Jazz's big car ride

Jazz has issues with riding in the car. It could have something to do with being dumped as a puppy. But no matter, the point is, she has issues with riding in the car. After 3 of her 4 years living with us she has gotten okay with the back seat. Really. Eager to get in, happy to be along for the ride and quite comfortable. In the back seat.

I recently traveled 6 hours by car to a week long TTouch training workshop and I took Jazz and Nestle with me. Along with a LOT of stuff. TTouch practitioners have a rather large tool kit from which to work from and I drive a rather small, compact car. So, to make the week at the workshop more comfortable, I chose to take Elvis's old dog crate. It's roomy for "the babies" to share, sturdy, and offers a surface for all my stuff that's up from doggie range. Cool. Getting in the car is another matter, though. So, I ended up with it folded, on edge between the front and back seats. A barrier, but it worked great, otherwise.

On the way out to this workshop I arranged it so that Jazz had her coveted backseat complete with blankets. She did okay, but the constant rattling of the crate clearly stressed her for six long hours. Separated, I could do nothing to help her.

On the way home a week later, I made Jazz's spot in the front seat. This is a place that she does not like to ride and she reacts to it by shaking violently and hyperventilating. But at least I could TTouch her and give her calming signals and she'd be away from the rattling crate.

It turned out I had the crate better padded for the ride home and it never made a noise. Thank goodness! Jazz had enough to deal with. For the first hour she sat frozen and shaking while I sent her calming signals: yawning, slow eye blinks, licking. Not the best exercise while trying to stay alert and drive! But it worked along with gentle TTouches and she settled down and eventually closed her eyes. Then came the heavy mist. Just enough to make the windshield wipers squeal and the "splashy noise" from the tires. Jazz was in outer space again. Not only was she stuck in the scary front seat but now she was stuck in the front seat with all these horrid noises! So, we spent another hour and a half going through calming signals (did I mention I had a nearly full day of TTouch seminar before driving for 6 hours?) and TTouches when it was safe to take a hand from the wheel. By this time we were in the challenging portion of I-40 through the Smoky Mountains. Stunning drive by daylight, but it demands attention after dark and in the rain. Jazz was not pleased but working hard at self calming and she did relax a tad. I was drinking tea, with caffeine.

I'm so glad to say that our final 90 minutes were dry, calm interstate and Jazz was thankful! She calmed completely and at last, fell asleep. By contrast, her little buddy Nestle had slept soundly nearly the entire way. By the time we arrived home Jazz was calm and quiet about getting out.

My greatest and most joyous surprise was the next day when after hesitating to come to the car at all, she chose to come running up the walk and hop in the car ..... into the front seat. I had had both the front and rear door opened for her. She stayed in the front seat, happy and smiling alll the way to our shop (3 miles).

She chose the front seat.

You can read more about TTouch from my blog.


Health Care

Since I'm running two blogs, I know lines can be blurred and I sure don't want to post the same thing in both places. I'm forgetful, but redundancy is something I try to avoid.

Over at the East Tennessee TTouch blog are a couple of interesting articles on the health care of your canine companion. One focuses on dry dog foods, the other on tooth cleaning.

I invite readers to check out both blogs from time to time as they are complementary.

May the song of spring be marking time in your world...


Elvis Casserole

Elvis is Jazz's big brother in every sense of the word; out weighing her by 107 pounds and 3 years her senior.

Elvis was diagnosed diabetic some time back, which facilitated radical changes for the old boy. The vet recommended Science Diet's diabetic kibble. Obediently following direction we wrestled with an ever increasing blood sugar! Finally I read the ingredient label. The second major ingredient is corn meal?! Corn is a carbohydrate. I explained this to the vet who said the corn was added for fiber. Fiber.

I switched Elvis back to his former food. Taste of the Wild, High Planes' second ingredient is sweet potato. Now potatoes are carbohydrates too, but complex rather than simple. Sweet potato is more a more complex carb than its white counterpart making it an excellent complex carb for those watching their blood sugar. For adding the all necessary fiber, I added generic frozen vegetables in what evolved into "Elvis Casserole":
We begin with a $5 bag of chicken leg quarters. There's about 10 thighs in there. Great for BBQ, too. But for cheep dog food, this is the ticket.

Get a few dollars worth of frozen vegies. For high fiber I like broccoli cuts, green beans, lima beans, and carrots. Here's what we're using this time.

Here's 4-5 chicken thighs in a large pressure cooker. It was freezer cleaning day and we came across some freezer burned meats to add.
I add the frozen vegetables on top of the meat so that they retain their shape & fiber qualities. This is both small bags shown earlier.

Then, I add water to reduce any chance of burning and to produce a nice gravy with the casserole.
On goes the lid. I turn the heat on high till it's fully pressurized, then I let a batch this size simmer for 2 to 3 hours. A half size amount for 1 1/2 hour.
The bones retain their shape, but they're fully cooked and will fall apart easily. After allowing the casserole to cool, I break up the bones as I spoon the casserole into a storage container.
The bones provide valuable marrow and the bone itself will gently clean teeth.

Here's the casserole in it's storage container. Store in refrigerator.
Here's an Elvis portion of his casserole on top of his kibble. Jazz & Nestle also enjoy a proportion size of the casserole. Health and coat condition have been quite favorable for all.

Thank you to the kind Gianna Violin's customer who gave me the idea!


Pet Therapy & TTouch

The two go together like peas and carrots. TTouches as well as pet assisted therapy are both used in patient situations to aid in the healing process. TTouches benefit the animal as well as human, both giver and receiver, as does pet assisted therapy.

TTouches can be beneficial to the therapy animal as well. A balanced animal, emotionally and physically, has an easier task of connecting with a patient. TTouches prior to a visit can center the dog, energize him, or calm him. Whatever is helpful to that individual animal. The animals' handler (the volunteer) can feel benefit from a few self applied TTouches as well.

TTouches post therapy visits can help remove any unwanted energies collected through patient interaction and help restore the animal to balance and equilibrium. "Unwanted" energies? Yes. Illness, emotions, injuries are all stored in the body physically. While touching the therapy animal will improve the patients' energies and their spirits, the "toxic" energy may inadvertently be picked up by the animal. This may explain why some therapy animals seek refuge, sleep, or seem "low energy" after visits. Their body is processing a lot of stuff that can be sped up through a moments' TTouch.

This is true for the handler as well. If a volunteer/handler has ever left a therapy session feeling sad or simply "drained", some TTouches once settled in the car will help lighten the mood considerably and speed recovery time.