Archive for January, 2010

How Do Vaccines Really Work?

Maybe not quite like you think.

With permission, I am including in this blog post excerpts from the book Holistic Horsekeeping, by Madalyn Ward, D.V.M.  Over the last 20 years, Dr. Ward has been a pioneer in her research and re-education in alternative modalities in the field of veterinary medicine, and successfully puts them into practice every day. “Holistic” doesn’t necessarily mean non-traditional, however, and so her approach combines the best of both worlds in treating her patients. She is certainly not anti-vaccination, but rather in favor of a carefully tailored program for each individual animal, depending upon their environment and exposure.

First, here’s what Dr. Ward says about how vaccines work. Her specific comments pertain to horses, but the theory behind them applies to all of us, human or animal. Very enlightening!

The one to two cc’s of vaccine injected into the horse does not in and of itself provide protection from disease. This is very important to understand. It is the response of the individual horse’s immune system to the vaccine that determines whether or not the horse will be protected. The vaccine is an antigen designed to trigger a specific antibody reaction so that the next time the immune system “sees” this antigen it will react quickly to combat it. This sounds like a great plan and, with a good quality vaccine and a strong immune system, has the potential to work. The problem is that many diseases don’t produce good antigens, and toxic substances called adjuvants must be added to the vaccine in order to trigger a reaction by the immune system. These adjuvants can take several forms, including toxic heavy metals like mercury, and can cause their own problems, sometimes quite serious. Also, the immunity following many vaccines is very short-lived, requiring injections to be given as often as every two months.

Wow. And I thought — at least I used to — that the shot in and of itself was the protection. Oh dear.

So what happens in the body when we vaccinate? And why can vaccinations actually be dangerous for an animal (or us!) whose health is already compromised? Following is my favorite description ever of what goes on when a foreign invader (a vaccine, in this case) is introduced into the body. This is also from Dr. Ward’s book, with permission:

Consider the body as a country and the immune system as the army and local police in charge of protecting it. The nervous system acts as the communication network and the circulatory system makes up the highways. The army regularly protects the borders, and the police keep internal peace. Everything goes well until, without warning, there is a huge invasion of enemy paratroopers (say you inject your horse with VEW-T, Flu, Rhino, Rabies, Strangles, and Potomac Horse Fever vaccines on the same day). These invaders use the established, heretofore safe, highway system to infiltrate all areas of the country and come in several shapes and sizes, requiring specialty forces to combat them. Now, if we have a very strong army and police force [immune system], with lots of highly trained specialists, the invasion will be thwarted. However, border patrol and local peace keeping efforts may suffer temporarily. This is why it is important to give your horse several days off after any vaccine and to try not to give too many vaccinations at the same time.

Get the picture? All I can say is we need to be very careful about when and how often and for what we vaccinate — ourselves or our beloved animals. Never vaccinate when your animal is sick or compromised or is having surgery, and consider vaccinating minimally if your animal never travels or is exposed to others who might carry disease.

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English or Western? Baptist or Buddhist?

Does it really matter? Well, yes . . . if you’re involved in a particular equine discipline that requires one style or another. But not really . . .  if you’re not. Just go with whatever makes you comfortable — whatever blows your skirt up.

And I won’t even touch on religious differences.

I think most of us horse folks these days have reached a point where we don’t thumb our noses at each other for our respective styles of riding, training, and horsekeeping. At least I hope not.

But, unfortunately, many of us do still tend to think we are ‘better than’ (fill in the blank) in matters of politics, religion, and . . . animal communication.

I got my first negative blog comment just a few days ago, from a fellow named Toby, and felt it a good opportunity to once again address skepticism when it comes to my chosen profession of animal communication. Here’s Toby’s comment (I actually found it rather entertaining — and all misspellings and grammatical errors are his, by the way — I’m a virtual witch when it comes to good editing). And I quote:

Wow! This is the most absurd story that i have ever wasted my time reading!! It is obvious that the the horse owner that needs a “communicator” doesn’t know enough about horses to even own one. A horse’s brain is so small they are not capable of reason and for someone to lead people to believe that horses tell them what they want cracks me up!! It sounds like a lucrative career to trick people into paying for your horses thoughts and opinions. The first thing that comes to mind reading this are those preachers that scam people out of thousands of dollars. Many good trainers can help you with your horse problems that require no tarrot cards! All animals are basic creatures that have to be controled and it is required by humans to gain respect otherwise the animal will take advantage of them. Just like when you have multiple horses in a pasture, at feeding time one horse is “boss” and takes the first feed bucket. Sounds like these people have been defeated by an animal and the only one making any progress out of this deal is a communicator that is padding a pocketbook! But I admit, Mr. Ed told millions every week what he wanted!

I was happy to publish and respond to Toby’s comment because I really do believe that we are all entitled to our own beliefs and the expression of same. (Plus, he didn’t cuss me out or use any bad words.) I just look forward to a time where we, individually and en masse (CERTAINLY including the media) don’t spend our time and precious energy putting the other side down, whoever or whatever “the other side” may be at the moment. When we do so, how much time and energy do we have left over for focusing on the things we really enjoy, or for nurturing those we love? So here was my answer to Toby:

Woo-hoo! You go for it Toby! Yours is the first response of this ilk I’ve ever had. And I say: You and yours believe whatever you want; Me and mine will believe whatever we want! It just boils down to the same ole, same ole about politics and religion — lots of different belief systems, and who’s to say which one is right and which one is wrong. I’m just happy you took the time to read the entire post!

So there, Toby.

No, really. Treasure your beliefs and live by them. But don’t shore yourself up by putting down those who don’t share them.

Whether you ride English or Western, just enjoy your ride . . . and let others enjoy theirs. And, as a friend of mine once said when we were engaged in a philosophical discussion about judging others: “Wouldn’t this earth be a boring place to live if we were all alike?!” Amen

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If you’d like to read the blog post Toby was referring to, it’s the one just before this one: DO YOU HAVE THE WRONG HORSE …  FOR YOU?

And if you’d like to read a few more thoughts on whether to believe in animal communication or not:  SO YOU DON’T BELIEVE IN ANIMAL COMMUNICATION

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Do You Have The Wrong Horse . . . For YOU?

Leslie's Daughter, Maddie, and Clyde

Don’t get me “wrong” here. No horse is innately wrong. No more than you or I are innately wrong. I’m just using the word “wrong” to ascertain whether you and your horse are a good match or not. If not, it’s nobody’s fault, certainly not your horse’s.

It is sad but true. Stupendous numbers of us horse-lovers, myself included, have bought or taken in horses with whom we are absolutely, positively ill-matched. And I do mean horribly ill-matched. And these ill-fated pairings end up with no one being happy. The person can’t do what they’d like to do with their horse (i.e. they never attain their goal of dressage, or jumping, or whatever it may have been); the horse ends up as a pasture potato.

Today I did a session for a woman and her new horse that I hope will be inspirational to any of you reading this who find yourselves part of an ill-matched pair with your horse.

Leslie bought 7-year-old Clyde just two months ago.  She admits now that when she first met him she was not drawn to him and felt no bond with him at all (and wishes now that she had listened to that). But he had a lot going for him, a great track record in his work (Rodeo! Oh dear!), and was very sweet and docile when she brought him home. He had just come off a 3-day cutting competition, had a slight injury, and was probably dead tired, so his docility doesn’t surprise me.

Clyde very quickly turned into a bored and biting demon.

What Leslie wanted in a horse was a best buddy, a loving companion, a partner who could help her improve her riding skills. What she got was a frustrated equine workaholic who, finding himself living alone in a stall and small paddock situation, was not about to return her hugs. He showed her this by constantly invading her space, nipping at her, and, finally, biting her in the back while she was grooming him. Ouch!

I know from experience how much that must have hurt Leslie’s feelings, and how much she hoped and wished that this relationship would become what she envisioned. But she was smart enough to realize early on that Clyde was unhappy . . . which of course made her unhappy too. My hat is off to Leslie that she followed her intuition about this and sought help and input at such an early stage — she contacted an animal communicator (me, in this case) to find out what Clyde really wanted and how he felt about his situation.

You can imagine the response. Clyde confirmed all her instincts: yes, he was horribly bored; he had not really bonded with Leslie; he did not want to be coddled; he wanted to work hard, really hard, every day; he needed to be back “on the ranch” or where there was lots of room and with other horses, etc., etc. AND, regarding his biting, he actually said:

“Just tell her to knock me silly and yell at me!! I dare her!!”

This guy wanted to respect Leslie, and apparently her “knocking him silly” would help.

The bottom line:  Leslie is going to find Clyde the home and work he wants and deserves. And she will find herself another horse who has a totally different personality. She feels badly because she expected him to change — and in fact changed his name, which he hated — but she shouldn’t. She’s done so right by him . . . and no doubt learned a lot about her own needs, so it’s a win-win outcome here. And Clyde? Clyde was SO excited when we told him that she was going to get him back into a working environment with a strong leader who could care less if he ever cuddled with her!

So I urge you. Follow Leslie’s lead. It’s not easy. But if you’ve got the wrong horse . . . for you . . . gut it up and make a change. It will be best in the long run for both of you. As Clyde would say: “I dare you!”

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One way to get a handle on your horse’s personality type, and your own — and thereby tell whether you are a good match — is to go take the personality tests at Dr. Madalyn Ward’s Horse Harmony website. And read up on the different personality types. It’s fascinating stuff and SO helpful!

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Visitations From Our Departed Animals’ Spirits

Have you ever seen or felt the spirit or actual ghost form of any of your animals who have crossed over the Rainbow Bridge?

If so, you are not alone. And, contrary to what some skeptics would say, if you think you did, you did.

A recent comment on one of my blog posts prompted me to write on this topic. The author and her daughter had both seen their departed cat in the house a couple of weeks after his passing. Each sighting was very brief — just a mere glimpse out of the corner of an eye. They wondered if they really did see their cat or if they just missed him so much they imagined it.

My opinion is that they surely did. Many clients have reported similar experiences, usually not long after their animal’s passing. Most common is a visual sighting, always brief and unexpected. Sometimes they will feel their animal walk by them, perhaps the tail feathers of their Golden Retriever, or the whiskers of their cat. Smell can be involved as well, as can hearing the animal’s movements in the house in a familiar way.

I won’t say we might not conjure up such impressions out of our devastation and grief, but, as someone whose profession is animal-related and who hears countless stories about these kinds of things, I believe they are far too common and frequent to all be written off as wishful thinking.

So many animals I talk to after their passing tell me that they visit their people regularly. Some even choose to stay there for long periods of time, well aware that they can go to the light, and knowing they will some day, but they simply are not ready to leave their families yet. Is it any wonder that at least a few of these become obvious in some way, shape, or form to family members?

I had my own such experience several years ago, and it took a unique form. My precious black cat, Seka, passed away from a cancerous tumor, so it was a somewhat lengthy and very sad process for all of us. Seka always slept on my bed, on top of the covers, on the right side of my feet. She always hopped up there after I was well settled, had finished reading, and had the lights out.

A few nights after her passing, up she hopped, and went through her usual curling up motions against my right ankle. I could feel her weight when she landed on the bed as well as how she pressed the covers down when she settled up against me.

The first night it felt completely normal to me . . . until I roused enough to remember that Seka was gone. Even though I felt hopeful and excited that it might be her,  I just figured it was one of the other cats (I had two others). I was, however, surprised that they would jump right up in what they knew was Seka’s place so soon after her departure.

After lying there a while I finally had to look, to see who it was. And, of course, no cat.

This continued to happen several nights in a row. I promised myself I would not look again, but would let Seka rest in peace where she always loved to sleep. But about the fourth or fifth night, the sensations were so strong, her weight so heavy and real, that I just couldn’t resist checking one more time. So I did. I raised up and looked, she wasn’t there, and then I felt her spirit just whisk away. She never returned — at least that I perceived — and I was heartsick that I had somehow made her leave by doubting her presence.

So don’t doubt. Just trust and accept. These sightings and sensings always occur when you’re not looking for them to, and hopefully they will bring you feelings of a joyful, if brief, reunion with your loved one.

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Say What?! Teach Dressage to My Cow Horse?!

You bet. Absolutely. Do not pass go. Train your horse in dressage. No matter what breed or how he’s built.

Why?

Because — in case you ever doubted it, or just didn’t know this particular bit of trivia — dressage constitutes the basics of everything good that can happen with your horse when you’re talking about training. In fact, you are probably including it in your work with your horse without even realizing it or knowing about it.

(And you don’t ever have to look like this picture . . . or wear those clothes.)

Here is the United States Dressage Federation’s beautifully simple definition of this ancient equine art:

Dressage is a French term meaning “training” and its purpose is to develop the horse’s natural athletic ability and willingness to work, making him calm, supple, and attentive to his rider.

Now I ask you? Does that capture what you want in your horse or not? If you own a horse — no matter what breed or what discipline you are involved in — you know that these attributes and talents are what you strive for above all else. They can be summed up as:

  • natural athletic ability
  • willingness to work
  • calmness
  • suppleness
  • attentiveness

I mean, what more could you want?

Most of us who have horses, if we’re totally honest and unless we are world-class competitors, would say that our horses are at least a tiny bit deficient in one or more of these categories. Right?

So get with the dressage training and fill in those blanks!

There are NINE (whew!) levels in competitive dressage. But forget about that. You do not have to be striving to compete in any of those levels or even on Level One. Just learn the basics of what dressage is all about and use it in your every day training, whether that be in the arena or at feeding time*.

You might have to learn, or at least play with, a few new skills, with your seat or legs or groundwork, but be willing to experiment. If you and your horse have a bond, he or she will forgive you if you aren’t perfect.

Basically, what you are teaching your horse in dressage work is:

  1. Number One: to listen to you (and what equine discipline doesn’t require that?), so you will become one, a team, a partnership — don’t all the schools of  “natural horsemanship” stress this above all else?
  2. Number Two: to tune into his or her own body and learn to use it in such a way that it is comfortable, efficient, and responsive (you’d be surprised at how many horses don’t even know they have back feet!)
  3. Number Three: to be confident (which follows naturally once your horse is attuned to you and his or her own body)

Voila! Your cow horse — now trained in a few basic dressage techniques — has added a whole new dimension to his personality and performance, not to mention his relationship with you.

Is it really worth it? Teaching your horse a few of these basics that date back to waaaaaaaaay before any of us can even imagine? I’d say definitely YES, from personal experience. (And if you’d like to read a little more about the history of dressage, dating back to Xenophon, go HERE.)

In any case, and no matter what your chosen equine discipline, give dressage some consideration. Certainly if you are experiencing  problems. I think those early masters and military leaders have a lot to offer us when it comes to training our horses.

Oh, and by the way, dressage techniques go with and don’t interfere with any other kind of training you may be engaged in. Keep that in mind! Dressage is really nothing more than BASIC TRAINING.

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* Feeding Time: Oh yeah. What goes on then is a topic for a whole nother blog post! One can DEFINITELY engage in training activities at feeding time! Stay tuned.

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How Do We Really Heal? Grace Tells Us.

How do we really heal? From living a good life? Eating the right foods? Getting enough healthy exercise for our physical bodies? Embracing spirituality? Following the Golden Rule?

There are lots of theories that address this question, and, as you well know if you follow this blog, I myself promote balance through a healthy lifestyle, high quality food and supplements, living your passions, etc. And I do believe in all that, and I try to practice what I preach.

But none of those things is the real answer to the question, “How do we heal?”

If you’ve ever read about multi-personalities, then you are probably familiar with how one personality can exhibit totally different health patterns than the other(s). For instance, one personality might have diabetes, but none of the others do. One might exhibit a serious wound that won’t heal, while this wound does not exist for the other personalities, or heals up so quickly as to be unnoticeable.

This phenomenon is a perfect example of how thought creates matter, or how we create our own reality — with our minds and our spirits. And the same applies to our health.

"Grace," Just Last Week, Living Life To The Fullest!

Yesterday I talked to “Grace,” who was a rescue fairly late in life, and who consequently survived a serious cancer surgery and has long outlived the “time left” she was given by her vets. Grace talked to me from a very high soul level this time (which was not true when I talked to her a few months ago) and astounded me with her wisdom.

Grace and I were reviewing certain symptoms she is having in her physical body, especially at night. Grace’s person wanted to know from Grace if she knew what might be the cause, if certain treatments were helping, etc. At first, Grace’s soul seemed to be showing me that she was not sure what was helping and what was not, which seemed strange, as she had shown so much awareness and wisdom I thought she would have something more consequential to say about all this.

So I asked for more and delved deeper, still with her higher self, and here is what she conveyed to me:

One’s physical health and balance are not really dependent upon medicine, acupuncture, or any other kinds of physical modalities. It is the mind itself, the nature of the spirit, the level of soul-growth and self-awareness, that pretty much “dictate” healing.

Grace went on to impart further pearls of wisdom, including a statement on the divine nature of her bond with her human, whom she called an “angel,” and how connections like these, that are built in true grace and love, are so far reaching and affect so much more than is ever obvious.

Although the animals never fail to amaze me, I was awestruck by Grace’s depth and wisdom, honored to be able to communicate with her, and blessed to be reminded of such important truths about healing and relationships.

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Winning The Lottery! . . . sort of

Years ago, when I worked for Texas Monthly Magazine, we once hired a young girl fresh out of high school as our receptionist. We’ll call her “Tammy.” I was in Human Resources, and my boss and I had interviewed at least 10 candidates, narrowed down from a field of about 100.

T.M. was a highly desirable place to work, so, as usual, all the candidates — except this girl — were overqualified with various degrees and lots of experience. None of them really wanted to be a receptionist; they just wanted a foot in the door. And this was, in truth, the kind of person we usually hired to work anywhere at that magazine. We had the cream of the crop to pick from, always, for any position.

But this time, when it came time to pick a new receptionist, our favorite — hands down — was the fresh faced high school graduate, Tammy!

Why? Because in her interviews she was totally genuine, totally herself, had no ego going about how great she was, and, most important, couldn’t stop smiling and telling us how much she wanted to be the receptionist for Texas Monthly. She really hammered that home — in just the right way — and she really meant it. We knew we’d have a little polishing up to do with this kid, but she had the best attitude and most optimistic and willing outlook of just about anybody we’d ever hired.

Okay, so what does this have to do with the lottery?

Years later — probably 10 or 12 — when that “girl” had advanced way up through the ranks into an extremely responsible position, she came boppin’ in one day after lunch, grinning ear-to-ear, with that same irrepressible spirit she’d always had, and said:

“I just LOVE going to buy my lottery ticket!!!!”

Now, everybody was excited about the lottery, because it had just been legalized in Texas, but we really didn’t understand the nature of Tammy’s comment.

“Why?!” we asked, kinda nonplussed.

“Because while I’m driving back to work after buying it, I see myself spending the whole thing, and that’s just as much fun as actually doing it!”

She was serious! And flying high from her envisioned win and consequent  extravaganzas.

I’ve never forgotten that and never will. THAT is the kind of joy and outlook that can carry us through the darkest of days, not to mention help us manifest our dreams. Wow.

I thought of this today because a friend and I are entering a sweepstakes to win a $2 million home, plus half a mil. in cash, plus an SUV, that is actually located near to us. And my friend emailed me this morning to say she is already living there, savoring it “in the now.”

She is enjoying her “new home” in exactly the same way Tammy enjoyed winning the lottery every week.

I don’t think Tammy ever really won the lottery. But I do know she got a darn lot of pleasure out of it! And her wonderful outlook brought her tremendous success and happiness, both professionally and personally.

I think the same will be true for my friend. Being in your dream is soooooo much fun. And it really does go a long way toward finding happiness. Whether it pans out in exactly the version you envision or not is kind of beside the point. It’s the satisfaction it brings you in the moment that counts. That’s the kind of energy that feeds your future success, joy, and well-being!

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Here are two exercises that have to do with manifesting your dreams.They’re written about animal communication, but they apply to everything.

THINK PINK!

FOCUS FOR 17 SECONDS!

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