Thursday, December 8, 2016

Red thread

Odin my soulmate

“An invisible red thread connects those destined to meet, regardless of time, place, or circumstances. The thread may stretch or tangle, but never break.” – Ancient Chinese Proverb
I believe this proverb. I feel every soul we encounter, is for a reason. Some to learn lessons from, others are put in my path to lead me down the right road of life to teach me  how to live with purpose. I think  some are brought into my life  to teach me about who I am, others to teach me who I don't want to be.  Some are to experience what true unconditional love can be. Some beings you can feel with your soul. Some you can feel over the miles or time and space,  that are  so connected, you can feel them even when they pass to the next world.
My dog, Odin J. is my soulmate, I know this with all my heart. Our red thread is pretty thick and straight. We are so connected it just baffles me. If I drop something he picks it up. If I don't feel well , he mopes. If I am not with him, I mope. When I am my happiest he is with me.  If I have a piece of flax toast he gets the crust. The other day I was in my truck and grabbed a piece running out the door. If possible Odin comes with me when I am on the run. This in-particular day I could not bring him.  I finished my toast, and had the crust left, I sat looked at it and actually felt sad one to give my crust to. Of course I had to wrap it in a paper towel until I got home. In past articles, I  have mentioned Odin has some fears of being rushed at and needs personal space. He has a yellow leash snap on that says, "I need space." This ensures people will greet him the polite way that he needs. I feel we are the also connected that way. I need one of those signs. I do not like to be smothered or rushed at and need my alone time. Odin and I just "get" each other and seem to also mirror one another. He has taught me by his fear, to try to be alittle more open to new situations and judge less.
In my book, "Furry Philosophy and Memoirs Set in Stone and my blog about  I have written bout those sending messages once they have passed on. You can see some of these  accounts at :
When my dog Cheyenne passed on I had a hard time with circumstances that happened. I talked to two different spiritual people that did not know each other. One told me Cheyenne sent me yellow butterflies, and the other said Cheyenne sent me yellow in many ways. One of Cheyenne's favorite things to do was paddle boat with me.  I don't think it is coincidence that almost every time I paddle boat with Odin,  I see a yellow butterfly. There is one particular spot in the woods, I mention in the blog link above, where I feel especially connected to Cheyenne. It is a place I stop to tell her I miss and love her. A short time ago, Odin and I stopped there and I sent Cheyenne love. The moment I did, a cute little bright yellow inch worm dropped down from a tree on a web and hung in front of me, I held out my hand and it climbed on. I sat with that little creature for some time sending it love, knowing it was Cheyenne sending me that gift of love.
Cheyenne my sweet angel girl

As much as there are those special souls that we are destined to meet, I also believe all creatures  are as Bob Marley said, "“One love, one heart . . ."  It seems as the holiday's  approach most hearts feel more connected. We feel it more when the fire is crackling, the snow is falling and the magic of Santa and giving is in the air. When we smell gingerbread , apple pie, pine , popcorn and the magic you felt as a child, our heart becomes more open. My hope and wish for my readers is that you can hang onto that feeling of one heart and show love to all creatures all year long. I also hope you can feel the gratitude in your heart for those special souls we are destined to meet to that we are tied to by that red thread. Cherish those souls and let them know you appreciate them, those are the gifts of the season we need to appreciate and hold onto with all our hearts.

Keep connected on Facebook: Memory Stones by Jodi, Furry Philosophy, Camp Kylee, Odin J.s Earthly Treasures, Dog Blessed LLC

Sunday, October 2, 2016

"Nature itself is the best physician" Hippocrates

Nature itself is the best physician" Hippocrates

 A very sad fact: According to studies modern medicine is the third largest killer behind cancer and heart disease.

Recently, my dog, Odin. injured his neck and was in excruciating pain. It broke my heart. I took him to my vet and she suggested a non steroidal anti-inflammatory. I usually gravitate to natural, but sometimes there is a time to weigh options. I did put Odin on this steroid short term.  He was doing great.

About 2 weeks on the medicine he started vomiting and refusing food, a common side effect. I decided it was time to re-do my homework and add some other gifts from Mother Nature to the mix. I am pleased to say it has paid off.  Odin now receives essential oils. With essential oils added to his regimen, he is doing fantastic.

I love my veterinarian and believe all pets should be seen regularly. A good veterinarian, such as mine, will give you a diagnosis and advice, but also be open to the options of how YOU chose to treat your animal.

To practice medicine requires a license. To promote good health does not. I am not a doctor, nor a veterinarian. I just want to offer you support and teach you how to build better health for your pets (and yourself) from my research and experiences.

Plato said, "The cure of the part should not be attempted without the cure of the whole." Sometimes modern medicine only puts a band aid on the wound and does not treat the cause.

I urge you to educate yourself on how to treat your whole pet and not just the symptoms. We do not just develop pain, or an ailment for no reason. There is a cause and effect of every illness. An example would be an upset stomach.  It can be caused by stress, food, allergies etc. Instead of giving a drug with more side effects listed than benefits, an option is to treat your animal naturally with a product.  There is a treatment from the earth such as Young Living 'Digize'.

Young Living Digize has no side effects. It is used to balance the cause with an essential oil such as lavender or 'Stress Away'.  These are all made with the gifts Mother Nature bestowed upon us. In my opinion, these are much better and healthier options.

A large part of my research has led me to researching essential oils. I am so happy they are helping my now 12 year old Odin and his middle aged (but still young at heart) mom. Essential oils trigger numerous immune boosting, healing, or relaxing results.

I discovered that you should be cautious with the cheaper essential oils on the market. I am all about saving pennies, but in this case QUALITY IS EVERYTHING. Synthetics and off brand essential oils are not safe. "Young Living" provides quality and pureness that has received the highest accreditation from the Better Business Bureau.

There are various delivery methods of these oils.

The most popular are:

1.)   Diffusion. Oils and water are placed in a diffuser that sprays a fine mist of the oils in the air. The molecules are breathed in the body.
2.)   Water Misting. Simply put several drop of an oil in a brown or blue GLASS bottle and spray this mixture on your animal or around the area of the animal.  Avoid the eyes.

Other techniques include:

1.)   Petting Technique
2.)   Rain Drop Technique
3.)   Ting Point Therapy (horses)
4.)   Ingestion.

With these techniques, especially ingestion, I suggest you do your homework.  There are also special techniques for kitties. I will go into these techniques on future blogs and posts on the new facebook group I am launching.

In a graduation speech given by Jim Carey he states, "“You can fail at what you don't want, so you might as well take a chance on doing what you love.”
I have been blessed to be able to take a chance and do what I love and help and honor animals in many ways. The page I am launching is called, "Odin J.'s Earthly Treasures" on facebook. It is open for anyone to join.

On this page I hope to share my experiences and research to help pets and their humans live healthier with the gifts Mother Nature has provided. Please feel free to ask questions here and share stories. You will be able to find out how to get samples and discounts on purchasing your own oils. I will provide free recipes and helpful blogs

Camp Kylee , Making a difference

Kylee with some of her acomplishments that she achieved by bonding with Paula.
“You cannot get through a single day without having an impact on the world around you. What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.” -Jane Goodall
 Jane Goodall is my ultimate hero. She has made such a difference for so many animals and people in her lifetime. She is eighty-two years young and still going strong.  She makes me look in the mirror and ask myself, "Are you making a big enough difference?" She makes me strive to be a better person and to do better.I feel we are all 'called' to do what our heart leads us to. My heart is definitely being led to help the animals of this world. I want to be the voice for those who cannot speak or stand up for themselves.
 There are many ways I try to do this. They range from writing these monthly articles to honoring life with love through my memory stones. I donate what time, and energy I can to local charities. I often asked myself, "Is that enough?" I think of all Ms. Goodall does on a daily basis. I feel if we look deep our hearts, we will always take the right path in life to follow and the right answers will appear.
 One thing I feel VERY passionate about is helping reactive dogs.  I have written on this subject in the past. You can read this at: .
I have lived with two different kinds of reactive dogs in my lifetime. I can empathize with others in the same situation immensely. I know there were days I cried my eyes out with helplessness because I didn't know what to do to help them. My dear Cheyenne was reactive with certain other dogs her whole life. Odin is very fearful of children, sudden movements, leaning over him and people getting in his face who he doesn't know. With the help of the proper tools and years of building a special bond, he has come along way and improved so much. What I have to remember and share with others is, being 'reactive' DOES NOT make a dog bad. However, it does mean you need to know how to not set them up for failure to keep them and others safe.
Odin loves to play rally and the partnership we have built is priceless.

 I feel one way I can make a difference is by educating our youth on this subject. Another is to be able to help dogs and owners who need the proper tools to co-exist. I now can do this because thankfully my path in life led me to meet Paula Smith from Dog Blessed LLC. I instantly adored her and her true love and understanding of our canines. We are very like-minded and I am thankful to be working for her part time. I feel so very blessed to be associated Dog Blessed!!! Dog Blessed focuses on positive reinforcement, building a bond with your dog and keeping it fun. Dog Blessed offers everything from AKC Star puppy, to rally, to agility, and to many more techniques. What I feel the most passionate about is the group we have formed called "Camp Kylee", which offers an affordable opportunity to train with like minded people and dogs who understand their dog is not bad just because it is reactive to others. Paula states "It is important to me that dogs are understood and appreciated for being dogs. When we learn more about them, we can appreciate them and love them more.  It is just like I love Kylee." Kylee is Paula's Border Collie who the group is named after. She is reactive to other dogs.

 As my hero Jane tells us we have to decide what kind of difference we want to make. I am hoping I can continue to be inspired by her and help as many animals as possible. I'm hoping Camp Kylee can help offer some hope and solutions for people and pets in similar situations, as Paula and I have lived with.
 To find out more about Dog Blessed check out: To connect with others with reactive dogs, that are like minded or keep updated on Camp Kylee dates and times join our group on facebook or call 616-430-0297.

Monday, September 5, 2016

Remembering happy memories of furry friends by Mary

In my book "Furry Philosophy and Memoirs Set in Stone" I was fortunate enough to have others share stories of special memories of their pets and photos of the art made to honor them with love.

I am now collecting new stories for a revised addition and for my blog. I do this so that others may help heal their hearts by reading and resonating with these special words. I hope these special lives will live on forever through these stories. I believe when we lose a special love, it is comforting knowing others have loved as much and felt the same.

I was for fortunate enough to have Mary share her beautiful stories of many furry friends. She also allowed me to honor them by making a sun catcher with her special memories in mind, with their fur lovingly fused inside. . Thank you Mary, for sharing these  stories, and for trusting me, to honor your special  lives with love.
Mary starts her story with her first dog...

With the the exception of Romper, my first dog, they all grew up surrounded by pine woods and some hardwoods.  Mahoganie and Katy started out in my tiny house with 2 acres of land and a pond.  But we would go to the cabin in the  woods and when I married we moved to 2.5 acres of old pine tree plantation surrounded by Reenders blueberries.
Romper:  I was 16 and a club at the High School had a fund raiser by raffling off a puppy....something I would cringe at these days.  They brought her from class to class and put her in the middle of the floor.  She laid there with her head on the floor, big nearly black eyes looking at everyone and her tail wagging like mad.  She was all black except  a bit of white on her chest and the tip of her tail.  I fell in love and asked my mom if I could keep the puppy if I won.  Well my friend won her and a couple days later called me to say she couldn't keep her so she became mine.   Adored by the family , even my older brother played with her.  She went along with my parents when they delivered meals on wheels and walked to the beach with me everyday.  She didn't swim that I remember except when I carried her in and then she'd roll in the sand-what a mess. My first Angel dog.
Mahoganie Rose.

Next was Mahoganie Rose.  I just bought my tiny house and saw an ad for Aussie puppies.  I was expecting blue because that's all I had seen but these were all red.  To this day, I've never seen a dog move like this one....close but not the same.  You know how they talk about  Michael Jordan's hang time?  Well that's how I remember her.  It was truly magical to watch her leap over, around, under, through barriers of any kind.  And oh what energy!  Frisbee was her favorite but I remember one day when she was still very young.  I came home from grocery shopping and put a container of cherry tomatoes on the counter.  She was behind me but I sensed she was suddenly very excited about something.  I looked at her and saw she was staring at the tomatoes "Look at all those balls!!"  SO I gave her one and she proceeded to toss it all over the living room until the skin split and then ate it.
This girl would also float in the pond...yes float.  She make a couple strokes and then just float....after chasing the taunting killdeer
I tried for a couple playmates for her.The first one the came along would have been perfect but I was not ready at the time.  The next one I brought home from the HS and he was a brat so he went back.  Then an abandoned litter showed up.  I took one of those in and he was wonderful but died of cardiac arrest on the vet's table when he was to be neutered.  Tore me apart!!!   Then I had a long weekend, went to the humane society and spotted, on my way out, a newly arrived litter.  I picked one out - Katy.  She worked out perfect!
Mahogonie and Katy 


Feather was next.  My odd colored miniature Aussies (I don't care what the Aussie people say - her pedigree says she is an Aussie)

She earned quite a few badges and titles, loved to camp and hike and as I mentioned before play fetch with pretty much anything.  She also loved to be chased.  I saw that the day I went to get her when she got the whole litter running after her.  One session of obedience, there was only one other dog, a Beardie.  They spent play time running around in circles ...crazy herding dogs.   lol
When 8 yrs old, we nearly lost her due to Addison's.  Once we determined that's what it was, we had her another lovely 8 years when she suddenly succumbed to lymphoma.
2002 was a crazy year.  Katy was still with us, then in March I got Feather.  In August I got PJ and in Sept Cappy, my male.
Ken had agreed since we were going "rare breed" that we would try showing and breeding.   Well Feather had the temperament but the co-owner refused to let me breed her because of her odd coloring.   So I kept looking for a red and found PJ.  Oh my spunky gal caught me off guard from day 1.  She was called PJ for Plain Jane since she was a red try with minimal markings.  Fine by me because I don't like the big white collars etc.  She was flown into Chicago and when I went into the bldg to get her, I walked past a bunch of luggage and crates.  Just as I passed there was a puppy half bark/half yelp.  It was her and it was like she knew I was there for her!
She was spunky, athletic and incredibly quick at learning new things which she loved to do.  She was very very intuitive!!  At a training session  we were working on a new trick step by step.  I didn't even know the final goal and yet the second time I gave her a touch command she stepped into the hoop, touched the target, turned to face me and sat.  I was in shock when the instructor said that was what we were working for!  Blew my mind.  She loved playing on our homemade agility equipment and always had to find the highest spot.  I continued to call her PJ...not for Plain Jane but for Pacific Jewel since she came to me from Washington State.  Losing her really tore me to pieces.  I could barely eat for 2 days and lost 5 pounds in the week after.  Nearly 2 years and I still cry - sometimes very hard.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Future voices shelter reading program

"Love is a four legged word" ~Author unknown

There are so very many dogs in shelter. Another sad truth a lot of dogs get returned to shelters because of social issues. These issues are not the dog's fault, but the the result of countless situations such as being abandoned, a tragic event that caused behavior issues, being re-homed into a not ideal situation, or lack of time spent to train the dog in the first place. One of the best things that can be done to help  dogs in shelters is to have someone spend time with them in a loving, innocent non judging manner. This helps a very scared dog or anti-social dog become more adoptable and less likely to be returned.
For children, especially those struggling with reading, one of the biggest challenges of learning to read is the embarrassment and  fear of making mistakes. That being said, I believe one of the most accepting , non-judgmental creatures in the world are dogs. There are numerous programs that allow dogs to go to libraries so the children can read to them. World News with Diane Sawyer reported, "A study this year by researchers at the University of California, confirmed that children who read to Fido really do perform better. Young students who read out loud to dogs improved their reading skills by 12 percent over the course of a 10-week program, while children in the same program who didn't read to dogs showed no improvement."
So partner these two programs together and you get a harmonious WIN WIN. Let the children go to the dogs in the shelters , drop a pillow on the floor and read to the dog in the kennel. While I cannot take credit for this genius program, I sure would like to make it happen in the Muskegon area! The Humane Society of Missouri and others have a very successful program. I have been in contact with some of our local shelters and am working on getting this program going in our area.
I wish they had this program when my dog, Odin was in a shelter maybe children wouldn't scare him so much.  To help other dogs like Odin, he and I would like to request the assistance of our readers in helping this program get going. I have worked with kids in our area in the past, promoting bite prevention and local charities, kids partnering with animals to make a difference , "Future Voices Kids Club." (see us on Facebook for more info and info on me visiting  your school locally for bite prevention too)We would like to name this program "Future voices shelter reading program."  I believe our the children, our 'future leaders', can of course benefit from reading, but also benefit from learning kindness to the voiceless. I would like to see the future leaders of our country continue that kindness into their adulthood.
What we would like to request from our readers:
Volunteers that would be willing to donate an hour a month, week , year.. whatever time you have to give.
Networking of the program to recruit children ages 6-16 in our area, that could benefit from this program.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Tiger by Sarah

In my book "Furry Philosophy and Memoirs Set in Stone" I was fortunate enough to have others share stories of special memories of their pets and photos of the art made to honor them with love. I am now collecting new stories for a revised addition and for my blog. I do this so that others may help heal their hearts by reading and resonating with these special words.I hope these special lives will  live on forever through these stories. I believe when we lose a special love,  it is comforting  knowing others have loved as much and felt the same

I was for fortunate enough to have Sarah share her beautiful eloquently written 
 story of Tiger. She also allowed me to honor Tiger by making a sun catcher with his special memories in mind, with her hair lovingly fused inside. One of the memories she  wanted  to empahsize was the color of Tiger's harness in the blaze on his head alittle larger. Thank you Sarah for sharing your story and trusting me to honor Tiger's  life with love. Below is his  story.

The connection we as humans have with animals, is one of the most primal and spiritual that we
will ever hope to know. As we grow, this unique connection changes based on our experiences
and will either flourish or falter. I always embraced my connection, (arachnids and most insects
excluded) with a sense of tranquility and wonder. Horses, with their ultimate grace and
dominating power, quickly became my favorite of creatures. Once I started riding, I immediately
felt a sense of deep trust and attachment.
As I continued to evolve my fascination, the unique personality of each equine began to teach
me new things. It was apparent that my personality mirrored certain horses more than others.
So, when I started helping rehabilitate and retrain off-track Thoroughbreds (OTTB), I knew I
would fall in love with some and eagerly rehome the rest. In the two years I’ve been part of the
program, I’ve had two horses with which I really connected.

The first was three year old filly. She was a champion on trails, going over any hurdle I pointed
her towards. Her sweet personality drew me in and for a full summer, she was my special bond.
When she was adopted to a loving family with a young girl to love her unconditionally, I wasn’t
certain I’d find another horse that stole my heart like she had.
Months passed as fall turned to winter and winter to early spring. New horses were coming into
the program and life started sprouting at the farm. One horse, an eleven year old, bay, war horse
with a beautiful star sparked my interest. Call Tiger had a gentle eye and a regal presence about
him that commanded admiration. As a descendent of Secretariat and Storm Cat, he started 114
races, earning over $267,000 and retired without injury.

As we began to evaluate his future career, he proved to be as amicable under saddle as he was
standing in a field. I rode him lazily around the ring for his first time off the track and I was
hooked. Never once did he test the limits of his rider or attempt to pull a dirty stunt. I’d had a
recent fall and my confidence was shaken, but with Tiger, I wasn’t afraid. Immediately, I felt him
wholeheartedly trust me and I reciprocated the feeling.
Still unsettled from losing the three year old filly, I was hesitant to allow another horse so deeply
into my heart. Others at the farm joked that Tiger was my replacement. Clearly, they saw
something spark between the two of us that I tried to deny. I didn’t want to get hurt again. After
all, our goal is to adopt out these wonderful companions, not hoard them to ourselves. I held
strong to my perceived guard, unconsciously unaware that I’d already lost the battle.
As the weather grew nicer, I started taking Tiger on any adventure I could find. His first trail
ride was on the farm with a group of six riders. His only hesitation, was briefly at the edge of the
stream where the muddy footing was deep and unsettling. With a little encouragement from a
more seasoned horse, he walked right into the stream, and even pawed playfully at the water!
While my heart jumped at his vivacious antics, more pieces of my wall floated away with the
trickling hum of the water.

With his impressive disposition, we opted to take Tiger on a paper chase on April 2. He tolerated
being moderately dressed to support Light It Up Blue for Autism Awareness. He loaded the
trailer with bored interest and didn’t flinch at the saddle bags I introduced to him. Having
rained earlier in the morning, the woods were sloppy and I was unsure how he would handle the
less-than-desirable footing. After briefly trying to walk along the edge of the pathway, he finally
resigned to easily move through the mud. Pride rose through me as this stoic war horse trudged
over rocks, through three rivers, and jumped any obstacle facing us. We encouraged each other
as our confidence combined into one force of trust and respect. By the end of the seven mile
trek, I was hopelessly in love. One of my favorite moments during the chase was when the owner
of the farm looked at us and said, “We aren’t going to rehome this horse, are we?”
A second paper chase a few weeks later only increased my infatuation for my regal gelding. He
once again faced multiple terrains and obstructions with grace, power, and elegance. The steep
hillsides, larger downed trees, and rocky paths were no challenge. Since the horses handled the
chase with such valor, we decided to let them gallop the home stretch. Competing for first, Tiger
flew up the hill with ease. I tentatively allowed him to set his own pace, unsure if the racehorse
would be released. As the top of the hill rounded into view, I swept away my hesitation and gave
him full permission to race the wind. Tears crept down my cheeks as the wind whipped past us
and I felt the sensation of flying. There are few moments in life when time seems to stop and you
are truly living in that moment; this was one of them. My insecurities faded as ecstasy took hold,
and my connection with Tiger was solidified.

On April 21, Tiger came in from the field scrapped and not himself; presenting strange signs of
colic. I felt a tinge of panic, knowing my sweet war horse was injured. The farm owner reassured
me that he would be taken care of, but something nagged at me when I hung up the phone. I
wanted to be by his side. Although I hadn’t officially adopted him, he was my horse and he
needed me. Before I could even think of telling my boss I was leaving work early, one phone call
shattered my world. Through breathless sobs, I understood only three words: Tiger was gone.
Only an hour and a half after finding him that morning, he collapsed in his stall.
I hadn’t realized how much I truly loved Tiger until I felt my heart shatter. Silent sobs thrust
their way through my body. Denial flooded my mind as I recalled everything I'd done the day
prior. Surely there was a mistake; he was happily grazing when I’d left. But alas, even as I drove
to the farm to say my final goodbye, the truth remained as such - my sweet, majestic steed was

Call Tiger left an impression with everyone he met. His unexpected death rippled through the
racing community as the devastation hit his previous owners and trainers. Social media flooded
us with condolences and words of intended healing. He had a nobility to his presence and such a
kind eye. He was respectful and honest in everything he did. He truly loved trotting through
woods, galloping across green fields, and playing in cool streams. He mirrored me in so many
ways, and the only time he hesitated doing anything was when I was unsure. Tiger trusted
unconditionally and in return, earned the respect of all. He never once acted unruly. He was a
gentleman. I loved every moment I spent with him, and although I only knew him a short while,
the devastation and ache I feel for him is hollowing. He was full of love and life and there will
never be another like him.

Dearest Tiger, I know you are galloping in greener pastures and though I hurt deeply that you
are no longer here, I know we will meet again. You gave me so much and I just pray that you
know how loved you were by all of us. You will never be forgotten, my magnificent man.
Thank you for everything. I love you, now and always.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Rescued is my favorite Breed , choosing the right pet for you

"Rescued is my favorite breed"-author unknown

     Are you looking for a faithful companion to include as a new family member in your life?  Including a new dog in your life can be the most amazing and rewarding decision of your life. The joy a new pet brings can be priceless.
     That being said, I ask that before you make that decision you take time to ponder what is best for you. Please think about what pet will be the best for you lifestyle.  If you do not have the time to walk a dog at all, or are gone for more than 10 hours a day, maybe a dog is not right for you at this time. Perhaps a cat, bird or other pet would be more appropriate.
If a dog is what you decide on, I suggest you research your breed before you take on a five to twenty year commitment of another life. Just because the cute little black lab puppy is the most adorable bundle of love you have ever seen, doesn't mean it is right for you.
More times than we can ever imagine people do just that. When the little black puppy grows to be 60 lbs, needs an abundance of exercise, and starts chewing everything in the home, because that is one of his traits, the owner may get frustrated.
When the owner becomes SO frustrated, the animal may end up behind bars at a shelter facing death just for being himself. Even if it is a mixed breed you can get a good idea of what the dog is mixed with and research the combination.
A common misconception is you cannot get the breed you are looking for by rescuing. Just an example, I was happily surprised when I went to a Great Pyrenees Facebook rescue page how many there are available. Researching your breed will give you the information you need to make an educated decision on whether or not your lifestyle will be a good fit for what the dog was bred to do.
If you have little time to exercise a dog, you should look more at a low energy breed. If you are runner,or love the outdoors a more energetic breed would be better for you. When dogs are bred certain traits such as herding, endurance, or hunting, they are deeply ingrained into their being. They need ways to do what is instinctual to them.
Odin has Great Pyrenees in his mix and shows many of the traits. Great Pyrenees are meant to protect the farm and be kind to the animals on it. Odin most certainly has those traits. He is so kind to kitty Raven. When I used to help rehab wildlife he was very gentle and loving around baby squirrels. Also when let outside he must check the perimeter.
Another prime example is I have a friend with a Kelpie, Lilo. Kelpies were bred to muster livestock. This friend does not have livestock, but realizes that her dog was bred for a high energy job. She takes that into consideration and Lilo runs about four miles a day on the treadmill. Lilo's mom also takes her to water rescue, biking, sledding trick training and nose-work. She knows that if she does not fulfill the natural instinct in other ways she would develop some of the OCD traits that other busy breeds get such as spinning, chewing, shredding or even self destruction.
Lilo and friend carting 

There are many more examples of characteristics that happen when dogs are bred to do certain jobs.The internet and libraries make it very easy to do your homework and find out what breed is best for your lifestyle. If you have very low energy and work alot, look for a breed that will fit that lifestyle. Finding the breed that is best for your will assure a wonderful rewarding companion that enriches your life more than words can portray.

Miracles with Fur, Pets and Autism

“A dog doesn't care if you're rich or poor, educated or illiterate, clever or dull.
Give him your heart and he will give you his.” -John Grogan

I believe this quote applies to most animals in general, they don't judge.
Their nature seems to allow them to provide instinctual nurturing and unconditional love.
In the past, I have written of personal accounts that can confirm this. I have a vivid memory of  lying on the bathroom floor with food poison. My kitty, Raven never left my side and patted my face with her tiny paw. My dog Odin does not care if I look like death warmed over, he is always there with a big ol' kiss when my tears need wiping away. They are natural healers and provide compassion without uttering a word. When Odin had oral surgery Raven stayed by his side for 48 hours only leaving to eat and use the litter box.
Raven staying by Odin's side after surgery

I have read so many stories of miracles animals have performed in people's lives that just warm my heart.  I would like to look a little deeper and share some information about how our animal friends have helped children with autism.

Statistics show autism is alarmingly on the rise. "New numbers just released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reveal that one in 68 children now has a diagnosis of ASD—a 30 percent increase in just two years. In 2002, about one in 150 children was considered autistic and in 1991 the figure was one in 500."
Personally, I would like to know, "Why is this happening?"
In my research some theories include:
The amount of vaccines given now compared to 1991 has increased dramatically since that date. Another theory is the increased amount of toxins in our environment and  ingredients in our food. Regardless of the cause, the fact is, it exists.
Wikipedia defines autism as, "Autism is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by impaired social interaction, verbal and non-verbal communication, and restricted and repetitive behavior." The movie titled "Temple Grandin" is such an eye opener about autism, but also inspirational about making a difference in this world. She has educated the world on this disorder. She states, “I am different, not less." Temple Grandin went on to get her doctoral degree, is a well renowned speaker, professor, and proponent for the humane treatment of livestock for slaughter.  Autistic people simply have to find ways that make them comfortable to communicate and to be in social situations. That can be very difficult for them.

This is where animals can make a life changing difference for those with autism, especially children. Studies show  children are more likely to relate and communicate without fear in the presence of animal versus a human.

 In the book "Angel Animals Book of Inspiration"  there  is a story about a boy who achieved ways to communicate, and attain enough social skills to fulfill his dream of baseball, all thanks to a ferret named, "Rocky". He found the courage to interact with the other children if Rocky was with him. Eventually he could play ball as long as Rocky was in the stands for reassurance.

I have volunteered and organized fundraisers for "Heal with a Horse", equine therapy. It is amazing how much self esteem and smiles the children get from the horses. The horses can sense the children need them to be patient and parents can testify how much it helps them. Many autistic children do not want to brush their teeth or hair, etc.  Emphasis on caring for the horse can be transferred and help the child to take more interest in their own personal hygiene.
Photo courtesy of Heal with a Horse

I have read not just one but numerous accounts of autistic children uttering there first word to their pet.  A pet does not judge, and has all the patience in the world for the child. Unlike human, animals, are just there waiting with a wagging tail and love for whenever the child is ready.

Autistic children can wander away and do quite frequently. This has got to be so stressful for the parents. There are now many service dogs available to help aid with this along with many other special needs these children may have. Can you imagine how much stress can be reduced for a parent, knowing there is a four legged angel that will alert them if the child is in distress or wanders?

Photo courtesy of  Autism Service Dogs of America

If your child is autistic, I hope this may give you other options that may be helpful to your in particular situation.
If you are looking for a worthy cause to support, Odin Raven and I suggest these charities to help partner angel animals with these children who need them so much.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Eternity by Joan Henkle

Eternity's memory stone in the shape of a peanut
In my book "Furry Philosophy and Memoirs Set in Stone" I was fortunate enough to have others share stories of special memories of their pets and photos of the art made to honor them with love. I am now collecting new stories for a revised addition and so that others may help heal their hearts by reading and resonating with these special words.I hope these special lives will  live on forever through these stories. I believe when lose a special love,  it is comforting  knowing others have loved as much and felt the same. 

I was for fortunate enough to have Joan share her
  story of Eternity. She also allowed me to honor Eternity by making a pendant with her special memories in mind, with her ashes lovingly fused inside.Thank you Joan for sharing your story and trusting me to honor Eternity's  life with love. Below is her story.

Meet Eternity (Eternity May when she was in trouble! lol) She was our baby girl, our peanut, and our resident hussy. Let me tell you her story.

She came to us at the ripe old age of 4 months. What we didn't know until she arrived (she came from CA) was that she came from a puppy mill. We may live on the other side of the country but we got a full blown investigation going on that place real fast! When she arrived she had a triple ear infection, an ulcer on one eye that was so bad the vet wasn't sure he would be able to save that eye, she had never had her paws on grass nor had she been handled much. The medical issues took a while to clear up. The potty training took some time because we also had to get her used to the feel of grass. Getting used to being handled took no time because there was always someone who wanted to cuddle with her.

She was always small. At the most she weighed 20 lbs. She never had puppies. I don't think she would have known what to do with them. Eternity was an airhead. Loveable but her elevator didn't go all the way up. I would open the door and tell her to go out and go potty. She would just look at me and wag her tail. I would tell her again. She would wag her tail again. I would then say "Eternity May! Go outside!" She would then jump up with a look on her face like "ok!!" and run outside!! She would also prop herself up in the corner of the couch or chair, sitting on her bottom with her back against the corner and just sit there. Unless someone walked over to her. She would then roll onto her back and spread all her legs. Yep, she was our hussy lol
Eternity and Churchill 

Shortly before Christmas last year (2015) I noticed she was making a snorting sound every once in a while. A very unladylike sound. The vet couldn't hear it, of course, but said it could be a sinus infection and gave me some antibiotics for her. They didn't help. Neither did the second round. They then thought there might be a mass in her sinus cavity so off to the specialist to have it checked. That was on a Wednesday morning. They found a small knot on her neck, kind of under her jaw and they did a biopsy on it. They called me on Saturday morning to tell me the knot was an aggressive form of cancer. Sunday she stopped eating and drinking. The knot was so big she was having trouble breathing. I spent all of Sunday giving her water with an eye dropper. Monday I wouldn't let her suffer just so I could keep her sweet spirit one more day. I made the hard decision to let her go. She was my Peanut.
Churchill's stone I made for Joan years ago

 Thank you so much for the memory stone you made for my little "peanut". Your work is true art. No two are the same. The first one you made for me for Churchill is so totally different than this one for Eternity (our peanut). Thank you so much for the love and care you put into each of the stones.~Joan

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Remembering Catrina with love by Miriam guest blogger

In my book "Furry Philosophy and Memoirs Set in Stone" I was fortunate enough to have others share stories of special memories of their pets and photos of the art made to honor them with love. I am now collecting new stories for a revised addition and so that others may help heal their hearts by reading and resonating with these special words.I hope these special lives will  live on forever through these stories. I believe when lose a special love,  it is comforting  knowing others have loved as much and felt the same. 

I was for fortunate enough to have Miriam share her
  story oCatrina. She also allowed me to honor Catrina by a sun catcher designed with her special memories in mind, with her ashes lovingly fused inside.Thank you Miriam for sharing your story and trusting me to honor Catrina's life with love. Below is her story.


I’m in the mood for talking about this wonderfully spirited ginger cat: Catrina! She’s not a shy cat at all, so I suppose this is divergent from my topic here but she is also a major cat figure in my little cat household.  In some ways she’s the polar opposite of Sammy.  Where he does not seek to be alpha cat, Catrina will fight for that post.  Where Sammy has a complete entourage of adoring fans, many of the others view Catrina with fear and trepidation.
At 6 lbs she is the smallest cat in the place  but she has confronted and hissed at every other cat in the house. Except for Zeke they  have responded either by skulking away from her or, as in Napoleon’s reaction, stalked her until she’s fed up and engages him in a tooth and nail, rolling, spitting cat fight.  Definitely a sight to see. Actually there are 2 of the munchkins who don’t let her phase them. Penny and Poppy will just give her a glance and then saunter right by her even as she hisses.  Luckily she never pursues them.
Pre-cat rescuing, I lived with just Catrina (currently 18 ½) and Zeke (just about 20 now) since they were young. Gorgeous, sweet-looking Catrina was snatched from the Humane Society while on the list to be gassed any day. The documents said she was 1 year old. They also said she was already spayed but as I learned a month after she moved in, that was not the case. There is nothing like an already emotionally disturbed cat going into heat. Sigh.  I still assume she was 1 year old  then since no vet has countered that.
Zeke was 2 ½ when Catrina joined the family.  I had lost a 16 year old cat name Amelia Earhardt to massive kidney failure a month before. Zeke was very attached to her, so I brought home Catrina to give him a friend.  He immediately fell in love with her, but she hissed, snarled, turned to me and attacked.  Hmmm.  I called the shelter up to ask about this and they said to bring her back. I asked what they would do and they said put her down. Not willing to allow that to happen, I engaged Catrina in a battle, of sorts. Wearing oven mitts and thick slippers, I gave her the tough love treatment (along with a good spaying) and we came out the other side.
She and Zeke turned into cuddling buddies which was always delightful to see. And truthfully I love spunk in a cat and she has plenty of that.
Crazy Catrina has used up her welcome with most every vets office we’ve visited. Getting her into the carrier was like loading an atomic bomb into a suitcase. I can go on and on, and I imagine I will eventually.
I love telling the horror stories about Catrina but she has been my sweet little girly cat ever since, though not too many other people have ever seen that side of her. Not significant others, not family nor cat sitters. In fact one of my closest friends who I have traded cat sitting duties with for years, neglected to tell me that she had visited him with a flying leap attack on his back while helping me out with them. Now that’s a good friend!  
Now in her old age, with a certain amount of kitty senility coming into play, she has become gentler and easier to cuddle with.  I truly love this cat enormously.
Of course 18 years of antics is way too much for one blog post, but I’ll end this one with this tale of when I moved into my current home. Over the years I had taken Catrina and Zeke outside to play in the yard and get fresh air. (I’ve got some good stories from her outdoor adventures!)
I’ve since changed my mind about letting cats out at all after seeing the things that happened to the over-50 cats I’ve had to rescue in the last 10 years, but taking Catrina outside has a calming effect on her inside behavior. So I continue it with her only under supervision.
In my first summer here I had an elderly neighbor, Albert, who would sit on a bench by the front of his house and chat up anyone who walked by. I’d talk to him and gather lots of local juicy gossip, but had mixed feelings about him. He had a foul mouth on him and said some racist things about some of our non-white, non-Euro neighbors.  I practiced ways of politely but firmly reprimanding him on this but he would just do it again the next time we spoke.
So, he wasn’t someone I expected to have been a cat lover. But he was. I found him feeding a few strays and then I realized that my Catrina had fallen in love with him. Upon being let outside she would race over to him, purring and rubbing herself against his legs. I was speechless. I’d never seen her do that with anyone.  In fact after he passed away she has continued it with his widow and 2 adult children (all of whom I have talked into adopting some of the various cats I’ve scooped up off the street, given Catrina’s positive references for them). But my friends are still all quite afraid to be left alone with her.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

The Iditaord , Making a Positive Difference in the Lives of so Many

“What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.” ― Jane Goodall

Wade Marrs
Photo courtesy of Stumping Jump Kennels

No words rang a greater truth than in this year's 2016 Iditarod. I believe the Iditarod is not just a race or sport, but a time of community, learning and camaraderie. These mushers and this race make a difference in the life of so many.

As I reiterated in my book, "Furry Philosophy and Memoirs Set in Stone" a quote by Dee Dee Jonrowe, "Musher’s win in the manner they take care of their dogs, in the way they treat people in the villages, and how courteous they are to the volunteers."

Some of these communities that the race runs through are very poor, or small in the middle of nowhere. These towns look forward to this event and love to come out and participate with signs of support. 
Dallas Seavey
Photo courtesy of Jeff Schultz

I would like to congratulate Dallas Seavey on another win, his 4th of the last 5. He started out the race very sick. Dallas at only 29 years, is in excellent shape and has been athletic his whole life. 
He chose to make a difference by example and push on. He chose to find his inner strength and determination and followed it all the way to first place under the Burled Arch again. I would also send a special congrats to Mr. Wade Marrs. I just adore Wade's disposition and his care of dogs. He is making a difference by continued dedication to detailed care of his dogs. He attributes his continued success to "looking at his own faults" and working on improvement. It was a nail biter back on the back and  forth race to the finish with Peter Kaiser. The last stretch of the race they were running only a mile apart. Wade also started this race coughing and sick. He flew in, out of breath, into the finish line saying, "I never worked that hard in my life" but with a huge smile on his face. His hard work is showing. In just 5 years he has gone from, 47th to 4th place. I whole believe with all my heart, this ethical, hard, 25 year old musher, who started at 8 years old, is someone to watch! 

This year's Iditarod experienced a horrible tragedy when Arnold Demoski of Nulato intentionally drove a snowmobile towards Aliy Zirkle , Jeff King and their dog teams. The tragedy harmed 2 dogs and sadly killed King's dog Nash. I send love to Nash and Mr. King. Both Aliy and Jeff chose to push on. I would like to congratulate Aily on finishing 3rd and Jeff on finishing 9th, and overcoming adversity. I also believe into every storm a little sun must shine. I believe both mushers have made a difference by showing strength and determination. As Laura Wright, Teacher on the Trail writes,  "The tragic situation outside of Nulato has created a 'teachable moment' for educators who are following the race in their classrooms."  Children are making inspirational signs. Just to quote a few, "You are brave and brilliant and oh so resilient , Go Aily" , "Don't say 'Why me' say 'Try me' Go Mr. King" and "Aily ~Winner's are not people who never fail, but people who never quit." I believe these life lessons are one that our future leaders will remember and hold in their hearts
Aliy with Kodiak at 2016 Iditarod Ceremonial Start.
 Photo courtesy of the SP Kennel

The fact the overuse of alcohol was a factor in this tragedy will teach lessons that will make a huge difference in the life of so many. It is a know fact there is a problem with alcoholism in Alaska. I believe the isolation and lack of sunlight greatly contribute to this.  Musher John Baker, his wife Katherine and Governor Bill Walker formed ACT a state-wide wellness initiative. Their "goal is empower all those residing in Alaska, especially native villages, to establish healthy wellness goals, prevent substance abuse and suicide." Wade Marrs was also asked to be an ambassador of this group and he accepted. Since I have been following Wade, I have seen him work in many ways to make a difference in the lives of so many including the dogs. 
Martin Buser
photo courtesy of Happy Trails Kennel

Sadly this past summer there was another tragedy with the Alaskan fires.  Dee Dee Jonrowe lost her home and sadly one of her dogs. So many lost so much. Everyone showed such camaraderie helping to get dogs out and to safety. The Buser's housed hundreds of dogs and welcomed them to their home. After showing such kindness sadly, the Buser's experienced a horrific tragedy in their life when son, Nikolai suffered extensive injuries in a bad car accident in Seattle WA on Jan. 22nd. Martin spent all his time at the hospital and was not even sure he would race. He was not able to do the training that he needed. He also came down with pneumonia. Dee Dee also was not able to do all the training she wanted. I believe they both made a difference by showing determination and getting out there anyway. I also believe that the Iditarod was healing to them in many ways. Being alone, one with the wilderness and your dogs can work magic. At a checkpoint interview Dee Dee said when talking about the Iditarod, "Something in my life I understand what is going on." Mr. Buser is was having a hard year and also pulled a hamstring so terribly that he blacked out. He was asked at a checkpoint interview, "You're not going to scratch?" He replied, "Scratch? That would be like quitting, I can't quit." "I gotta prove that when you start something, you gotta see it through and I kinda wanna do this for my son who since January 22nd has a hell of a lot more to overcome than I have." I hope that both Martin and Dee Dee found some peace on this trip. When 4 time Iditarod winner Martin Buser crossed the line in 37th place this year he was asked how was the race. He replied, "What race? My camping trip, just did a fun camping trip." I hope you enjoyed your camping trip. You deserved and needed the solitude. I also want to give Dee Dee and Martin a four paws up for making such a positive difference in the community. The both are ambassadors for ethical treatment of the dogs. Dee Dee is a founding member of Mush with PRIDE, "which provides responsible information of a dog's environment, exhibiting her commitment to set the standards for all aspects of sled dog care". Martin regularity talks to the youth at schools on the humanitarian care of animals. I believe educating our future leaders on ethics is one the biggest and most important differences we all need to strive for. 

I believe one of the biggest differences we can make in the world is to be happy, share our happiness and stay positive as much as we can. I believe also we learn by example and can make a difference just by being kind and ethical, especially to the voiceless, the dogs in the race. One of my favorite parts of being a member of the Iditarod Insider is the footage and the interviews and I see this infectious joy, and love for the animals being shared! When watching Paige Drobney and her husband Cody I was very inspired and resonated with Paige's feelings. She loves being alone in the wilderness with her dogs so much "she cried tears of joy". They both mush for the right reason, the love of the dogs and nature. Aily was interviewed while camping on the very windy Bering Sea. She thought she was going to run a little longer but the dogs needed a break so she did was best for them and stopped, in the wind, to rest. She made the best of things with a smile. She said with a grin, as the wind whips in her face, "It's pretty look at it, most people wouldn't choose it, but it's sunny." Miriam Osredkar, a rookie this year running the puppy team for Joar Leifseth Ulsom has a contagious smile and a joy for this race that is quite infectious. You can feel her love for the dogs. Brent Sass has always been know for being positive and he has a logo with the word "Believe" on it, one word that says so much. He states at the finish line, "Places in the end didn't mean anything to me. It's all about the dogs." It warms my heart to see how much the mushers in this race make sure the dogs are put first and foremost and shown so much love. 
Grandpa Phil volunteering on the Pee Team

I believe one of the biggest keys in this race is the volunteers. Without these volunteers there would be no race. My friend Grandpa Phil Cady, was one of the very first volunteers of the race when it started. This year, at 89 years young, he came in all the way from Florida to volunteer on  the "pee team" to test for drug screening to ensure the safety of the dogs. All the vets that ensure the safety and good health for the dogs at every check point are not paid and all volunteers also. 
Once a dog is "dropped" for being tired or injured they must go somewhere to be properly cared for.  There is a "Prisoner Sled Dog Therapy Program" that provides this care. Women from the prison come to care and love these dogs very much. Inmate Danielle Carrier states while stroking a dog with a gentle hand, "There is a lot to be said about dogs, not for just a mental health aspect but definitely  for recovery and substance abuse as well."  Veterinarian, Dean Bauman states, I am so thankful they are willing to work with us on this. It's a win- win situation, not just for the dog's but the inmates too."  I commend these volunteers for their dedication and love of the dogs. They are making a difference in so many ways.

To this author The Iditarod is not just a sport, but a way to make a difference. It is making a positive difference in the lives of so many. It inspires our future leaders and adults to be the best you can be, teach by example and love the voiceless animals, always treating them with the proper care they deserve.

To learn more or become a member for next years adventures go to
To read a little bit more about my views and love of the Iditarod you can read older entries on my blog 
You can also read my article in  the 2016 March -April issue of .