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October 2015

Gordy's Decision


As many of you know, I am a Reiki Master and incorporate it into my grooming practice. I wanted to share a story involving one of my grooming/reiki clients.


One of my personal core philosophies involves animals and their sentience.

The legal definition of sentience, according to the Oxford dictionary, is the ability to perceive or feel things. Sentient beings are aware of their surroundings and can feel love, as well as pain.

Let’s take that one step further.

Without a doubt, I feel dogs have souls and a mutually agreed upon path in this world. They can act as our guides while on the earth plane, as well as from the spiritual realm.

As an energetic practitioner of Hands And Paws-Reiki For All, I respect and honor their decisions regarding any energetic healing on their behalf as I don’t wish to interfere on their journey.

Gordy was an elkhound mix that I professionally groomed on a regular basis. He was never too crazy about the whole process, but surely strutted around afterwards.

As he aged, he began to struggle with the effort on his quest to be beautiful. Gordy ceased to be a grooming and became one of my reiki clients instead. He readily accepted energy work.

That is, until the last time I saw him.

Every time I tried place my hands on him, he walked away, even though it was painful for him to do so. After a couple of unsuccessful tries, I tuned into him to see where the problem lay. Gordy was in a good place. He felt he was no longer in need of healing. Gordy’s concern was of his guardian.

Gordy’s caretaker was in conflict. She had recently lost her husband of over 60 years and couldn’t bear to lose Gordy as well.

I could see it was Gordy’s decision to refuse healing and instead treat his beloved companion. The following day she made the decision and Gordy was sent up.

I always allow the animal I am treating to make decisions regarding their healing. Sometimes it is the length of time and other times it’s the method.

But they are always in control of the session.



Pet Safety Tips For Halloween


I love Halloween.

Let me say that one more time.

I love Halloween.

It is my favorite holiday. Not only do I get to have guilt free bags of candy for all those cute little kids in costume coming to my house, I can also where the velvet dress I made for Renaissance Faire, that I was dying of heatstroke during the summer. AND I can dress up my pets in costume. However, my pets don’t share my enthusiasm. Almost everything about Halloween is problematic for them.

Ringing Doorbells and Scary Kids

For hours on end the ringing doorbell sends Speedy G and Cecil into a frenzy. There is also the possibility of them bolting through the now opened door and being frightened by several kids yelling, “trick or treat.” There is now the risk that Speedy and Cecil will bite those children.

Solution- Provide a safe haven for Speedy G and Cecil. I pile blankets on my bed for my two doxie mixes to hide under and play soothing music to calm their frayed nerves. While my other dog's reactions are not as extreme, the heightened emotions will stress them out as well. They stay in the bedroom as well. And no one is let outside for a potty break until the trick or treaters are done for the night.

 Halloween Candy


The three biggies are pets are chocolate, xylitol, and candy wrappers.

Chocolate contains theobromine. Dark chocolate contains higher concentrations of this toxic for pets substance than milk chocolate. Theobromine cannot be metabolized by pets and is stored in the pets liver until the liver reaches capacity. It has the potential to be deadly. A larger pet can ingest (store in liver) more theobromine than a smaller pet.

 Xylitol is an artificial sugar used in many candies. Xylitol causes a deadly drop in the pet’s blood sugar. Even small amounts will kill a pet. Other artificial sugars may pose a problem as well.

 Most pets will not bother to remove candy wrappers. Wrappers are not digestible and may cause intestinal blockages and tears requiring expensive surgery to correct.

 Solution- Keep candy out of reach of your pets. Or in my case, just eat it all. Can’t be too cautious. Keep the number to Pet Poison Helpline handy. 1-855-764-7661.

Pet Costumes

To make up for their obnoxious behavior, Speedy G and Cecil enjoy getting dressed up. I think this year they will both be land sharks. However, improperly or poorly designed pet costumes may result in injury.

 Solution- Fit your pet with a costume that does not restrict movement or visibility, nor has any hanging parts that may become snagged on an object.

 Candles In Pumpkins

 The danger lies in your pet knocking over the pumpkin with a lit candle causing a fire.

 Solution- Do not light candles or blow them out when your pet has access to the pumpkins. Or use battery operated candles.

While Halloween may never be a pet favorite, by ensuring their safety, it  will remain your favorite holiday.


Mary Oquendo is leader in pet well- being educational programs and teaches pet first aid and other safety workshops for professional pet industry, as well as pet owners. If you have a topic you would like to see addressed in this blog, contact