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
Today’s photography session at the San Diego Humane Society was all about featuring the adoptable pets who’ve been in the shelter for over a month. There’s several reasons why these animals haven’t been able to find a home yet. Some have medical conditions that need tending to, some are too shy and timid to interact with strangers. Whatever the case, they all deserve to find loving homes…and I have faith that they will someday. As a pet photographer, I sometimes find it a bit more difficult to photograph the animals who are shy, scared, tired, or uninterested. But, I’m always up for the challenge because I know a good photo can go a long way for these guys (and gals). If you’re looking to adopt a fur baby and you see a photo of one that gives you even the slightest warmth inside, do them a favor and pay them a visit. Even the best photograph can’t fully portray they’re personality to the fullest. So, you never know…that one cat you thought was kind of cute might just be the perfect addition to your family 🙂
Amabella – 255964
Biscotti – 260608
Blue – 261560
Chip – 248044
Coco – 262068
Finch – 262841
Luna – 261559
Sophie – 248043
TJ – 253887
Tux – 259243
Winston – 259895
Zazzles – 261895
When my dog, Utah, unexpectedly passed away in May 2017, I literally felt like a piece of me had disappeared. Vanished. It was a kind of pain I’d never endured before. The kind of pain I wouldn’t wish upon my worst enemy. In an effort to cope, I created a video tribute in his honor (click here to watch it). For 6 months, this video served as a way for me to release the feelings of grief that would consume me on a regular basis. It allowed me to surrender to the pain, crying until I was depleted of tears. And although this helped me survive those tough times, I kept feeling the need to do something more. Something that would fill that void for the rest of my life. That something turned out to be a tattoo. But, not just any tattoo. Not just a beautiful portrait of his handsome face on my back. This tattoo would literally make Utah a part of my life again…a part of me. That specific part of me that I lost when he left. This tattoo would have his ashes in it so that he would be a part of me forever.
When I discovered that I can put my dog’s ashes in a tattoo, my eyes lit up as if I was given the chance to be with my sweet Utah again. I immediately knew this was something I HAD to do. So I paid a visit to my friend, Sam, over at American Tattoo in Vista, CA. He explained the surprisingly simple, yet amazing, process… You bring in the ashes of your beloved pet, the tattoo artist mixes them into the ink, and then they tattoo you as they normally would. That’s it! The one interesting fact, though, is that the ashes are put into the black ink only. And this is simply because ashes turn black when they get wet. Makes sense.
It had been about 17 years since I had gotten a tattoo, so I didn’t have a clear recollection of how painful it is. But I figured it couldn’t be as painful as the sorrow I had been feeling for the last 6 months. With the outline of the tattoo on my back, the ashes in the ink ready to go, I sat on the bench, hands clasped in anticipation of the first poke. “Here we go,” Sam said. Deep breath. OUCH!! My eyes immediately bulged out of my face, my knuckles white, my breath stalled…”how long is this going to take?!” I thought. I began doubting myself. I wasn’t sure I could endure that kind of intense pain for hours. But I didn’t have a choice. I was committed. I HAD to do this…for me and for Utah.
Looking for a distraction, I turned to Utah’s tribute video. Being the most powerful video I’ve ever seen, I knew it would help take my mind off the burning torture that was taking place on my back. With my phone in my hands, clasped so tight it felt like I could break it in half, I pushed play. The second his song began to play and I saw his face smiling at me, I began to feel relief. I sang along in my head, narrowing my vision in on every detail. His squinting eyes, his piglet nose, his adorable little freckles, his infectious smile…I was happy. For the first time, I felt happy while watching that video. I felt like he was back in my life. For the first time, I didn’t cry while watching that video. For the first time, the pain of that needle in my back was bearable. He was being put back into my soul, and I could feel it.
As the tattoo progressed, I fell more and more in love with it. He was coming to life! My excitement grew to impatience as I couldn’t wait to see the final result. After a long 3 hours, it was over. Not just the tattoo, but the grief I had been feeling from that part of me that was missing. That part of me was gone. It had been filled. Utah was now as much a part of me as he ever was. And I cherished the fact that he would remain that way forever. It’s as if the pain I endured while getting the tattoo was the grand finale, the finish line of my journey along the path of grief. Now that he’s a part of me, I don’t feel that he’s gone. He’s with me, always and forever, and I’m eternally grateful for that.
If you’re thinking about getting a tattoo, whether it includes your dog’s ashes or not, stop by and see my friend, Sam, over at American Tattoo in Vista, CA. He’ll take great care of you 🙂
One thing’s for sure, the San Diego Humane Society never has a need for adoptable cats. It’s not that the cats don’t get adopted…quite the contrary! It’s just that there’s SO many cats that come in and out of the doors at SD Humane. Cats from off the streets, cats from owners who had to give them up, cats who didn’t quite work out with the family that adopted them. Whatever the reason for a cat being at the Humane Society, they are sure to find a forever home at some point. I visit the San Diego Humane Society every other week to take pictures of the cats who are waiting to be adopted, and it’s quite rare that I see the same cat twice. In fact, it’s reported that, in the year 2015-2016, the San Diego Humane Society found homes for 7,095 cats. That’s almost 20 cats per day! How incredible is that?! Oddly enough, they adopt more cats than dogs. Read the full statistic report HERE. But before you do that, check out these little fur babies that are looking to get adopted. Will you be the one to provide their forever home?
Mela – 257306
Ditka – 120317
Lucy – 260136
Midnight – 256144
Purrkelly – 257941
Rosey – 255023
Shasta – 258527
Strom – 257302
Winsten – 259954
Visit sdhumane.org to view more adoptable cats or head down to one of the shelter locations!
Me and my girls, Skyy & Rain, embarked on our Mission MINT (Morning In New Territory) journey in September 2017 with the goal of exploring and photographing 10 dog-friendly locations in San Diego during the first few hours of the day. And with the purpose of: strengthening my photography skills by experimenting with unfamiliar lighting, equipment, and/or shooting techniques, as well as engaging the three of us in mental and physical activity. This month’s Mission MINT adventure took place at one of the few places in San Diego where you can enjoy a 360 degree view…Double Peak Park in San Marcos. As the highest peak in North County San Diego, Double Peak Park offers something for everyone to enjoy.
MISSION MINT 2 : Double Peak Park, San Marcos
I checked the weather report the night before to see if the sun would make an appearance that morning. It confirmed it would be cloudy, but I was determined to embark on our adventure anyways. I had heard about Double Peak Park and it’s magnificent 360 degree views from a few friends of mine, so my curiosity wouldn’t let me delay going any longer. Me and the girls woke up bright and early at 5:00am to ensure we got there in time to see the sunrise. What I thought would be a 45 minute drive only took 30 minutes…funny how there’s actually a time when there’s no traffic.
We arrived at 5:35am. Needless to say, we had a decent amount of time before the sun was expected to come up. While waiting for the sun, cars upon cars starting showing up. I was quite surprised to see at least 7 cars and a few people on foot eager and ready for their sunrise hikes. High school kids still wearing their pajamas, local home owners walking their dogs, and a few who preferred to relax in their warm car with their morning coffee.
The 200-acre area itself is pretty cool in that you can choose to hike around for hours or drive straight to the top to relax and enjoy the view. At the top of the hill is an amphitheater, restrooms, a playground, viewing areas, and picnic tables…perfect for a quick family trip, a romantic spot for couples, or an easily accessible location for seniors to enjoy. There’s 4.7 miles of trails that run up and down the hills, around the bends, and through secret brush areas. And there’s plenty of great little nooks to take a break and soak in the view.
Whether sunrise or sunset, you get them both at Double Peak Park. Even on a cloudy day like the one we had, the views are breathtaking and a must-see for any local San Diegan or tourist. We will definitely be returning to this cool spot, hopefully with some sunshine to play with 🙂
- Location: Double Peak Park, San Marcos
- Location Type: Trail, Paved Road
- Time: 6:00am – 7:45am
- Lighting: Mostly Cloudy
- Equipment: Canon 5D Mark lll, Canon 50m F1.4
CONCLUSION: Despite the lack of an actual sunrise, you can still make the best of the adventure. Mother Nature will do whatever she wants, and just because she doesn’t give you exactly what you’re looking for, that’s no reason to not enjoy the moment and find other ways to achieve you’re goal.