Monday, October 10, 2011

Interview with a Reiki master

Well not quite an interview, more of session with Yoda!

I have a friend who could use some Reiki, so I offered and she accepted. I expected her kitty (no, Cat, I was corrected) to attend the session, but he didn't show up until we were through. I jokingly said "So you're here to check my work" - I immediately got something like "No, I'm here to finish up where you left off". He settled down next to a spot on his mistress where I experienced some discomfort - and so did she - and he promptly dozed off.

That's this Cat all over.

He's elderly (25 at least), personable (even committed cat-haters have declared him a "cool" cat), and he's in charge (he controls a young dog 6 or 7 times his own size with relative ease). I believe he is also a Reiki master, as his human pointed out, he's been giving her energy treatments for years.

I didn't get the sense he was being unkind, just chiding me, in a kind but tired way. He gave me some additional pieces of advice which made me rethink my approach to Reiki and to animal welfare too.

1) "You aren't the stream, you're merely the channel."

2) "Don't assume you can "fix" everything."

3) "There's a difference between curing and healing."

4) "Humans are so arrogant - just because you want to talk to us doesn't mean we want to talk to you."

And he is right.

I told my friend Reiki had changed my life - I think I need to modify that slightly: Reiki is changing my life...

Saturday, October 1, 2011


Despite the fact that I've written articles on the need to publish regular blog posts, I have failed miserably with this blog over the last year. I promise to do better... really I do. I could make excuses, but won't, it seems a waste of words...

I've recently received my Reiki Level 1 certificate, and will be going to the Level 2 session in about two weeks. It's something I wanted to do ever since I read Animal Reiki by Kathleen Pasard. It's something I've believed in for over 25 years, when an "animal psychic came to the stables and told me things only my horse and I knew.

I've been faithful in doing my "homework", but hesitant about the next step - animal communication.

So, for the first time today I tried "talking" with my beloved Mac.

The messages I got, over the course of the day were:

  • She was sorry she never had babies - or maybe she was pregnant when she was spayed, which was just before I got her, I wasn't quite sure. She didn't want to say too much because she didn't want to make me sad.
  • When I "asked" why she didn't respond when I tried to ask her with pictures about going for a walk, but did respond when I got the leash, she said "Humans talk too much, dogs just get up and do it", as if to say this type of communication was too important for things we should just be doing. 
  • The first time I asked her to to help me work with Autumn, my partner's elderly curmudgeon, Mac just looked away. Later, when I thought something like "I wish I could get through to you" towards Autumn (who was staring/glaring at me), Mac turned, gave me a long, meaningful look, then turned away. I got something like "You don't really want to know what she's thinking", and suddenly realized that's a part of why Mac usually wants nothing to do with Autumn. I looked back to Autumn who was still staring at me, then heard the word "hypocrite".
  • When we got back from our walk, Autumn wanted out and Mac asked to go too (by sitting politely facing the door, no pictures, nothing just popping in my head). I pointed out (verbally) that she'd just been out, and she pointed out (it popped in my head) that the smells in the front yard were still interesting - even if she didn't need to "do business", there were other dog things to do.
I should mention that these aren't the sort of thoughts I normally have popping in my head (at least not since I gave up pot back in the late 1970s!), although I do admit to thinking some strange stuff sometimes!

Either what I've been reading about animal communication really does work, or my subconscious is working overtime, or I'm loosing what's left of my mind.

More to the point of this blog, what does this have to do with saving critters? I don't honestly know yet, but it's making me do a lot of rethinking about my relationship with animals, and with the human-animal connection in general. 

This should be interesting... I would love to hear about anyone else's experiences along these lines...

Friday, November 19, 2010

New, ridiculous way to scam animal lovers...

Just how dumb do they think we are: I received this email this morning, and cannot believe the cajone's - please DO NOT fall for this scam:

sandra's Flag is: United States


Federal Bureau of Investigation
J. Edgar Hoover Building
935 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C. 20535-0001

From: Agent Alex Harrington
Animal Abuse Complaint Center (AC3)

Attn Sir/ Madam,

Following the recently reported animal abuse matter,we wish to inform you that we the Federal Bureau of Investigation are aware of your stolen pet. Animal Abuse Complaint Center (AC3) choose to reach you through this medium of communication irrespective of the fact that it has been greatly abused. (AC3 accepts Animal abuse complaints from either the person who believes their animal where abused or from a third party to the complainant.)My name is Agent Alex Harrington of the FBI.

I write to inform you that we receive a complaint about some Animal abuse attempt which involves you and some culprit.this complain has been reviewed and approved for immediate actions.this complain came to us as a result of a young girl who does not support other ways brought a report against her two brothers who gamble with the heart of innocent people by stilling their family pet and run to another state.Meanwhile,once a family is victimized by this act, kids who are close friends to their family pet are been put in a perpetual sad mood.this is a crime.

The United States Law that guides Animal abuse related crimes says that a thief caught in such act must pay a fine of $5,000 to the owners of the pet for damages. Therefore,to expedite actions in your favor and to avoid your pet been harm, you are to immediately pay to the attorney in charge of Animal abuse cases a legal fee of $450 to have your matter registered and filed against the culprit so this fine will be paid to you and as well have your pet returned back to you. once you are able to meet up with this payment,we the FBI will immediately move for the arrest of the culprit in your favor since we have already dictated where this hoodlums are hiding with your family animal..

Please note that the AC3'is a new commission which is been sponsored by the FBI.our mission is to serve as a vehicle to receive, develop, recover stolen animals back to the owner and refer criminal complaints regarding the rapidly expanding arena of Animal related crimes. The AC3 gives the victims of animal crimes a convenient and easy-to-use reporting mechanism that alerts authorities of suspected criminal or civil violations. For law enforcement and regulatory agencies at the federal, state, local and international level, AC3 also provides a central referral mechanism for complaints involving Animal related crimes.and please, w
hat we need from you is the truth and noting but the truth.... Good Luck.

We request that you provide the following information for proper clarification:

Your full name:_____________________
Your mailing address:________________
Your mobile number:_________________
Your Age and Sex:___________________
Your Occupation:____________________
The state were you leave presently:_______

You are also advised to answer The below questions accordingly.

Have you truly lost a pet? if yes,
When and where exactly did your pet got missing? ____
What kind of animal are you looking for?__________________
Can you send the recent picture of the pet which you have lost?_________

Fill appropriately and forward to me immediately.
Indicate if you are making the payment of $450 so we can send you our payment method.

Best Regards,
Alex Harrington
Below is our Website but it is still under construction.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

If you haven't seen it already, The American Dog magazine has launched the Humanitarian Awards - if you haven't voted already, you have until December 5, 2010 - and you can vote every day until then. There are some names you'll no doubt recognize like Best Friends Animal Society, Nathan Winograd, Rescue Ink and Shorty Rossie, as well as some you might not know - Tamira Thayne & Dawn Ashby of Dogs Deserve Better, Pinups for PitBulls, Surf Dog Ricochet and Sarge the Elderbull.

Even though I read and write about this stuff pretty much every day, I was still amazed by the number of people (and dogs) involved in helping dogs and the number of dogs helping people too. The categories range from general rescue groups, special interest groups (ending puppy mills or unchaining dogs), "spokesdogs" therapy dogs and service dog organizations. One concern close to my heart is also one of the largest categories: "Voice for Saving the Pit Bulls".

(One name that is missing is Mimi Ausland, the founder of, although their sponsor Halopets is listed. If you haven't signed up for your daily FreeKibble reminder do - two simple questions a day - learn a bit and donate a bit for free.)

While it's not clear if the winners are going to receive a huge cash prize for their cause-of-choice, the publicity, discussion and awareness raised is great too. In a way, the Humanitarian Awares are another "awareness event", which are as important for the education the public as they are for placing pets or raising money.

So please do vote every day and get to know some of the individuals and groups you don't see on TV or read about in the headlines. Share some of the links on Twitter or Facebook and email a few friends or better yet your government representatives a few interesting articles. Sign up for a blog or two. Make a small donation.

Working together we can improve the lot of dogs everywhere.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Dogs and Death

My Auntie sent me the clip below from Dr Michael Fox's newspaper column. Once I wiped the tears away, I realized it needed to be shared. Too many of us (me too, at one time) don't think about whether dogs miss the friends THEY lose along life's journey.

I didn't start thinking about how dogs react to loss until Ben and I lost little George. They didn't get along in life - my bad - and I never thought young Ben would miss little, old crotchety George when she died. It wasn't until I saw Ben crying as if his heart would break when by chance we saw a dog who looked a bit like George that I I started asking questions. My friend and dog walker said, "Ben cries like that every time we see a little gray dog when we're walking." The vet and behaviorist I consulted weren't surprised - they both said that many dogs feel loss as much as we do, and we need to be more aware, more responsible and more comforting.

When I saw the article my Aunt sent me, I remembered Ben and George, and started thinking about all the dogs who are separated from human, canine, feline or other "friends", with no goodbyes, no explanations, and no understanding when the sad, confused and perhaps frightened dog goes off the rails:

- When a dog "couple" is separated due to death or the breakup of a human relationship.

- When dogs enter a "shelter" as a "couple" or become "friends", but aren't adopted together.

- When a dog is next to a compatible dog in a "shelter", and his neighbor is euthanized. (Do dogs suffer the canine-equivalent of "survivor's guilt"?)

- When puppy mill mothers and puppies are separated without due care to proper weening.

- When dogs in laboratories watch the dog in the next cage disappear for the "final" experiment.

- And of course, when a beloved human dies, and the dog doesn't realize their master or mistress isn't coming back.

Here's the article - apologies for the quality, but I couldn't find it on-line:

I did find one very interesting article on Dogster, discussing Dr. Fox's article, as well as the subject of dogs and grief: When a Dog Loses a Loved One: An Interview with Dr. Michael W. Fox.

The next time you suffer the loss of a loved one, take a moment to consider how it effects your dog. If you're ending a relationship, think about how your dog will be effected. If you're adopting a dog who has a long-term relationship with a fur-friend, seriously consider keeping the partnership together.

And everyday, remember that critters have feelings too...

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Thoughts on Proposition B Missoui's "Anti-Puppy Mill" Legislation

Update November 5: This legislation did indeed pass! Now we need to make sure these laws are fairly enforced AND that similar legislation is passed elsewhere.

Update November 9: They aren't going to let this go, there are efforts a-foot to repeal Proposition B. Guess the fight isn't over yet...

November 2, Missouri will vote on Proposition B, legislation designed to crack down on irresponsible large-scale breeders. Last week I posted a few comments from organizations who are opposed to this bill - this week I've tried to respond to their "concerns"

The Tea Bag Party - "The society (HSUS) seeks only to raise the cost of breeding dogs, making it ever-more difficult for middle-class American families to be dog-owners."

As a very rough estimate, there are over 4,000,000 dogs in shelters, with rescue groups and running stray who are looking for homes. Over 2,000,000 dogs enter the system every year. Over half of those dogs will be euthanised. Around 25% are purebred. Although there aren't any statistics on the number of puppies who find their way into rescues/shelters, there are generally litters available, if you look hard enough.

In our life-times, and in our children's life-times, the chances are very good there will be hundreds of thousands of dogs, affordable dogs, looking for homes. They may not be purebred, show quality dogs, they may not be puppies, but they will be good dogs in need of good homes, and they will be affordable.

And breeders of
good quality dogs charge two, three or even four times more than the cost of a dog at a rescue, shelter or the local pound. Pet shops charge even more than a good, local breeder, and they're willing to charge purebred prices for what are essentially "mutts" - e.g. mix-breed dogs. Financially sensible middle-class owners can't afford dogs today, controlling large-scale breeders won't change that!

Missouri Federation of Animal Owners - "Our goal has always been and shall always be to protect the rights of animal owners and enthusiasts against the devastating effects of the animal rights movement."

Proposition B is about protecting animals from pain, suffering and even death, quite frequently protecting them from the "owners" and "enthusiasts" themselves - people who breed dogs in deplorable conditions. Any animal owner worthy of having an animal would be sickened by the conditions the dogs this legislation is designed to protect are subjected to.

In reality, this legislation IS protecting dog owners and enthusiasts. There are thousands of dog owners who adopt badly-breed dogs and spend thousands of dollars and endless hours of grief trying to cope with products of irresponsible breeders. Proposition B IS protecting the rights of animal owners, ensuring their right to have a healthy, well-bred, well-socialized companion.

United For Missouri - "... Proposition B is an economic question as well as one of basic liberty."

Yes, it is economic and it's about liberty. It's about abolishing the "right" to make an easy profit at the expensive of a fellow living creature (be it dog or the human that adopts a dog). What kind of person wants economic prosperity or liberty at the expense of the pain and suffering of another?

Proposition B is about the cost of medical care, training and resolution of behavioral issues, excessive costs paid by owners who've been duped into buying a substandard dog. Proposition is about the "liberties" of the potential owners, who should have the right to adopt a well-breed, healthy, happy, stable puppy.

Missouri Farm Bureau
- "HSUS has introduced Proposition B as a means of eliminating the legal, licensed professional dog breeders in Missouri."

Dog breeders are not being banned by this legislation - the size of breeding operations are restricted, basic conditions for comfort, health and welfare are prescribed. Professional dog breeding isn't being eliminated - large, unprofessional breeders are going to have to start using a bit of common sense, compassion and become honest, ethical business people.

Missouri Veterinary Medical Association - "The issue of the Puppy Mill Cruelty Prevention Act has come about because breeding facilities that are unlicensed are not being regulated or inspected."

No doubt this is true, there are individuals in every industry who evade and avoid the law. However, Proposition B seeks to tighten the regulations for all breeders - good breeders have nothing to worry about, bad breeders and unlicensed breeders alike will be required to become responsible breeders or find another line of work.

The Alliance for Truth
- "It is not unusual for outside interests to try to impose their will on the people of Missouri."

Throughout history, "outside interests" have "imposed their will" to make changes for the better. The French aided the revolutionaries who founded this country. Americans fought overseas to free Europe from the Nazis. Every day Americans exert their influence in numerous countries around the world in the name of religion, human rights and even animal welfare. If the rest of the United States - the rest of the world - are "imposing their will" to end the suffering of dogs in Missouri, perhaps it's time for the special interest groups in Missouri to listen.

The American Kennel Club (AKC) - "... (the provisions in) Missouri Proposition B do absolutely nothing to improve the wellbeing (sic) of animals; instead, it would add excessive expenses to responsible breeders who strive to produce well-bred family pets."

Funnily enough, good breeders in other states don't seem to be suffering from "excessive expenses" in producing superior dogs for the show ring or for pets. Most good breeders admit financial considerations aren't why they breed dogs, and indeed they frequently lose money - their interest is in improving the breed, not making money mass-producing puppies.

Missouri Pet Breeders Association (MPBA): News - No comment

Perhaps they know they just don't have a leg to stand on....

My take on Proposition B? If these organizations, especially the AKC and the Missouri Pet Breeders Association object to this legislation, it's up to them to police their own members and to ensure that ALL dog breeders ARE members. If they spent as much effort fighting side-by-side with the groups who are concerned with the welfare of dogs AND dog owners, we might actually get something done!

I am NOT a fan of excessive legislation, but when there's a complete failure of compassion and common sense, especially where innocent lives are at risk, especially when the responsible parties prefer to turn a blind eye to the suffering of human and animal like, perhaps legislation is the only way forward.

So if you live in Missouri, please vote on November 2 to support this initiative. Adopt, don't buy, your next dog or puppy. Thoroughly investigate any breeder you choose to do business with, and see how their animals are cared for. Report substandard breeders and support GOOD breeders - they do exist!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

In Defence of Pit Bulls

Dino Dogan is promoting yet another Kenn Bell video (of "The Other Heroes of 9/11" fame), this time supporting the much maligned breed, the Pit Bull.

Let me be perfectly clear - IMHO Pit Bulls are not monsters, killers, vicious, evil or dangerous. I know because I work with dogs, and a kennel full of Pit Bulls is MUCH easier to deal with than a kennel full of Labradors or lap dogs.

Anyone who fuels the fires of prejudice against any breed (or race, creed or color), for fun, profit or cruelty is, pardon my French, a foutue idiote.

Let's use some common sense.

Let's ignore the press whipping up Pit Bull hysteria to sell papers.

Let's ignore uninformed and misinformed politicians trying to score points with uninformed and misinformed constituents.

Let's start treating Pit Bulls like dogs, and not like devils incarnate.

Let's not condemn all Pit Bulls because of the actions of a few bad owners.

Let's put an end to dog fighting.

Let's make Pit Bull Terriers a AKC recognized breed.

Let's end Breed Specific Legislation.

If you have never met a Pit Bull, please don't form an opinion until you do. Please do talk to someone who really knows the breed and who is a responsible dog owner.

By the way October 23 is Pit Bull Awareness Day - Let's Celebrate America's Dog!

Here are just a few other Pit Bull supporters, and a much better source of information than the guy down the street:

Pinups for Pit Bulls
Shorty's Pit Bull Rescue
Cesar Milan
Pit Bulls
Bull Dog Breeds
Pit Bull Rescue Central
Luv A Bull Pit Bull Rescue and Sanctuary
Don't Bully My Breed
Working Pit Bull Terrier Club of America
National American Pit Bull
Best Friends Animal Rescue

You can follow Dino Dogan on Twitter and Facebook. Follow Kenn via his website, The Dog Files.