"All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well."
Julian of Norwich 1342-1416

Monday, April 07, 2014

Tick Management

Last evening, hubby began our yard spraying. He uses mostly organic ingredients with a little permethrin added. He sprays all around the fence, house and bushes about every two weeks. He began doing two years ago and we have not seen a tick in our yard since. Here's hoping we never do again!!

For the dogs, I am using Braggs apple cider vinegar in their water to make their blood more acidic and less appetizing to a tick. I will spray them with cedar oil and will also try the diatomaceous earth/yarrow/neem powder dusted on their coats. Hopefully, this multi-pronged approach will keep us tick-free.

Better Times

I'm trying Bach Flower Essences for older dog. One formula in particular, "Very Scary Things" seems to mellow her right out. It is one of the special formulations for dogs developed by a dog trainer. I will give her this several times a day and see if we can make more progress with her anxiety. With thunderstorm season coming, something has to be done to calm her.

The rest of yesterday went very well. Older dog initiated play, listened to our cues to be gentle and stopped when we asked her to. Couldn't ask for more! As pup grows, I'm sure there will be some all out crazy play fighting! I've seen older dog with others - she's a tough one and very vocal.

We wore pup out yesterday. He actually slept from around 10 last night tip 5 this morning. He's sleeping for longer intervals over night every few days. Yay! Hubby's usual wake time is 5:30, so he's getting most of his sleep. Pup is still sleepy this morning and just playing quietly between naps. Too bad it's raining - makes everything so much harder.

As for me, the shoulder still hurts. Last night I took an epsom salts bath and then iced it. I may try some acupuncture. It's so darn expensive, though!

Sunday, April 06, 2014


Older dog had another anxiety attack today. She was out playing in the yard and bam! She came in shaking, same as yesterday. No one was shooting guns in the neighborhood either time, which in the past is often the trigger. Sometimes these attacks  happen in the middle of the night for no apparent reason. It's so stressful. She seemed a bit better since the pup came; these two days have been surprising. And with thunderstorm season coming, I may have to consider medication. I have talked with my vet before about doing so, but we decided to continue trying alternate methods to control the anxiety. Nothing really works. I have tried: melatonin, flower essences, aromatherapy, Thundershirt, distraction, music. Sometimes just letting her sit in the car helps. Or going into the basement, but always with one of us - she doesn't want to go alone. She gets a lot of exercise, so that's not a solution.

I think she suffers from PTSD. She was in a shelter in another state as a pup. The shelter burned down. Many dogs died in the fire. The ones that survived were taken by various rescue groups to be rehomed and that's how I got her. Since all the records were destroyed in the fire, I also think she may have been double vaccinated, which would not have been good for her immune system. She had bouts of anxiety as a pup. I remember her climbing on my lap and just clinging to me, shaking, before she was even a year old. At two, she developed exocrine pancreatic disorder, meaning her pancreas does not produce digestive enzymes. I must mix special enzymes with her food to predigest in the bowl before she eats. This has made her a rather finicky eater.

She has had much training. We went through puppy kindergarten, basic and advanced obedience and rally. She earned her Canine Good Citizen certification and did some therapy work until she got the EPI and became more dog aggressive.

I am very sad today. I love her and hate to see her suffer. During her anxiety, she lashed out at the pup this morning. It frightened me terribly and I now feel very sick. I was hoping the presence of another dog would help her. Sometimes she seems so calm with the pup, sort of chummy and sharing companionship. It's only been two weeks. I hope we can continue improving.

Saturday, April 05, 2014

Chemical-Free Flea & Tick Preventatives

This excellent article is sourced from here:

More and more dogs owners are looking for natural alternatives for tick prevention. Although ticks can be a concern in the warmer months, dog owners also have to consider the effects that chemical tick treatments have on their dog’s digestive tract, internal organs and overall health, both short and long term. If you are concerned about the impact these chemicals have on your dog, then read on – there are a few ways to treat tick bites with all natural products.

Dietary Tick Preventatives 

  • Garlic – Garlic given as a dietary supplement makes the dog less appealing to ticks too. The smell is excreted through the skin and repels both ticks and fleas. However, garlic contain sulfoxides and disulfides, which can damage red blood cells and cause anemia in dogs. If you use garlic as your tick prevention, use it sparingly.
  • Apple Cider Vinegar – Apple cider vinegar adds acidity to your dog’s blood, making it less appealing to ticks and fleas. Add 2 tablespoons of the apple cider vinegar to the dog’s food or water bowl as a preventative.

Topical/External Tick Preventative

  • Herbal flea and tick powder – There are several herbal flea and tick powders and sprays on the market utilizing various herbal combinations to prevent ticks. You can easily make your own powder at home with just three ingredients. Find the recipe here.
  • Herbal flea/tick collars – There are several herbal flea and tick collars on the market, but you can also make your own at home. Mix 2 tablespoons almond oil with Rose Geranium Oil or Palo Santo. Dab a few drops on your dog’s neck area before heading out. Alternately, you could place the essential oil directly on his collar. Reapply the essential oil to the collar weekly.
  • Tick Shampoo – Mix several drops of Palo Santo with your favorite organic lavender shampoo. Let the suds sit on your dog for twenty minutes before rinsing. This will kill any existing ticks or prevent new ones.
  • Citrus repellent – Cut a lemon into quarters and put into a pint jar. Cover with boiling water and let steep overnight. Put the solution in a spray bottle and spray all over the dog, especially behind the ears, around the head, at the base of the tail and in the arm pits.

Environmental Tick Preventatives

  • Nematodes – Beneficial nematodes are a microscopic, worm-like organism that live in soil. They feed on tick larvae so break their life cycle and kill off the parasite.
  • Diatomaceous earth – Diatomaceous earth is a non-toxic powder consisting of ground fossils, marine life and fresh water organisms. While non-toxic to humans and animals, this powder is lethal to ticks and fleas.

Use Several All Natural Tick Prevention Products Together

When looking at the all natural tick prevention products, keep in mind that these products will be most effective if used in combination with each other. A dietary solution, combined with a topical and an environmental product, provides broad-spectrum protection while avoiding the complications that introducing chemicals into the dog’s system and surroundings can bring.
Preventing ticks doesn’t need to be a chemical based treatment. There a many all natural methods of prevention so your dog can live a healthy, chemical free life.

11 Weeks Today

Ah, the anxiety! I read on a dog forum that new puppy moms can experience a type of postpartum blues known as "puppy blues." Similar to postpartum, it is a reaction to the emotions of first waiting for the puppy to come home and the sometimes overwhelming responsibility to care for the pup's needs, both physically and emotionally. We must bond to the pup and training sessions are plentiful each day. Good behavior must be encouraged and bad behavior corrected and redirected. All this while still trying to maintain your life. It's both physically and emotionally draining, especially if you are a perfectionist like me!

But at 60, I have the luxury of scaling back my life for right now to concentrate on this one thing. I've tailored my very part time work to even less for right now. Church and choir are pretty much on hold, which is interesting since it's Lent, and Holy Week and Pascha are right around the corner. I miss being there, but I just can't stretch my brain (or body) that much to be at all the services and learn so much music. Especially since the new choir director is bringing in some Arabic pieces. My western brain has some trouble with eastern melody - very different, it is.

Hubby has been home for several days and giving me a break. It's wonderful! Last night I popped a benedryl and finally slept through the night!! I hate how benedryl dries my sinuses, but I need sleep. A glass of wine didn't hurt, either :)

Pup is 11 weeks old today and has learned sit, down, twirl and shake. We are working on stay and leash walking, the latter being extremely important since all of this has caused bicep tendonitis to flare for the eleventh-fifth time. I'm icing right now. Sure hope I can avoid a full blown injury.

Thursday, April 03, 2014

Collie Boy

Wow! Can't believe it's been so long since I've posted.

After enjoying the foster tri collie for a few days, we decided to get our own little boy. I'm on day 13. To say this is challenging at 60 years old is an understatement. I tell myself daily that it is only for a while. Pups grow fast and the most annoying behavior mellows out with proper training. And that's what my days consist of - training - morning, afternoon and evening. He is learning fast, changing fast, growing fast. I want to document this journey.

We met both the mom and dad and they were so sweet and gentle. He should have an excellent temperament.

He's a lot like a toddler right now. Plays well until he gets tired, then gets the puppy zoomies and must be made to nap. Sometimes he likes to nap on my lap. That ought to be interesting when he weighs 60 pounds or so.

We are crate training, so he sleeps all night in the crate and is in while I'm at work or out doing errands. I work very part time, so he is not crated for long. I've kept it to no more than three hours so far. Time will increase as he ages.

My older dog has accepted him, but gives him a correction when necessary. I have learned that it is important not to intervene in those corrections because she is teaching boundaries. She does not hurt him and no teeth are involved. But it can sound ferocious! I am a bit apprehensive of what the interactions will be when he starts to mature sexually. These corrections may intensify if he pesters her. I will neuter, but my breeder suggests not until one year of age. If he really acts impossible, I will do it sooner.

I am having some shoulder tendon pain. Happens every time I do something new with my arms. I hope I can get it settled down before it really flares.

Tick season is upon us. I have heard reports from several people that have had them crawling on them. Disgusting! We will start spraying our yard as soon as this rain passes. I also have cedar oil for the dogs (and us). I stood on my porch yesterday and cursed those things in the name of Jesus. And then asked Jesus to curse them, just as he cursed the fig tree.

So far at ten weeks, he knows the commands, sit, down, twirl, come and is working on shake. We work on leash walking several times a day. He knows when we go out on leash to potty, but has not yet realized he needs to let us know when he has to go. We have had some accidents, but are trying to be very diligent and watchful. As a herder, he nips at my legs and has already put a hole in my jogging pants and sweater. We are working on this.

My hardest task is getting my first dog to eat. She is a very finicky eater, due to having EPI. She does not just eat when I put her food down and sometimes waits until late in the day. She is very slow and will not eat if there is a commotion around her. So I have to feed little boy in his crate first and then put gates up with her in the kitchen alone. Maybe this will change. I hope so.

Also difficulty with my nerves. I am constantly in a knot. I know it's ridiculous, but that's how I'm wired. Nothing terrible is going to happen, right? But, what if the dogs hate each other and fight to the death? What if he never stops biting? What if he yanks my shoulder? What if he becomes aggressive? What if he gets sick?

What if the sky falls down?

Wednesday, October 09, 2013


Shake the dust off and write something before we can no longer do so.

I am fairly well. Still take a few Jernigan products for detoxing the CNS, Carnivora, plus various supplements and teasel root. I really want to step up feeding the immune system cause right now I'm stressing it.

I'm working very part time as an Office Manager for a business consultant. Not tremendously exciting, but the boss is kind and it keeps me in the business world. I'm the Internet Coordinator for our area lyme support group. I get requests for referrals to doctors and/or holistic practitioners. Sometimes I get several requests within a week - usually people newly diagnosed and don't know what to do. The stories are sad.

I also designed and edit a newsletter for our local Orthodox Coffee Shop. I really enjoy design and am glad I could fit my gifts with the shop's needs.

Been working with a dog trainer to address some of my older dog's aggression issues. We have made progress; enough that I feel confident to start her back in Rally at the dog training club. We begin in two weeks.

And I got another foster pup. I got a tri color collie boy. So life at our house has been crazy!! We tired, unsure of what we're doing right or doing wrong. My older girl gets very jealous, even though we definitely give her lots of attention. But it's only for a short time; I think he already has someone interested in adopting.

I asked my priest if there was a blessing for a new puppy, sorta like the tailor in "Fiddler on the Roof" asking the rabbi if there was a blessing for a sewing machine. The rabbi said, "There is a blessing for everything." My priest wasn't sure, so he suggested dousing the pup with holy water and thanking God for the beautiful creature. That works.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

The Constant Question

Are we lymies always trying to figure out where we are in the lyme journey? Seems to be that way for me. I cannot distinguish chronic lyme symptoms from the aches and pains of aging.

There's no swelling in my joints, just some aching. I can't walk more than about 1.5 miles at one stretch, but I'm ok with that; I still go to yoga stretch twice a week in addition to walking every evening, plus I started a weekly tai chi class. My parents had arthritis in their backs, feet, legs, etc., so maybe at 58, this pain is what I would have had despite lyme disease. I have been in several car accidents over the years: one was a head-on that resulted in me hitting the steering wheel hard enough for my tooth to pierce through the skin under my bottom lip. The next one was a rear-ending by a Coke truck. That started me on a bit of a decline with neck and back issues. So is it really any wonder that I experience pain?

We traded in our 2002 Avalon for a 2010 Camry Saturday. It is shiny black and only has 33,000 miles on it.  But I learned something valuable: Never buy a car on a rainy day. Once the sun was out, I see this distracting glare on the windshield from the design of the dashboard and nicks and chips in the paint that raindrops concealed. Ok. Won't do that again.

I am supposed to go to DD's house on Sunday for 4/5 days to help. I don't want to go at all. Hubby cannot go because of work commitments, so I have to drive alone. I haven't made that trip solo in almost five years. And there's seven of them now. The house is being remodeled and as of today, the room for me to stay in is not finished, there is no bed and hot water can only be had if someone goes to the cellar (yes, it's a cellar) and turns the busted tank on. It's making me very, very anxious. I feel like I'm walking into a disaster area. I still may book a hotel; I may be much better off leaving at a certain time each day to go to a quieter and calmer room. But I've never seen that hotel and don't know for sure that it's clean and quiet. Reviews on Tripadvisor are mixed.

I was so bummed when I finished "Upstairs, Downstairs" on Netflix that I started it again. I seem to  need my nightly fix of Lord & Lady Bellamy, Mr. Hudson and Mrs. Bridges.

Thursday, September 06, 2012

Chiro's Report

I had an appointment with the new chiro today to go over her report and recommendations. Then I saw it ... the TOTAL PRICE FOR HER PROGRAM!!! My friend recommended this person and is doing better, admittedly. But I have found in my travels to feel better that if someone tries to sell you a program and asks that you pay upfront, you probably are getting taken advantage of. Not that the program doesn't help, it just breaks down to ridiculous prices for appointments. I like the old way - pay as you go. Goodness! Even my cell phone is a pay as you go phone -  no plans, packages or perks.

I think the report is useful, although it didn't really tell me anything I didn't already know. I need to detox my liver better and get off all sugar. Those two things will probably fix a lot of problems. I have cut down, but need to eliminate it all together.

Why is it so hard? I told her that the muffin and coffee mid morning is a ritual for me that goes back to high school. My best friend and I would skip class and go to Stouffer's Restaurant. Her mom worked in the kitchen there and would give us coffee and pecan rolls and send us back to class. It's just a habit, I guess, but one I enjoy immensely.