Give Your Pet the Gift of Safety

pets-linda-saraco-nov-26Holiday decorations and celebrations can be hazardous to your pets. To make sure holidays are safe and fun, please keep these tips in mind.

Guests – Advocate for your pet’s safety during the holidays for both day and overnight guests who may not be pet-familiar by informing them in advance and implementing pet safety rules, for example, about what not to feed them and behaviors that put them at risk. Pets can be overwhelmed by changes such as larger numbers of people at parties, kids, visiting animals, music and outbursts. Your guest’s medications may end up in pet accessible areas. It may be helpful to designate a secure pet room that is off-limits to guest traffic. In case of an escape, risks are reduced if pets are wearing ID tags.  It is a good idea to have a current picture and your animal control officer’s number on hand.

Tree – Rambunctious pets will naturally run around or climb them. To prevent a heavy tree from toppling onto your pet it is a good idea to attach your tree securely to the wall in multiple locations and test for stability. Vacuuming the tree area frequently will eliminate pine needles, which are dangerous to the digestive system. Securely cover the tree’s water container as many precut trees are treated with additives and preservatives that can leach into the water container. The ASPCA poison control hotline phone number is: (888) 426-4435.

Decorations – Sharp and breakable ornaments can cause injury to paws and mouths. Candles can burn and scented items can irritate sensitive respiratory and olfactory systems (especially birds). Tinsel, ribbon, yarn and wire ornament hooks can be fatal if ingested. Prompt removal of gift wrapping materials from pet accessible areas helps reduce risks. It is best to know the location of the closest 24-hour veterinary service.

Cords – These attractively chewable and tasty objects are a hazard to curious kittens and puppies. Make sure that electrical cords are in good condition and out of reach.

Pets as gifts – Surprise gift pets are often later unwanted and windup at shelters and/or euthanized. Planning and recipient preparation helps avoid this risk.

Reflection on your pet’s safety – With your pet clearly in your mind and the planned holiday activities, take a look at your home from his or her perspective. Travel through your home looking at each space through your pet’s eyes. What can you reach? What do you see? What do you smell? What do you hear? What may be dangerous?

May your holidays be the best ever with your friends, family and dear pets.

The dog version of Ted

His sadness instantly changed to outright laughter.

In his reading, Dave’s dog Rocky came across as a stereotype version of a “guy”.  The foul-mouthed, hooligan teddy bear that was in the movie Ted, with Mark Wahlberg, is a good example of Rocky’s personality.

Dave was a bachelor for most of the time that he and Rocky lived together.  The two hung out, watched sports, ran, roughhoused, and they loved each other.  Actually, Dave said Rocky taught him about real love, unconditional love.  Later, but while Rocky was alive, Dave married and had children.   Rocky became a family dog for the last five years of his life.

Rocky crossed over last year, and the family adopted a new dog.  Dave described his new dog as “a nice family dog and good with the kids.”

Dave missed his buddy Rocky, so he contacted me and we check in on him.  Rocky’s answer to Dave’s question instantly turned Dave’s sadness to outright laughter, and his mind flooded with fun memories of Rocky.

Dave asked Rocky what he thought about the new family dog.   Rocky said, “They should have just got a turtle!”

Dave laughed so hard he cried, then he said, “That’s my Rocky, all right!  Our new dog, Sable,  is nice, quiet and downright boring.”


Turtle lovers please accept my apology.  This is not my opinion of turtles.  I love turtles; I am just the messenger.

Magical boost to animal communication

Flower essences magical or merchandise?

The flower essence cosmos may help to stimulate or open your innate ability to communicate with animals.  It is known to open the opportunity for inter-species communication.  Cosmos flower essence is the diluted extract from the flowers of a cosmos plant.  The resulting essence is often preserved in a brandy base.

Cosmos may work perfectly for you in exactly the way you imagined, but the influence of any flower essence is not always straightforward.  Choosing to work with a flower essence is akin to working with magic.  The magical working starts long before the essence is bottled and arrives in a store ready for use.

Let us look at the commonly used process for making cosmos flower essence, and then you may decide for yourself whether it is magical or merchandise.   First, the plant develops from seed or seedling in nature under the sun, moon, and stars for months before the flowers reach peak potency.  Next, on a sunny day, the co-creation of the essence is performed by placing the most perfect cosmos flowers in pure water in a glass bowl where they remain imbuing the water with their energetic imprint for 4 or 5 hours.  Then, the cosmos flowers are removed and returned to nature.  Lastly, the infused water is blended with brandy and stored in a cool place, in a dark bottle further preserving the energetic imprint of the cosmos flower.  Do you think there is some magic involved?

Where to buy ready-made cosmos   The Flower Essence Society (FES) is one company offering cosmos flower essence, and their product is easy to find in many health food and metaphysical stores.  My favorite is Green Hope Farm (GHF) .  They offer cosmos, and they have a special line of essence made especially for animals.  GHF preserve their essences in vinegar instead of brandy.golden-pup-in-flowers-flower-essence

Soon I will post my unexpected experience with the flower essence luffa.

Landscaping projects can be dangerous to pets

Within hours after contact with the tree limbs, both dogs were rushed to a veterinary emergency room.

A freshly cut walnut tree caused our two dogs to become gravely ill.  Poison Control informed us that walnut trees secrete a substance called juglone, which is toxic.  The initial symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, seizures and paralysis.

We had a walnut tree taken down in our backyard.  Our dogs did not chew the wood; they simply got too close.  Within a mere 4 hours after contact with the downed tree limbs, both dogs were rushed to a veterinary emergency room with identical symptoms.

They were nearly unconscious, trembling and paralysis had set in.   The ER team stabilized them with IV fluids, and they cleansed their systems in an attempt to eliminate the toxin.  It took about two day for our dogs to show promising signs of recovery.

We are grateful this unfortunate incident happened on a quiet evening, and we were able to notice the changes in our dogs’ behavior and take prompt actions. I’m sharing our experience intending to spare other pet parents and their animal companions from  injury from a seemingly harmless landscaping

Saint Bernard in an Apple Tree

The animal communicator’s message told me that Bo Bear was in his unique version of the happiest place.

My sadness turned to joy when the animal communicator told me that she saw him in an apple tree, which had both the flowers and fully ripened fruit.  The message made no sense to her, but it was spot-on for me.

Given the choice Bo Bear, my 200-pound Saint Bernard, would have chosen an apple over a steak.  Apples were his favorite treat and toy, and he loved smelling flowers.  Our special time together was when we walked my gardens looking for new blooms.  He would sniff for a new scent, and then he would point it out to me when he found one.

Coming to terms with letting Bo Bear go was hard, but after his final painful period an appointment was set.   At home and on the ride to his veterinarian, he was weak and only slightly aware of us, but when he arrived, we did not lift him out of the car as we expected.  He exited the car on his own and walked inside.  He seemed to be filled with energy, and his walk was strong.  For a brief moment in time, he reminded me of the formidable dog he once was.

This was confusing for me.  I questioned my decision and whether I had the timing right, but the decision was made only after several thorough discussions with his veterinarian, and when my heart and mind knew it was his time to cross over.

I have learned that this lightness and transitory rejuvenation sometimes comes to animals at this time.  Over the years with my own animals and through communicating with other’s animals, I have two theories on why this may happen to an animal at this time.  One is that this boost comes to help them with the transition.  The other is that they view their passing differently than we may, and that at that time they do feel lighter and freer.  They have done the job they came to do, they know they did their best, and their person or family is there beside them.

The animal communicator’s message turned my sadness to joy, because I knew Bo Bear was in his unique version of the happiest place.

Dog in the header image is my dog Bo.

3 Questions to Ask a Groomer

Looking for groomer?  Here are three questions you may want to ask.

  1. Are dogs hand or cage dried? If dogs are cage dried ask how they protect your dog from overheating in the kennel.  Are the cage drying systems timed to shut off automatically?
  2. Are they certified in Canine First Aid and CPR?
  3. How many dogs are groomed there each day and how many groomers are on staff?

Finding the right Groomer

Did you know anyone can rent a space and call themselves a groomer?  It’s important to do your homework in finding your dog’s groomer because, in most states, there are no certifications or licensing or apprenticeship requirements to work as a groomer or open a grooming shop.

After summer and around the holidays is a popular time for a visit to the groomer.  You will be leaving your precious pup in the hands of another — selection of your dog’s groomer should be done with at least as much care as choice of a barber or hair stylist.  You must be pleased with the results, and your dog must be treated with care in safe clean environment.

Traditionally, grooming is a skill that is passed on from senior groomers to apprentice groomers.  Most established groomers have learned, over time, from others, from Master Groomers, and through observation and continuing education.  An excellent way to find a professional groomer is through local and regional grooming organizations such as The National Dog Groomers Association, ISCC and IPG. They provide a list of members in your area.

Many veterinarians have incorporated grooming into their clinics, so you may start looking there.  Also, if your dog is accidentally nicked or injured, they will have the fastest access to medical care.  If your veterinarian is not associated with a groomer, he or she may have a list of recommended groomers.  Other sources of recommendations include friends who have dogs, breed rescues, boarding kennels, pet supply stores, shelters, and purebred breeders.

After getting some recommendations, stop by and check out the facility or call to make an appointment to talk with the head groomer or the groomer who specializes in your breed.  Keep in mind, you may not get the best impression by making a phone call to a grooming shop due to a groomer’s busy schedule.  The phone call may come at an inopportune time and the groomer may not have sufficient time to address all your questions.   He or she might be concentrating on groom a dog and not willing to leave them to answer the phone.

Grooming shops run by the clock. Many have morning drop-off times with late day pick-ups.  While others have a morning group that is picked up at noon and then an afternoon group that arrive at noon and leave late day.  That’s a lot of scheduling and cooperation for everyone to be on time.  In between drop offs dogs are accessed and groomed according to their coat requirements and special needs.  Since time is spent talking with clients about their dog at drop off and at pick up time, groomers are on a tight schedule.

The ideal groomer selection process would include making two pre-visits, one without your dog and one with.  Narrow your list of potential shops to two or three that are recommended and meet your requirements.  On the first visit do not bring your dog.  Just meet with the groomer and ask your questions.

Look for a shop that is:

  • well-lit
  • a groomer and assistants that handle dogs gently
  • old or arthritic dogs that are treated with special consideration
  • shampoos and other products that meet your needs

In your selection process don’t discard any first impressions, gut feelings or hunches you may have about the shop or personnel.

On your second visit bring your dog along, ask new questions as well as any previously asked.

Ensure by reexamination that any special needs your dog has will be accommodated at this facility.  The main purpose of this visit is to allow your dog to meet the groomer and to observe their interactions.  When you’re comfortable with your interview, choose the groomer and make the appointment.

Dog in the header image is my dog Indy.

Favorite animal communication yet

The needed life lesson is clear now, but little did she know that her german shepherd and her wolfhound were working together to guide her through this big life lesson.

This is my favorite reading yet.  It shows how animals continue to work with us from the other side, and it is funny.  You will quickly see the reason for their work emerge from the story, but what may surprise you is the teamwork between her two canine teachers.

When the german shepherd joined the session it was quite a surprise for both of us.  Her session was arranged to talk with her husband who had passed away after a long illness.  She felt her husband was her soulmate.  She had been alone for a long time, and she was having trouble letting go and moving on.

A few weeks prior, she arranged a session to talk with her wolfhound that passed away recently.  To her knowledge, her german shepherd did not know her wolfhound, because he had passed away before she adopted her wolfhound.   She was ready to move forward and adopt another dog, but first she wanted to run her decision by her wolfhound that passed away.

The needed life lesson is clear now, but little did she know that her german shepherd and her wolfhound were working together to guide her through this big life lesson.

Her german shepherd told us that he sent the wolfhound to her.  Working together her life lesson plan was prepared because they saw that she could not move on in her life.  She adopted the wolfhound as a way to fill the hole in her heart and her life, but after a while, it was discovered that he had the same illness that caused her husband to pass.  Eventually the illness was the cause of her wolfhounds’ passing, and she began the process of coming to terms with letting him go, grieving and later feeling ready to adopt another dog.  Although it was over a shorter period, she went through a very similar process with her dog as she did with her husband.

The lesson her dogs had planned for her was to help her to move on to her next soulmate by teaching her that she could let go, move on and love again.

The funny part      The german shepherd showed up in the middle of the reading with her husband.  He sat in front of me with his over-sized ears, and he said, “doofus.”

I went silent.  I did not know how to react.  I thought, “Why is he calling me a doofus, and who is he?”  He kept saying it.  I told my client.  She laughed, and said that was a nickname she called her german shepherd.  She said he was brilliant, but he could also be very goofy.

Once he had our attention he went on to explain her life situation from his higher sentient perspective.  He spoke to her from what I call the “soul contract” level.  He talked to her about why he was in her life, and how he was helping her to learn her important life lesson.   These two dogs guided her on her life lesson, which was the most challenging one for her to learn.

Her dogs succeeded in teaching her.  She has moved on in key areas of her life including adopting another wolfhound and dating.  You’re invited to read about her new wolfhound in an upcoming post, which is about socks.

Massage is not always beneficial

Massage is beneficial for many animals, but it is not recommended for all animals.

Caution      Massage is very different from petting your animal friend.  It is a highly intentional way of touching, and the objective is to achieve well-being and health benefits.   Massage is beneficial for many animals, however, massage is not always the right approach for every animal.  It can be harmful to animals with certain health conditions.  Always check with your veterinarian before beginning a massage program.

Benefits      Massage can be a wonderful heath-enhancer for animals  of all ages. For the older, it is excellent for soothing achy or stiff muscles while stimulating internal body functions. It helps with ease of movement, instills a sense of peacefulness, and helps towards restful sleep. What a special way to show our seniors that we care and appreciate their many years of friendship.

And, what about the most endearing creatures on earth – the baby animal companions? Touch is an essential element in a young animal’s life, and massage on a regular basis builds a strong bond between you and your animal friend. During growth time, young animals can experience joint and muscle stress as their bones are developing, and massage helps to ease the discomfort of growing pains.

Massage is a nurturing, preventative, natural approach, which may be safely added to some animal’s care regimen.

Massage benefits

  • Reduce anxiety and build trust
  • Improve blood and lymph circulation
  • Reduce tight muscles, spasms, and improve muscle tone
  • Speed healing time
  • Improve skin and coat
  • Increase flexibility, gait and movement
  • Refresh after traveling or crating
  • Aid the respiratory function
  • Improve energy
  • Lessen discomfort hip dysplasia and arthritis

Find a massage professional or learn massage      Ask your veterinarian or check the International Association of Animal Massage and Bodywork’s (IAAMB) site  If you live near New England, the Bancroft School of Massage in Worcester trains students in small animal and equine massage, and they may be able to direct you to someone in your area.

Linda is a 2004 graduate of the Bancroft School of Small Animal Massage.

Brush your animal friend

Did you know you are doing your animal friend a great service just by brushing on a regular basis?

Brushing massages the skin and aids in circulation.  This action stimulates the release of sebum, which is natural oil that is beneficial to the coat.  Brushing distributes this natural oil on the coat lubricating and protecting the “hair” shaft.  Brushing the fur cleans the “hair” shaft, follicle and skin by removing trapped dirt and oils.  Regular brushing results in fur that is healthier, flexible, protected and has a shine.

Your dog’s skin plays an important role — it acts as a protection against the elements and helps to control body temperature.  Brushing improves the skin, prevents mats and tangles and allows a flow of air to reach the surface of the skin.  Brushing stimulates the lymph system and supports the immune system by helping to move waste and toxins.  Activity, such as playing and walking, also stimulate the lymph system.  The combination of high-quality diet, routine activity, and brushing will foster a shiny healthy coat.