Archive for September, 2009

How to Keep Your Chihuahuas & Chiweenies Happy, Healthy, & Wise

I can’t swear to the “wise” part, but I can definitely attest to the “happy, healthy” part of the above title.

My long-haired Chihuahua puppy, Frida, is 7 months old now, and she is the happiest little soul alive . . . and marvelously healthy.

Frida today doing her version of doggy yoga - not a care in the world!

Frida today, doing her version of sun salutation - not a care in the world.

Her best friend and heartthrob, Tucker, a Chiweenie rescue (that’s a Chihuahua/Dachshund mix), is about 3 now and is not the same dog I adopted from the humane society one year ago.

Chiweenie Tucker - a happy, healthy little guy who loves to horde his toys.

Chiweenie Tucker - a happy, healthy little guy who loves to horde his toys.

Frida weighs 4 lbs. + an ounce or 2; Tucker weighs in at around 18. They are both thriving beyond my highest hopes and expectations. Not having had small dogs in decades, it took me a little experimenting to find out the best combination of nutrients for their wee systems, but I think I’ve got it down.

When Tucker arrived he weighed 12 lbs. and you could see all his ribs and his hip bones. He had put on NO weight in his weeks at the shelter, even though they had been feeding him high quality food 2 or 3 times a day (yes, we have an exceptional shelter here in Santa Fe, NM!). For the first few weeks I had Tucker I was afraid I might fail as well. But by adding blue-green algae acidophilus and digestive enzymes to his diet, the diarrhea he came with finally cleared up, and after a while he began gaining. After a few months he was almost chunky, having added a third again of his body weight. But I noticed he still smelled — he had classic doggy odor, which is not part and parcel of a healthy dog.

When little Frida came at 7 weeks of age she weighed about 2 lbs. and could barely chew. I soaked her puppy kibble in warm goat milk and felt lucky if I could get 1 teaspoon of it down her at a time. And getting supplements or blue-green algae in her was impossible. Frida was very disinterested in food in general. Oh dear. This went on until she was almost 4 months old, and she wasn’t really growing much. Nor was she losing her baby fur.

One day I was eating steak and Frida began acting like a ferocious predator. She wanted some! I had noticed how she went after the big dogs’ bones, even though they were bigger than she was, so I gave her a tiny bite of steak. She went nuts. “Aha!”, thought I. “We have a meat-eating, raw-food freak in our midst!”

I had read and studied all about homemade dog food, the merits and demerits of a raw diet, etc., but had never made that leap — mainly because I always had 4 or 5 huge dogs to feed and, I’ll admit it, just couldn’t face creating that much homemade dog food every day. Besides their premium dog kibble they often got good scraps and bones, and of course plenty of blue-green algae, and were all very healthy, so I figured I would leave well enough alone.

But with the tiny, picky Chihuahua and Chiweenie types I thought just maybe I could make a difference by adding raw meat to their diet. And if they liked it then I could probably get them to eat as much algae as I wanted, mixed in with it.

Bingo. It worked like a charm. Watching Frida eat her first meal of raw meat was like watching a lion after a kill. Tucker too. Here’s my formula:

I vary the meat but keep it raw and chunky. I mix it with some crushed up premium dog kibble and occasional veggies, and add the powder from one Super Sprouts & Algae capsule and one Acidophilus capsule.

Within a month of beginning the new diet, Frida’s coat turned from baby fuzz slurry greys and browns to a long, silky texture and a beautiful caramel color. And Tucker’s doggy odor completely vanished!

I kid you not. If you have a Chihuahua or a Chiweenie who is a picky eater, try the raw meat with algae approach. I think you’ll be amazed, and I know your little ones will love you for it.***


One caveat:  Sometimes older animals who have eaten commercial food all their lives will not accept raw meat. It so, try it slightly cooked. If they still refuse it, well, just keep feeding them what they do well on — but try adding some blue-green algae to boost their health.


Chihuahua vs. Chiweenie

And you can read all about and order all kinds of super blue-green algae products HERE.


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The Devotion of Our Rescues – Including Mine

Me -- trying to write while totally immersed in my devoted rescues.

Me -- trying to write while totally immersed in my devoted rescues.

Just about every animal lover these days has one or more rescues. Be they canine, feline, or equine — and sometimes feathered and finned as well — there are more and more rescued animals being taken into forever homes every day.  Go online and you will find a rescue organization for just about every kind of animal or breed there is. What a confirming and heart-warming trend this is in an age of throwaway-everything.

As an animal communicator, many of my clients are rescues, maybe even most as a matter of fact.  I cannot tell you how many of them proclaim how thankful they are to their people for rescuing them, often saying it actually saved their life, literally. There is no end to their devotion and gratitude, and it is forever.

Out of my own numerous dogs, cats, and horses, all but two are rescues — well, not counting the chickens, who are here at my behest and for their fabulous eggs. The other two exceptions are my Chihuahua puppy, Frida, who was a gift from a friend, and my 8-year-old Mustang mare, Bella, whom I took as a birthday gift to myself when she was four from another dear friend. Besides those two, here is my line-up, oldest to youngest, and you can see from the picture above how their devotion extends to every minute of the day. Frida was not yet born when this picture was taken, and of course the horses can’t come into the living room … or else I’m sure they would have been in the picture as well.

Dscn2232Copper – My 32-year-old Quarter Horse was a throwaway. His owner said, “If you can get him in the trailer, you can have him!” Copper is still ridden lightly by a petite friend whom he adores. He is everyone’s favorite and loves to kiss … yes, kiss.

GabeHead1.jpgGabriel – My 18-year-old Dutch Warmblood. Rescued after his second six-month stint at an equine clinic 10 years ago, Gabriel’s entire body is compromised from performance injuries and he has a bad heart murmur. He probably shouldn’t still be alive, but HE doesn’t know that and he is one happy camper.

DSCN3124Rose – A 12-year-old Border Collie mix, Rose was actually born at my house to a NM stray I had picked up on the road. She was then homed with a woman who turned out to be a maniac so I rescued her back when she was four months old. She is my coy, demure sweetheart, and can’t stand loud noises or voices (probably due to the maniac!).

Hello!.jpgSabrina – I am Sabrina’s 4th home. A 10-year-old Rhodesian Ridgeback mix, she was found running wild on the streets of Austin because it is well nigh impossible to contain her. Having climbed, dug, and chewed her way out of just about every conceivable type of fence, she tells me it’s just because she loves to go exploring. Sabrina is our social director and adores visitors. At 10 she is no longer challenging the fence so much, so is safe and sound for her later years.

DSCN2937Charlie – My heart and soul, walks-on-water dog, Charlie is a Golden Retriever/Chow 6-year-old who was found running on a country road at midnight — an unneutered, uncollared 6-month old. He was dumped, clearly, as he is petrified I’m going to do the same with him every time I take him in the car. Otherwise, he goes with me everywhere on foot or horse, and watches me like a hawk. He is my guardian.

DSCN2950Lily – Lily was freezing to death, injured, and emaciated when I grabbed her up as a half-feral, adolescent kitten in Texas. She was the fastest to tame down I’ve ever seen, and is highly motivated by food. She is my only remaining cat and holds her own amidst the chaos of my dog pack — I think she may be part wild cat.

DSCN2675Tucker – My 3-year-old Chiweenie rescue whom I took from the Santa Fe Humane Society last year about this time. Tucker has filled our hearts and home with his gratitude, joy, and playfulness and it is because of his precious little spirit that I decided to take his new heartthrob, Frida.

For news and pictures about the others:  Bella, Frida, and the chickens, there are blog posts galore — I hope you will read about them too!

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Cheap Ways to Get Healthy in Tough Times


healthy livingI generally hate commercials but I gotta say that I love the Allstate commercial where the guy extols the virtues of staying home and playing Jenga. I know, tough times are by definition tough, and yet I’m seeing some amazing things happen in people’s lives as a result of these tough times. Yes, some people are experiencing some serious setbacks and financial woes, but other people are using the current situation to make some truly beneficial changes in their lives.

Surprisingly enough, a lot of people are using this opportunity to get healthy!

How Do You Get Healthy in Tough Economic Times?
When people think of the word “healthy,” many think of spending money. You might have to spend money on supplements, a gym membership, or diet foods. That’s not going to work in an age where the jobless rate keeps creeping up. Instead, people are finding all kinds of ways to get healthy for cheap. Here are two fabulous examples to inspire you to think of ways you can get healthy without spending the big bucks!

Example #1: The Substitution Diet
One woman came to me for nutritional counseling and found herself in quite the bind. She was overweight and wanted to lose weight, but could not seem to do it by herself. She considered joining either a women’s gym or a diet program (like Jenny Craig), but when she looked into both options she found the monthly fees too steep for her budget. So she asked me for help.

I’m a big believer in small changes that make a big difference. I asked her to keep a food diary for a week, which meant she listed everything she ate for a week. Surprisingly, even though she was overweight she didn’t eat as much as one would expect. However, the content of her diet was pretty poor and included a lot of processed foods and refined carbohydrates. She also ate a lot of pre-packaged food with low nutritional content. I asked her if she would be willing to do a little more cooking and give up 50% of her sugary snacks. She agreed.

We replaced 35% of her pre-packaged food with meals she cooked herself, and she bought 50% less cakes and cookies. With the money left over (about $50 per month), we started her on a low-cost but high-quality nutritional supplement, Essentials from Simplexity Health. The Essentials contained blue-green algae to give her energy and increase her metabolism, plus acidophilus, bifidus, and enzymes, which improved her digestion. The results are in and she has lost 11 pounds and feels better than she has in years. She doesn’t like to cook but her weight loss keeps her going. I give her kudos for persistence, frugality, and healthy living!

Example #2: Yard Man Extraordinaire
One of my buddies works an office job in a big city and he used to pay people to do his yard work  (and believe me, he has a beautifully-landscaped yard). While his job isn’t in limbo, he’s decided to cut back on expenditures to save extra money for future contingencies. One of the expenses he cut was the money he was paying to the yard man. The other was his twice-a-month visit to his anti-stress counselor (he finds working in the city very stressful).

You can probably see where this is going. It turns out that doing yard work is the perfect intersection of saving money and stress relief for my friend, not to mention being a great physical workout. Not only has he gotten a handle on all the basic yard maintenance, like weed-pulling and lawn-mowing, but he’s even starting to build an amazing serpentine rock wall that literally has people stopping in his driveway to ask if he does rock-work for hire! Now that’s got to fluff his aura and boost his pride. In any case, should he ever find himself out of work, he can now always fall back on a second career in rock work!

Inspired yet?

I hope so. I’m so inspired that I’ve started tackling a ramshackle falling-down building on our property. The physical exercise is great and I’m saving megabucks by not paying day laborers to do the work for me.



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High Fashion in Santa Fe: Chihuahua Clothes!

You just haven’t lived if you’ve never dressed a Chihuahua.

Tucker, last fall, in his very first outfit -- a practical, reversible plaid number.

Tucker, last fall, in his very first outfit -- a practical, reversible plaid number.

Having had only large-breed dogs for years now, I surprised myself last fall by adopting an adorable 2-year-old Chiweenie (a Chihuahua/Dachscund mix), Tucker,  from the local humane society here in Santa Fe. THEN, I downright shocked myself by taking a precious long-haired, teacup Chihuahua puppy, Frida, last April!

Frida in her t-shirt. She likes it because it says "Wagg-a-Riffic! Woof! Pow! Bam!" And because it shows off her belly button.

Frida in her t-shirt. She likes it because it says "Wagg-a-Riffic! Woof! Pow! Bam!" And because it shows off her belly button.

Both Tucker and Frida fit right in with the rest of my menagerie, and the threesome of big dogs accept them as total equals. I call the little ones my “Chiwees” . . . as in a lap full of Chiwees (which is where they are if I’m sitting down). It’s just easier.

The biggest surprise was how much fun I had when I started dressing these little guys. Chihuahuas and Chiweenies get cold quite easily, and the climate in Santa Fe is always cool nights and cold winters. I quickly found that, besides being one of the most dog-loving and altruistic places I’ve ever been, Santa Fe is also one of the dog fashion meccas of the world. I mean, who could ask for more?

Tucker quickly acquired six outfits last fall, as I soon realized he needed lightweight clothing for cool days, t-shirts for indoors, waterproof vestments for snow and rain, etc.  Frida, coming in at the end of the season last spring, only has two so far, but we are counting the days ’til the new winter inventory of dog clothes arrives.

And believe me, there is no dearth of dog clothing resources in Santa Fe. There are an astounding number of privately owned pet stores here, as well as the requisite PetSmart, PetCo, Walmart, and Target pet departments. The trick is finding an outfit that costs less than my winter coat. I kid you not — the price tags make you “sit” and “stay” until you can catch your breath.

Tucker in his pajamas, ready for bed.

Tucker in his pajamas, ready for bed.

But that is beside the point, and one can always make do and not break the bank if one gets resourceful enough. What’s really important here is more pictures. This is a fashion spread after all, so photos and style is all important. And as you peruse these shots, please keep in mind that, unlike Jamie Lee Curtis in the movie Beverly Hills Chihuahua, I can’t afford the jewelry, hat and glove accessories, but we do our best.

Frida in her Italian hand-knit sweater (it was half price, left-over from last season -- for obvious reasons).

Frida in her Italian hand-knit sweater (it was half price, left-over from last season -- for obvious reasons).

Oh, and just one more caveat (thank you for your patience). Please, as you look at these, don’t scoff. At least not until you get yourself a Chihuahua and discover the joys of dressing him or her yourself. You are in for a treat, believe me!

Tucker in his lined, waterproof windbreaker. He does like red.

Tucker in his lined, waterproof windbreaker. He does like red.

We are missing a few outfits in this fashion spread, but you get the idea …



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Animal Communication in Santa Fe, New Mexico

Ben and His Shy Rescue, "Bear," 2 of Saturday's Participants

Ben Swan and His Shy Rescue, "Star," Two of Saturday's Participants


That’s what this past Saturday felt like to me — like I was caught up in a maelstrom of rushing energy that was taking me for a joy ride.

Saturday was the day I participated in a multi-pronged fund-raising effort benefiting a Santa Fe organization called Kitchen Angels, a non-profit group that has distributed more than half a million meals to the disadvantaged and ailing in the 17 years it has existed. Quite an amazing feat!!

My contribution to the effort was back-to-back, 30-minute animal communication sessions all day Saturday, with all proceeds going to the Angels.

I was so amazed and impressed by the enthusiasm and interest in the event and in animal communication, and each and every session was noteworthy and gratifying. People brought their animals to find out about everything from how they liked their food to why they have seizures. And the best part was that these folks were open and willing to consider new ideas and out-of-the-ordinary suggestions.

Having moved to the Santa Fe area only a year and a half ago, I continue to be awed by not only its  climate, staggering beauty, and history (S.F. is the oldest city in the U.S.), but by the great spirit of those who live here. There are over 400 non-profit organizations in this city of only 70,000, and many of  those are dedicated to animal welfare. The Santa Fe Animal Shelter itself is cutting edge and has become a model for many other shelters throughout the country.

Frankly, I had no expectations about the future of my animal communication practice when I moved to the Santa Fe area from Texas, where I had lived all my life. It was a major transition so I wasn’t even sure I would keep the practice alive. I viewed the relocation as a time-out phase I would use to pause and take stock of my goals, my passions, and my future while getting settled in my new home.

But as you can imagine, landing in a community that is so open minded and altruistic has caught me up in its own cycle of activities and made it obvious to me that my animal communication work is still at the top of the list in terms of my life work and my personal priorities.

In this new setting I am able to focus more on giving back to the animals and the community and less on a daily, one-on-one consultation practice — an unexpected but refreshing change and one that I hope will have a much greater impact over all. Participating in fund-raisers like Saturday’s, giving talks for other non-profits like Kindred Spirits (that’s next weekend), and even writing this blog, which I began after the move and is intended to impart useful information to animal lovers, have all been inspiring and uplifting new elements in my life.

Of course nothing can substitute for working directly with the animals, so Saturday was a joy. The spirit of the animals, and how they are there for us at every turn, will always be the greatest high and at the same time the firmest anchor for all of us animal lovers. As one little fellow adamantly proclaimed to me, about the couple who brought him:

“I want you to know that these are my people!”

Doesn’t that say it all?

Thank you, Santa Feans, for rising to the occasion and nurturing peace and abundance among all species. I feel very blessed to live in such a magical and welcoming community.


Once I decided to move to the Santa Fe area, the magic began:

Miracles Really DO Happen — at least they do to me . . .

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What’s the Big Deal About Blue-Green Algae? (Aphanizomenon flos-aquae, that is…)

I promise to keep this short. And will try to be not-boring.

The down and dirty version of why the superfood blue-green algae Aphanizomenon flos-aquae is good for you and your animals, in 25 words or less, is (and I promise not to use that Latin term again):

This is what blue-green algae looks like in the water.

This is what blue-green algae looks like in the water.

1. Blue-green algae is a raw, micro-nutrient-rich superfood.

2. Your body LOVES real food, as opposed to supplements, and utilizes it 10 times better.

There. That’s 25 words.

The part about “10

And this is what it looks like dried. I know ... BORing!

And this is what it looks like dried. I know ... BORing!

times better” is mine and mine alone, but is based on statistical and scientific evidence that the body absorbs, at most, only 12% of any man-made supplement, no matter how whole or natural its ingredients or how carefully it is made. Man-made supplements are not superfood. Period.

The reason? Your body simply does not recognize the latter because it is not programmed to. I’m not saying supplements are worthless. Quite the contrary — they’re very valuable and most of us, myself included, take them. But the bottom line is a Vitamin C tablet will never be a substitute for an orange. Period. Your body knows that and gets rid of all the “odd” substances in the tablet, utilizing only that which it recognizes — about 12% max. The orange on the other hand, or blue-green algae?  “Yum!” says your body, “This is more like it!” and slurps it all up.

But let’s get a little more detailed.

Anything you eat, plant or animal, is only as nutritious as what IT ate. That

Upper Klamath Lake

Upper Klamath Lake

means that plants grown in depleted soil — even if  “organic” — simply are not providing you with proper or complete nutritional value. Plain and simple, they cannot be a superfood even if they were meant to be. So one reason blue-green algae is such a powerful nutrient is that almost 100% of it is harvested from Upper Klamath Lake in Southern Oregon, where it thrives on nutrient-rich volcanic sediment that is 35 feet deep.

Another feature of blue-green algae that makes it so impacting is the fact that it is a single-cell food, with a non-cellulose cell wall, so is highly assimilable — this type of food is called a micronutrient. It has been proven, in fact, that our bodies are able to assimilate up to 98% of blue-green algae. Compare that to the 12% in man-made supplements and you begin to get the picture.

The Bottom Line:

Blue-green algae is an organic, all natural, single-cell, naturally occurring, micronutrient, whole superfood that contains:

  • vitamins
  • trace minerals
  • amino acids
  • active enzymes
  • protein
  • chlorophyll
  • beta carotene
  • essential fatty acids
  • phytonutrients

A pretty complete nutritional profile, wouldn’t you say?

If you have an abundant, organic garden in your backyard, with super-enriched, alive soil, then you are a lucky dog and may be getting most of the nutrients you need from your food. You are growing superfood! But if not, consider adding a little of the micronutrient, blue-green algae, to your diet every day, and to your animals’ too. You can rest easy knowing it will fill in those nutritional gaps not provided by your grocery or pet food store.

So THAT’s the big deal about blue-green algae!


You can read more about blue-green algae and order some HERE.

And read about my first personal experience with the algae here:

My Algae Story: How Blue-Green Algae Helped Heal My Allergies

And for feeding blue-green algae to your animals, check out these FAQs. Or email me and I’ll be happy to help you figure out a blue-green algae diet plan for your furry friends.

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Animal Communication – Protecting Your Power

weight lifting dogIf you’re an animal communicator, you’re almost certainly what’s known as an empath. An empath is someone who can pick up empathically the feelings of another. It’s kind of like vicariously experiencing the thoughts or feelings of someone else without having been given any objective information that would have contributed to your experience. Clear as mud, huh. But if you’re empathic, you know what I’m talking about.

In fact you may experience these thoughts and feelings that belong to someone else without even realizing it. And THAT can be a real problem. Especially when trying to remain a clear channel for your animal communication work.

There are many ways to protect yourself from absorbing or taking on energy from others, most of them involving building psychic shields, surrounding oneself with white light, or encasing oneself in something like a spinning, silver bullet. These techniques work, but my favorite protection exercise is all about growing your own energy so big, and projecting it so strongly, that uninvited energy from others  simply can’t “get in.” A proactive approach rather than a defensive one, which I like. I call this the


1.  Find Your Power
Take a few deep breaths, relax and close your eyes. Visualize a shining ball of light in the center of your being that has the power to generate and distribute mental, physical, and spiritual growth energy. This energy center is in the solar plexus, just behind and a little above your navel.

2.  Become One With Your Power
See white or shining yellow light emanating out from your energy center, much like the sun’s rays, moving freely throughout your mental, emotional, and physical bodies, feeding and nurturing every part of you and expanding the energy field that lies outside your physical body as well. This glowing, radiating energy is alive and strong, and nothing unwanted can penetrate its field.

3.  Affirm Your Power
Place the fingertips of both hands over the energy center at your solar plexus. Hold them there and repeat any empowering affirmation of your choice, until you feel tingling life-force energy in your fingertips. You might say something as simple as  “I am now protected and energized, in mind, body, and spirit.”

4. Claim Your Power
Any time you want to claim and activate your power you can do so instantly by repeating step 3. Place your fingers and state your affirmation. The more you use this “cue,” the easier and faster it will be for you to feel your power grow, nurture and protect you.

If you’re like me, whether you’re an animal communicator or not, you often get caught up in life’s daily routines and forget to avail yourself of the tools you have at hand. I must admit I often fail to strengthen or “protect” myself when heading into scenarios, situations, or locations I know might be draining for me.

So ………… I’m really glad I’ve reminded myself of this exercise because Saturday I am participating in a fund-raiser for a worthy local cause where I will be doing non-stop 30-minute animal communication sessions all day long. No telling what kinds of messages, thoughts, feelings, and energies will be flying my way, so you can bet I’ll be using my affirmation and fingertips frequently!

Hope it works for you!


Here are a couple of related blogs about clearing strong emotions that can interfere with animal communication and about maintaining a “clear channel”:

Animal Communication – Being a “Clear Channel”

Animal Communication & Grief – Try the Blue Ribbon Exercise

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