not pulling, give him a ‘Good boy/girl etc’. Yeah with Rhett I waited a full 25 minutes for that. Get a Doberman they said. Dobermans are owner focused they said. Seriously, Rhett was a beautiful and amazing companion, albeit hard-headed. But the point is to be their leader regardless of the cajones they came to you with by getting their attention and making them a willing partner. Ps, here’s a fun dog training book!

Your Pet – Holistic Treatments & Therapeutic Massage

Craniosacral, Reiki Master, CMFT, Acupressure, Neuro-Myofascial Release, Florals, light therapy, aroma-therapy – Buck is enjoying!

In yoga, we speak a lot about stacking the bones. Much of yoga, when done properly, is about aligning the spine, the body and utilizing twists and postures to wring out toxins, tonify the system, strengthen ligaments, muscles, and bones (all weight-bearing exercise does this and yoga is one of the best at that!) We are clearing stagnation. Just as one yoga class won’t a perfectly running body machine make, so too, one therapeutic treatment won’t either. Help? Sure. But be prepared to provide your love bug with at least 3+ treatments in any modality or combination you are working with before you can begin to assess what and how it is working. Then move forward from that place.

When treating a pet with holistic therapies, it is important to note that while many walk away feeling immediately better after just one treatment (instant Karma) some will actually feel worse, groggy or sore afterward, as their bodies readjust. They may feel really great and get the zoomies too! And here’s why…your dog, cat etc has been hurting for a while. Suddenly he feels so much better, something worked! He is showing you his joy about that, but this does not mean he is 100% a-ok right now. So, running around like a puppy again shows you that the treatment helped. Keep going.

When manipulating an animals spine, ligament or muscle, we are setting our intentions for healing as we work together to co-create that end result. Each therapy session is a form of communication or communion between us and the fur child. I find this particularly true of massage therapy which is very personal. I have my intentions all over that animal’s mind, body, and soul. We are absolutely in collusion together. And on that note, it can sometimes take a few sessions before that collusion takes hold and the animals realize what this is about, that it is helping etc so we can, together, make the very most of the healing options.

By the time you see that your pet is in pain, they have most likely been in pain a while before exhibiting it outwardly. These concerns typically require several sessions as the body begins to remember and remain in alignment, as muscles are relaxed and toned that allow the bones to stack properly. For issues that have set in for a long period of time, additional treatments will be needed to provide complete or better balance and wellness.

And then there’s the money. I am currently on a severely tight budget. So, any place that I can save, I do. I try. So when our Doberman began feeling so much better, the knee jerk reaction was to say ‘Ok, he’s well or almost…I can dial it back’ But I ask that you be patient through the healing processes, stay the recommended course and continue to observe your pet for changes and see your love animal continue to feel and function even better. ♥

Panko Breaded Eggplant Vegan Smoked Mozzarella & Rich Mushroom Tomato Sauce

This is my own creation and it turned out well, no recipe, no nothing just what came up outta my head so I am going to share and puff myself up a bit because oh my Jesus this was good!!!

As you may know I am married to a non-vegan culinary degree’d chef. This sounded really sweet when he was making most of the meals but when I got laid off as an Implementation Project Manager over voice/data/API software, took Hippocrates Health Institute training, went vegan and became the primary chef (air quotes are necessary here) things can be really challenging.

This dish is a bit of a riff off the vegan moussaka recipe I posted a few years back. There are a few steps but nothing hard.

First I set aside a nice pan I wanted to layer the goods into and bake at 350 for 30 minutes or so.

But before we get to baking, I sliced a large organic eggplant into 1/4 inch rounds. Here you could do the Vegan Bob’s RedMill Egg Replacer and it works very well! I got lazy and skipped that. Don’t skip this step because your panko will stick so much better to the eggplant.

Get a bowl and put about a cup or so of Jeff Nathan Gluten Free Panko, delicious, and add salt and pepper, mix it up. You would not be lazy and dip the eggplant slices into the egg mixture and then dip into the panko. If all you have is panko and no egg replacer no worries, mine did turn out well but as I stated, much of the panko came off in the saute pan and …you know the rest. Don’t be lazy. Do as I say not as I did.

You can saute in organic Olive oil and rest on paper towels to soak up the extra oil. And while the eggplant slices are resting, get your sauce together. Get a saucepan out and add 2 cans of organic stewed tomatoes and paste. This can be warmed.

Get a saute pan out, add your organic oil, sunflower, olive, avocado but say hell no to Canola…it is in everything, Whole Foods switched up to using it in all their prepared stuff that I can no longer eat, thanks oh so much for being cheap. Get a real quality oil.

Slice up half an onion or so, a few bits of fresh garlic, (is there ever too much garlic? ) add some Italian seasoning and stir. Next, add mushrooms. I like weird mushrooms. So I used oyster but you could go with Criminy or a mix of shrooms. I am making an Asian soup later so I just used some Oyster, half a box, feeling I would save the rest for the soup later. Saute this all together until aromatic and ready and then add this concoction into your tomato sauce.

Spices…you could also add smoked paprika. I could huff smoked paprika. Delicious.

Layer your eggplant slices in the bottom of the pan. Top with slices of Miyokos Vegan Smoked Mozzarella. You could perhaps use half a container of the cheese here. Then if you wanted to do another layer and more eggplant for a larger dish, feel free. I just topped my one layer and cheese with the tomato sauce. Then I topped all that with a layer of panko on the top. Into the oven at 350 for 30 minutes.

The smokiness of the cheese added so much complexity to this dish. I hope that you enjoy it too! ♥ Please comment and share if you enjoyed!

Purepet canine massage therapy & acupressure

Someone recently asked on Facebook is there anyone in the Lakewood area of Dallas that does Canine Massage Therapy. Someone else commented ‘Wow, cool, I didn’t know that was a thing!’ Thankfully we live in a time of great change both in mindset and education when it comes to a holistic approach to animal (and human) wellness. Many savvy veterinarians offer acupuncture and massage therapies and can either schedule a session at their office or refer you to someone skilled in those modalities.

Pet parents want to know what to expect, how often is good, what are the benefits and how much does it cost? I hope to answer all these questions for you but please reach out if I missed anything burning on your mind.

I partner with veterinarians in the area & typically work from my home ‘Spa Room’. I have a toolkit; from mats to cupping, gua sha stones to red and infrared light therapy, and Professional 635nm Light Therapy for laser acupuncture, the session is individualized to the patient. While the client fills out forms I see how the dog is moving, go over any issues/concerns, and a pit stop before we do the hands-on therapies. I employ only canine approved certified organic pharmaceutical grade essential oils as my patient quiets upon a stone healing bed that emits far-infrared ION to speed healing at a cellular level.

How Often? Every dog (and every human) should have regular bodywork. Costs range from $50 to $100 per session depending upon the area and the education your therapist has as well as travel fees if they must come to you. How often depends upon the dog. Chronic conditions should be treated weekly. Bodywork should be spaced 5 days apart so that you allow for the work that has taken place to have its effect before doing more. So a dog with a chronic condition will benefit from a weekly massage or at least every other week. Dogs with jobs to do may benefit from every 3 weeks to monthly maintenance.

Benefits of massage – The benefits are numerous. Its gonna sound like snake oil it’s so good! So I combine acupressure with several massage techniques when I work on a dog. Recently one of my clients who’s back legs are really shot, severe mobility on the hind end, came to me constipated. He’d not gone in 48 hours. I did the gastrointestinal protocol on him and just as soon as I finished working on those acupoints, the boy got a bit restless, so we took him out to the yard to go BIG poop! I think I did a little happy dance because I love helping these guys out and facilitate the environment where they can all get the healing they wish for.

From spinal trauma, gastrointestinal issues, over-excitement, emotional traumas to arthritis, Hip Dysplasia, to general stressors, bodywork offers great benefits that compliment whatever your veterinarian is doing and facilitate healing.

All animals need to move. The lymphatic system is designed to help detox the body and doesn’t have its own pump; movement is the pump! A dog that is healthy with no imbalances should have a monthly massage. All of us get off balance and canines are masters at queuing off of us. This means many of our imbalances become theirs as they live with us and offer us unbelievable support on so many levels.

Dogs who do have jobs, such as police or rescue work, should have regular bodywork to decompress from all of that. Just like us, they may really love what they do, but they also absorb a lot of stress from the work and this helps the dog relax and get calm. Massage ahead of a big sporting event helps tone the muscles and prime the dog for competition. After a big event, it helps the dog heal from any overwork, any tears or strains.

For Chronic conditions, such as muscle atrophy, arthritis, Hip/hind end weakness, muscles being tight from over-compensation/imbalance, leash pulling (which causes spinal imbalance) weekly massage helps take the patient from chronic trauma to better mobility and less pain.

Leash Pulling – Here I can use my Doberman, Rhett, as a perfect example. Rhett near continuously pulls on his lead. It’s not as bad as when he was a puppy but he is very headstrong and tends to pull. I think my last words if I die while walking him will be ‘Rhett, no pull.’ Rhett had spinal trauma. At first we had no idea what happened or why. Seeing my boy go from a very powerful 100lbs of a lean mean machine to not even having the will to bark, unable to go for walks and couldn’t get up into his favorite chair by himself, just sit and shake and all overnight, was just heartbreaking. We did acupuncture work on him with 2 veterinarians; Dr. Hartai with Spot On Wellness and Dr. Molidor with East Dallas Vet Clinic. Both also do house calls for anyone in the Dallas area. It was during an acupuncture session that I was instructed to provide massage at home in-between sessions. I had zero training but had just been laid off at work so I had time to take the courses and be certified. With the education, I applied my skills first to Rhett and saw where I was able to be a big boost to his mobility in-between trips to the vet for his acupuncture. And it was through the process seeing my boy heal himself and get to what he is today, 98% back to normal, as the inspiration to help others. MRI and surgery were strongly suggested. Evet had suggested PTS if surgery wasn’t an option due to quality of life issues. But I watched the miracle unfold without anything more invasive than tiny needles. I have been asked by many folks what happened to Rhett. It all stemmed from leash pulling. So getting your dog fitted into a proper harness, avoiding the neck and coaching consistently about NOT pulling on the leash is very important.

Reese is enjoying his healing experience!

Life can be stressful, even in the very best of times. Massage and acupressure provide a calm and centered healing space. From Acute to chronic conditions, ranging from stress to gastrointestinal concerns to mobility, pain, and arthritis, bodywork allows for healing and balancing of the spirit, mind, and body. Bodywork is energy work. By moving energy we allow the dog to get the healing he wishes for. ♥

To schedule or for more information call or email today. 214-334-8517 or suzkarmah@aol.com. If you are interested in studying Canine, small animal or Equine therapies, click here for further information.

Less is less & maybe that’s ok

Life can be beautifully simple

Less isn’t more; it’s really less. A friend and I were chatting and I commented that less is not more. He applauded stating he was so grateful I stated that truth. What people really mean when they comment that less is more is that the eye can only see so much at one time. In the world of design, we can fool the eye to believing a space is more expansive than it is, draw the eye up or down, all based upon colours, shots of material and decor. Things too busy can become dizzying to look at. In our old Edwardian, we had many sitting rooms and loads of tchotchkes. In our new home, which is a modern, all the stuff had to be paired down significantly or eradicated prior to moving because it was not right for the new place. It wasn’t meshing well with the new us. We wanted a pad all one level so all the pets and family could be all on one floor. Pairing things down meant more space between stuff, giving the eye a rest. Having space make things easier to clean as well. And as you build up your interior with decor pieces, you find the truly great items really stand out when they have some room to say something. Less is more.

I’ll be 59 this year. Creating some space, making things easier to clean and not having to do a bee dance or agility course to get from one room of the house to another, make sense…makes peace.

Then I was laid off suddenly. Here’s the thing with the whole less is more bit….When you feel wealthy, feel at least comfortable, there’s food on the table, good food, and fluffy pillows on your nice sofa, you have a bit of discretionary income for the things, yoga class, pottery, the housekeeper, chef school, that you really want to include into your lifestyle, then it gets easier to spout on about how less is more. When you feel needy, feel like you may not get all that you want, is when the tendency is to fill your surroundings with more stuff.

My knee-jerk reaction to suddenly having my contract terminated was to get re-employed corporately swiftly as possible with an offer my Contractor brought to me the same day I was let go. That work, sadly, didn’t materialize and then I spiraled. I’m not used to marketing myself or being out of a job. I am used to being in the top 10% at whatever company I work for at whatever job I do. I excel at working with people and love to help solve problems. If only I could get my arse into a new job. I began having nightmares about this job loss and between the overly long hours at a company I worked at for 28 years and this latest that actually forgot to tell me when I was laid off so I continued working at a job I no longer had, I decided perhaps I am done with corporate work. I had just traded in my paid for car so I had a car payment. After a couple of months where I didn’t see a new job on the horizon, I cashed that car in at the dealership. Not having a car in Dallas is not an easy thing at all.

I’d love to segue into this blog, helping folks detox their daily lives, get them using the amazing organic products and help a few animals each week with my massage therapy practice and call it my new life. I don’t require 10k/mo but 5k would be nice. Building this business has taken a lot of time and expense to get up and going. I went from 10k/mo to my $576.00 pension and whatever I sell. So it is with my new situation that I have begun to think about frugality and how less isn’t more at all, it’s freaking less for pete’s sake! But having less may not necessarily be a bad thing. It’s our nature to assume whatever is happening currently, for better or worse, is the way of it. If you’re up high on life right now, the feeling is that this will never end. This high will always be. Conversely, if you’re doubled over in agony, having a pity party on the epic scale, it, too seems to be far more permanent than it actually is as life’s magic twists and turns leaving tendrils of joy, pain, loss, hope, attainment and finally transcendence.

There can also be too much clutter in our heads, in our thoughts. As we clutter our lives with spent magazines, empty cups and too much of even the very nicest of things, we can overfill our heads where there isn’t space or room to quietly contemplate.

Lives and situations change. Also what we can label good or bad really are just experiences and how we choose to classify them. Things are not always as they appear. It is important to be grateful and see all the blessings around you, even in the face of adversity. Whether you are downsizing on purpose or a decision was made for you, take a look around and see where you can scale back so that
as you build up your interior fortitude, with careful meditation on your next steps, you’ll find the truly great ideas really stand out when they have some room to say something. Less is more.