Our guest blogger today, Lillian Brummet, has loads of experience with conscious living. She’s the co-author of Trash Talk, author of Towards Understanding, co-author of Purple Snowflake Marketing (a book promotion guide), host of the Conscious Discussions Talk Radio show, and owner of the Brummet’s Conscious Blog. We met a while ago when I was a guest on her radio show to talk about adoption, and more recently her dog’s story has been published in the new Happy Tails Books publication, Lost Souls: Found! Inspiring Stories About Dogs.
Lillian joins us today to give us her thoughts on conscious living with pets:
When we have decided to adopt a new family member (a.k.a. “pet”) from a shelter, we often go online and look up the breed so that we will have a better understanding of their subconscious, breed-related behaviors. From this research, we can approach the training and handling of the animal in a more effective way. After the initial introduction phase that we go through (for the house and its contents, each member of the family, and for the outdoor area) we can then begin the training. Training is a lot of fun; it stimulates the animal’s mind and makes them more interested in spending time with you. Humans laugh and find peace in an otherwise hectic, stressful life… and the animal is more relaxed overall because they’ve gotten the attention they need.
Initially, we start with touching… getting the animal used to being touched at any position at any time – when they are eating, when they are drinking, at play, and when they are at rest. Eventually even the most sensitive, shy animal will give in and allow you to touch her anywhere, anytime. This is very important to do if you have visiting children and other pets around who may grab or touch the animal in an unsupervised moment. It also comes in handy for grooming activities that we’ll gradually introduce to a new family member such as cleaning ears, brushing teeth and trimming nails.
When purchasing toys, bedding or other pet items what I like to do is look for interesting new technological advances such as biodegradable waste bags in eco-friendly, refillable dispensers, beds that are stuffed with buckwheat hulls, environmentally friendly kitty litter, or pet toothbrushes made from recycled plastics. The food we choose and the packaging it comes in also plays a role in conscious shopping choices. I have learned to avoid foods that have corn and wheat in the top ingredients; while grass might be a part of the pet’s forging habits, grains are not. Grains and corn actually have a lot of empty calories and are not healthy for a cat or dog. Choose low calorie, high nutrition treats that also help clean their teeth. And don’t feed them people food – especially avocadoes, whole nuts and chocolate, which are very bad for your pet’s system.
I have allergies and have always bathed our cats and dogs to keep the symptoms at bay. Bathing once every 6 – 8 weeks seems to be appropriate with healthy organic, skin healing shampoo. …It is definitely worth the extra few dollars that these special shampoos will cost. Trimming nails – if you hear clicking on the floor then the pet’s nails are going to need some attention soon. Brushing the teeth is something we are new to – having only done this in the last year or so, but have been doing this chore about once every 4 weeks. It was no trouble at all getting them used to it, they were already conditioned to us touching them and manipulating their lips to see their teeth.
Pet safety includes understanding the plants in your home, office and yard – since some plants are dangerous for pets. These include holly and mistletoe, poinsettias and amaryllis. Other plants, such as certain grass varieties, are very healthy for pets. Remember pets are will graze, it is a natural thing for them, so keep yummy or dangerous plants far from harm – such as hanging spider plants out of reach of the cats’ paws.
During the holidays I’ve learned to keep tinsel and ornaments off the bottom of the tree where pets can access it. Avoid snow spray; it is very bad for pets. Oh – and secure the tree really well, since rambunctious pets can really get going when they are playful. If your pet tends to eat cords, including office cords, you might want to get a special cord protector from the office supply center.
I’ve come to advise people to think about their furry or feathered family members as little people – who’s paws might get cold, or hurt – who may tire earlier than we are ready for when out mountain biking… and later when the snows come, snowshoe activities. These little guys are like 2-5 year old children that will never grow up, they have a gentleness and vulnerability to them. They miss us when we are gone and can become depressed if they don’t get what they need.