Are you worried about your pet’s condition? Are they getting old and showing signs of discomfort? Do they suffer from anxiety or have a hard time trusting people? Are they just not acting like themselves anymore and you’re clueless as to what is wrong? You’re not alone. And there is hope for your pet. Back in the day, my dogs would easily run 15-20 miles a week with me. In fact, I found it hard to keep up at times. Today, my dogs are seniors (ages 9 and 11), so it goes without saying they’ve slowed down a bit. Not only that, but they’re beginning to show signs of wear and tear, specifically in their bones and joints. My youngest also suffers from anxiety…shaking and hiding whenever she hears a loud noise like fireworks or some one yelling.
As pet parents, we want only the best for our dogs. We want to ensure they’re living a happy, healthy life. So, the first thing I did in an effort to remedy my dogs’ symptoms, was visit my friend Karen over at Carlsbad Pet & Feed because I know how important a dog’s diet is to their health. She suggested Zignature, a dog food specifically designed to help improve the overall health of dogs who need a specialized diet. My girls are loving it and I’ve already seen some improvements. But, even though a dog’s health is strongly dictated by it’s diet, often times it requires more of an effort to treat your dog’s issues. Karen referred me to her friend, Nedra Abramson of Reiki For All Creatures, to show me the ways of Massage, Acupressure, and Reiki for dogs. Nedra is all about empowering pet parents to pursue balance and awareness with their pets. During our session, she explained and demonstrated exactly what it is, how it works, and how it benefits animals, including those without any health issues.
Acupressure and Reiki offer a gentle and noninvasive approach to treating an animal’s issues. Animals respond intuitively to its power to heal emotional, behavioral, and physical illness and injury. Regardless if your pet is already receiving a different type of treatment (i.e., Western Medicine, Chinese Medicine, homeopathy, etc), Acupressure and Reiki are wonderful supportive methods that are safe to do alongside other types of treatments. In fact, it’s important to note that Acupressure and Reiki for dogs is NOT an alternative to seeking professional help from your trusted veterinarian.
Regular massage on its own is a great modality to use with your pet, as it helps increase blood flow and lymph circulation, and enhances muscle tone and flexibility. Many animals who suffer from emotional issues (depression, anxiety, shyness, distrust) respond well to the relaxation and positive touch of massage.
- reduce the side effects of chemotherapy
- support an acupuncture or acupressure treatment
- enhance the effects of modality
Acupressure supports animals who:
- suffer from acute conditions
- are rehabilitating from surgery or injury
- compete athletically
- have behavioral issues
- show signs and symptoms of aging
- have arthritis
Massage benefits include:
- relaxation and stress reduction
- increased flexibility of soft tissue
- reduction of edema (swelling)
- enhancement of waste and toxin elimination
- maintenance of good posture and body balance
- prevention of atrophy in inactive muscles
- improve athletic performance
- loosening and softening scar tissue
- releasing endorphins which are naturally occurring steroids in the body which act to assuage pain
- enhance muscle tone and range of motion
- advances healing though increased flow of nutrients to injured muscles
- lengthens connective tissue and reduces the formation of adhesions leading to fibrosis
- helps with emotional wellbeing
- reduces anxiety
- helps to increase trust and the emotional bond
The interesting thing about Reiki is that it’s performed without even touching the pet. As explained on Reiki.org, “It is administered by “laying on hands” and is based on the idea that an unseen ‘life force energy’ flows through us and is what causes us to be alive. If one’s ‘life force energy’ is low, then we are more likely to get sick or feel stress, and if it is high, we are more capable of being happy and healthy.” Acupressure and massage, however, are performed by applying a certain amount of pressure to specific points on the body that correspond with other areas of the body (i.e., massaging the point behind the knee helps relieve pain in the hips and knees). My main concerns with Skyy are mainly due to her old age, specifically her joints and immune health. With that in mind, Nedra focused on points of her body that would help reduce inflammation, relieve stiffness, support immune function, strengthen tendons, and lessen the pain. As with all her customers, Nedra supplies a comprehensive chart that visually shows the points and the areas they affect. Check out Skyy’s chart below:
Rain’s biggest issue isn’t so much the old age, but the anxiety. She’ll quiver with her eyes practically bulging out of her head in fear of any loud noise. Rain also has a sensitive immune system and falls victim to several environmental allergies. For her, Nedra focused on points that would help calm stress and support immune function. Check out Rain’s chart below:
My dogs have never had any issues getting comfortable with strangers, but they were in HEAVEN during their time with Nedra. Seeing them so at ease and comfortable filled my heart with joy. Towards the end of the session, Skyy was passed out snoring and Rain was just way too relaxed to even try to hold the toots in (not that dogs ever hold in their farts, but you get the idea). It was true bliss for them…and me!
As mentioned, Nedra is all about empowering pet parents to pursue balance and awareness with their pets. It’s crucial to be mindful of your pet’s health. Even when they try their best to communicate with us when something is wrong, we can’t read their minds. And you certainly don’t want to wait until it’s “too late” to fix the problem. Take preventative action now to ensure your pet a long, happy life.
You can find more information about Massage, Acupressure, and Reiki for dogs by visiting Nedra’s website at reikiforallcreatures.com. Act now to take advantage of her holiday promotion – $75 session includes: Consultation, Assessment, Personalized Point Chart and Diagram (that’s an $85 value)! Contact her today…
Reiki For All Creatures
Once you’ve decided to invest in a pet portrait experience, there’s a whole other list of decisions you’ll need to make. Not many, but some…when to do it? …what to wear? …where to go? But, there’s no need to panic. If you’ve found a good photographer, they will gladly educate you on your options and offer suggestions…or even make the decision for you in some cases 😉 One of the most common decisions clients need help with is how to choose a photo shoot location. I personally LOVE when clients rely on me to suggest a location. As a photographer, the only thing worse than a bad location is bad light. So, what makes a good location? Here’s a few things that pet parents should consider when trying to choose a photo shoot location for their pet family portraits:
Where is familiar/comfortable for your pet?
Think about where your pet spends most of their time. Most people would say their home. And, guess what…your home can be an excellent photo shoot location! You don’t need to live in a mansion or perfectly landscaped cottage to have a photo shoot at your home. Sure, you’ll want to tidy up a bit, but any professional photographer will be able to work with whatever type of environment your home provides. A home can offer several options for different shots: in the backyard, in the frontward, on the couch, in the kitchen, on your bed, in the car, or around the neighborhood.
I’m all for breaking some rules in order to get a good shot, but you can only go so far when animals are involved. For pet family portraits, it’s important to ensure that pets are actually allowed at the location. And if they are, what rules apply? Can they be off-leash? Are they only allowed during a certain time of year? Is it restricted to service animals? Luckily, San Diego is a very pet-friendly place. The majority of parks and other public hot spots allow pets. Most places require pets to be leashed, but that doesn’t mean your photos have to rock the leash too. Like I said, I’m all for breaking some rules (like unleashing for a minute or crossing a boundary line) so long as the situation proves safe enough. And if that’s not an option, there’s always the magic of Photoshop to get rid of an unwanted object 😉
photographed at Bressi Ranch in Carlsbad, CA
Try to avoid crowds (especially pet crowds).
The dog park may be your pet’s favorite place to play, but it’s not the best photo shoot location. Not only will there be an abundance of distractions, but there’s a good chance the other dogs will want to steal the spotlight. Your photo session is YOUR photo session. You don’t want tons of other pets messing with your experience. With that said, you don’t need to find a place where NO other pets will be. I mean, that’s almost impossible (unless you stay home). But, it’s beneficial to choose a location that provides options for getting away from others. The less crowded the location, the less distracted your pet will be, and the cleaner your photos will look.
photographed at La Jolla Cove in La Jolla, CA
Ask your photographer for recommendations!
There’s a reason photographers like me are called “on-location photographers.” It’s because we spend every shooting hour at a location (not in a studio). And when we’re not shooting at a location, we’re scouting them. And when we find a place we like, we make the effort to shoot there again. So, if you find yourself clueless as to where to go, or even if you have a preference but aren’t sure where exactly, just ask! I personally have a TON of uncharted territory to still scout in sunny San Diego, but a few of my favorites so far include: Guajome Park, Los Peñasquitos Canyon, Balboa Park, and Seaport Village.
Photographed at Balboa Park in San Diego, CA
So, now that you know HOW to choose, WHERE would you like to go?! Call or email me to schedule your complimentary Consultation, and we’ll discuss all your location options.
You don’t have to own a Pit Bull to know that they get a bad rap. Any dog owner could tell you who Michael Vick is, and even if they’re not a fan of Pit Bulls, they wouldn’t agree with the practice of organized dog fighting. Having owned 3 Pit Bulls at one time (my middle child passed away in May 2017, you can read all about that here…warning: you may need a tissue), I know first-hand the negative Pit Bull stereotyping and judgments that are thrown in the faces of Pit Bull parents on a regular basis.
For those who don’t know…imagine walking your dog and seeing some one cross the street in front of traffic just to avoid walking passed you. Imagine being forced into a home you can’t afford or a town you don’t want to live in because they don’t allow your dog to be there. Imagine meeting a fellow dog lover who suddenly wants nothing to do with you because they discovered what breed of dog you have. This is the kind of treatment Pit Bull parents receive regularly. It’s just not fair to them, and it’s not fair to the dogs.
Think about it…it’s one thing to dislike a certain breed for whatever reasons (maybe you just aren’t fond of big dogs, or your need a dog that serves a specific purpose), but for those who are hating on Pit Bulls just because of their past are literally holding a grudge against some one who was forced to do something against their will. These dogs don’t WANT to fight, they’re being forced to. There’s dogs in China that are being forced to wear kid’s clothes and walk upright on their hind legs just for some viral video craze, but no one holds a grudge against them. They feel sorry for them. But because of what the Pitties were forced to do (kill other Pitties), suddenly they’re classified as horrible, vicious dogs.
But, it doesn’t have to be that way. In fact, a significant amount of progress has been made in preventing dog fighting from existing, as well as educating the public on all the good qualities that Pit Bulls have. Take Gigi, for example…she spent her childhood unwillingly participating in the Missouri 500 dog fighting games. The organization was busted in 2009, freeing Gigi, along with over 350 other dogs who were brought into shelters in hopes of finding loving homes. Shortly after, Gigi met her soulmate parents who have since rehabilitated her and certified her as a therapy dog. Despite her brutal past, which is evident by her scarred appearance and one blind eye, she now happily volunteers at Love on a Leash Pet Therapy. Together with her mom, they visit veterans, seniors, and adults with mental disabilities to brighten their days with her wagging tail and infectious smile.
With that said, we have a long way to go before Pit Bulls and their parents are “accepted” in society the way other breeds are…the way they deserve to be. And it’s up to us to do something about it. Trying to convince the public that Pit Bulls are sweet, loving animals will not be easy. They are, in fact, genetically dispositioned to attack and destroy. And they do, in fact, account for the majority of fatal dog bites in the U.S. BUT, I believe we can help minimize the chances of these types of incidences from occurring. With education and responsible pet ownership, we can help Pit Bulls become the dogs they’re meant to be. It’ll be a long journey to get there, but we have to start somewhere. So, to begin, there’s one simple thing you can do to help show the public how wonderfully beautiful these dogs are, inside and out.
What’s that one simple thing? Share pictures of your Pittie. Seriously! Show the world how loving they are by photographing them giving kisses to you and/or your family members. Nothing says “what a sweet pup” like a photo of a dog licking a baby’s face or the two of them getting along like best buds. Praise their skills by sharing pictures of them performing tricks and other talents. These are dogs are eager to please which makes them fast learners. They’re smart! Make a commitment to teach them a new trick every other month, then share it. Get them certified and take them to visit hospitals, veterans, elderly homes, kids with special needs. Take pictures of them interacting with these people that benefit from having them in their lives.
Dozer may be a big Bull, but he’s not a bully. Having almost not survived his first few days of life, he was rescued and now lives happily with and his brother, Sawyer. And they are two peas in a pod. They sleep, play, and eat together. Dozer even lets Sawyer ride on his back like a horse!
Hurley & Titan have a sister with Down Syndrome who they absolutely adore. And it goes without saying that she adores them back. Pit Bulls like Hurley & Titan are the epitome of “family dog,” showing nothing but unconditional love for their family members.
If we all show the world how big our little Pittie’s hearts really are, we’ll continue to make progress towards their acceptance. Pit Bulls deserve to be given a chance. With out help, they can be treated with the same love, respect, and kindness that other breeds receive. Like I said, it’s a long, tough journey ahead, but we’ve got to start somewhere. Every little step we take towards educating ourselves on responsible ownership, and educating the public on our progress helps. So join the cause, learn about the breed, practice safe ownership, strengthen their non-violent skills, help raise awareness, take some pictures of your Pittie and share them! If you’re not the best photographer and you feel you can’t do your dog justice, call or email me. I would LOVE to help you 🙂
Want to help stop negative Pit Bull stereotyping in a bigger way? Donate to your local Pit Bull non-profit. Awareness groups and rescue organizations (like San Diego’s “SD Pittie Parents” and “Passion For Pitties“) are always looking for help. Also, keep an eye out for my special promotion that I’ll be having during National Pit Bull Awareness month (October)!
Photos taken at Los Peñasquitos Canyon Preserve.
If you’re into essential oils, you probably know all the wonderful benefits they have, and how to use them to reap those benefits. But, did you know that they can also significantly benefit your dog as well?! Using essential oils for dogs can offer a natural, holistic alternative to some of the most common and severe symptoms that dogs get.
In order to get a better understanding of exactly how to use essential oils for dogs, I teamed up with Orange County heath and wellness professional, Dr. Nikki Knight. Together, we determined the Top 10 Ways To Use Essential Oils For Dogs, based on the most common dog problems, such as anxiety, inflammation, fleas, and allergies. And here to help us demonstrate is her fluffy fur baby (and one of my best friends), Chewie!
Dr. Nikki Knight is a family nurse practitioner with an expertise in essential oils. She has dedicated the past 5 years to essential oil research and implements them into her nursing practice as well as her home.
She currently works and lives in Southern California and is a mom to three (2 humans and a pup). Credentials: Nikki Knight, DNP, APRN, FNP.
What Are Essential Oils?
Natural aromatic compounds found in plants.
Extracted by steam distillation or cold-pressing.
Powerful and safe, without side effects.
50-70x more powerful than herbs.
Top 10 Ways To Use Essential Oils for Dogs
Frankincense: Anxiety, Colitis, Inflammation, Infections, Insect/Snake Bites, Scarring, Tumors, Warts
Lavender: Abscesses, Anxiety, Allergies, Burns, Conjunctivitis, Inflammation, Tumors, Vertigo, Wound Care
Lemon: Anxiety, Electrolyte Balance, Immune Boost, Infections, Lymph Function, Claw Strength
Oregano: Bronchitis, Colds, Infections, MRSA, Ringworm, Strep, Staph
Peppermint: Asthma, Bronchitis, Diarrhea, Fever, Heatstroke, Inflammation, Muscle Pain, Ulcers
Calming Blend: Anxiety, Burns, Inflammation, Wound Care
Digestive Blend: Allergies, Diarrhea, Digestive parasites, Ulcers, Vomiting
Protective Blend: Abscesses, Colds, Flu, Immune Support, MRSA, Oral health, parasites, Spider Bites
Respiratory Blend: Asthma, Allergies, Colds, Heatstroke, Kennel Cough
Flea Repellent – In a 16oz spray bottle, put 4-6 drops of Rosemary and 4-6 drops of Cleansing Blend; fill remainder of bottle with water. Lightly spray dog, avoiding the eyes. Reapply as needed for flea prevention.
How To Apply Essentials Oils To Your Dog
Aromatic – dilute in an oil diffuser for mood management, air purification, and/or opening airways.
Topical – spray or massage on localized areas for immediate comfort and/or immune support.
Internal – Mix with food or dilute in water for digestive support, or problems with the mouth, throat, or liver.
Tips For Using Essential Oils For Dogs
Dogs tolerate oil well, but dogs vary greatly in size. Use tiny amounts of oil for sensitive skin, puppies, and toy breeds. Dilute with coconut oil if needed.
Apply oils between toes and on the pad of the foot when doing foot application.
The oils do not build up in systems like drugs do; reapply as needed.
Avoid contact with eyes, flush with milk if needed.
As an essential oil expert, Dr. Knight recommends doTERRA brand oils. When you choose doTERRA, you are choosing essential oils gently and carefully distilled from plants that have been patiently harvested at the perfect moment by experienced growers from around the world for ideal extract composition and efficacy. Each doTERRA essential oil is also carefully and thoroughly tested using the strict CPTG Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade® quality protocol. Check out their website at doTERRA.com.
Many clients go into a photography session thinking they want all the photos as digital files because it’s easier, cheaper, faster…The truth is, most clients THINK they want digital files because they simply don’t know the true value in other, more tangible products. That’s why I’m here to explain the pros and cons of purchasing digital files, so that you can make the educated decision (as opposed to an assumption) on whether or not you should buy them.
1. Freedom to DIY
If you’re like me, you love to create. And having a stockpile of professional photos in your creativity toolbox offers endless possibilities for crafting. With digital files at your disposal, you’re able to rock your DIY skills in a way you probably couldn’t do if you had taken the photos yourself.
BUT…this also requires you to DIY. If you’re like me, you’re also pretty darn busy. So, trying to find time to create something just for fun is not always easy. Before you know it, it’s months, even years later, and those digital files are still sitting on that USB drive, waiting to be transformed into a work of art.
2. Longevity of files vs prints
Despite the fact that technology is ever-changing, a JPG file is still more likely to last longer than a 16×20 print. This is simply because of it’s form – files can be kept safe on a computer or hard drive, while prints are out on display for all to see and touch.
BUT…what’s the point of having those files if no one gets to see the photos? Isn’t that the point of getting professional pictures taken? To display for all to see, to show off how adorable your pet is, to showcase your family’s unconditional love?
Plus, just because your digital files are safely stored on your computer, doesn’t mean they can’t accidentally get deleted or lost. It’s a lot easier to lose a dinky little JPG file in a sea of photos and other computer clutter, than it is to lose a 16×20 framed print.
3. Instant gratification and ability to share
In today’s world, most people desire instant gratification, especially when it comes to photos. They want to immediately show off their images and brag about how much fun they had during their photo shoot and how skilled their pet is at modeling. And when photos are in digital format, it makes sharing extremely fast and easy.
BUT…with patience comes great reward. A photo that is shared on social media and viewed on a screen no bigger than your hand doesn’t receive the same response as if that same photo was shared as part of a large wall gallery in your living room. If you want to really impress your friends and family, invite them over for dinner and show off your wall gallery that was designed to be admired by an audience.
With that said…I don’t believe in holding photos hostage. I really want my clients to share their photos with the world! That’s why I include a custom mobile app with every session. It provides clients with a fast and easy way to share all their photos on social media, email, and/or in person. Read more about the custom mobile app HERE.
4. Cost vs Value
Now, before I go off on a tangent, let me just say that this is the biggest misconception clients have about digital files. And I don’t blame them! It’s a common misunderstanding, so let me explain…
Professional photographers who value prints over digital files will charge anywhere from $25-$200 for an 8×10 print. And the first thing many clients think is “why is it SO expensive? It cost $0.15 at Costco/Target/Walmart!” Well, big surprise…professional photographers aren’t getting their photos printed at Costco, Target, or Walmart. We use professional labs that print our images the way they’re suppose to look. If a client takes a digital file and has it printed somewhere other than through the photographer, they run the risk of receiving a low quality print that looks nothing like the photo they see on their screen. In fact, its’ almost guaranteed to NOT look the way it’s suppose to.
By trying to save money and get prints made at a low-cost lab, you not only devalue the work of the photographer, but you also devalue the investment you made in the photo session. If you’re going to invest hundreds of dollars on a photo session, you’re only cheating yourself by trying to save a few bucks on prints.
With that said…most photographers will still offer digital files, but at a premium price. I do this simply because at the end of the day, I want you to get the products you really want, but I also want you to spend your money wisely. I charge a higher price for A La Carte digital files because I don’t want that to be the only thing you buy. By purchasing a package, you still get digital files, but you also get all the other tangible items that you’ll be much more satisfied with, and you save up to 40%!!
If you’re looking for convenience, there are tons of photographers out there who offer the shoot-and-burn “service.” I use “service” in quotes, because to me, that’s just not MY idea of “real” service. It’s quick and cheap…just shoot and hand over the digital files. Done, bye! And that can be convenient for some…not having to get together for multiple meetings with the photographer, not having to figure out what products to order, not having to do much of anything besides show up for the photo shoot.
BUT…if you’re looking for a photographer who’s going to cater to your needs, listen to your goals, invest time and energy into creating a custom experience and products designed specifically for you, then shoot-and-burn is not the route you want to take. You’re not looking for convenience, you’re looking for custom.
And digital files are the LEAST custom option when it comes to professional photography. Besides the fancy USB drive they come on, there’s nothing custom about it. Sure, the images themselves were taken at a photo shoot that was customized for you, but the entire experience is meant to be customized, so why stop at the products?
With that said…you don’t necessarily have to skip out on the convenience. My sessions are designed to be as convenient for my clients as possible. I find other ways to make it easy and enjoyable for you, like letting you sign paperwork electronically, providing payment plans if needed, sending friendly reminders and suggestions for preparing, and my all-time favorite, the Art Installation service…It doesn’t get much more convenient than that!
So, if you THINK you want to purchase digital files, I encourage you to THINK a bit more about WHY you actually want them. Explain your reasons during your Consultation and I’ll help you determine what it is you REALLY want!
Want to book a Consultation to discuss it further? Have more questions about digital files? Call or email me, I’m happy to help!