Friday, January 30, 2009


Please enjoy this beautiful production by Simone di Santi of
A Road Retraveled

Tuesday, January 27, 2009


As the cases of disease and health care costs continue to rise, there is relief to be found in the growing number of compassionate and reliable pet insurance companies. One that I am particularly familiar with and fond of is EMBRACE Pet Insurance and I have heard only good things about them from fellow pet parents. Below is a short excerpt from the EMBRACE web site. Do you have a story regarding pet insurance? Are your pets insured? Please leave your comments below.

"Eight Reasons You Need Pet Insurance

#1 - No Need to Decide Under Emotional Stress
If your pet suddenly falls sick or is injured, the last thing you want to worry about is having to make a trade off between what you feel is right and what you can afford. Pet insurance allows you to avoid life-or-money decisions like these.

#2 - Pets Can Get Sick Any Time
Young dogs eat stuff they shouldn't, indoor cats don't get enough exercise and can become overweight and unhealthy, older pets get arthritis and high blood pressure. Stuff like this happens, you can't really plan for it.

#3 - Do What Is Right, Not What You Can Afford
When you are discussing treatment options with your veterinarian, you want to focus on doing the right thing, not the cost. Pet insurance helps you do that.

#4 - Seemingly Simple Things Can Cost Thousands
A simple fracture can cost $2,000 or $3,000 to repair. Could you pay this if it happened today?

#5 - You Have How Much Saved Up?
You keep saying you want to set aside an emergency fund for veterinary bills ... how much have you saved up so far?

#6 - Vet Costs Rising Faster Than Your Wages
Veterinary care is expensive and continues to get more expensive as it becomes more sophisticated. The statistics say that our wages are having trouble keeping up.

#7 - It's Not Expensive
Pet insurance that is designed properly can help you plan for life's unexpected turns and be inexpensive too.

#8 - Because They Would Do It for You
The unconditional love your pet shows you every day tells you.

Why Choose Embrace?

We looked at the pet insurance market and talked to lots of pet parents like us. We learned that pet parents weren't happy with inflexible pet insurance policies and companies that didn't give you all the facts to make an informed decision.

Here at Embrace we believe that if you don't like the rules of the game then you should change them. So that's what we're doing.

Embrace Pet Insurance offers a customizable policy unlike any other on the market. This means that as a pet parent you decide how much and what type of coverage you want. The days of small, medium, and large are over!

Embrace's policies cover accidents, illnesses, genetic conditions, even alternative and complementary therapies, and chronic illnesses lasting more than one policy year. And we do not cap claims payments per condition."

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Fun, New Way to Find Books You'll Love!

For anyone who loves to read, here is a favorite site of mine. "Flashlight Worthy recommends books so good, they'll keep you up past your bedtime." If you're considering buying my book, or any other from, please consider doing it via the Amazon links on Flashlight Worthy. Then, of course, there's my all time favorite Flashlight Worthy list.

Please leave a comment!

"Why Flashlight Worthy Exists

Amazon sells every book in print, but the choice can be overwhelming. Flashlight Worthy is here to help:

  • We don't list the best selling books — we list the best books
  • We don't list 6,072 results when you search for John Irving (including 251 versions of Garp!) — we list each of his 15 books just once.
  • We don't make you hunt around for hours to find the very best books on parenting — we do the work for you.

Flashlight Worthy is nothing but thoughtful, hand-picked recommendations...
Organized into hundreds of useful, interesting, fun lists...
And all we do is books. :)

How You Can Help Us

Flashlight Worthy is a labor of love. There's just two of us, but we try to add new lists when we can. As a little added encouragement, we get a small referral fee when you buy one of our recommendations from Amazon (and we mean small — usually just enough to buy a Hershey bar)."

Sunday, January 18, 2009

THE DOGGY DIALOGUES! Q's & A's: Insatiable Appetite

As author of The Healing Art of Pet Parenthood and Mom of a dog who survived canine cancer and lived to be 19, people ask me lots of questions about holistic care, senior care, and grief. I am not a vet. Loving pet parent, avid researcher, and inner "roads" scholar are my credentials. That said, please email your questions and let The Doggy Dialogues begin!

Question: from Paula and Zoe
"My baby is a 14 yr old, 3-legged, dog eared, parvo survivor. Her osteoarthritis has been managed very successfully with human grade glucosamine condroitin, along with Rhimadryl for the last 5 years.

I watch her weight very carefully: she gets 1 cup of Canidae platinum with her pills morning and night. I don’t give her treats very often. What I do give her are the end cuttings of any and all vegetables that I prepare for my own meals. This dog will eat any thing! Carrot, celery, tomato, brussel sprout and even onion. Asparagus is one of her all time favorites – she comes a running when she hears me snapping the ends. On the average she is “treated” to raw veggie scraps 2 or 3 times a week.

But, the thing is, this dog is HUNGRY allllll the time. I mean, obsessively. Strangers have accused me of not feeding her. I laugh. She must be kept on a leash at all times, or will quietly and quickly disappear to snack on disgusting morsels other animals wouldn’t touch. Worst of all, she has taken to eating dirt and grass roots by the clumps. Mineral deficiency? Vets say her blood work is fine.

She has also taken to extreme carpet licking, primarily at it’s worst immediately after eating her meal. I don’t really think it’s a pain thing, but an obsession of sorts that I can’t figure out.

What do you know of these behaviors in elderly dogs? Do you have any suggestions regarding the raw veggies – more, less, things to watch out for, etc.,

Thanks for the request for questions, it’s been nice to follow you on twitter."

Dear Paula-
First of all, thank you for your question. I have read in numerous places that onions are toxic to dogs so you'll want to stop giving her those right away. Also, here is some info. on Rimadryl in dogs that, if you haven't already, you may want to consider.

Personally, I believe that Zoe is trying to tell you something and I would consider her communication as important as the vet's.
Obviously, her system is not functioning in a balanced way and the cause of that imbalance needs to be addressed before more serious symptoms appear.If it were me, I’d get a second opinion from another vet, preferably, a holistic one. I would go over her entire environment (inner and outer) with a fine toothed comb and see what toxins you may be unconsciously exposing her to that her immune system is being compromised by. After removing those, I would probably add sea meal to her food since there might be a salt/mineral deficiency. In addition, I would consider the possibility of homeopathic cell salts or perhaps a Bach Flower remedy to help cleanse her body of those toxins and then help her body find physical and emotional balance.

Her rubbing her mouth on the carpet after eating is usually a sign of an allergic reaction of some kind. Dogs can be allergic to even the cleanest food ingredients if their systems are already compromised. I would be most careful about the carpet cleaners I was using. Please see my post about possible toxins in her environment.

Her veracious appetite is a symptom of some imbalance, and in my opinion, finding the initial cause is the only satisfactory solution.

Wishing you both the best. Please let us know what happens.

Wishing you vibrant health
and precious moments-
Nadine (and Buttons)

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


It has been almost 17 years since Buttons and I stopped her cancer with exclusively holistic methods. Since then, I have come to learn that some people are unable to benefit from holistic medicine because they mistakenly think it means treating with natural remedies in lieu of pharmaceutical drugs.

If you are one of those people, please see my post: Holistic Defined.
On the up side, through my online book marketing efforts, I am meeting many pet parents whose pet-related businesses are founded on a more accurately holistic platform.

Head-to-Tail is one of those businesses. Here is a bit about them, and some great tips from them.

"Diet, grooming and regular vet visits take care of your dog physically; training maintains your dog's mental and emotional well-being. Head-to-Tail works to improve the lives of dogs and their owners by building stronger relationships through education and training. Training is provided in a safe, fun and emotionally rewarding environment.

The company is actively involved with rescue efforts through philanthropy and volunteering with local community services. We lead by example of responsible, caring pet ownership.
"Educate with respect and compassion for people and dogs alike." The goal is to have healthy, well-mannered pet dogs and happy owners. Real-life situations are addressed with realistic solutions. Only positive reinforcement methods are used.

Trainer Loella Springmann has been working with pet dogs since 1993. Head-to-Tail, Inc. opened for business April 2005 to serve Frederick, MD and surrounding areas. Loella is a
Animal Behavioral College Trainer Mentor, certified in Pet First Aid by the American Red Cross and is an active volunteer in the community.

Cold Weather Tips

Adequate Shelter: While I discourage owners from keeping dogs exclusively outdoors, I realize some people do. Dogs that spend most of the day outside must have appropriate shelter to keep out of wind and precipitation. Even dogs with thick fur can freeze to death. Also be sure to provide plenty of fresh, not frozen, water. Snow and ice put dogs at risk of hypothermia. Be aware that each county has codes specifying minimum restraints, shelter, protection and care for dogs (and other pets) punishable by fines or even jail time. If you are not familiar with the laws in your area, contact your local Animal Control, ASPCA or Humane Society.

Increase Exercise: When weather is relatively mild, walk your dog more frequently. Exercise with boost their metabolism, as well as yours, keeping you both warmer, longer. This is also the best way to alleviate stress! In extreme weather, play some fun indoor games together like Hide-and-Seek.

Watch The Feet:
Salts and chemicals on sidewalks and streets can irritate paws. After an outing, wash off their feet, and any other effected areas, with a warm wet cloth. Dogs walking in snowy areas may get large ice balls between their pads, causing the dog to limp. Be sure to keep ice clear from this area. For dogs that have a lot of hair between the pads, keeping the hair trimmed will help reduce ice ball formation. Dog boots are also helpful if your will tolerate wearing them. Coats: Many dog breeds’ fur is not made for wintry weather and some are more sensitive to precipitation. Using an appropriate coat keeps them warmer and drier so you can still get out. Select function over fashion. Look for coats that go on and off easily and allow comfortable movement. Remember to never leave a dog unattended in any kind of “clothing”.

Antifreeze: We can’t be reminded enough…keep pets away from antifreeze. Antifreeze is lethal if ingested. Thoroughly clean up any spills from your vehicle, and consider using products that contain propylene glycol rather than ethylene glycol.

Keep The Leash On:
According to the ASPCA “Never let your dog off the leash on snow or ice, especially during a snowstorm—dogs can lose their scent and easily become lost. More dogs are lost during the winter than during any other season, so make sure yours always wears ID tags.” Keeping your dog leashed also allows you to keep them away from potentially harmful substances.

Car Trips: Do NOT leave your dog unattended in a car. When the ignition is off, cold air gets trapped in a car like a refrigerator."

Monday, January 12, 2009


One of the first chapters of my book tells of the then harrowing, but now years later, humorous story of Buttons' first cross-country flight. Had THIS airline existed then, I would have considerably less gray hair today.

To find out all about them, please visit their site. For a brief overview- here's how this pet parent-owned, pet-only airline works:

"Welcome to Pet Airways, a Pet Only Airline.
Pets fly in the main cabin, NOT in cargo!

1. Drop your pet off at our Pet Lounge, located at (or very near) an easy-access local airport. You must check in your pet no later than 2 hours before take off. If you choose, you may check in your pet up to 48 hours before the flight. We’ll be happy to board your pet at our PAWS Lodge until the flight.

2. A Potty Break happens less than 2 hours before the flight if pet has been checked in more than 3 hours before the flight.

3. The Pet Limo takes all our pawsengers to the plane an hour before flight time.

4. Pets board the plane and our Pet Attendants make sure they’re all comfortable and that they, and their pet carrier, are secure.

5. A Pet Attendant monitors and checks the comfort of all pawsengers every 15 minutes during the flight. After landing, pets will be disembarked, given a potty break, and board the pet limo for their trip to the Pet Lounge at their destination.

6. Pick up your pet up at the Pet Lounge at your destination, knowing he or she has traveled comfortably and safely in the main cabin of our plane. If you cannot pick up your pet that day, we will be happy to board your pet overnight at the PAWS Lodge.

And don’t forget:

Each time pets move anywhere, from the Pet Lounge to the pet limo or from the pet limo to the plane, we track and record their progress, which means you can monitor your pet’s journey every step of the way online at


Friday, January 9, 2009


Meet Emily Waugh- volunteer

"The Central Oklahoma Humane Society was formed in January of 2007. Already we have made great strides in reducing the number of healthy, adoptable animals that are euthanized in Oklahoma
City each year (in 2007, that number was 18,000).

Some of our numbers for 2008 are: 4,349 animals were spayed or neutered at our clinic, 1,162 cats were trapped/neutered/returned, and almost 2,000 cats and dogs found new homes through our adoption program!

OK Humane is funded solely through private donations and grants, and receives no government funding. There are only five paid staff members. They all work in veterinary services, administration, management and adoption counseling, so we volunteers have to make up the difference everywhere else.

My background is in graphic design/web design and marketing. I maintain our web site, and am continually improving and growing that site. All our adoptable animals are listed on the site via a feed. We have applications available for interested adopters, volunteers and foster homes, and a plethora of information and links about pet care.

Our goal is to be a resource for all people in our community, and I am constantly updating and evaluating our web site to make sure it serves as it should.
In addition, through our blog, Twitter, web site, etc. I speak on behalf of our entire organization. Before I ever make a statement, I have to make sure I've put aside my own personal opinions and ideas, and that I'm making comments that are in accord with our mission, because our reputation is always on the line. It's a big responsibility and I feel grateful to be trusted in this way.
I began our blog in November 2008. I have learned a lot about blogging from reading extensively online, and I think I've spared myself many of the mistakes of "young" bloggers. For example, I work hard to make all our posts relevant and useful to our readers. If people want information about OK Humane, they can get that in other places--the blog isn't the place to re-post information. Rather, I strive to write interesting, informational articles that are meaningful and useful to our readers.

Much of our communication is shifting to the web, but we do need print materials every once in a while. Anytime OK Humane needs a brochure, flyer, invitation, annual report, etc. I am usually the one who designs it and coordinates with the printer. Often, our print media is our first impression on the community, when they pick up a brochure at a Petsmart store or an event. It's very important that we maintain a professional image, and I believe that donating my professional design skills allows OK Humane to have that image, without paying prices they can't afford.

I love doing what I do best (media) on behalf of the animals, and when I can find the time, I like to actually hang out with them, too! I am proving my dedication by working for free. But I wouldn't do it if I didn't enjoy it and this work definitely brings me a lot of satisfaction. Before OK Humane came to be, I didn't think we'd ever stop the killing of adoptable animals in Oklahoma City. Now, with all of these people working so hard, working together, I believe we really are going to achieve it."

Wednesday, January 7, 2009


During a recent radio interview (link on left column), a very astute listener asked me about the potential dangers of toxins from dog toys, particularly those made in China. Here is a wonderful alternative: meet Amy J. Mork/founder.

"Helping pets leave their pawprints on your heart, not the environment"

"I started The Leash We Can Do with the desire to create a safe place for pets, people, and the environment. The pet industry is almost entirely unregulated. I was spending so much time researching products and contacting companies about their ingredients, manufacturing, etc., that I really wanted to create a business that would be more discriminating when it came to the origin and sustainability of its catalog. A place that people could trust, knowing that the footwork had already been done.

Having a passion for both pets' health and our economic and environmental climate, I decided to exclude many products that are not made in the US. Because I am located in Chicago, this cuts down on a lot of shipping and pollution. I also look at companies that are creating solid and reliable jobs here in America, in addition to quality products. When possible, I've met with founders of companies and toured their facilities. We carry toys that are handmade in the US, toys that are made from recycled items, and other items that support US farmers and manufacturing.

For US residents, buying products made here helps our currently unstable economy and cuts down on shipping costs and waste. While more and more people are thinking of their own carbon footprints, I believe it is equally important to think about our own pets' carbon pawprints.

For instance, there are a number of dog waste bags that say they are biodegradable, but they do not meet standards to make those claims. Because there are only two states (California and New York) that require products to meet qualifications in order to put the words "biodegradable" on packaging, many people are making their shopping decisions without knowing that these products do not actually biodegrade.

I was so frustrated to hear this. This is one of the reasons I wanted to create a business that thoroughly researches all products they carry. Consumers shouldn't have to be an expert on absolutely everything they buy. There should be retailers who will refuse to carry items that do not meet high expectations. Plus, pets love this stuff!

DragonWagon and KisseFace's favorite toys are the Yeowww Catnip toys. They are made in the US and filled with 100% Organic, US grown catnip (the best quality I've ever seen-- and you can see the difference in their excitement!). Our dog, Tinker, loves her Orbee, which is her all-time favorite toy. It's made from recycled plastic and is non-toxic and recyclable. Her favorite outside toy is the Fling Thing, also made from recycled plastic and her favorite feature-- it floats! It's easier for her to retrieve in the water, as it's very visible and she doesn't have to open her mouth as wide and swallow as much water when she picks it up in the lake.

There needs to be more accountability for the production and manufacturing of pet products. The Leash We Can Do is a place that stands up for pets and their people."

Sunday, January 4, 2009


"With the new year comes the making of new year resolutions: make more money, lose weight, have better relationships. But what about making a new year resolution to begin communicating intuitively with your pet?

Animals form an important part of our lives, and can be an important part of our relationships. Those of us with pets often find ourselves wondering what our companions would say if they could talk. Well, they can, and do talk to us! We simply need to open our minds and build our confidence to hear what our companions are saying to us.

Here’s a fun practice tip to get you started:
Create a list of questions you want to ask your pet. Then, pretend you are a ventriloquist and your pet is your assistant! Ask your assistant the questions and answer in their voice. No fair thinking about the answer, no fair judging the answer. Say the first thing that pops in your mind and let it be. As you play this game with your pet partner, you'll be amazed at the information that you receive and the deep bond you develop!"

Janet Roper is an animal communicator based in Shorewood, MN. She offers individual communication sessions and teleconferences. For more information, contact her at You can visit her blog:

Friday, January 2, 2009

Where to Turn When a Beloved Pet Passes

When Buttons passed away the week before her 19th birthday, I was hard-pressed to find comfort. Then I googled "pet-loss" and was blessed to find this helpful, empathetic site.

"Chance's Spot was created in the fall of 1998 as a personal tribute to a beloved English Setter, Chance. In February of 1998 Chance was diagnosed with lymphosarcoma and on June 28 he died. The Web site has grown over the years and is now a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that assists grieving pet owners.

At Chance's Spot, we believe that pets are an important and engaging member of the family whose loss results in the same grieving process as would losing anyone close to us. We understand that the feelings generated when a pet dies are real and deserve the same respect as if it were any other family member. Our mission is to advance this notion to the general public and to support an increase in the respect and reverence that is given to the topic of pet loss. Through education, support and information, Chance's Spot assists the public in understanding that the grief suffered when a dearly loved pet is lost is a heartfelt example of how genuine the human - animal bond can be.

Chance's Spot provides an online support group, publications on pet loss, hotline numbers, referrals and an online tributes page where pet caregivers can post tributes to their departed pets. Locally, Chance's Spot provides educational presentations on the topic of pet loss o pet caregivers, pet care professionals and rescue and shelter workers. Area shelters, veterinarians and rescue groups also receive support and information about compassion fatigue - the stress resulting from caring for and helping traumatized animals on a daily basis.

Our yearly fundraisers help educate and support pet caregivers to understand the grief associated with losing a pet. It is our intention for Chance's Spot to be the first organization in the country to provide a memorial garden, pet loss education center and trained staff available to veterinarians and their patients." (VIEW VIDEO HERE)