Archive for February, 2010

Horse Parasites Beware – We Are ONTO You!

If you own horses then you know what a constant concern keeping equine parasites under control can be. And unfortunately, according to the latest research, doing so is becoming even more of a challenge as the parasite population is quickly building up immunity to the various chemicals we try to kill them off with.

My holistic horse vet in Texas, Dr. Madalyn Ward, has been studying this problem for years and trying to figure out new and different ways of addressing it that will keep horses healthy and not subject them OR their worms to so many chemicals. (See below for one of her recommended approaches.)

This past week I joined the Northern New Mexico Horse Club and attended their monthly meeting because one of our local horse vets was giving a presentation on this very topic. I was really curious to see what a mainstream vet might have to say about the parasite problem, plus I’ve been wanting to join the club anyway. I was very pleased and impressed with this guy’s thinking and liked the group to boot, so the evening was a grand success.

In a nutshell, here is what this vet recommended:

  • Conscientious and thorough manure management, including NOT spreading manure over a pasture where horses graze. Horses defecate in certain areas by instinct (often called ‘stud piles’) and do not graze on those areas. So leave those piles alone or remove them entirely. When you spread them out you are simply distributing the worm larvae they contain over the entire grazing area where the horses can’t help but ingest them.
  • Rotate pastures if possible, swapping out with cows, sheep, or goats if you have them. This gives your horse parasite larvae time to die off, plus these species’ parasites do not cross over to equines.
  • Do regular fecal egg counts to monitor your horses’ parasite loads, at least once a year, and use chemical wormers only according to the results and when absolutely necessary. Various horses in the same herd can have radically different parasite loads, depending on their general level of immunity and health, so one may need a good chemical dousing while the rest do not. Fact: 20% of the horses in any given herd will carry 80% of the parasites. An important and startling point to remember.
  • Limit your chemical worming to as few times as once per year for those horses who carry a light load of parasites, and maybe 3 or 4 times a year max  for those who carry a heavy load.

I like this. And I am really glad to see our conventional veterinarians thinking in this direction. Where I thought this particular vet fell short was in his emphasis on adopting this new approach mainly in order to discourage the parasites’ immunity to chemical dewormers, while downplaying the immediate stress frequent chemical deworming can place on our horses, especially those who are weak and compromised. But, in any case . . . progress!

Here’s what I do and have done for about 12 years now, as part of a program recommended by Dr. Madalyn Ward. And doing regular fecal checks has shown that it works. Once a month, sometimes twice, on the full and new moons, I give each of my horses a load dose of probiotics. Period. That’s it. Then, when I do fecal egg counts, if it looks like someone could use some chemical deworming help, I proceed according to what type and what load of parasites were found. The product I use is Simplexity Health’s Spectrabiotic, a broad-spectrum probiotic in a blue-green algae base (which is not only a great pre-biotic for the good bacteria to feed on, but is also a superfood nutrient in its own right), and so far so good.

The presenting vet pointed out that there is no scientific backup proving that probiotics help with parasite problems. I don’t know if this is true or not, but Dr. Ward’s theory is that the healthier the gut flora, the more difficulty parasites will have in setting up shop in its midst. All I know is this approach has worked well for me and my horses for many years now — witness my incredibly strong and healthy 33-year-old QH, Copper, who was not so strong and healthy when he came to me as a cast-off at about age 20). So I’m sticking with it! Oh – and why on the full moon and new moon?

Well, just like the oceans, many things are more active during those moon phases, including the activities and processes that go on inside our bodies . . . among them, theoretically, those populations of unwanted parasites. Maybe they howl at the moon just like we do . . .  so it’s easier to nab ’em when they’re wide awake and partying!

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If you want to try this approach you can order Spectrabiotic here. I give 15 capsules with a feeding once or twice a month to my horses who are average size, and 20 to my mare who weighs in at around 1400 – 1500 lbs. Just dump them on top of their feed; they should eat them just fine. I’d recommend doing this twice a month for a while to get things under control, then doing a fecal check, then backing off to once a month when it looks like your program is working. Try it. It’s worth it and really will pay off in your horses’ overall health, and consequentially in your long-term vet bills!

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Animal Communication – What Do the Animals Say?

What do the animals tell us in an animal communication session? What is on their mind? Do they have the same issues we humans have? Do they even want to ‘talk’ at all?

First of all, yes, 99.9% of our animals do want to talk to us given the chance. Whether their ‘talk’ comes through as words, pictures, or ideas varies, but their eagerness and willingness to share is 9 times out of 10 amazingly strong. In my experience, only when an animal is so traumatized or ill as to be completely shut down or unable to relate will he choose not to participate in a communication.

So when you get an animal ‘on the horn,’ so to speak, what does he or she say?

He says what’s on his mind, just like we do, and often will initiate the conversation with whatever that may be. And usually (though not always) it jives with what is top of the mind for his person.

If you’ve ever had a session with an animal communicator, you have probably at some point in the process said or thought, “I knew that!” Often things the communicator tells you simply confirm what you yourself have felt about your animal. You are closer than anyone to your animal. It is only natural that you should pick up and know more about them than anyone else.

The same goes for the animal. Especially if you have a close bond with him. Animals who live with us as members of our families often read us better than just about anyone. For instance, your dog knows when you are sad before just about anyone else in the household, right? So if you have concerns about your animal, enough to justify having an animal communicator intervene, chances are your animal has already picked up the gist of the topic at hand.

Countless times I’ve had an animal open our conversation with thoughts or comments like:

  • Am I in trouble? (a cat who isn’t using the litter box)
  • I am so sad because I am disappointing Alice. (a horse who can’t perform a training exercise)
  • I’m so excited, something is going on — I can feel it! (a service dog whose household is expecting a new baby)
  • I’m very upset because John seems so worried. (an elderly dog with a health condition his owner is worried about)

These are just examples but are typical of what I’m talking about. The animal has picked up the main emotion of whatever issue is preoccupying his person and, whether she understands it fully or not, is reflecting her owner’s concern/joy/excitement over that issue.

The fact that our animals are so incredibly sensitive and receptive to our thoughts, whims, and moods makes it doubly important that we go out of our way to communicate with them — any time, all the time, about everything and anything. In an animal communication session we make sure we get the big issues out on the table first, clarifying the details so the animal won’t worry.

  • We help the cat understand why humans prefer he use the litter box and reassure him that we will also make sure he doesn’t have a urinary infection that has caused this momentary behavior blip.
  • We ask the horse if there is a reason he can’t perform the exercise, and he shows us that he has a very sore stifle.
  • We show the service dog that a new family member is soon due and that everyone is thrilled and excited about it, and that he will be the infant’s guardian.
  • We carefully convey to the older dog that we understand he isn’t feeling well, that his person cares deeply and feels concerned about it, and that everything possible will be done for his comfort and well being in the future.

Those are the kinds of things the animals tell us — exactly what is on their mind . . . and ours. So be sensitive. Fill in the blanks for them. If your dog has started acting nervous and anxious, and you are packing up to move in two weeks, make darn sure he knows what’s happening, and reassure him that he will go with you and be taken good care of throughout the entire relocation process!

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MAYBE THESE ADDITIONAL POSTS WILL HELP.

Talk to Your Animals. Here’s How.

How Do Animals Perceive?

The Doubt Box

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Animal Communication — What IS It Exactly?

Leta & Cathy

When I was little, I used to make pretend voices and talk out loud for the animals in our household, telling everyone what they were thinking and how they were feeling. It was things like, “No, I don’t wike that food!” or “I want you to stay wid me,” but even though it was silly and simple and baby talk, it was all clear as a bell to me. I always felt I knew exactly how our animals were feeling and what they needed us to know. My older brother, cynical even at age six, would just laugh and shake his head.

This example is actually a very good representation of what animal communication is all about. It’s telepathic communication between a human and an animal, plain and simple, in whatever way one wants to translate it.

As a profession, animal communication has gained in popularity over about the last thirty years in the United States, and in practice harks back to indigenous cultures the world over. In North America, communing with all of nature, both flora and fauna, was second nature for the Indian tribes, and much later cowboy mythology touted those individuals who are now called horse whisperers. Talking to the animals has always been a part of human nature; but as science and technology have expanded, this natural link between species has become more and more obscured and therefore viewed with skepticism by many.

So what exactly IS animal communication?

For starters, think of it this way. If you are an animal lover, you were probably totally obsessed with and plugged into any animals that you were exposed to when you were a very small child. And you talked to them all the time — it was just second nature to you then.  No doubt there were many times you understood things about your animals that the adults in your life were missing. This perceptive ability is a natural gift we are all born with, but as we reach the “age of reason,” around 5 to 7 years of age, it is literally conditioned out of most of us because of cultural considerations, left-brain learning, and the expressions of disbelief by those around us.

This gift of being able to converse with the animals can be reawakened and “relearned” as an actual skill. And with a little time, patience, and practice it can come to feel as natural as it did when you were a child.

The process itself can best be described as a telepathic conversation — a dialogue between you and an animal. Although many of us do possess what would be called psychic perception, and that gift can sometimes kick in while one is talking to an animal, the basic animal communication process is not like a psychic reading. One does not look at an animal and divine everything about him, past, present, and future.

Instead, the animal communicator invites the animal into a discussion, then asks questions and listens carefully and compassionately to whatever the animal tells or shows him. Information is conveyed back and forth in a variety of ways: words, pictures, emotions, physical sensations, and more, which the communicator then “translates,” as carefully and conscientiously as possible, in order to retain the animal’s true message. He does not put his own spin on the story or allow his subjective opinion to influence what he hears. If he is doing his job well, he simply serves as a vehicle for enhancing communication and understanding between different species.

The professional practice of animal communication does require training, for it involves mediation and diplomacy when helping solve problems that exist between humans and their animals. But the basic process is the same, and it is quite simple. A sincere, direct conversation with someone you care about is what it boils down to.

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Want to give it a try? Talk to Your Animals. Here’s How.

To order Leta’s book in a print or Kindle version, Learn How to Talk to Animals – A Practical Guide for a Magical Journey, go HERE.

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The Frida Factor – Join The Frida Fan Club!

The Indomitable Frida

This really isn’t about my Chihuahua puppy Frida.  It’s about those spirits among us whose lives are charmed. Everything goes their way, they enjoy excellent health, and they exude non-stop joy and jubilation.   I call a being like this a “Frida,” and that IS because my Chihuahua puppy by that name is one of them.

I know you probably have a Frida in your life, so I invite you to join the Frida Fan Club and tell us your Frida story. Meanwhile, here’s mine.

My precious, tiny, long-haired Chihuahua, Frida, has,

Frida & Her Surrogate Mother, Charlie

her entire short life (1 yr. at this point), inspired great admiration in everyone who meets her. And for all the right reasons — because she embodies what we’d all like to be full of: love, joy, devotion, exhuberance, and much, much more. Maybe it was no accident I named her for the great Mexican artist, Frida Kahlo, whose spirit was indomitable and a legend in her own time. Because Frida is exactly that: an indomitable spirit. (Plus, she has this big eyebrow thing going on like Kahlo did, which is what made me think of that name in the first place.)

Frida & Best Chiweenie Friend, Tucker

Everyone who meets Frida wants an exact replica. And just a few days ago I received a blog comment begging me for information about how to find a Chihuahua puppy just like her.  I must admit I was sorely tempted from the get-go to keep Frida in tact so we could churn out multiple baby Fridas and spread magical Frida energy out into the world. But, alas, we all know there are way too many unwanted puppies already, and I would being doing no service to perpetuate this trend. So Frida is no longer viable as a breeding candidate. Sigh . . .

The big question is: what makes

A candid shot that shows Frida's highly evolved yoga skills

up the Frida spirit? And how do we engender it, nurture it, find it, recognize it? And what can we do to bring it to full fruition in any and all animals that we share our lives with?

My answer is I don’t know, but I don’t think we can make it happen. Frida came by her incredible personality traits seemingly from birth. And her personality is different from that of her four siblings, though all experienced the same

Frida at 5 Weeks

positive early start. When, at five weeks of age, Frida tried to drag my daughter across the room by her thumb, I guess we knew then that she was special and would make her mark in the world. So maybe the Frida Factor is genetic.

Or maybe, if as some believe, we get to choose who we’re going to be in any given lifetime, one can simply make the choice to BE a Frida, to live a charmed and charming existence, spread light, and not have a care in the world. The Buddhists believe that human souls can reincarnate as animals, and I’ve had more than one animal tell me that they have been an ascended master in a past lifetime. If all of this is true, then I feel doubly blessed, because I am quite sure Buddha himself chose to come spend a stint here on Earth in the body and spirit of my little Frida. Wow! How did I get so lucky?

Frida, 1 yr. old today, Feb. 20, 2010. Happy Birthday Frida!

I know you have, or have had at some point, a Frida in your life. So I hope you’ll join the Frida Fan Club and send in your story, and I’ll make sure it gets put out in blogdom to help spread Frida light and joy! Meanwhile, if you have a Frida in your midst right now, just hang onto your hat and enjoy the ride!

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FOR MORE ABOUT FRIDA:

Teeny Chihua or Teacup Coyote?

Chihuahua Versus Chiweenie

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Two Good Friends – Chiweenie Tucker and His Guardian Angel, Lily

When my own child, Hannah, was itty bitty, before she could even talk or walk, her favorite book in the whole world was named that: Two Good Friends. It was a little hardcover book with simple illustrations of two animals, a bear and a duck, who became devoted friends. There was not much to it. They just did simple little things for each other on each page, with minimal words and gestures.

We read that book a thousand times, and for sentimental reasons I wish I knew where it was now. I see on Amazon that an original of this 1974 publication now sells for up to $60!

Anyway, the point is, there is just something about true friendship that can’t be bought, beat, mimicked or made up for. It doesn’t have to be dramatic or full of particular flare, and great feats and big gifts are not required to prove its sincerity. That kind of devotion touches all hearts when witnessed, as its simple representation obviously did for my precious daughter all those years ago.

My cat Lily (short for Liliputian because

Lily keeping Tucker clean

she was so tiny when I found her) has taken it upon herself to be a good friend to all of my five dogs. But her purpose in life, her raison d’etre,  is to be the absolute best friend, ever, of my Chiweenie, Tucker. And to keep watch over him and make sure he stays clean.

When I asked Lily about why she had instantly adopted Tucker as her own when I brought him home a year and a half ago, she let me know that she had immediately recognized a kindred spirit in him, and the fact that he, like she, was a rescue off the streets, sorely undernourished, scared and depressed, hit her in the heart. Plus, he was just her size — the opposite of her other canine housemates, who were all huge and hairy. Not wanting to seem shallow, she continued that that part didn’t matter so much though; it was the heart connection that counted.

Lily and Tucker, just hangin' out together.

Whatever creates these unusually loyal attachments and devotions, I don’t know. But I do know we all recognize them when we see them and are lit up by them. They open our hearts, are unknowable, and put us in awe of our truly miraculous universe and its workings. I mean, how does one small cat who came off the streets five years ago instantly recognize the needs of one small, insecure dog coming from a similar fate? How do a duck and a bear make friends?

My baby daughter obviously knew. She recognized something, somewhere deep in her essence, in that little book — something that she’s never lost. She still to this day has friendships from all phases of her lifetime that will never die.

If you have only one friend, that makes two of you. Two good friends. Give great thanks, for you are truly blessed. And if you can find it, go buy that book for your child or for a friend’s child. It will instill something in his or her little baby heart that will last a lifetime.

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Litterbox Blues – Does Your Cat Have a Problem?

Does your cat:

  • Prefer to pee outside her litterbox?
  • Poop on its rim?
  • Avoid his litterbox at all costs when it comes to pooping and peeing?
  • Pee or poop on you or your clothes? (Ick.)
  • Spray? (The worst!)

These are just a few of the almost countless ways our cats try to send messages to us via their personal elimination preferences. For us humanoids, the thought of using one’s potty habits as a means of communicating is about as gross and foul as one could get. But cats have a lot to say to each other, and to us, by leaving all those smells and marks around to make their point or protect their territory. Sorry. It’s just who they are and one way they talk.

Animal communication can help, but if you engage in it be ready to become involved in some serious negotiations. Barring a urinary or systemic health problem, you are probably going to be pressed to the wall to do things like, oh, get rid of all your other cats for example, so the offending feline will have her domain all to herself. Or to please stop seeing your most recent paramour, of whom she is very jealous. Trivial life changing stuff like that.

Before you go running for the hills, or contemplate moving to Alaska to satisfy your picky kitty who happens to like things cold, try some of the following things first. These have been put forth by Temple Grandin Ph.D., world-noted animal advocate and behaviorist. Temple is autistic so is able to relate to animals and understand them in ways most of us cannot. Plus she has a solid educational and scientific background to back up her theses.

In her newest book,  Animals Make Us Human, Temple addresses the dilemma of litterbox problems and has a few basic recommendations to try before shooting yourself in the head. I paraphrase here in order to keep things short and sweet (and not to “reprint without permission”) and hope one or more of these tips might help solve your litterbox blues and please your finicky feline.

  1. Try different kitty litters. And pay close attention to how they smell. If you don’t like them your cat may not either — or vice versa. Let HIM decide.
  2. Move the catbox! Sounds too simple and obvious doesn’t it, but this one can be a biggie. More privacy may be desired. Or perhaps more quiet. Factors that would affect you too while sitting on the potty.
  3. Check the floor UNDER the litterbox. Make sure it’s not slippy slidey, or noisy, or uneven. Stuff like that. Cats are coordinated and careful and don’t like weird surfaces.
  4. Change the litter more frequently. Duh. Do NOT let your catbox get to looking like the one in the picture above! Would you be drawn to use a box like this?
  5. If you have more than one cat, get at least one litterbox each. Locate strategically. Do not line them all up like the men’s urinal in an airport.
  6. Change the type of litterbox. For instance, some cats like hoods, some don’t. My own kitty, Lily, prefers a huge, deep, round, blue bin that would accommodate about four cats and whose previous life was a free-choice mineral tub for the horses. My thought on this blue behemoth that dominates my mud room? “Whatever floats your boat, Princess!”

Do not despair. These problems can be solved. After making darn sure your cat doesn’t have a health problem, get creative and shake things up a bit. If that doesn’t work, then you might think about calling an animal communicator and beginning joint therapy with your pretty kitty.

Oh, and be SURE and check out Temple’s book!

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Talk To Your Animals. Here’s How.

Your animals really want you to talk to them. They want to know — anything and everything.

Your animals are members of your family. They are your best friends. If you’ve had them for a while they can read you like a book and are often your first source of love and support when you’re in a pinch. They not only welcome but want you to pour your heart out to them. They want to understand things.

There are lots of reasons to talk to your animals:

  1. In case I haven’t said it enough: THEY WANT YOU TO. They really do. They want to know stuff.
  2. You can clarify situations that might be confusing to them (like a move, a new partner, a job change schedule, a vacation, etc.).
  3. It will greatly enrich your relationship.

“So how?” you may be asking. “I’m not an animal communicator.” You don’t need to be. If it doesn’t feel easy to you, calm down, take a deep breath, and try these few simple steps.

  1. Get in mind what you want to tell your animal. If it is a complex message, break it down into several short parts. List these in writing if that will help.
  2. See the message in pictures. If there’s a progression, form a series of pictures in your mind.
  3. Focus and then silently project the initial thought to your animal. A short, simple sentence or thought form is best.
  4. At the same time see and send a picture that matches it.
  5. Progress through your entire message in steps, using this technique each step of the way.

Here’s a quick example of what it might be like to send a simple communique to your dog about the fact that you will be moving to a new house soon. First, to get your dog’s attention, just say his name silently a few times and picture it being thrown to him in a water balloon and landing on his neck. That usually gets their attention if nothing else will!

Samson, we love our house (show picture of current house).

It will soon be time to leave it (show a picture of the family happily vacating the house).

This will happen in two weeks (show a picture of something that gives an impression of two weeks — pages of a calendar are good [and yes, animals can get time]).

We will be going to a new house (show a picture of the new house).

It will take 4 days to get to the new house (again show a picture that conveys the time span involved).

We will be living there a long time and will be very happy (show a picture of your family there, settled and happy).

That’s basically it. It can be that simple. But there’s room for a lot more, and you can flesh out the conversation with as many details as you like. Or you may get a whine and sense that Samson needs reassurance or is feeling insecure about this, so you would then begin telling him and showing him how safe you will keep him, how he will always be with you, how all of his toys and dog dishes and bed will have a special place in the new house, etc.

If you sense things are getting complicated or there’s a big problem brewing, call an animal communicator, by all means. But you’ll be amazed at what you can convey on your own, with no training or experience whatsoever. Just start simple,  always keep it positive (not we have to move, but we are looking forward to a big change in our life), and, most importantly,  constantly reassure your animal about how much you love him.

And don’t be surprised if, when the movers arrive, Samson is waiting by the front door with his bags packed and his bowl in his mouth!

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