Thank your dog

On Thanksgiving remember to thank your dog.

No surprise.  This is an article about how cool our dogs are.

Experts suggest that with every being we encounter we are unconsciously asking questions all the time.  The answers to our internal questions are typically not verbal.  They are answered by how we interpret another’s actions or inaction.

One of the reasons we love our animal friends so much is that they answer one of these vital self-assessment questions with a resounding, “Yes!” consistently.

Our internal question: Can I tell that I’m special to you by the way that you look at me?

Our unconditional love masters let us know they see us, they care, we are enough just the way we are, and we are special and wanted.

And here it is… dogs are so cool that way.tree-background

Fall concerns

Fall is great time to be outside with your dog.

Seasonal Concernspets-linda-saraco-nov-26

Fall in New England is a great time to be active outdoors with your dog.

Here are few seasonal safety concerns I keep in mind for fun throughout this season.

The days are shorter, and often it is quite dark by evening walk times.  Consider a reflective coat, collar, leash light, or a brightly colored vest for your dog.  It will make your dog stand out and be easier for others to see.  Bright orange and reflective coats are a good idea too if you and your dog spend time in areas where hunting takes place nearby.  Always check wild areas for postings indicating the type of hunting allowed and what time it is permitted.

Fall can be a drying time of year for your dog’s coat and the colder temperatures at night encourage us to turn on our heating systems and light up our fireplaces.  Brushing your dog frequently during this season will help to distribute the natural oils helping to keep your dog’s coat healthy and in its best condition.

When the weather is cooler wildlife becomes more active as it busily prepares winter.  This means that your dog may be more likely to have an encounter with a wild critter.  You may also find mice, bats, squirrels and others trying to move inside your warm home.  It’s hard to keep small rodents out.  If you, a friend or neighbor, choose to use traps or poisons your dog needs protection because their natural curiosity will cause them to explore new objects and smells.  Your dog can be hurt by mouse snap traps, rodenticides, or by chewing or eating a rodent that injected poison.  The catch and release type traps are the safest all-around option.

Be on the lookout for plants outside that produce fruits or berries in the fall.  A plant that was harmless may be poisonous now.  Also, your dog may have shown no interest in that particular plant until those berries or fruits show up.

In every season there is a holiday or special events such as a wedding, birthday occurring that has potential to upset your dog, requiring a little special preparation on your part to minimize stress levels your dog may experience.

Although this practice has rarely (ok, never) made me a favorite host I implement and, (well, I actually post) pet safety rules for both day and overnight guests.  Informing folks in advance is the only way to ensure my pet safety rules are known.  Pets can be overwhelmed by changes such as larger numbers of people at a party, 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 your pet escapes, risks are reduced if your pet is wearing ID tags.  It is a good idea to have a current picture and your animal control officer’s number on hand.

Every season can also hold an allergy stimulation.  As with people, dogs have indoor, outdoor, topical and internal allergic reactions.  Your veterinarian is your best resource for uncovering causes and determining treatment.

A regular InTune Groom session with your dog can help to clear stagnant energies and ITG Book Coverimprove circulation throughout the seasons.  Check out https://lindasaraco.com/intune-groom/ to learn more.

An Act of Valor

Smallest dog saves the family

A dog is a man’s best friend. Ask yourself the question: Would a best friend risk their own life to save yours? In Daisy’s case, the answer would be yes.

All five of my dogs started barking wildly.  I rushed out to them immediately, feeling an unease that became very real as my eyes landed on a coyote up on the stone wall above my backyard. He had fierce eyes, bared teeth, and was prepared to attack my dogs who were barking loudly in defense. I yelled to my dogs, but the coyote’s eyes were fixated on their every movement and they were fixated on it too that my commands dissolved in the tense atmosphere.  The message was clear, however. The coyote intended to take one of my dogs and as my brain started to think of solutions; another thing became clearer – my only choice was to pull whomever I could get to safety.

I had nothing to ward off the coyote with, neither did I have a defense tool save for a garden shovel beside me.  I grabbed it and rushed towards the unfolding scene.  There was no time to think. A hungry coyote is a horrifying creature. My dogs were all facing upward at the coyote, and the coyote was bearing down on them from the wall. Senselessly, I threw the shovel at the coyote, but he did not budge. Instead, he gritted his teeth more fiercely at my dogs, apparently vexed and more determined. Using their collars, I pulled away two of my dogs that were closest to me.

I felt so powerless because I did not know whom else I could I get to safety and I felt like I was condemning the other three to death, but they were in the coyote’s sights. My heart bled in pain for the fates of Bow, Daisy, and Indy.

I approached the scene again, thinking of what next to do when Daisy did something I did not understand, a move that would likely cost her her life. Daisy moved away from the others and stood in the middle of the yard just beyond the stairs leaving herself alone and more vulnerable. She was the smallest of all the dogs, an easier prey for that coyote. The coyote saw her alone and focused all his attention on her.  Her move allowed me to get the other two dogs in hand, and I dragged them to a safe spot with a sickening knowledge that it would be Daisy that would be lost to that coyote. To this day, I can see all the details of that moment.  Daisy was standing there on her own; her back legs were quivering. Otherwise, she was frozen on the spot she stood. I thought fear caused her to freeze, but I was wrong.  She was quivering with adrenaline and thinking strategically.

With the speed of lightning, Daisy switched from frozen mode to high-speed. She bolted for the safe spot and as she did the coyote lunged after her. With one last leap, she made it to safety. We were all safe, and the coyote went away after circling outside for what seemed like forever.

There is no doubt that she knowingly created that distraction, risking her own life, helping to save the others. She stepped up when she could have cowered in fear. My brave girl! Daisy amazed me time after time throughout our 14 years together.

I know my actions were reckless that day, but instinct drove me – instincts to save the ones I love regardless of the cost to me.  Daisy and I were unintentionally communicating that day, both of us taking risks for our loved ones.  I did not know it at the time but she was working with me, reading my thoughts and body language.

Daisy is my helper animal.  Sometimes during an animal communication session, she joins in and improves the reading by adding clarity to that animals messages.

As Mark Twain aptly quoted,

“It is not the size of the dog in the fight; it’s the size of the fight in the dog.”

Daisy: the smallest, the cleverest and the bravest of all.

Before and after aura photos

Easy step to add in when brushing your dog.

The aura photograph on the left was taken of my dog Dominic and me before doing an InTune Groom (ITG) session.  The photo on the right was taken after a session.  The energy in the first photo is much more active than the energy in the second photo, which has a peaceful sense.

ITG is a unique combination of steps and techniques, which work in harmony to invite well-being and a stronger bond between you and your dog.  The steps and techniques all share these components.

  • sourced in age-old practices
  • influence the energetic systems in and around a dog’s body
  • vibrational remedies
  • influence health maintenance and well-being

Elements of ITG

  1. Traditional grooming tools and holistic products and bodywork
  2. Energetic enhancers and applying healing energy
  3. InTune Groom hand placements
  4. Color therapy
  5. Chakras
  6. Meridians

Why offer your animal friend an ITG?

Benefits of an InTune Groom 

  • builds and strengthens the relationship
  • eases transitional times
  • improves the sense of well-being
  • reaches to physical, mental and emotional levels
  • natural

ITG Book Cover

InTune Groom (ITG)
A guide to practical and magical canine care
developed by Linda Saraco
ITG Mission Statement
The InTune Groom mission is to provide a process to foster the building of deeper connections between animals and humans.  ITG promotes human animal bonding through enhanced routine coat grooming and general well-being improvement steps.

 

Heartbroken Princess

She said, “I’m heartbroken.”

A woman invited me to her home to meet with her Boston Terrier, a sweet girl named Princess.  Princess was not herself lately, she seemed worried and down.  Princess eagerly told me how she felt.

She said, “I’m heartbroken.”

Her emotion filled message brought me to my knees. I scoop her up and held her while she explained her situation at home.  She explained that family has left and she does not know why they do not come back.

As it turns out there had been a lot of family changes that year.  First, her long time cat companion crossed over.  Then her people divorced.  Lastly four more family members who were temporarily staying with her moved.  This left Princess without that couple, their child and cat. The child was two-years old, and one of the parents was at home with him all day. Princess’ life was full and busy.  She became attached to the child, and she and the cat had become best friends.

As a result of her reading the woman decided to make some changes to help Princess feel better.  One change was her decision to share custody of Princess with her former husband who was happy to participate in the plan as he missed Princess.  Her former husband works from home.  Now Princess would again have his company all day while the woman was away at work.  Additionally, the woman found ways to spend more quality time with Princess on the weekend.

Client has given permission to share her story.  I do not share stories without explicit permission.

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Dom was my four-legged medical assistant. During my worst period, I would have five Grand Mal seizures a day. Hitting without a warning, the force of these seizures was minimized as the vigilant Dom would spring into action.

The true story of the shelter pup that saved my life.  I wrote Dom’s story as a way of thanking him.  At Face Value is published in two of the Chicken Soup series books, Leap of Faith and Dog Lover’s Soul.  The Dog Writers Society of America nominated At Face Value as a story that exemplifies the human animal bond.

At Face Value  by Linda Saraco

I had a reoccurring dream. The message was clear and precise, directing me to go to the specified shelter and adopt a particular dog. The dream told me I would know the dog by something unusual about its face. Upon awakening, I just could not recall what unique facial feature. I could only remember it was important to identifying the right dog.

I was so curious and compelled to follow the instructions in the dream.  So, early on the next Saturday morning, I was at the shelter to carefully check available canine adoptees.   After checking all the dogs, I was disappointed that not one dog had anything unusual about its’ face.  There were lots of cute puppies and just as many appealing older dogs, but I did not feel a connection to any of them.

On my way out of the shelter, I noticed a box of puppies just outside of view from the main area.  My attention was drawn to one puppy in particular, and I decided to take a closer look. One of the puppies appeared to not have fur on his face, while the rest of the litter were all black with spots of white. They where a mix of black Lab and Chesapeake Bay Retriever and so they were called Chesapeake Labs. Each pup was named after a type of pasta. The one that captured my interest was Fettuccini.

My heart felt sad for the pup, and I hoped he had not been injured. As, I lifted him from the box, his large and clumsy paws reached over my shoulders to cling tightly to my back. On closer inspection, I realized he did have fur on his face, but it was a very odd shade of gray that caused it to have the appearance of skin. Satisfied he was okay; I placed him back with his litter mates to continue my exit from the shelter.

And then it hit me, my thoughts blared with the words, “THE FACE, IT’S THE DOG WITH THE UNUSUAL FACE!” Immediately, I returned to the puppy and held him. We bonded instantly, and I headed for the adoption desk. I could not leave without him. I knew we belonged together.

Within that short span of time, the gray-faced pup had wrapped his paws around my heart. In meeting with the adoption counselor, I was informed a family had already selected him. There was, however, still a slight chance since the family had not made their final decision. It was between Fettuccini, the gray-faced pup, and his litter mate, a female named Penne. It was worth waiting for the decision.

After an anxiety-filled hour, I saw the family leaving the shelter carrying Fettuccini. I began to cry inside. Then I realized a member of the family, the mother, was walking straight towards me. They knew I was awaiting their decision and I prepared for the worst. My heart pounded as I stood frozen in place as she approached. For a moment, she did not say a word or give any indication of her decision. Then, with a broad grin, she said, “Here’s your dog!” I was speechless and grateful and tears gushed from my eyes. I embraced him and again felt those big front paws securely hugging my back.

Although I was thankful to have him, little did I know I was not nearly as thankful as I would later come to be.

I took the gray-faced pup home and named him Dominic. Fettuccini was his middle name.

From the start, he was not at all a typical rambunctious puppy. He was very calm, serious and didn’t play much. However, he was obedient, intelligent and very attentive to me. For two years, we lived a happy existence together as Dom grew into a healthy, robust dog and my valued companion. Then I developed a serious illness.

As Dominic was turning two years old, I was diagnosed with a seizure disorder. I was having full seizures called Grand Mal and other partial, milder types. These seizures caused me to collapse into unconsciousness. Upon awakening, I would always find Dom on top of me. At first, I was not at all happy to have a 90 pound dog on me until I came to realize he was preventing me from hurting myself by restricting thrashing movements, and limiting my injuries.

During mild seizures Dom stood rock solid so I could just hold on to his front legs until it passed.  As I would start to regain consciousness, I was aware of his voice. I would follow his barking as a means to revive me into complete consciousness.

Dom was my four-legged medical assistant.  Without Dominic’s forewarning, I could have experienced much more physical damage. During my worst period, I would have five Grand Mal seizures a day. Hitting without a warning, the force of these seizures was minimized as the vigilant Dom would spring into action.

For about a year, I had seizures every day and then they gradually started to subside. I had come to rely on Dom to warn me before a seizure would take hold, and we’d work through it together, each of us knowing what we had to do till the crisis passed.

Dominic is a natural born Seizure Assistance Dog. He is literally a one in million dog. His instincts are astounding. He is an outstanding companion, and I am honored to be the most important person in his world. I can’t begin to express the amount of admiration, appreciate and love I have for Dominic. He saved my life; he’s a hero.

I am now well, and there are no more seizures. He has returned to his previous daily doggie activities, though still watchful of me and ready to be of assistance. He finds way to help out around the house – and I indulge his sense of duty.

My little gray-faced puppy has become a dream come true.

Welcome!

I believe all animals we encounter help us and teach us. I post about animals, animal communication, grooming, and energetic modalities such as Integrated Energy Therapy® (IET®), InTune Groom and InTune ARC.

I work with both animals and humans.

If you only read one post here please make it the first one, At Face Value.  This is the story about the dog that saved my life.  Sharing his story is my way of thanking him.