Sunday, March 7, 2010

Wholesome Pet Solutions PART 2

PART 2: A few months ago, I had the pleasure of being interviewed by yet another wonderful pet parent: Debbie Guardian, founder of OPIE & DOXIE/Wholesome Pet Solutions. Here is a little bit about her and our conversation together. Enjoy!

How and when did you realize that Buttons was suddenly thriving, and that her cancer seemed to have “reversed?”
For 4 months after her initial diagnosis, Buttons was getting different combinations of cleansing herbs, tinctures, and homeopathic remedies every few hours throughout the day. It was at that 4-month mark that I realized from her shiny coat and boundless energy, that I now had a healthy, 9-year old puppy on my hands! She thrived for an additional 11 years and the cancer never returned. She died peacefully, at home in my arms, of old age exactly 1 week prior to her 19th birthday.

I can’t even imagine how I will go on when my Opal and Dixie leave this earth. Yet, you survived losing Buttons, who was as much the center of your universe as my girls are to mine. How did you survive, day-to-day, without her by your side? What helped you through your healing process? And, do you ever really heal?
Wow, Debbie, it would take an entire book to answer that question...oh, wait! :) The last third of The Healing Art of Pet Parenthood is everything I went through after Buttons passed. Since I could find no pet loss books that fully addressed the depth of my pain, I decided to write one. Many things helped me through the healing process as I describe in the book: music, journaling, movement, meditation and mostly, communing with Buttons’ spirit. Even Einstein said that you cannot get rid of energy- that it can only change form.

So I figured out ways to tune into that finer vibration: physical energy is dense and observable with our 5 physical senses. Spiritual or soul energy, if you will, is accessible through our hearts when our minds are quiet enough. Who hasn’t had a “feeling” from time to time that could not be “explained”? I believe that what we as human beings know compared to what there is available to know, could fit on the head of a pin. That said, physically, I miss Buttons everyday and always will, but I have found a peaceful place for that pain and seldom focus on it. Instead, I am focusing on getting the word spread about this book in the hopes of it helping as many other dogs and pet parents as possible.

What would you like readers to take away from your book?
Even though the book is in narrative form and reads like a novel, it has a 3-fold mission:

  • Helping pet parents realize we may be unconsciously contributing to the skyrocketing increase of cancer in our pets by unknowingly creating highly toxic environments in our homes.
  • Providing comfort, camaraderie, and validation for pet parents experiencing the devastating loss of a beloved pet
  • Helping to remove the words, “It’s just a dog/cat” from the lips of non pet parents everywhere

In addition, I want pet parents to feel proud and open about the deep bonds they have with their pets.

In my fund raising speech for animal non profits, I often say that our animals are like furry Buddhas, embodying the best of our humanity and here teaching us that life is supposed to be enjoyed and in the moment, regardless of circumstances, other people’s opinion, or economic climate.

One of my favorite emails from a reader was from a lady who’d recently lost her 13-year old Bichon. In her 5th week of deep grief, her grown sons insisted she “get over it already” and/or “get another dog.” The woman’s reaction to her sons was to feel even more pain, anger and isolation. A few weeks later, she came across my book. Immediately after finishing it, she went onto and had a copy sent to each of her sons. She promised them that if they both read the book as soon as it was delivered, she would never again mention her grief around her beloved dog. Well, a week later, her sons came by with flowers and family photos the Bichon was in and apologized profusely to their mom saying that after reading The Healing Art of Pet Parenthood, they now understood what she was really going through. They said they would support her in any way they could for however long her grieving lasted.

My greatest hope is that the book goes on to help many, many pet parents and non pet parents, alike!

Thank you so much for sharing Buttons with us, as well as your beautiful relationship with her.
Thank YOU, Debbie, Opal, and Dixie!

For those of you who have not yet read Nadine’s book, “The Healing Art of Pet Parenthood,” whether or not you have ever lost a pet, I encourage you to not only read the book, but to watch the video on the homepage of Nadine’s site.