Companion Animals

Relaxing on the porch

I have grown up with animals, usually a dog. I honestly can’t imagine my life without a pet of some kind. As I have been growing my holistic practice I have been asked numerous times about using various products on our fur babies. As I began exploring the options, I have also been volunteering at a rescue farm and learning about the love that we can get from more than just common house pets, cats and dogs.

 

Animals of all types have been companions to humans for thousands of years. The origin of these companionship’s were probably formed to help with hunting food, but that also meant that man and beast had to put some trust in each other and form a bond. Over the centuries the relationship has changed and developed into one of simple enjoyment. Most pet owners today have an animal simply for the joy that it brings.

 

In the last 20 years there have been numerous studies about the benefits of having a pet. Pet owners tend to have lower blood pressure, and can improve cardiovascular health. On PetPartners.org they review several studies showing the therapeutic benefits of animals. In one study patients that spent time with animals rather than in an outpatient area showed decreased pain symptoms and positive mood.

 

According to Animal Planet’s site opening your home to a pet might be just what the doctor ordered. Owning a pet can help reduce allergies and blood pressure. Some of the mental benefits include:

  • Lifts spirits
  • Decrease depression
  • Lowers feelings of isolation
  • Lessens boredom
  • Reduces anxiety
  • Helps with communication
  • Motivation to recover faster

 

Pets can truly enhance your life for the better. Even if you are in a situation where you can’t own a pet consider volunteering. There are always animals out there that can benefit from your love and can provide you love in return. Besides who can’t resist smiling while watching a baby goat jump and play or any animal for that matter.

Baby Goat

Celebrating in April

Seeing beauty in every moment.
Seeing beauty in every moment.

Look for the good in every person and every situation. You’ll almost always find it.
Brian Tracy

The week of April 15-20 seems to be a time that has attracted evil for over 100 years. For me these five days have always been a time of celebration, because they include my father’s birthday, my aunt’s birthday as well as my parent’s anniversary. Over the last 22 years though, Americans have come to dread this week due to many national tragedies. As this week came and went we saw many news stories remembering the bombing during the Boston marathon last year, Dateline also did a special about the Columbine shooting 15 years ago. The special had a positive message about overcoming that I would encourage you to watch. These are only two of the several tragic events that have occurred within this 5 day time span.

As I sat back and reflected on this time period and my reasons for celebration and the countries desire for healing I keep wondering how can we combine these two and make changes? I am blessed that I have a family that has a strong bond although geographically we are not close. We have love and support that transcends distance. I live my life with a positive outlook and try to reflect that to all of my friends and family, but our nation seems to be in distress that continues to grow. It is heartwarming to see the bond that the survivors of these various tragedies have, but this bond is not crossing over to the nation as a whole.

My desire is to see more stories of people coming together to support one another. Utilizing the common courtesies that seem to be old fashioned like holding a door, or even simply smiling and saying hello. One of my favorite stories is Pay it Forward by Catherine Ryan Hyde. The message of doing something kind for someone and wanting nothing in return except to have someone pay that kindness forward to someone else is my mantra. Although it is not a common practice I offer everyone I see a smile for the day. I hope that you can smile too.

We tend to forget that happiness doesn’t come as a result of getting something we don’t have, but rather of recognizing and appreciating what we do have.
Frederick Keonig

Teen Suing Parents – A Different Perspective

I am shocked and outraged by the story from New Jersey of 18 year old Rachel Canning suing her parents for financial support. I am ashamed of Tanya Helfand for accepting this lawsuit, and completely ashamed of John Inglesino for agreeing to pay for Rachel’s attorney’s fees.  I truly feel for Judge Peter Bogaard who has to interpret the law appropriately but also attempt to protect parents’ rights. It is hard enough to raise our children these days, but to have parents and attorney’s encourage a teenager to sue her parents is outrageous.

The old proverb “it takes a village to raise a child” definitely seems to be a phrase that few people embrace these days. Mr. Inglesino indicated he made an attempt to communicate with Mr. Canning about paying for Rachel’s expenses but wasn’t able to. According to news reports he is an attorney so it seems that it was easy for him to just turn to the legal system. No matter what the outcome of this lawsuit, teens will feel empowered to push back against their parents. To me it says if I don’t like my parents’ rules I will threaten to take them to court.

When my husband and I got married it was shortly before my stepdaughters 18th birthday. Blending families is never an easy thing and she did not take my invasion on her family well. Once she turned 18 a very common phrase out of her mouth was “I’m 18 you can’t do anything,” she figured that now that she was the age of majority she no longer had to follow our house rules. Eventually she decided that the rules in our home were too strict so she moved to her mother’s home. Although we don’t know what the rules were at her mother’s house social media and school reports provided us a glimpse into the huge difference of expectations. Once she graduated from high school it seems that her mother’s rules became too much and she chose to live with a friend that supported her financially as well as showered her with gifts of vacations and tattoos. After months of hearing from my stepdaughter that she was 18 and we have no say in her life I can’t even imagine how angry I would be if she were allowed to file a similar lawsuit.

It seems that we have lost the ability to respect each other. When Rachel initially was leaving her parents’ home there was reports that there may have been an abusive situation. The Division of Child Protection and Permanency did an investigation and “found nothing amiss, determined that Rachel was “spoiled” and discontinued the investigation.” Although I don’t know how Mr. Inglesino attempted to contact Mr. Canning, I find it hard to comprehend that a man that is an attorney couldn’t respect a father and simply knock on the door and try to sit down and understand the family rules. We live in a country where we are supposed to embrace differences, yet a simple difference in family expectations causes families to end up in court.

Teenagers are demanding to be recognized as adults, but are still in need of the structure family provides and parents need to help each other maintain that structure, not work against each other as these two families seem to be. Raising children is a huge challenge. From the time they are toddlers we try to teach our children, respect, kindness, love, the list goes on. Yet it seems that as we have aged we have lost these simple basic attributes, instead we turn to rage or the legal system to resolve our differences. In my opinion as a society it has become abundantly important as adults we need to reteach ourselves the lessons we want our toddlers to embrace. We must respect each other.