Discovering Reiki

So, the thing that’s been taking up my free time (outside of my full-time job) for the past several months has been the study of energy in the body. Less like how you get energy from proper nutrition, and more like how energy works in, around, and through the body. Plus, I’ve been meditating on the regular for months because: #personalgrowth

I don’t want to get too complicated or long-winded here, so I’ll just cut to the chase:

I am now a Level 2 Certified Reiki Practitioner (Woop! Woop!)

Say what?

Reiki (pronounced like the term of affection you have given your favorite garden utensil. Don’t lie. I know you’re all: Hey, rakey baby. You’re such a good little rakey. Let’s go clean the lawn) is a system of natural healing that utilizes the Universal Life Force Energy from which we all originate, of which we and all living things are all made, to balance the energy flow in the body.

When the energy body is balanced, you feel good. You’re in good health, you rest well, you’re not in pain. When the energy body is not balanced, various forms of “dis-ease” will manifest, whether they are physical, mental or emotional. If there is too much energy, not enough, or if the energy is clogged or stuck and not flowing up and down along the meridians and Chakras throughout the body the way it’s supposed to, you feel bad. Something hurts, or you feel sick, or tired, or drained, or sore, or tense.

The practitioner acts as a channel for Reiki energy to help move that stuck or excess energy in your body to balance the flow within the body. It’s more difficult to heal when you can’t relax, and Reiki promotes healing through deep relaxation. Reiki is not magic. It is not a miracle cure. But it is for the highest good. And when you are able to soothe the parasympathetic nervous system, that’s when real healing can begin.

You get the picture (and if not, just give me a shout. I’ll totes talk your ear off about it).

Why am I loading up the HOL Dog blog with talk of this energy healing modality? (They call it foreshadowing in literature class)

Gonna totally be giving Reiki to people AND their dogs!


My most regular recipients of Reiki across these many months as I’ve begun to develop my skill set have been my Pugs: Pearl, Truman and Evelyn, and the cat, Chester. They LOVE it. They are so responsive. They get just floppy relaxed whenever I start gently moving my hands from head to hiney shifting that energy they’ve absorbed. We have a habit of running energy early in the mornings after they’ve had their breakfast. It’s a wonderful, peaceful way to ease into the day. We also run energy at night before bed. It’s a great way to shake off the day’s stressors and prepare for a restful night’s sleep.

It has enhanced my bond with each of them, and increased the bond among the four. The whole house is a better place because they have really settled in with each other’s personalities, likes and dislikes.

I won’t lie. We used to have some issues. I’ve worked with trainers over the years, and they certainly helped. But we got to a whole new level of chill once I began practicing Reiki on them (and on me). You dog lovers know it’s true– our dogs are so attuned to our energy, and when we’re stressed, they are too. When our anxiety level climbs, so does theirs. Likewise, when we’re chill, they calm down. Sometimes, they don’t have a chance to shake our energy off. Or sometimes, if you’re dealing with a rescue, they’ve been carrying around excess anxiety for years. That excess continues to compound and they often have difficulty processing it. Reiki helps with that.

I’m so excited about this new chapter, and can’t wait to share it!

If you’re in the Birmingham area and want to give it a try, call me for appointments and pricing.


pugs & kisses,

Doo-Doo-Run-Run: What do you do when the doo-doo runs? (Part 3)

(Continued from Part 2)

I emailed Dr. Natalie to make an appointment for all natural deworming. I’ll let you know how that goes.

And after watching Dr. Karen Becker’s video (which can be found at, keyword “diarrhea”), I sprang into action.

Dr. Becker suggested a bland diet of cooked, drained ground turkey meat mixed either with pumpkin (NOT pumpkin pie filling. Plain pumpkin) or sweet potato, and a dose of Slippery Elm until the poops return to normal.

Cool. I’ve got this.

Turkey is already very lean, but cooking renders the excess fat. The fat can cause additional upset to an already upset tummy.

Mixing it with the fiber of the pumpkin or sweet potato will, oddly enough, help right the irritable bowel.

Also, putting something warm in the belly is comforting until the irritation subsides.

Y’all know what Slippery Elm is, right?

I didn’t. Not really.

It was listed in my book. I know it’s an herb. But where to get it? How to use it?


Birmingham’s Southside (Autocorrect wants that to be two words. Shut up, Autocorrect. You don’t know Alabama) is blessed to have The Golden Temple — all natural grocery/cafe/yoga studio. Everything you need to live your holistic/spiritual/alternative existence. It is so groovy. I love it.

They had a big jug of Slippery Elm powder. I had no idea how much to buy, so I just got an ounce and a half hoping that would do. I didn’t know whether to mix it dry into their food, or mix it with water first. But an older woman checking out ahead of me had a large quantity of it, and explained to me all the delightful uses of Slippery Elm. She mixes it with warm water and drinks it for sore throat, diarrhea, and bladder infections, among other things. There was my “real world” verification. Thanks, lady!

(She told me with great confidence that I should drink it myself. Just ‘cuz…Thanks. I’ll pass for now).


I cooked ground turkey, and mixed it with a baked sweet potato. Equal parts. 50-50. One and a half ounces of each for a total of 3oz of food in the bowl. (You really need a kitchen scale). For these 25lb pups, it’s enough. Trust me.

I heated some water on the stove and mixed about a teaspoon of the powder in about 3oz. I then added 2 teaspoons of the mixture to their food. (When the water cools, the elm powder becomes slimy. Note: Slippery Elm is a better name than Slimy Elm). We repeated the same thing the next day for both meals.

Both dogs showed immediate improvement. The pooping stopped for the next 48 hours.


It worked. Really well.

Then I researched what to do about those pesky worms…

Ground pumpkin seeds…hmmm….

…to be continued…

Our visit with Dr. Natalie Blackmon

There is a holistic vet in Birmingham.

Yep. It’s true. In this bass-ackward, close-minded, stereo-typically opposite-of-innovative state, we’ve got an Auburn University-educated holistic veterinarian.


I started down this road some 4 months ago, and was feeling very ‘out there’ on my own trying to get a handle on the proper way to feed a raw diet to my dogs.

I have relied heavily on my textbook, The Encyclopedia of Natural Pet Care, which has been a tremendous resource, but sometimes you need to talk through it a bit.

I tried to reach out to any of the veterinarians at the clinic I use to get some additional guidance on doing it the right way. They didn’t return my calls. #sads.

My good friends at Just Happy Hounds-Midtown tried to connect me to someone who is a nutrition manager at one of the big box pet stores, and after a few emails and unreturned phone calls, I decided he didn’t really want to talk to me either, and I might be barking up the wrong tree anyway. #fail.

Finally, through Melissa Campbell, the maker of the most delightful grain-free, raw, dehydrated treats (, we connected with Dr. Natalie Lenoir Blackmon at the Well Being Animal Medicine Society.

Dr. Natalie is about to change our lives. We were SO excited to meet her and talk with her about this Raw Food experiment, what I’ve done, how I’ve done it, and what I’ve observed. Here’s some of what I learned:

  • I am over-feeding. With a raw diet, they don’t need to eat as much because the nutritional needs are more fully met. I have been feeding 6-8oz twice a day. For their body weights (25lbs each), they really only need about half that. So 6oz total per day will suffice.
  • Pearl’s sweet tooth (her love of all manner of fruit) is likely due to the growth of candida in her system as a result of the massive amounts of antibiotics she was on throughout the summer while we were battling the bladder infection. We’ve got to cut back on the fruit and get her system balanced.
  • My rotation of proteins is a good thing. I feed on a 3 or 4-day rotation of beef, chicken, and fish. Their bodies don’t have time get too used to one thing, which is important in controlling allergies.
  • Feeding protein and starch together slows the metabolic process, which I knew for myself, but failed to consider for my dogs. I should feed them about an hour or so apart.
  • Raw goat’s milk is a better source of milk protein than cow’s milk products. I have been feeding plain organic yogurt or kefir all this time. Raw goat’s milk is much easier for dogs to digest, and is better for them.
  • Bones are super important. As I had read in my book, bone marrow, with all of its nutrients, is essential for good health in dogs. She gave us an ‘atta girl’ for feeding raw chicken bones in addition to the raw meat.
  • Most of all, they look FANTASTIC! She called Truman & Pearl the Poster Dogs for a Raw Diet! She said most Pugs she sees have so many skin & coat issues, allergies, eye problems, etc., but my babies look amazing to her. 🙂

Dr. Natalie is our new bff. She gave us so many great suggestions, and she is excited about The HOL Dog!

If you’re in Alabama, she is at Well Being Animal Medicine Society, which is located at the Cahaba Beach Dog Park. She travels to Gadsden and Huntsville on weekends. Here’s a link to her Facebook page. You need to check her out.

pugs & kisses,

Well Being Animal Medicine Society Birmingham Alabama Holistic veterinarian
This is the backyard of Dr. Natalie’s office. Dang.
Well Being Animal Medicine Society, Birmingham, Alabama
Pearl was too busy for a photo. Truman was chill, as always, but I could tell he loved Dr. Natalie’s back yard.

Dog-tober Fest!

It’s that time of year when everybody humiliates the crap out of their dogs with goofy Halloween costumes.

I’m inconsistent on that point. I’ve done it. I admit.

Some years, I’m too cool for it. Depends on the dog.

But if you’re interested in decking the hounds (mixing my holiday metaphors, I know. just roll with it) in their finest funery, check out these super fantastic upcoming events.

  • Hand-In-Paw “Barktoberfest” is tomorrow, October 24 at Good People Brewing Company from 6-10pm in downtown Birmingham. (for more info, go to Facebook & search Hand-in-Paw events)
  • Alabama Pug Rescue and Adoption’s “Pugs & Pumpkins” at Oak Mountain State Park, next Saturday, November 1 from 12-4. (
  • “Dogtoberfest” at Just Happy Hounds this Saturday, October 25. Several events from 9-4, including costume contest from 11-12 (

Note: “Dogtoberfest” has a very special treat to give away…


That’s right. They’re free. Mainly because I don’t have my business license yet. And I’ve been swamped at work.

So, come take advantage of my recent lack of free time! and take home a little bag of wHOLesome, all natural, HOListic goodness.

I’ll be there with Pearl the Superstar and Truman the Brave. Come say hey!

See you Saturday!

pugs & kisses,