Those stashes of stocking chocolate waiting to be delivered on Christmas Eve can be deadly for your dog if they find it early. Chocolate poisoning is one of the most common causes of canine poisoning. Chocolate’s deadliness to pooches, however, depends on the size of the dog, how much chocolate was munched, the quality of that chocolate and whether it was milk, white or dark chocolate.
Older dogs, puppies, and dogs with other health issues are also more vulnerable. The symptoms of a toxic dose of chocolate begin within the first few hours after consumption — vomiting, diarrhea or hyperactivity. As time passes and more theobromine is absorbed, your dog’s heart rate will increase, which can cause arrhythmia, restlessness, hyperactivity, muscle twitching, increased urination and/or excessive panting. The third phase is muscle tremors, seizures, coma and even death.
Read this article for full details of how dangerous is chocolate for dogs.
My dog last year binged on four stockings full of chocolate and he is still here, thankfully. So, for this holiday season, I wanted to share with you the most recent experience I had with Prince, my lab, his chocolate-binging, and how I handled it.
My dog is a Labrador retriever who is dedicated to finding any forgotten treat, food or snacks in bags, coat pockets, or on the counter. He could work in airport security he is so thorough. He opens bags and finds food that has long been forgotten. His technique for opening the bag usually does not damage the bag, somehow he has figured how to work the zipper. If he goes for a treat in a pocket, he makes a tiny hole on the inside of the jacket pocket. I am usually in the dark when it comes to his shenanigans until I put my hand in my pocket.
Luckily for me, he does not devour the packaging if he has had a binge-fest which is how I found out about his latest misadventure with chocolate last week. Turns out he had treated himself to 3/4 of a bar of 85% cacao, which he had extracted from a friend’s backpack. I have been down this road before with him (and his eating of dark chocolate) so I know how quickly it affects him as well as how dangerous it is and the price tag for the vet. I knew I needed to act quickly to rid the toxic cacao from his system. You have a window of about 4-6 hours after ingestion to act with positive results.
Without telling him a thing, I put him on the leash and handed my friend the bottle of hydrogen peroxide. We went outside and I told her to pour in some hydrogen peroxide when I get his mouth open. Vets encourage to give a few teaspoons at a time to induce vomiting, but I know from past experience that if I don’t get enough down him the first time, he is not coming back for more. Hydrogen peroxide works quickly and it is amazing to watch my black dog literally turn a dark green and start vomiting. After emptying his stomach of all the chocolate he looked at me deflated and betrayed. But, he was still alive and we were going to get a good nights’ sleep. The next treat was activated charcoal – it is suggested you make a nice slurry but I knew there was not a chance I could pry his mouth open again. So a capsule hidden in peanut butter went down the hatch. The charcoal binds to many types of poisons and thus prevents their absorption into the bloodstream.
He settled down for the night – giving me a wide berth for the rest of the evening. We slept through the night with him eagerly showing up for breakfast the next morning.
As the holiday season is starting to get into full throttle with parties, events, and school breaks, often the dog or the cat is forgotten in the sense of being told what is going on. Having held space for hundreds of conversations for people, I know that the family pet is essentially the Family System Therapist. They spend their lives in our worlds observing and responding to the energy, often taking on jobs within the family to keep the energy flowing, absorbing emotions of their people or acting out to get stuck energy moving. They know when something shifts energetically and disrupts their routine, especially holidays and big events. If they are not told the details around why their routine will be disrupted, they often absorb the stress, overwhelm, and start acting out.
I have spoken with several animals this week who have specifically asked for more information about what is going on. They asked for us to update them on plans as soon as they are made to help them understand this energetic shift. They actually want to be told what is happening day to day – even it is the same old routine of a walk, work, home, walk, play, and sleep. And they are requesting you to spice it up with information with details such as, “I have a big meeting today and I am tired and unprepared.”
Just you speaking about what is going on for you out loud helps them understand what they are energetically feeling. By speaking it, you own it, and they don’t have to worry about trying to absorb your stress.
Regarding the holidays, again, they want specifics such as; who is coming to dinner, the timing of it, what their job is during the dinner and to hear any other details more information the better. They will be more relaxed and you have one less thing to worry about.
This might be a new for you to tell your animal beloved companion everything and it may feel strange, ridiculous, or silly. Don’t worry, you can do this because all of our thoughts automatically get turned into images which the animals can understand.
I encourage you to try it consistently throughout the holidays and observe if there is a difference in their behavior as well as your stress level after telling them. They are amazing therapists!
For more tips about planning for the holidays that includes traveling read this post Approaching the Holidays with your Animal.
If you’re interested in learning more about what Animal Communication is, go here.
If you’re stressing about the holidays and your companion animal,
book an Animal Communication session with me.
In November I lead my first Animal Experiences. It was two separate Salmon Experiences with spawning salmon at Piper Creek in Carkeek Park. I guided participants how to tune into their own innate intuitive abilities and listen for guidance from the salmon around a certain question or their intention. On both days all of the participants were able to receive wisdom from the salmon even when the amount of salmon present and the height of the creek was wildly different.
One day the creek was running clear and slow teeming with salmon and the other running high, fast and very murky with a few struggling salmon navigating their way upstream past many dead salmon.
The salmon’s teachings and wisdom as well as how the messages were heard/received either as a thought, a feeling, a knowingness, an image or hearing words, was different for each person because we all receive messages in our own unique way.
Upcoming Animal Experiences
I have mapped out more experiences with wild animals for the next couple of months. I invite you to join me to play outside and learn from the animals. Nature is the gym to strengthen your intuitive muscle and learn how to be open and receptive to receiving messages. And besides, it’s good clean fun. I have tentative dates and meeting locations which may change based on migration patterns and where the animals are showing up.
Eagles experience – Rescheduled to January 13 – Skagit River or Nooksack River
Eagles offer wonderful insights in trusting in spirit and learning to see the big picture and the interconnection in your life, and much more.
As you are gearing up for the holidays and are making plans, to do lists, menus, guest lists, or travel plans please remember to keep your beloved animal companions in the loop of what is going on.
Here are some simple ways to make sure your animals know what’s happening…
If you are traveling and they are staying home – tell them the plans. Just like you are talking to a friend, tell them about the trip and why you are going, who you are seeing, what you are going to do. Then let them know the number of days until you leave by counting how many meals until you leave, how many meals you will be gone, and when you are returning home. You could even tell them who is taking care of them, how long they’ll stay, etc.
Are you staying home and hosting Thanksgiving? Maybe you are having guests stay overnight at the house? Let them know in advance who the guests are that are staying, how many meals until these guests arrive, and how many meals they are staying. Clue them in where the person will be sleeping and how having these people around may alter their daily routine. Start sharing with them the whole holiday plan: all the details, people, schedule, menu, etc. Include, in the details, when they will be tended to as well as how you want them to behave when people come over. The more you share and let them know what’s going on the happier they are.
If you will be gone away just for the day, let them know this and once again tell them where you will be going, what you will be doing, and when you will be coming home.
Remember animals read energy and live in our energy fields so they know when something shifts energetically and disrupts their routine, especially holidays and big events. Talking with them as soon as plans are made the more relaxed they are – and the more relaxed you and your guests are!
Two things that feed and nourish my soul are ceremony and animals. I also take delight in playing with people and animals in exploring animals communication and intuition. Combining the three of them is heaven for me. The past two weekends was a slice of this heaven as I lead Salmon experiences which entailed opening sacred space for people to listen to the wisdom of the salmon as they returning home to Piper’s Creek to spawn. The creek was wildly different each weekend. The first weekend it was calm, clear and shallow we saw many salmon navigating their way up the creek. The second weekend was fast, murky and high. It was hard to see the salmon and there were not as many as the previous weekend, yet each participant got something from the salmon.
Listening to the wisdom required presence and being open and receptive while holding an intention to learn from the salmon. Messages came in many ways such as thoughts, feelings, body sensations, knowingness, images and hearing words. As humans, we are constantly sending and receiving messages and part of these experience was gaining understanding just how each person received messages differently thus strengthening their intuition and ability to speak with the animals.
For me after a ceremony, I have observed anything that is not in alignment with the information or messages or deep work I did during the ceremony presents itself to be dealt with. Kind of like upgrading your wardrobe and having to get rid of all the old clothes that no longer fit or are your style. My ceremonies also have an energetic container that offers support for three days after the ceremony with the intention of easy body integration and receiving other messages via dreams or guides. Today when I was out of sorts I knew the teaching of the salmon of to continually return to my own deep river of inner knowing was stirring the pot of where I had not been listening to my own intuition, my own river. I was so stuck the pull of the old story of the spaces and places I had not listened to myself and self-judgment had me spinning and flailing, I knew the salmon were offering me another teaching and I couldn’t hear it because I just felt like I was going under. Leaning back into the container I listened for guidance on how to continue up the river and I heard “ASK FOR HELP.”
So I reached out for support from a mentor to navigate this river of life and she gently and wisely reminded me that “Elemental awareness can give support: the light-filled sky and the water and earth below seen through the salmon’s eye. They breathe and move and negotiate every obstacle one thing at a time because all we can be in is the present moment after all. The salmon love to come home and they are focused on this and stay present. They are transformed by the present moment allowing the creek to move them back when they need to rest, catching the undercurrent to move forward. Honoring life, movement and the moment.” This settled my nervous system and allowed me to refocus on the present moment.
The salmon continue to teach me about returning home to myself with compassion and tenderness and staying present in the moment.
In the middle of August, I made an agreement with Mother Nature and Great Spirit that I would share daily messages I receive from animals and nature to help get the word out about the interconnection of all of life – people, earth, animals, water, spirit. I receive most of the messages while walking and I post the messages on Instagram and Facebook. The messengers share their wisdom, compassion, and love with us.
Today while walking with ash falling from the sky from wild fires I was pondering, “How much more can we take?” There is so much going on in the world today with the natural disasters, the political strife, the talk of nuclear arms (just to name a few). Then, couple this with the full moon and mercury finally out of retrograde and it feels as if we are all in a pressure cooker, that has an extra helping of fear mixed in with everything else, and it is going to explode.
Then I heard Mother Nature extend an invitation to each and every one of us to come out into nature, in which every way feels comfortable to you and feel the earth under your feet. Stop, breathe in, listen, look, drink in nature.
She also invites to set your intentions for the day or the moment to assist you in orienting to the truth within not the external noise. I did this yesterday as my head was swimming from paint fumes, smoke inhalation, Trump’s crazy ways, and influence of the full moon. I felt disoriented and downtrodden. I went down to the beach and walked while praying and talking to Mother Earth and Spirit. When I put my feet in the water and set my intentions speaking them aloud and I also released that which no longer served me and stood in my way. I left feeling invigorated, hopefully, and renewed.
I advise you accept Mother Natures invitation she knows how to attend to her guests. Let her healing qualities reset you. For she wisely counsels:
“When you are out in nature you can get in touch with your own true nature.”
Nineteen years ago today my mantra was, “My body knows how to give birth and this baby knows how to be born.” I surrendered to the wisdom of my body and the innate knowingness of my son and allowed the birthing process to naturally unfold. Eight hours later, he was born in a birthing tub at home surrounded by friends and family. Reflecting back on that incredible experience I realize that my acknowledging my body’s ability and not trying to micromanage what or how it should happen I was able to trust the process. I am not going to lie at times it was excruciatingly painful and yet at the same time, I knew that there would be an end result a beautiful baby would eventually be in my arms.
My labor experience gave me an understanding that our bodies are incredible vessels that have capabilities beyond our wildest imaginings. Communicating telepathically with other beings and using your intuition were capabilities everyone was able to do easily as children – preverbally. As we became verbal, more emphasis was placed on the mental aspect of communicating and telepathy took a step back. But, like any instrument that you may have played before, it just requires picking it back up finding the right chords and practicing to play your favorite song again. Our bodies are highly-tuned, telepathic sending and receiving instruments that are in constant communication with all of life. To strengthen it, all it requires is trusting it, acknowledging, and celebrating your body for receiving the information. After giving birth, I was in awe and wonder with my body and was in constant communication with it celebrating its capability to create, sustain, grow, and birth a child.
My body has cellular memory of the birthing process. I am grateful for this embodied knowing to help navigate the huge bump-up in energy from the eclipse, the invitation to expand, and find the balance between light and dark within as well as externally. I will, like in childbirth, surrender to the wisdom of my body and the innate wisdom it has of knowing what needs to be released in order for me to birth a new way of being. To support myself through this transformation, I will be in awe and wonder with my body and celebrate its capability to create, sustain, grow, and birth a new me. My new mantra is, “My body knows how to give birth to this new way of being and my Spirit knows how to be reborn.” My invitation to you is how can you surrender to the wisdom of your body to allow it do it’s thing and support you through this energetic time. What will your mantra be?
A family of beavers lives in a pond right off the Puget Sound, very close to my home. Recently, a friend and I visited it in hopes of catching a glimpse of these industrious animals. In the dusk of a smokey sky with a red setting sun, my dog eagerly explored a shrub on the bank of the pond to my amazement a beaver sauntered out and glided into the water. We observed this beaver silently glide along the edge of the pond, stopping here and there but always continuing on to complete a full circle of the pond.
He then came over to swim in the middle of the pond and give us a private audience. I introduced myself to him and gave him great thanks for swimming by us and let him know how excited I was to finally see him. For years I have been stopping by the pond in the mornings observing his handiwork from the night before and collecting wood chips from his night snacks for my sacred fires. I know the beaver as grand architects and teachers of how to design and efficiently build our lives.
As he swam in circles in front of us I asked him in relation to the phrase “Busy Beaver, did he have any wisdom to share with the humans on how to be as efficient when we are all as busy as beaver, too?”
His response was like a wise elder speaking to a young person, “Slow down and take the time to survey and relish the silence. ”
Summer is full of vacations and trips that often do not include the animals – which is sometimes great for us but not for them.
To make this easier, the animals have simple requests. Some of them I’ve listed below to help you and your animals have a better time apart:
Enjoy your vacation and connecting with your animals long distance.
Everyone will be happier upon your return!
When my dog is chasing a ball, or I am asking him to do something with a treat in my hand, his focus is like a laser. His focus always brings to mind the concept that energy flows where attention goes. Focusing is one of the key components to animal communication. To be able to give them a clear understanding of what you want is made easier by setting your intention and clarifying thoughts. For example, if I am wanting him to get off the couch and stay off the couch, I will give him the command “off” and yet, I am thinking with a whole lot of frustration, “I know this rascal. As soon as I turn my back, he is going to jump right back on the couch.” Well, guess who will be sitting on the couch all day? Because he was listening to the energy and there was more flow of energy to my thoughts of him jumping on the couch, Prince will be sitting on the couch.
Who can resist those gorgeous brown eyes and black floppy ears? I must. I want him off. my. couch.
So, using focus, how would I communicate to him that the couch is off limits. The first step is by taking some time to gain clarity about why I want him off the couch and where he is welcome to lounge instead.
To go through my thought process: I want him off the couch because it is starting to smell like dog. I want him off the couch because he is dirty and he is making the couch dirty. I want him off the couch so every time I sit down I don’t go into the “Ahh, it smells like dog…I need to clean…I need to give him a bath…” and start to create a whole lot of frustration around this with a whole lot of energy. Basically, I want him off the couch because I want him off the couch. I observe I have a lot of frustration around it and I start beating myself up that I should have never let him on the couch or if I was a better dog trainer he’d never be on the couch, etc. Basically, a lot of stuck energy around this couch and that stuck energy flairs up when I see him on the couch.
Now, where do I want him to lounge instead? There are a variety of places he can lounge, his bed, the floor, the porch, the yard – just not on the couch.
How will I feel when he is lounging other places than the couch? I will feel happy that my couch is no longer a dog bed. I feel comfortable when people come over that my house is clean. I will feel more at ease when people are over that he will not jump up and join them on the couch. I just realized by allowing him to lounge on the couch, the couch is basically his territory and having people sitting on it is invading his space. Allowing him to lounge on it is a disservice to him by expecting him to be welcoming of people in his bed.
Having taken the time to clarify what I do want, I have a new focus with him and the couch – it is for him to learn to stay off the couch. I will focus my attention and intention on letting him know his job is to find new places to lounge and I will back those thoughts of my feeling of happiness in seeing him comfortably sprawled out on the floor. I can now firmly tell him “off” while I am thinking about him comfortably laying on his bed or laying on the floor. Focusing on his new job will make it easy to re-orient his lounging and it is not fueled by the frustration and big energy of “GET OFF THE #*#@ COUCH.” I can now firmly tell him “off” while I am thinking about him comfortably laying on his bed or laying on the floor.
One of my million dollar ideas to accomplish the no-Prince-on-the-couch-rule is to somehow bottle my dogs’ focus and create an elixir. This elixir will increase focus and efficiency with minimum effort mixed in with a whole lot of fun. I will use this magical elixir to create a routine when trying to get him off the couch. I will deliver this new routine with the same focus and attention he has on the ball when we are playing. His intensity to find the ball is coupled with the enthusiasm of the game. Now, can I make staying off the couch just as fun with my focus? The opportunity is to focus and master the feeling he has when playing ball of “come on, come on, throw the ball!” to “come on, come on, on the floor!” and coupling it with the excitement he has quivering through his body when he bounds off to find the ball. I will couple my focus of “on the floor” with the excitement of seeing him lounging on the floor. Once I master this, you are invited over for a nice chat on my clean comfortable couch.