Reiki for Dogs – It’s a thing

Dogs Naturally Magazine is one of my favorite publications and “go to” sources for all things good for my dogs. They host the Raw Roundup each year, and have a host of offerings for the holistically minded dog lover. (I highly recommend a subscription – it never disappoints).

I was pleasantly surprised to recently read the article DNM published about Reiki for Dogs, which you may find here. I could not have said it better if I’d written it myself (kind of wish I had, but that’s what I get for being slow on the draw). It is a quick read and a helpful guide, so definitely check it out.

Key take-aways:

  • Reiki is an all-natural practice of energy healing
  • Anyone can become a Reiki practitioner, but you must be attuned by a Reiki master
  • Reiki energy comes from the Divine Source of all life force energy. The practitioner acts as a channel for that energy
  • It is only used for the highest good and can never cause harm
  • Reiki can:
    • ease pain
    • boost the immune system
    • speed healing after injury or surgery or illness
    • remove emotional blocks that interfere with physical health
    • strengthen the bond between you and your dog
    • help when transitioning from this life to the Rainbow Bridge

I am now a Third Degree Usui Shiki Ryoho Certified Reiki Master/Practitioner. If you are interested in exploring what Reiki can do for you and your dog (or cat or horse or guinea pig), give me a shout! I would be honored to serve you.

Typical sessions last from 45 minutes to an hour. I work with both you and your dog together. It’s a great, relaxing way to bond with your dog while enhancing both of your well-being.

You can find me at Just Happy Hounds Midtown one Saturday a month. Call for an appointment: 205-777-3699 (JHH) or 205-492-8857 (me).

Banana Patch

I’ve done it only once before. So when my initial efforts to treat Evelyn’s wart failed, I thought maybe I was crazy, or maybe my previous success was just a fluke.


Let me back up here a minute. Evelyn had a pretty big wart on the back left paw, far left toe, under the pad, for months. It caused her to limp slightly.

Last year, I had succeeded in ridding Pearl’s paw of a wart that emerged following a splinter extraction by using the inside of a banana peel. For Evelyn, I treated hers several times by the same method —  scraping out some of the inside of a banana peel, applying it directly on the wart, and wrapping her foot in self-sticking gauze. Voila! Banana patch!

This time, though, nothing happened.

No change. Zip. Nada. Nothing.

This wart was stubborn!

or so I thought…

After all we’ve been through, wart removal rested on the back burner for a long time. Other matters were much higher on the priority list. So I gave up for a while until we could deal with more pressing concerns. Once we got the incessant scratching under control, I decided to tackle the wart again. I was determined to get rid of it because the alternatives included letting it stay and continue to bother her, or cutting it off. And cutting in/on/around a paw pad is bad news in my book, even with a laser.

Finally, with multiple failed attempts under my belt, I discovered the error of my ways: I wasn’t getting deep enough into the banana peel to get to the good stuff. You really have to get into the deeper fibers of the interior of the peel, beyond the top couple of layers that sit between peel and banana. The fiber in that inside layer is a different, sort of juicy consistency than the banana itself or even those weird long thread things that sometimes stick on the banana after you peel it open. It’s almost like getting into the gel of an aloe plant, but it’s nowhere near that thick.

All it took was 3 days of application, and

POOF! No more wart!

I’ve done it twice now, on two different dogs.

It. Works.

So, before you go running to the vet for surgical wart removal, try a banana patch.

pugs & kisses!

Seeing Red

2016 has started off fast! I’ve not had time to blog, and just discovered a stack of posts half-drafted that are waiting for my attention.

They’ll have to wait. This is big news.

After several months of multiple failed attempts to consult with Dr. Natalie to help get Evelyn healthy enough to withstand her heartworm treatment, I finally gave up.

You can only beg someone to take your money so many times, right? 

My brother-in-law’s brother suggested I try Dr. Mary Battistella at Kowaliga Whole Health Pet Care in Eclectic, Alabama. (Thanks Andrew!) I called on Monday of last week, and immediately got in to see her the following afternoon. Granted, it was a 2-hour drive south, but in the end…Totally. Worth it.

Since Evelyn’s arrival on Labor Day 2015, she has had a significant skin problem. The skin along her back was rough and discolored, the hair was patchy, and she scratched at it constantly. The base of her tail is completely smooth with no hair at all.

This coat is a complete wreck. The base of her tail is totally hairless. This pic is from her first week with me, and things really haven’t improved.

I didn’t worry too much at first because she had so many other things going on — vastly malnourished and underweight, heartworm positive, mast cell tumors, and various other imbalances — I focused on stabilizing her nutrition, tumor removal, and heartworm eradication. All along the way, we tried anti-fungal spray and shampoo, antibiotics, steroids, Bendadryl, Apoquel. I’ve been massaging coconut oil into her skin at night for months, to no avail. Nothing worked.

Until now.

Dr. Battistella took one look and said, “allergies.” She took hair and saliva samples from Evelyn and shipped them to a lab called Glacier Peak Holistics. Ten days later, we got this:


Everything in red is a trigger for Evelyn.


The good news is that only the circled items are the things she’s had in her diet: Chicken, chicken eggs, carrots, sweet potato, peaches, dairy milk, cheese, cottage cheese, yogurt. 

The bad news is that I fed her a ton of cottage cheese back in November and December when I was desperate to get weight on her so that she could have her second heartworm shot. I also fed carrots and sweet potatoes regularly. Raw chicken is in the rotation. She gets a raw egg in her breakfast smoothie. Every. Day.

Poor baby! No wonder she was scratching non-stop!

The better news is that there is SO much on that list she is NOT allergic to. And now I know what to avoid. We have a lot to work with here and I am so grateful to Dr. Battistella. 

So is Evelyn!

Dr. B also gave us a B-12 vitamin, wheat germ oil to apply topically, and a homeopathic tonic for skin that I give her daily. With the dietary No-No’s delineated, I am finally hopeful that we can solve this problem from the inside out, and get her health on the right track once and for all.

Thanks Dr. B!

pugs & kisses,


It’s Halloween week, and that means e’er’body acting a fool for tricks & treats. Dogs included.

As if we need an excuse to eat candy….or anything made with a pumpkin… 

I’ve never been much for dressing up in costume – either for myself or my dogs — but sometimes we will deck a seasonal collar and a hoodie.

And that is just what we plan to do for Saturday’s Pugs & Pumpkins event to support Alabama Pug Rescue & Adoption at the Pelham National Guard Armory. Whether you have a Pug or just love their funny faces, come support the rescue. Guaranteed fun for all.

Pugs & Pumpkins 2015. WOOT!
Pugs & Pumpkins 2015. WOOT!

Evelyn will be sporting a special accessory to the party this year.

From the early days of fostering her, I noticed a bump under the skin on her back left leg. I paid little attention to it because she had so many other things going on with her health. I watched it, and it didn’t seem to change in size, shape, color, etc. Until last Sunday when all of a sudden, there were two.

I took the picture below and sent it to Pug Rescue Queen Pam Mayes, who sent them to the most amazing Dr. Jay Crisman at 280 AMC. We all agreed an in-person visit with Dr. Jay was in order.

This is what Mast Cell Tumors look like.
They look to be Mast Cell Tumors.

After examination and discussion, we decided they should be removed and tissue samples should be analyzed to verify whether they were in fact cancer. MCTs, like many cancers, are treatable with high survivability when caught early. Stage I MCTs are considered benign. Stage IIs can be effectively treated. Stages III & IV are more serious and treatments can be less successful. So, we’re praying for Stage I.

Dr. Jay said they are fairly common, and easily removed. Since Evelyn is due for the shot that will kill off the adult heartworms hanging out in the bloodstream in just 2 weeks, we decided she would fair far better to proceed with this removal before getting that shot. So we did.

She came home looking like the spokesdog for Staples.

Frankenstein's got nothin' on my Evie. #tuffstuff
Ouch! Frankenstein’s dog.

The staples come out the same day as the big heartworm shot. But hopefully we’ll get good news on the biopsy before then.

In the meantime, I’m going to embrace the season and play up her most remarkable feature for Halloween.

Just call her Frankie.
Just call her Frankie.

pugs & kisses,