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November 2011

Love, Mikey Brown

Today I asked my mom....

Why are there so many, Mom?

Why is the shelter so full? Don't these boys and girls have people who love them?
Why does that dog scour the ditch for food? Is there no one to feed him?

Why are those pups so sad and scared? Do they not know the warmth of a home?

I just don't understand why there are so many, Mom. Can we help them? Must they suffer so?

My mom touched my face and smiled, "Yes, son. We can help them."

"We can help by volunteering our time to rehabilitate and educate. We can help by donating blankets, towels, and food. And when we have an empty space, we can help by choosing to save an unwanted life."

"You see my son, you are loved. You have a home, a pack of bothers and sisters, a warm bed, and a full tummy. So many out there do not. They shiver in the cold, feel hunger in their tummies, and have no real family. Do they deserve this? No. But humans tend to see everything as disposable. They often forget that a new puppy or kitten is a living soul, a responsibility not to be taken lightly. When times become tough, they dispose of their burdens. This is why there are so many homeless pets. Many of your brothers and sisters came from these very situations...sad, lonely, and unwanted. That's why they are so grateful to now be a part of our family".

Afraid of being 'homeless', I snuggled as closely to my mom as I could, shuddering at the thought of living on the streets. My mom hugged me close, "Don't worry", she said, "You will never be homeless...never. You are and always will be my family. You will always be loved my son. And when the time comes for one of us to leave this world, we can be at peace knowing the other will be waiting on the other side."

It's bedtime now. As I snuggle under the covers with my mom I pray that those on the streets and in the shelters will find their moms and dads too. We were all born to be loved. I've never met Santa, but if he's real I ask one thing, "Please Santa, please find homes for the less fortunate. You don't have to bring me any new toys, treats, or chew bones. Just please help stop the suffering. I will even leave extra milk and cookies for you. Love, Mikey Brown".


Please take the time to help in some way, however small, this holiday season. If we all help just a little, it goes a long way. 


Homemade Inscence!!!

Cross Post from Herb Mentor News!

How To Make Your Own Incense

by Rosalee de la Forêt

This next holiday HerbMentor newsletter is another herbal craft idea that comes from thousands of years of tradition.

The word incense literally means ‘to burn’. For thousands of years people have burned plants and resins as religious rites, as a purification process, for protection, to cleanse the air, to repel pests or simply to enjoy a pleasant scent perhaps masking bad odors.

Incense has a long tradition of use in the far east; some even say that the making and burning of incense blends is more of an art form than a utilitarian purpose.

Today we are going to learn to make cone incense. Cone incense was invented in Japan in the 1800’s. It is easy to make and burns relatively fast.

By making our own incense we know exactly what plants and resins are being used and we don’t have to worry about potentially toxic fillers in our incense. Even though we are using pure products, it is always best to burn incense in a well-ventilated area.

To make this incense I used a kit from Mountain Rose Herbs. The kit includes everything you need to make your own incense, including...

a variety of different powdered herbs...

a small mortar and pestle...

and a book on how to make your own incense, such as this one by our friend Tina Sams. This book contains a lot of different recipes for making your own incense. It also describes how to make powdered incense, cone incense and stick incense.

It isn’t necessary to buy the kit in order to make incense, however. You can also buy these powdered herbs at your local herb store or Mountain Rose Herbs.

There are many different incense recipes. I chose the following one as an example.

To make our incense we are going to combine the following...

Makko is a prominent base ingredient for making incense.

Lemongrass is one of my favorite tea herbs, it has a lovely pleasant scent when burned. It is also used to keep away bugs.

Frankincense is a famous incense that comes from the resin of a boswellia tree.

Sandalwood is a heavenly scent. Be sure to source this from an ecologically sound source.

Benzoin gum is frequently used as a preservative in cosmetics and soaps. It has a mild, vanilla-like scent.

All of these powders can be combined in a small mixing bowl.

Next we’ll add small amounts of water to the mix until the powders can be formed into a malleable paste. I do this using a pipette dropper so that I can add water very slowly to avoid adding too much.

Add a little bit of water, stir, then add a little bit more until the mixture forms the consistency of play dough.

Once it is a paste, we can shape it into cones. To do this use your thumb as a base while you use your other hand to form the cone. Don’t make these too big or you’ll have difficulties getting them lit.

Place each of these cones on a piece of wax paper or other hard surface and let them dry for 24 hours.

After 24 hours, lay these cones on their side to allow air circulation to the bottom of the cone.

Depending on your climate these may take 25 - 36 hours to completely dry.

Once they are completely dried they can be stored in an air-tight container until ready to use.

To use these incense take one cone and place it on a fire-safe surface. Using a match or lighter, light the very tip of the cone, let it burn for a moment, and then blow it out.

The cone will continue to smolder, giving off a pleasant scent, until all the incense is burned. Remember to burn these in a well-ventilated area.

Incense is a great way to bring a variety of pleasant scents to your home.

These also make great gifts.

Again, you can get all you need right here to get started.

Have fun!


Poodle Reference Chart

I want to share this here with anyone whom it might help. This diagram will also be included in my Canine Reference Series chart book.

Here is a handy tip- if you open & download this photo onto your smart phone or iPad, then you can open and view it any place you have your phone or pad, including at your grooming table!   
I also have these charts laminated on cardstock so that they are very sturdy!

Please note that the tail set of this dog should set half way between the point of hip and point of rump when examining the structure of the dog. When the tail is raised, it appears to be higher but it should not be!

~For ordering info to get yourself the entire 15 chart set, laminated and sturdy spiral bound, just email me at [email protected].

Poodle Angulation
This is enforced copyrighted material, so please do not attempt to resale it!

Warm Aromatherapy Towels


Want to pamper your pet clients with a warm and relaxing towel wrap after their bath or before a massage?

Here is an easy and fast way to add aromatherapy benefits to your current salon services.

Cut a simple piece of felt or fleece cloth, just a few inches in length. I have a precut stack sitting on the top of the dryer for this purpose. 

On that fabric, shake out several drops of your favorite essential oils. Some of my favorites are Thieves oil, Lavender, Bergamot, Sage or Comfy. 

Prior to doing the pet's bath, load one or two (as needed) of your bathtowels into the dryer on high heat for several minutes along with the cut of oiled fabric.  (And these are REUSABLE!)

Pull the towels directly from the dryer and use them to squeeze dry and gently massage the dog from head to toe as you dry them.


Massage Oil Blends

Also, you can take one of the "AntiStatic", or "Downey" balls that go into the dryer to reduce static cling, and shake a few drops of this oil into or onto the ball boefore starting the cycle. The entire batch of towels will smell wonderful and you can change the scent as often as you like. Using oils gives you a signature scent that both you & your pets will love, and it also cuts down on the dryer sheet usage, keeps the towel ultr absorbant, and lessens the build up of dryer sheet waxes on your dryer's mesh filter that can result in fire.



A Homemade Holiday Gift Idea

This is off topic for grooming- but I wanted still to share it! This is an article by friend Rosalee de la Foret.

Make Your Own Lotion Bars for Holiday Gifts!

by Rosalee de la Forêt

Every year during the holiday season we pump out some extra HerbMentor newsletters to help you with creative herbal gift ideas, healthy and delicious food recipes and herbal medicine recipes. I’ve been thinking about these newsletters all year long and am excited to finally begin sharing them with you.

Our first newsletter is a really fun craft project. We’re giving it to you well in advance of the December holidays so you’ll have plenty of time to source the ingredients and make them yourself.

Every week I spend a couple of hours with my young friend Tova Rose. We explore the plant world together, making herbal remedies, reading stories and playing games.

Tova recently turned 10 and I wanted to give her something special for her birthday. I’d already given her every book I could find for kids involving herbs, including many coloring books. We’d already made salves and syrups.... what to do?

Finally, with the brainstorming of friends I was given a great idea. A lotion bar kit!

Lotion bars are firm bars that can be rubbed onto the skin like lotion. They are great for dry cracked skin (like the knuckles or heels). A friend told me she specifically uses them to moisturize her cuticles and fingernail beds.

Making lotion bars is fairly easy too, a lot like salves in fact, and just involves different proportions of wax to oil. I’ve since made a handful of batches and each time I’ve used slightly different ingredients. Here’s my favorite mix so far.

The lotion bars themselves are great gifts and even the giving of a lotion bar kit makes a wonderful holiday present as well.

The following recipe makes about seven one-ounce bars

To make this recipe you’ll need...

  • 3 ounces of beeswax
  • 1.5 ounces of cocoa butter
  • 1.5 ounces of shea butter
  • 3 ounces of an herbal infused oil
  • mold or tin
  • saucepan reserved for salve making
  • something to stir with (I use jumbo popsicle sticks)
  • essential oils (optional)
  • GET YOUR SUPPLIES right here at Mountain Rose Herbs

Measure out the wax and butters by weight. Begin by melting the beeswax, cocoa butter and shea butter. I use a pan exclusively for salve making for this (I got it at the thrift store for $2!). You want to heat this on as low heat as possible. Some people even use a double boiler. Stir frequently to avoid burning the wax and butters.

Once the wax and butters are melted you are going to add the oil. This is measured by volume and can be any cosmetic oil. I personally like jojoba or grape seed oil. Both of these oils are “dry” oils, meaning they absorb into the skin readily. Rose hip seed oils is also lovely. Olive oil can be used but it will have a more oily feeling to it.

To make this extra special you can infuse the oil with herbs. I chose calendula for mine. If you’ve never infused an oil before you can learn how in the Herbal Basics course on You can also use an oil that hasn’t been infused with herbs.

When the oil is added to the melted materials the wax and butters may harden a bit.

Keep stirring with the heat on low until the mixture is completely melted. Oils will go rancid more quickly when exposed to too much heat, so limit the amount of heat on the actual oils as much as possible.

When everything is melted you can add your optional essential oils.

Lastly, pour the mixture into molds or tin containers.

Not sure whether to use a mold or a container?

The plus side of molds is that you can buy these silicon molds in a variety of different shapes and sizes. Once the lotion bars have cooled it’s really easy to remove them from the mold. You could also try using muffin baking sheet (warning, I haven’t done this). I would grease the tins with coconut oil before pour the mixture into the baking sheet.

The tins offer more protection to the bar and could be carried in purses etc. If using tins make sure they have a flat side so that when the lotion bar solidifies it can easily slip out. If there is a curled lip at the rim you’ll have a hard time getting it out! If you live in a hot environment I strongly suggest using a tin for lotion bars.

When these are completely cooled you can pop them out of the mold or tin and put them to use.

Keep these in a cool place. If they get too hot they will melt again. If you are giving them as a gift - be sure to tell the recipient to keep them in a cool place.

These make great gifts! In the picture below I’ve wrapped the lotion bar in a cello bag (along with all the ingredients). (Available at Mountain Rose Herbs).