Thursday, May 28, 2015

I'm Still Here!

It's been a long time since I posted any news.  Life has a way of speeding by and bringing changes, good and bad, whether we welcome them or not.  Well, I have had my share.  I'm not going to share any bad news.  That's no fun.  I'm proud to announce the expansion of SplashDog Canine Well-Being Center and the new services!  We are adding 1000 sq. feet, 900 of which is going to be a canine fun gym and the rest is a private massage and acupuncture room.  Our gym will be available for private exercise sessions with lots of equipment to use.  We will also offer FitPAWS® private conditioning sessions to help your dog build strength, balance and body awareness.  Along with all that we have some very interesting classes and seminars on tap to round out our Well-Being services.
SplashDog's warm water therapy is still going strong and we have added additional water services for swim lessons to build technique, making your dog safer and more confident in the water.  Another service addition are our Hospice sessions.  These sessions are designed to help dogs at the end of their lives feel the comfort of floating in warm water, massage and the closeness of their loving guardians.  The Hospice sessions can increase the emotional well-being of a dog that has lost mobility or control and is no longer able to enjoy the basic joys they are used to.
Be sure to check out our website at or our SplashDog Facebook page for all the information.

Monday, April 8, 2013

My One Track Mind

Okay, so obviously, no one really has a "one track mind", but one track in my mind is much broader, deeper and frequently traveled than any other.  I can't stop thinking of dogs.  It doesn't matter what is going on in daily life.  All will stop and switch gears when I am with or see a dog.  There is some program in my DNA that gives me a jolt whenever "dog" stimuli occurs.  This physiological jolt occurs on many levels.  If I were more scientific I would explain it in those terms, but I'm not.  What I can explain is that my heart beats differently, expands significantly, my brain switches from whatever else is going on to focus on "dog" (kind of like dogs switch to "squirrel") and a maternal love washes over me.  I am happy with dogs, I am excited for them when something good happens, sad for them when something is bothering them, in touch with the 'greater' when I am close to them. 

Obsession comes to mind when I try to verbalize my feelings and tendencies toward dogs.  Is this truly genetic?  Is this learned behavior?  When I was born we had a beautiful dog.  Twinkle Toes (Twink, Twinkie) was a sweet, big female Boxer.  My earliest memory is of her.  I remember the closeness and trust I had with her.  I also remember the night she left to go to another home even though I was only about 2-3 years old.  Years went by before my family adopted another dog.  In the meantime I had "Doggy".  Doggy was (and still is, in his old, worn, material, wrapped in a clear plastic pouch in my closet) my strength, my protection, my confidant.  Another early memory of being in the hospital at about 4 years old is of my longing for my Doggy.  I wasn't allowed to have him with me in the hospital evidently as I didn't get him, but I wanted him so badly so that I could feel safe.

Since earliest childhood, even though I didn't have an innate knowledge of how to take care of a dog, other than love and cherish one, I have had an invisible umbilical cord to them.  As life took it's crazy, confusing turns I relied on dogs to help me through for all of the same reasons my bond for Doggy was strong; strength, protection, etc.  When I finally had my very own dog(s) I became exceedingly aware of the deep connection that I would always feel with all dogs.  Whether the dog is mine or someone else's, or no one's, there is a cellular excitement that I feel when my being senses dog stimuli.

I struggle daily to balance my obsession with dogs with life as a human being.  When all is said and done at the end of the day I will always trust in dogs for whatever I need, as love will carry me.


Monday, February 25, 2013

Weekly Herald Interview

Friday, February 22, 2013

When in Doubt

There is no explaining some things. As a human being I often wonder about the validity of things that I can not see or prove. I've never been one to feel the need to validate or prove the unseen but wonder none the less. When searching for a modality I could learn and practice for dogs I found Reiki. This was in the 1990's and Reiki was becoming more mainstream here in Northwest Washington. Reiki 'spoke' to me in a way that other healing modalities hadn't. As soon as I began researching the history, use and philosophy of it, I had a complete sense of "this is it", an aha moment. Over the years of practicing Reiki I have let the energy do it's thing, not feeling the need to over-think it or dissect it. If the person (human or canine) let's me know it is doing something I am happy to know and I am pleased to be the facilitator. That being said, giving Reiki to dogs in my work has always been an interesting process. They don't verbally express themselves and tell me things like, "I felt a tingling sensation", or "I felt a rush of energy when you did that". Practicing Reiki on dogs is a practice of faith that something is actually happening. Once in a while a dog will shy away from the energy when it starts to flow and I can feel them fidget or actually move away from me. That could be coincidence or the feeling of warmth increasing in my hands or just 'don't touch me there', so I never know for sure if the Reiki is working out for them. Then came Zak. Zak is a 14 year old Lab mix. He hadn't had professional massage or Reiki before. Before he came to see me for his first session he only knew me from when I would come to his house and work on his brother Rudy. The last time I had seen Zak was the day that Rudy passed, when I gave Rudy some massage and Reiki to help ease him into his transition. It was a very emotional day for us all. Zak was pretty tentative about letting me work with him on his appointment day. His Mom and I both felt (we got the feeling at the same time; possibly picking up Zak's thought) that he associated me with the day Rudy left his life. They were very close for many years and Rudy's passing was hard on Zak. Zak was coming in for his session primarily so I could help increase the mobility in his back end and legs. He has been having a hard time getting around, up and down and is losing some muscle mass. When I began the massage he guarded his back legs, laying like a sphinx, or moving from side to side so I couldn't get my hands on much. His panting and body language told me he wasn't very relaxed at all. I decided to start some Reiki for him. Just as I started, Zak spun his head around and looked at me. I hadn't moved my hands, just started the Reiki. I thought it was funny, but didn't think much of it as a lot of dogs do that. Again, coincidence? After a couple of minutes he began to relax, breathing slower and panting less. I moved my hands and re-started the Reiki. Once again he looked at me, then he looked at Mom then he turned his head back toward me and began sniffing the air around my hands. It was priceless. We laughed. After another minute Zak was laying on his side fully relaxed. Then out of the blue he shot both back legs right toward me and extended them completely, leaving them relaxed. I began Reiki and some gentle massage on his legs and he completely allowed me to work his entire back end. Without being there to see the process it can still seem like coincidence or be explained by touch or other circumstances, but we that were there saw exactly what was happening and know Zak was feeling, liking and appreciating the Reiki for what it is; healing energy. Thanks for reaffirming that for me Zak. Thank you for facilitating the Reiki for ME!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Hypothyroidism Reversed!

I am excited to report that I have seen, with my own eyes, how hypothyroidism that depletes the health and well-being of a dog can be reversed. When I first met Edgar he was a happy 9 year old giant Irish Wolfhound/Giant Schnauzer mix that started coming in to SplashDog (the warm water therapy pool I co-own). His Dad, Ken, was concerned because Edgar suddenly wasn't interested in going on roller-blade runs anymore. Something he used to love. He had slowed down in other ways as well and seemed gimpy. Ken got his Vet's opinion. They did x-rays and found some muscle arthritis and a disc issue. Edgar like to swim so Ken brought him to SplashDog and began swimming him in hopes that the exercise would help keep him strong and reduce pain. Ken and I got to know one another and the three of us and my dog Devi became close. (we are a family now, which is a whole other story:-) The Edgar I met then and got to know was a 'geriatric' giant, older dog. He was a bit slow in his mobility, he dragged the tops of his back feet and his rear limbs weren't very stable. He was happy, but not excited about much. He liked being with us but was challenged by his 'disability' when it came to being active and engaged. Edgar began having trouble with his mouth. He had an infection in his gums due to bad teeth. At least 2 teeth needed to be extracted. Dental surgery is expensive for a small healthy dog, let alone for a giant, older dog. Edgar's Vet did an exam to determine if he was healthy enough to go through a surgical procedure, which is standard for a geriatric dog. Edgar had an irregular heartbeat. Blood tests are done prior to any surgery and Edgar's came back showing he had a sluggish thyroid, hypothyroidism. He began taking a low dose of thyroid medication in hopes that improving his thyroid function would help regulate his heart. If his heart was stronger he could have the dental surgery he needed. Meanwhile the infection in his mouth was very bothersome for him, poor boy. Ken did everything he could to help ease Edgar's suffering, while the Vet held firm, suggesting no surgery until he was strong enough. The process was hard on both Ken and Edgar. Months went by, antibiotics helped but wore off and the infection came back. Finally, Edgar's heart seemed stable enough. Ken was bracing himself in case the procedure was too much for his boy. The infection was making Edgar miserable. The surgery had to be done. Edgar came through the surgery like a champ! About 9 teeth ended up being extracted, the worst 2 let loose a flood of infection when they pulled them. I'm sure that was instant relief. He now has what the Vet Tech calls a hillbilly smile, with 2 front teeth missing. He loves showing off his smile now for anyone that wants to see it. The most amazing things I have noticed over the last few months is that he is active and engaged in life now. He trots when we start off on our walks. He barks at people and dogs that he used to just watch go by. He laughs and goofs off a lot, Ken says that is the Edgar he always knew before he and I met. We noticed that the elbows that had turned into bald, elephant skinned, old dog elbows were now furry again. The weird smell he always had has been replaced with a fresh doggy smell (that I personally like) and the fur all over his body is shiny and soft. His coat is like a new stuffed animal now, not like the old rug it had been over the last year or so. Another benefit of the turn around is that he is actually more stable in his mobility. He still has the arthritis but his rear limbs don't wobble like they used to when he walks. We are so happy that he is happy and feeling good again. It was a rough time for Ken and Edgar to go through and the signs came on so gradually that we didn't realize the thyroid was involved. Although geriatric screenings are recommended annually, not all of us do them. But that has changed in this household. So this big, handsome boy that I first met 2 years ago has been given a much better quality of life, and hopefully a couple more years of health and happiness. We couldn't be happier. If you notice any of the signs of hypothyroidism, talk to your Vet about having bloodwork done to determine what is going on. A small dose of thyroid medicine per day is a very small price to pay to get Edgar back to his adorable self.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Cultivating Creativity

These days it seems like everything is focused on commitments and obligations. That isn't a bad thing but it does leave little time for the creative, expressive side of me to flourish. I miss that. When I was a kid I spent a lot of time creating as most kids do. As children we entertain ourselves and explore life with imagination and expression. Some of us are lucky enough to have that tendency encouraged. I was. Whether it was music, dancing, drawing, whatever, I could escape most daunting situations through creativity. As an adult and, oddly enough, the older I get, the less that has been cultivated because of time constraints, lack of outside encouragement, excuses and just plain lack of motivation. Not that I don't have it all in my mind. I see things in my mind's eye all the time. I remember the excitement of taking photos of leaves falling against a beautiful blue sky, printing them, mounting them to poster board and writing a poem about Autumn. I was consumed by the project. It wasn't for any reason other than expressing a part of me that felt good, made me happy. I don't know that anyone even saw it. After a few years I looked at it and thought, "hmm, don't need that taking up space anymore" so I tossed it. No big deal. It served it's purpose. What happens as we get older? Now I feel like there needs to be a reason, a justification for creating something. For taking the TIME to be creative. It isn't "productive" if it doesn't have a reason. I pledge to myself that I am going to allow myself the opportunities to be creative, even if it means some other things have to be put off. This will have to be a balancing act as putting things off can sometimes cause stress and the whole point is to feel more emotionally and mentally balanced. This is a good time to start this process since it is the Christmas season. There are many ways to be creative and still be productive. Well, here I go....a project that has been on my mind for a while will begin. Support will need to come from inside. Motivation will have to be conquered. A lost way of prioritizing will be brought forth again.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

WORKS WITH DOGS is up and running full swing! WooHoo! A dream come true. Now I am capable of expanding my work with dogs outside of the water or in home visits. The possibilities are exciting. At this point I am doing massage, Reiki and using the FitPAWS® conditioning equipment in a warm, cozy environment in the same complex as SplashDog. I will be adding Pet 1st Aid/CPR classes, Intro. to Canine Massage classes and other workshops after the first of the year. Come visit me at the Holiday Open House at Firdale Village, Friday, November 30th from 5-8pm and Saturday, December 1st from 2-5pm. Many of the businesses at Firdale, including SplashDog, The Dining Dog, DMarie's Doggie Boutique, will have special deals as well as snacks and drinks. The Dining Dog is holding their annual Santa photo shoot for your pup on Sat. from 12-2. Thanks for the support!