Posts Tagged ‘Canine Cancer’

Smile for a Cure Top Fundraiser – Kelly Schulze of Mountain Dog Photography

Thursday, May 3rd, 2012

Smile for a Cure Top Fundraiser – Kelly Schulze of Mountain Dog Photography

This week’s spotlight is on another of our Smile for a Cure photographers – Kelly Schulze. Kelly was the top fund raiser in the first Smile for a Cure promotion in 2011.

Smile for a Cure Bo and Delilah by Mountain Dog Photography

Smile for a Cure Bo and Delilah by Mountain Dog Photography

Name of business

Mountain Dog Photography in Monkton, Vermont

Favorite subjects to shoot

Animals of course! Wild and domestic animals provide a continuous challenge.

Are you exclusively a dog photographer or do you do other subjects?

I’ve photographed dogs, cats, horses, cattle, sheep, goats, a yak, chickens, llamas, rabbits, guinea pigs, mice, rats, gerbils, hamsters, snakes, and lizards for clients. For private clients though dogs seem to be the most popular subject. I shy away from the term “pet photographer” as many of my clients own livestock, which they don’t consider pets. I also photograph wildlife.

How did you become interested in photography?

I was always interested in photographing my own animals, even at a young age. My father is an avid amateur photographer and my grandfather was a professional photographer in the 1950’s and 1960’s. I studied a bit more in college, but the thought of becoming a professional animal photographer never even crossed my mind until after I graduated and realized that I needed to find a career that I loved. I did a lot of research and found that other photographers were specializing in animals, so I figured I could too.

Why did you chose to include dogs/pets in your business?

I had a lot of animals growing up – cats, dogs, rats, gerbils, hamsters, and horses. I volunteered at an animal shelter, attended an agricultural high school, majored in Animal Science in college, worked as a veterinary technician, and worked as a dairy records specialist and milk tester. I’ve worked with a wide range of animals my whole life… there was no “non-animal” option for my career. I left my dairy career a year and a half ago to go full time with photography.

Smile for a Cure Session for Charlotte Willis and Jack by Mountain Dog Photograph

Smile for a Cure Session for Charlotte Willis and Jack by Mountain Dog Photograph

Why did you join Smile for a Cure?

The first two dogs my family had, Tristan the golden retriever and Samantha the lab/golden mix, died within two weeks of each other from different cancers. Tristan had malignant melanoma and it was a fast moving, devastating disease. Samantha’s cancer was never diagnosed because by the time we knew she was sick, it was too late to treat her. Many of my clients know the same heartbreak. One in particular lost their beloved Hannibal, a sheltie, early last summer. He had about 3 weeks from diagnosis to the end of his life. I was very close to Hannibal and saw him often, so when the Smile program started last summer I wanted to find another way of honoring him. The Smile For a Cure program lets me use my talent to do some good. We all hope that cancer is eradicated, but easing the treatment process is just as important. I appreciate that the NCCF supports research to cure cancer and to find better treatments.

Tell us your favorite Smile for a Cure session story.

I photographed 3 Smile sessions with a total of 10 dogs. They were all such different sessions. Delilah and Bilbo were special because Delilah was Hannibal’s best friend. The family adopted Bilbo last summer and it was bittersweet because I wished more than anything that Hannibal was my model, but Bilbo had such infectious puppy energy and has helped Delilah heal. Charlotte, Jack Maroo, and Willis were special because Charlotte is a cancer survivor. She lost a front leg, but she doesn’t let it slow her down. One portrait of Jack from that session recently earned me a blue ribbon at a print competition. My last session was with 5 newfies; Neeka, Ruby, Sparrow, Marley, and Mr. Spatz. Neeka is the mother of the others and all are beautiful dogs with wonderful personalities. The day of their portrait session threatened to rain and dark clouds loomed overhead. We were able to get all 5 together, relatively drool free, for a beautiful family portrait. Just after I got “the” shot it started down pouring and we ran back to the van with all 5 dogs loping along.

5 Newfies all in a row by Mountain Dog Photography!

5 Newfies all in a row by Mountain Dog Photography!

Canon or Nikon? Nikon D700. It’s been a workhorse and has never let me down. I also still shoot with various medium and large format film cameras. Film photography is my hobby.

Tell us about your dogs:

My husband, Ian, and I currently have a pack of 4 motley mutts. Our oldest and largest is Logan, a 5 year old great Pyrenees mix. Strangers are usually intimidated, but he’s a big teddy bear once he feels comfortable. Jackson is a 3 year old collieish mix. He loves agility and meeting other dogs. His motto is “strangers are friends I haven’t met yet”. JB is a 1.5 year old min pin. She’s 10 pounds of pure attitude, but she has her silly moments and is quite photogenic. Molly is our most recent addition, a 1.5 year old berner/aussie mix. She’s incredibly smart and motivated to learn. Last month we lost our beautiful German shepherd, Maple, so it still feels odd to have 4 dogs. Also under our care are 6 cats (Miss Kitty, Luci, Bink, Dorie, Masson, and Judy), and 30 laying hens.

The Mountain Dog Photography Pack

The Mountain Dog Photography Pack

Contact information:

Kelly @



Risi runs in honor of her Lab Abbey who was lost to canine cancer

Monday, April 30th, 2012

I received a contact form one day from Christine asking if we had any running clothes in our store.  She told me that she was going to run a marathon in honor of a dog she has lost to cancer.  As our conversation via email grew, I learned more and more of her Abbey and the hurt Christine still feels from her loss.  I asked her to share her story with us, here it is:

Our yellow lab Abbey died on March 9, 2011.  She was 12 1/2 when she passed of hermangeosarcoma.

Abbey, the light of the Risi family

Abbey, the light of the Risi family, lost to Hemangiosarcoma

It was just days before Christmas 2010 and Abbey was having trouble walking.  She lost her appetite and wouldn’t eat.  I brought her to our vet and they determined that she had a bleeding tumor on her spleen.  They told me that if we had waited much longer she would have died.  They immediately performed surgery.  We spent Christmas Eve, Day and week sleeping on the floor of our vet hospital.  My husband and I took turns so she was always with family.  We did a lot of praying and finally took her home just before New Years Eve.  We were optimistic that the tumor was benign and continued to pray until we received the bad news a few days later.  It was cancerous and, since the tumor was bleeding, it had spread.  At that point we were referred to an elevated vet care facility that could handle her chemo treatment.  While Abbey was 12 1/2, she was in good shape and had the will to live.  The specialized vet thought she was in good shape to take the chemo.  She thought we might be able to get another 8 months of time with her.  We decided to do whatever we could to save her life.  If we had to remortgage the house, my husband and I would have done it.  I would have given years off my own life for our girl.
January, February and early March were very hard.  She has some rough days after treatment.  In February they determined the the introvenous chemo wasn’t working and so she went to an oral medication, which she tolerated better, but I’m not convinced it was as effective.  All our energy was dedicated to Abbey’s care.  The entire family cared about nothing else but her.  My three children would come home from school and sit with her to do their homework.  Someone was always with her.  I stayed with her all day while the kids were at school.
While she only lasted 3 more months, and we spent thousands of dollars, we have no regrets.  I never wanted to look back and say “we should have, we could have…”  After all, Abbey was always there for us.  She was the one that sat next to the kids when they came home from the hospital.  She was the one that let them pull her ears and hair and kiss all over her.  She was the one who let them dress her up in princess clothes and march around the house.  She was the one that sat next to me through some very difficult times.  She was the one that sat next to my husband after his cancer surgery.  We were committed to be there until the end.  She never let us down and we would never let her down.  There are so many wonderful stories about Abbey that I could write a book.
The day we had to bring her in for an exam, the vet told us the cancer was throughout her body and we needed to consider euthanasia.  She already had one seizure that morning.  I couldn’t even breathe.  We decided to take her home so the kids could see her after school.  She was on the carpet in the living room and everyone sat with. her.  My husband and I could tell she was starting to be uncomfortable.  We told the kids we were going to bring her to the hospital to be monitored, when in fact we knew we had to put her down.
When we got there I begged the vet for anything he could do.  ANYTHING at any price.  He was well aware through Abbey’s 12 1/2 years that money was never a consideration when it came to her care.  We would do anything for her.  She was our first born.  He said her body just couldn’t do it anymore.  I prayed over her as the vet got the syringe ready.  I could not believe the pain in my heart.  I thought I was having a heart attack.  I prayed every prayer I ever knew.  Abbey looked at me and licked me with a very dry lick and then put her head down.  It was over in seconds.  My husband had to practically carry me out.  I was hyperventilating.  We were both hysterical.  It was the worst night of our lives.  I had lost aunts, uncles, parents, but it was much worse losing Abbey. She was part of our core family.  She was the nucleus of the family.
Abbey, the yellow lab

Abbey, the yellow lab

After she died, it was like a part of our neighborhood died.  She had been there since the neighborhood was built.  The community suffered a loss.  We received more cards and gifts at her passing then we did with any human family member.  My neighbors took a collection of $350 and asked us to plant a tree in our front yard in her honor.  She just touched so many lives.

It has been just over a year now.  I just took her food and water bowl out of the kitchen last month.  Along with her toys, they are now all in my bedroom closet.  And, when I get upset, I just go and sit in there and talk to her.  Her smell is still on her collar.
I ran the Shamrock Marathon for her last month because I needed something to help me.  I was suffering with severe depression.  I didn’t have my best friend to talk to all day.  I was alone.  I started training, knowing that the intense training would take place around the time she had died a year earlier.  I thought it would help me through those days, but it didn’t.  I just ran and thought of her.
But, I know she was with me during the race.  I had her dog tags in my pocket.  I really felt like giving up the day of the marathon.  I was having a bad run, but I kept going for her.  My husband and kids saw me at mile 13 and I told them I couldn’t do it.  They all yelled that I had to do it for Abbey.  And I did.
I know she is my guardian angel.  I know she will never leave me.  She is the warm sun that makes me smile.  She is the gentle breeze when I am hot.  I just know she would never leave me.  I still pray to her all the time and every night at dinner my whole family says a special prayer for our girl.
We have pictures all over the house.  My kids make pictures in school of her and they are hung next to my bed.  She will forever be a part of who we are.
No, we don’t have another dog.  The kids want one.  Their pain eased quicker than mine.  The pain of losing her was so deep that I don’t think I could live through it again.  She was one of a kind.  God must have needed another angel.
I hope your organization can help these beautiful animals.  They need us to be advocates for them.  God bless you.

Spotlight on Smile for a Cure creator and coordinator, Nunthany Johnson

Thursday, April 26th, 2012

The Smile for the Cure fund raiser is the brain child of Nunthany Johnson.  Two times a year, a group of photographers across the country donation 100% of their session fees to the NCCF.  Since Smile for a Cure started in 2011 it has raised $12,756 to fight canine cancer!

I would like to introduce you to all the Smile for a Cure photographers so, I thought there was no better place to start than with the organizer of this great fund raiser, Nunthany!

Georgia by Nunthany Johnson Photography

Georgia by Nunthany Johnson Photography

Name of business:  Nunthany Johnson Photography
Location:  North Carolina
Favorite subjects to shoot;  Dogs! (of course).  Horses, Nature.
Are you exclusively a dog photographer or do you do other subjects? mainly dogs ( allow a few cats from time to time. :) )

How did you become interested in photography?

I was the photographer for my high school newspaper (yes, a very long time ago!) and ever since then I’ve been hooked! I’ve always been interested in people’s stories and I think that’s part of what appeals to me so much about photography.  Its an opportunity to connect with someone (or something), learn about it, and then share it.  Its all consuming and has always been a form of expression for me. I love that its an ever changing craft and there is always more to learn and master.


Bruno by Nunthany Johnson Photography

Bruno by Nunthany Johnson Photography

Why did you chose to include dogs/pets in your business  /  Or make it your exclusive business.
It sort of happened by accident.  I started out using my own dog as a subject to practice different techniques or in different lighting situations. I ended up having so much fun with it that I decided to begin photographing dogs for other dog parents.  It was like a whole new world opened up!  I love that dogs are so open and real.  Photographing dogs is challenging and super fun all at the same time.  I love capturing how they just live in the moment and take things as they come.  One of the things I enjoy the most is connecting with other dog parents who appreciate the canine species and want to celebrate everything that’s special about having a dog.  It’s also very meaningful because I can combine my passion for photography with my love for animals and give people beautiful photographs that they are so grateful to have.

Louie by Nunthany Johnson Photography

Louie by Nunthany Johnson Photography

Why did you join Smile for a Cure?

Smile for a Cure is very near and dear to my heart because I started it in honor of our wonderful dog Max who passed away from cancer in 2009.  Max was a wonderful dog, a good friend, and such an important part of our family. He had a contagious zest for life & taught us so much about living in the moment and really appreciating the simpler things in life.   I think many people can relate to the fact that losing a pet is like losing a member of the family.  I wanted to do something special not only to remember Max but also to raise awareness of cancer & better the odds for the other dogs and their families dealing with cancer.   What’s so great about this effort is that I’m now joined by pet photographers nationwide & we are all working together to make a difference in the lives of dogs with cancer and the people who love them.


Tell us your favorite Smile for a Cure session story. ( Tell me about a dog that touched your heart, or a funny behind the scenes story…)

Solow was the first Smile for a Cure dog.  He was a senior dog with lung disease and a pituitary tumor.  I was expecting a pretty mellow shoot…but not this guy! You wouldn’t know he had any problems.  He was happy as can be, just enjoying life in his great backyard with the rest of his pack (3 other dogs and 1 cat…who was a pack member but probably not by choice!:)).  It brought home for me just how much we can learn from dogs and their great attitude about life.  The other part that was so memorable was experiencing how Solow interacted with the kids in his family.  He was so gentle and loving with them.  He had several spots on his tummy, one of which was shaped like a heart. The kids told me that was there on purpose because Solow had such a big heart with lots of love to give.  It was so touching and beautiful to see how much they loved and respected their dog Solow.   After this first Smile shoot, I knew I could make a difference with Smile for a Cure!

Nunthany Johnson Photography

Nunthany Johnson Photography

Canon or Nikon?  LOL

Nikon.  I shoot with a Nikon D700. My go to lens is typically the 28-70/2.8 when shooting dogs.  I also love to use my 50MM prime lens especially during closeup shots to get great shots of those expressive eyes!

Tell us about your dogs.

We have a wonderful family of rescued dogs that includes Scout, Toto, and Benji.  We love our guys so much! They bring so much happiness and fun to our lives.  Scout is our crazy little black poodle mix.  He’s super high energy and obsessed with one thing and one thing only:  THE BALL.  Toto is a shitzu mix (we found him running for his life on the interstate!) who enjoys cuddling, chewing on his bone and roughhousing with his older brother Scout. Toto is a registered therapy dog with Therapy Dog International and Scout is working on his certification.  We take both of them to visit with the elderly and children and we are so proud of their ability to bring a smile to everyone they meet.  Benji is our older wheaten terrier mix who can be a little cranky at times but tries his best to keep up with the younger guys.  When he’s not napping on his pet bed, he likes to run real fast from the top of the yard to the bottom.  They are all great dogs and a big part of our family.

Contact information:

7 Things You Need to Know about Canine Cancer

Wednesday, June 9th, 2010

1.) Cancer is the cause of nearly half the deaths of older dogs (10 years and up), according to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA).

2.) Early detection is vital. You should routinely examine your dog for any physical or behavioral abnormalities and bring your dog in for regular veterinary exams. Things to look out for include: abnormal swellings, lumps under armpits and under the jaw, sores that won’t heal, foul breath, weight loss/poor appetite/difficulty eating, difficulty breathing, or bleeding/unusual discharge from any orifice on your dog’s body.

3.) Mast cell tumors are one of the most common cancers found on and under the skin of dogs. Any breed or mixed breed can get them, but Golden Retrievers, Labrador Retrievers, Boxers, Boston Terriers, Pugs, and Shar Peis have shown an increased propensity for them, according to the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine (ACVIM). Between 10 and 15 percent of dogs with a mast cell tumor end up getting more of them throughout their lifetime, the ACVIM reveals.

4.) Not all skin growths and masses on your dog are cancerous. Just like with humans, some tumors are benign (harmless), while others are malignant (harmful). Veterinarians confirm tumors in dogs through x-rays, blood tests and ultrasounds, and diagnose benign or malignant tumors through a biopsy, where a tissue sample is taken from the dog and examined under a microscope.

5.) Spaying and neutering reduces your dog’s risk of certain cancers. This is particularly true of uterine and breast/mammary cancer in females, and testicular cancer in males (if neutered before six months). This is important because breast cancer in dogs is fatal in about 50 percent of cases, according to the ASPCA. And let’s not forget, spaying and neutering helps control the pet population, as well.

6.) Chemotherapy isn’t just for humans. That’s right—this treatment you’ve heard about for human cancer patients is also used to put canine cancer into remission. Chemotherapy can extend the life of a dog with cancer, even canine lymphoma, and in some cases, even pose a cure. Chemotherapy damages rapidly growing cancer cells in dogs, slowing or stopping their growth entirely. The bad news is chemo can produce some rough side effects in your dog, like vomiting and nausea; however, the good news is dogs rarely lose their hair from the treatment like humans do, the ACVIM says.

7.) Cancer treatment for dogs is expensive. This is especially true of advanced treatments. You may want to consider getting a pet insurance policy when you decide to own a dog, especially if you have a high-risk breed. A pet insurance policy can give you peace of mind that you won’t go broke when obtaining the best cancer care for your dog.

This guest post is contributed by Alvina Lopez, who writes on the topics of accredited online colleges. She welcomes your comments at her email Id:

New medicine to treat canine cancer..

Sunday, July 19th, 2009

Can you believe there is finally a drug for the treatment of cancer in dogs? Yes, the US Food and Drug Administration has approved the first drug made specifically to treat mast cell tumors in dogs.

Until recently human oncology medicines were used to treat cancer in dogs.

This is indeed a huge breakthrough. The new drug called Palladia, has been manufactured by Pfizer Animal Health Inc.

It works by killing tumor cells and disrupting blood supply to the tumor. However, the side effects may include diarrhea, loss of appetite, lameness, weight loss and blood in the feces.

For more information on mast cell tumors you can log on to

Writing the Perfect Tweet

Tuesday, July 14th, 2009

It’s an art, communicating in 140 characters.  We’ve all been there, where you type out your tweet, getting the message across just right and it ends up being over the 140 character limit!   Now there’s a choice to be made in the editing, stay true to proper grade school grammar or go with Twitter slang.  It’s so tempting to  change the “for” to 4, “to” to 2.  And let’s not forget “our” to R.

Finally after a few minutes we have managed to fit the tweet into the 140 character limit and the message is complete and understood.  All that work just to get a simple tweet out.  Was it worth it?

Well, what if we made it worth it?

Have you ever dreamed of quitting your job via Twitter?  How about popping the question within 140 characters?  Just how creative have you gotten with your Tweets?  What if, instead of just getting your message across you were able to Tweet for a good cause AND win a MacBook Pro?

The National Canine Cancer Foundation has made that possible!  The NCCF has created a Tweet writing contest to challenge you to “Write the Perfect Tweet” while giving you a chance to win a prize.

The contest has several categories to challenge you to “Write the Perfect Tweet” in relationship to the subject. You pick the category you want to write and then submit it for a chance to win some great prizes and help fund canine Cancer research.

The categories are:

  1. Write the Perfect Tweet for quitting your job.
  2. Write the Perfect Tweet for raising money for canine Cancer.
  3. Write the Perfect Tweet for a marriage proposal.
  4. Write the Perfect Tweet for telling your kids there is no Santa.

You can enter as many “Perfect Tweets” as you want. The cost to enter a tweet in the contest is $5.00 for each time you submit a new tweet. The $5.00 goes to the National Canine Cancer Foundation to fund canine Cancer research. Many of the contest partners have also created a way to enter for free also!

Get creative and go to!

The National Canine Cancer Foundation is a nationwide, contribution funded, non-profit corporation dedicated to eliminating Cancer as a major health problem in dogs by funding grants for the scientific efforts of Cancer researchers who are working to save lives, find a cure, find better treatments, find more accurate, cost effective, diagnostic methods in dealing with Cancer, and diminishing dogs’ suffering from Cancer through research, education, advocacy, and service.  Find out more about the Foundation on

What’s More Scary? Change or Cancer?

Tuesday, June 9th, 2009

Guest blogging for the National Canine Cancer Foundation is a real honor – and a great way for dog lovers to share stories and information. Thanks to the National Canine Cancer Foundation, work for a cure is supported. People who have lost beloved friends or whose dogs are living with cancer have a place to go to find hope and strength. But I want more.

I want all guest bloggers here to share their posts on the National Canine Cancer Foundation’s blog across the dog-blogosphere, so we can get the word about Canine Cancer where it badly needs to go – to people whose dogs are healthy. Let’s face it; people don’t want to hear about cancer if it’s not in their lives. It’s too frightening. But, if we are able to spread information that can help people take real action to promote wellness in their dogs, we can make the National Canine Cancer Foundation’s job a little bit easier.

I started thinking about canine cancer as my dogs got older, (they’ll be 7 and 9 this year) and as I heard about so many pets, both dogs and cats, who were dying from cancer. On one street not far from where I live, the cancer rate for both people and pets seems extraordinarily high. Is it because the planes landing at the airport empty their gas tanks over that area? (The tops of trees in the arboretum there are surely showing signs of damage.) Is the cancer rate due to poor diet? Heredity? Lawn chemicals? Coincidence? More frightening is the possibility that this street is not an anomaly.

When it comes to animal companions, pet owners turn to the experts for help. After all, everyone wants to be sure they’re doing the best they can to keep their pets healthy. What, then, has gone so terribly wrong? Well, sometimes, people choose the wrong experts to listen to, for instance, unscrupulous advertising agencies, who push foods that aren’t really very nutritious for animals, or more subversively, splash images of happy dogs in their ads and on the trucks of lawn care services, who use toxic chemicals.

People need to realize that they are capable of becoming the experts themselves, and more than that, they need to become the experts themselves to effectively advocate for the health and well being of their animal companions. To do this, they must read everything they can get their hands on and question, question, question – Is this food, vaccine, medication, procedure, training protocol, you fill in the blank, what’s right and healthy for my dog?- even if it means an uncomfortable conversation with the vet.

Many pet owners are not aware, for instance, of the danger vaccines pose to pets, including their contribution to incidences of immune disorders, elevated liver enzymes, kidney failure, seizures, hypothyroidism, and cancer, among others. Dr. Jean Dodds, an internationally recognized authority on thyroid issues in dogs and blood diseases in animals, has done extensive research on vaccines, and asserts “In veterinary medicine, evidence implicating vaccines in triggering immune-mediated and other chronic disorders (vaccinosis) is compelling.” She is currently working toward reducing the number of rabies vaccines dogs receive by extending the vaccination requirements to five, and then seven years.

In short, pet lovers need to read the about vaccination issues so that they can make an educated decision about which vaccines and how many their pet really needs, (within legal guidelines, of course) no matter what that postcard from the vet says.

People also need to be open to new ideas and to pay attention to evidence amassed from years of research when it comes to the health of their pets – especially when the results challenge their belief systems about medical care. People often fall into the mindset of “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” In the case of canine cancer, however, something in the healthcare system for animals is terribly broken, and both pet owners and the medical community need to look beyond what they’re doing now into new options with an emphasis on wellness, rather than fearing change, in order to remedy the situation.

Dr. Terry Shirvani, a Naturopathic physician and owner of cats, suggests that we can (and should!) take for the most part, concepts of holistic health for humans, which are based on wellness, and extend them to our animal friends. The holistic approach takes into account the health of the whole being, and as Terry emphasizes, animals are beings, just as much as humans are. Holism looks at each animal as an individual.

Just like people, all animals are unique in their health and emotional requirements. There is no one-size-fits-all food for dogs, and providing them with the best food we can may mean preparing their meals by hand, rather than picking up a bag of kibble at the supermarket. Sound ridiculous? Consider then, the health and lifespan of dogs before the introduction of kibble. Terry also points out how stress in owners’ lives can affect their pets who are extremely sensitive to what’s going on with their human guardians. By looking at ways to improve pets’ quality of life, their owners may be surprised to find ways in which it’s critical to improve their own.

The path to wellness is not difficult. The difficulty lies in people’s resistance to change. Looking up information on the Internet is not hard. Changing dog food is not hard. Vaccinating less is not hard (and saves money!) Trying a more natural approach to wellness instead of patching symptoms may require finding a different vet, but that’s not really so hard, either. Small changes can make a world of difference. Let’s make that world one that’s canine cancer free.

Contributed by Beth Lowell, Animal Reiki Practitioner,

What Should I Feel When My Pet Dies?

Monday, May 11th, 2009

One word is wrong in the title of this post.

Can you find it?

It is the word “should”.

There is no “should”.

There is no “right” way to feel.

There is no “right” way to act.

What is, is.

What you feel, is what you feel.

There is no more than that.

There is no judgment to your reaction.

If you cry, yell, are silent, laugh, focus on your work, get mad, turn towards friends, turn away, that is just the nature of what is. We all react differently and there is no “one” way. Just let it all be.

Be who you are. Be how you are. Do not allow it to mean anything about yourself. No judgment that you are good, that you are bad, you should feel this, you shouldn’t feel that.

Contributed by Alex in Welderland at Twitter is @CustomPetUrns

Dogs predict Cancer and more

Wednesday, March 11th, 2009

It has been recorded that dogs can sense when an earthquake or tsunami is coming. Heightened sensitivity to changes in barometric pressure, tremors and other animals may allow them to ‘predict’ a future event, offering a scientific explanation for this particular type of event.

But what about those dogs that save lives? Service dogs are utilized for their ability to predict epileptic seizures or low blood sugar in diabetics, alerting their companion in advance to avert an potentially life threatening episode. It’s not just service dogs who preform these phenomenal acts; accounts of dogs with no training alerting their companions before life threatening attacks are common. How is this possible?

There have been accounts of dogs predicting heart attacks and perhaps most interestingly, cancers. Perhaps the explanation for this behavior lies in our canineDog Doctor companion’s acute sensitivity to changes in odors or changes in behavior that are missed by humans. Rather then being ‘psychic,’ perhaps in addition to science, our dogs are so in tune with that from which we are blocked, they truly can assist us in connecting to that which we are removed from, due to the convoluted structures of modern life.

New studies do conclude that dogs can ’sniff’ out cancer. A major study on this topic was conducted by the Pine Street Foundation, a research organization in San Anselmo, California and more studies utilizing canines to detect cancer are underway.

As dogs can have the ability to smell chemical traces in the range of parts per trillion, dogs are able to discern the breath of lung and breast cancer patients from that of healthy people. Cancer cells emit different metabolic waste from normal cells and these particles can be detected by dogs, even in very early stages of the disease. Previous studies have confirmed the ability of trained dogs to detect skin-cancer melanomas by sniffing skin lesions. It is hoped that dogs will also be able to detect prostate and other cancers by sniffing urine samples. Early detection is vital to a good prognosis for cancer patients and it may be the super-sniffers of dogs that are able to detect disease before any human-made screening methods.

Accounts of untrained house pets repeatedly sniffing or pawing at an area on a family members body are common, only for the human to later find out they have a cancer in the very region that the dog was so focused on. Clearly, the science behind the dog’s abilities are tapping into the natural capabilities of the dog.

This was a guest blog written by Hilary Sloan Canine Aficionado

Guilt and Closure

Thursday, March 5th, 2009

When we have to make difficult choices. When we have to take on the responsibility of putting an animal down, there are always the ‘what ifs’.
I remember when I had to do this.
He was in pain. His eyes were sealed shut. He was weak. I made a choice. And he left this earth. What a responsibility we take on. And we are not God. We are not all seeing. We do not know how it would have turned out.
We just do the best we can in our humanness. We are imperfect, and so the question remains “Did I do the right thing?”
Sometimes this question can haunt us. Make us lose sleep. Wish that we did not have to be the responsible one, the grown up.
The answers are in sharing with others. Let others support you. Let others help carry your burden of responsibility. It will take the burden off your shoulders.
I just poured out my heart, hoping it would help me let go. What I received in return was strength, support, and love. Sharing is the access to all of humanity. To remind us that we are all living the same life.
When you are in pain, especially from loss, you need to share it with others. Allow them to hold you up. For when you are strong again, you can do the same in return.
Contributed by Alex in Welderland at Twitter is @CustomPetUrns