Archive for January, 2015

Cat cafes rising in popularity

Hello, friends. I hope the new year is treating you well so far. Here are a few things I’m feeling gratitude for today …

1. Coffeehouses that help out with pet adoptions? Yes! Cat cafes are rising in popularity, with shops cropping up in cities like Oakland, Denver and Seattle. Patrons can grab a cup of jo and then schedule some playtime with shelter cats needing a good home.

2. Random reasons to celebrate, like: Today is Static Electricity Day! Static and cats just don’t mix. These great tips will help rid your cat’s fur of static electricity (and protect your cat from this):

3. Noel Fitzpatrick, rock star vet and star of the BBC series “The Supervet”: His work helping animals extends way beyond the amazing, cutting-edge techniques and “miracles” happening at his veterinary practice. Last year, he launched a nonprofit called Humanimal Trust, which builds stronger scientific and educational connections between vets and physicians for humans—a collaboration that ultimately will benefit our animals. In case you missed them, old “Supervet” episodes are available on Amazon.

4. Promising research that could help to diagnose fatal kidney disease in cats earlier. A test based on a newly developed biomarker could be available to pet owners someday soon, extending their kitties’ lives.

5. Yay! Eddie the Terrible has been adopted following this hilarious ad from the Humane Society of Silicon Valley, which highlighted all of his flaws. You gotta love the Humane Society for using creative ways to draw attention to their animals. (Whatever works!)

What are you thankful for today?

{P.S. My Reiki for Dogs Audio Course starts Monday! Click here for details and to sign up (scroll down to the second class listed).}

Ahh … time for forest bathing!

I think everyone has experienced this (am I right?): You have a terrible day (or week, or month), then you go to the woods or your favorite trail and … almost magically, you feel a noticeable lift in your spirits. I’ve experienced this so many times that I truly make an effort now to listen to my inner self when I’m needing to reconnect with the natural world and seek out peaceful “me” time in nature.

I’m not the only one. “Forest bathing,” as it’s called, is an actual, real practice with scientifically measurable health benefits (including reducing stress and depression, lowering blood pressure and upping your immune system). The term is a literal translation of the Japanese term shinrin-yoku. And how wonderful is this: Japan has nearly 50 official Forest Therapy trails.

Elizabeth Weil in the December issue of Vogue writes, “In 1982, the Japanese Forestry Agency put forth the idea that if the nation’s stressed and depressed citizens—the Japanese have among the highest suicide rates in the world—would just walk their forest therapy trails, they would soak up the sensory splendor and soothe their weary minds.” Studies have since been conducted worldwide, and the results have been so positive that many are rethinking how a holistic approach like this can help treat a variety of psychological and emotional problems.

One of the leaders in the ecopsychology movement is Richard Louv, author, journalist, Audubon Medal winner and co-founder of The Children & Nature Network, which aims to get kids outside and reconnected to nature. He’s written several books, including these (which look like great reads!):

Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children From Nature-Deficit Disorder: On how vitally important it is to “unplug” our kids and get them back playing outside.

last child

The Nature Principle: Reconnecting With Life in a Virtual Age: Offering inspiration and explanations on why adults need nature, too (not just kids!).

nature principle 2

What are your thoughts on forest bathing? As for me, I think I have some “redwoods bathing” to get to. …

{P.S. This article offers more info on forest bathing experiments, plus 10 tips for ensuring a “proper” forest bathing experience (scroll down a bit to get to the tips).}

What’s your animal’s name?

One of the best parts about adopting a new animal into the family is naming him or her! It’s so fun to play with words, read baby name books and even hit the web in search of the perfect fit. My youngest sis recently did just that: She and her husband welcomed home two eight-month-old sister kittens from the local shelter. They finally decided on two beautiful names: Tig (the alpha kitten, after the comedian Tig Notaro) and Quinn (they wanted a beautiful one-syllable Irish name).

A few weeks ago, all the top name lists for 2014 came out: top baby names of 2014, popular puppy names of 2014, and most popular kitten names 2014. If you’re looking to name a new furry family member, these are great places to start your search.

Animal-inspired New Year’s resolutions

I’m not really big on New Year’s resolutions, but I appreciate this idea of letting your animals guide you toward healthier, happier living. What better time than in January, when we’re all ready for a fresh start?

Here are five ways our beloved animal companions (especially dogs) can help us achieve our goals in 2015:

1. Live healthy every day: Walking your dog every single day (or even twice a day!) is an easy and fun way to add aerobic fitness to your routine without even realizing it. (Those of you with dogs know what I mean.) And if you’ve always wanted a dog but haven’t yet adopted one, a loyal and enthusiastic (albeit furry) walking partner could be just the motivational boost you’re looking for. In fact, according to the University of Western Australia, new dog owners walked an additional 48 minutes per week. For more on the amazing health benefits of walking your dog, check out this article.

2. Widen your social circle: Take your dog for regular walks around your neighborhood, and suddenly you meet neighbors you haven’t seen before. Take her to play on the beach or at a dog park, and you just might make new friends (and your dog can have a playdate, too). Let him join you when you travel, and you’ll discover dog-friendly gems like Carmel or Laguna Beach, California, which welcome leashed dogs in many hotels, stores and even some restaurants (on the patio).

3. Try new things: Whether it’s walking a new trail in the redwoods, biking, camping or even trying a fun water sport like kayaking or boating, most dogs are always up for adventure! Both of you will get to experience something new, and that alone can be super rejuvenating.

4. Advocate for animals: Sometimes it can be hard to find your voice or the time to really “live for” the causes and issues you believe in. Let your love for animals inspire you. If you witness cats, horses, dogs or other helpless creatures being neglected or mistreated (like stuck inside a hot car or in other terrible conditions), let the authorities know. If a specific area of concern interests you, such as the plight of feral cats or hoarding, find a local organization supporting that cause and see if their volunteer program is a good fit. You could even start a blog, use social media and fundraise to spread the word about the animal welfare issues you’re passionate about.

5. Give back a little bit more: You don’t need a lot of extra money to give back in small ways. “Shop for a Cause” programs like AmazonSmile, GoodSearch, iGive and Living Zoe let you shop for things you would buy anyway; they donate a percentage of the purchase back to the charity of your choice. Not sure which charity to choose? My favorite would have to be … the Shelter Animal Rescue Association, or SARA, which I founded with Leah D’Ambrosio to support animal Reiki programs at shelters and sanctuaries worldwide. You can find us on AmazonSmile, iGive and Living Zoe.

What are your New Year’s resolutions?

 

HOLD YOUR HORSES!

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