Be Kind: Compassion for Animals

Something close to my heart is, has been and will always be animals. More specifically, animal cruelty and helping those less fortunate. I was taught to save everything, my mother is a kind, amazing woman. A little quirky at times, but aren’t we all. My mother has saved every animal you could possibly imagine that resides in the Northeast, earning her the nickname Nona (a female take on Noah). Instead of having two of everything we’ve had two-ten! You name it and I probably had it as a pet growing up, it was also more likely than not named after a Disney character or something pertaining to hockey. I had Ariel and Winnie the sheep, Tom the turkey, Simba the cat, Belle the bunny, Byron and Dafoe the hermit crabs, Stanley the cat, Stanley, Bruin and Puck the fish and the list goes on and on. My family has never met an animal it wouldn’t rescue, rehab, foster, etc. So, the concept of helping animals in need was programmed into me at a young age. Growing up it was a running joke that my Mom would probably choose an animal over her kids; in retrospect I’m not quite sure it was a joke!

Regardless, I’ve been raised an animal lover through and through. While I’ve had all of the aforementioned pets plus a million more, none ever truly felt like mine. Until, Ryder. As I embark on her 5th birthday later this month, I wanted to share our story, written back in the summer of 69′, ahem 11′:

In August of 2011, I went on a little trip down to North Carolina with my brother to visit our sister. A hot sunny Carolina Sunday morning can be spent doing one of two things: going to church or perusing the flea market. We chose the latter option.

This particular flea market was 500 tables of you don’t know what you’re going to find. Well around table 457 I found love. Of course you’re probably thinking that I’m crazy and that’s okay. But balanced on a piece of cardboard on top of a wire chicken crate was by far the dirtiest, grimiest, matted, sunburned, bruised, skinniest, sick looking pup I’d ever seen. Yet when I looked at the pup, I knew that nothing else mattered in that moment then saving her. I charged the table, ensconced the pup in my arms and refused to let go. The man was asking $25 for her, honestly I would have paid $2500 just to get her out of his clutches. After a little bartering my brother whipped out a $10 bill and offered it up to the guy. Not because we were being stingy on paying for the puppy, it was more on principal. Why should someone make a profit from abusing an animal? The man took the $10 and we booked it out of there; puppy still wrapped in my arms. The road to a healthy puppy hasn’t been easy, she was both physically and mentally abused. Terrified of the sun, rain, people, etc etc. It’s safe to say that now over a month later, with lots of tlc she’s doing just fine. She’s a little all over the place, but then again so am I. She likes the cool fall air far better than the hot summer sun and apple slices and peanut butter slices are a favorite treat choice, long hikes and road trips are her thing; although I think she’ll go into shock when she’s too big to sit on the front passenger seat. Simply put Ryder is a perfect fit to my outdoorsy, go with the flow personality. If I had even questioned this for a second the following story sealed the deal.

A few days after flying her back to Boston, I left her in her travel duffel in the car to run a quick errand. Gone literally 5 minutes at most, when I returned back to the car Ryder wasn’t in her crate. I panicked, honestly I would have probably sent out an amber alert if they had them for dogs. I left her for 5 minutes and she was gone, my world crumbling, previously mentioned panic setting in and so on. Until, I heard a tiny whimpering coming from the back of my SUV. The tiny whimpering was coming from my pup who had somehow managed to escape her travel bag and finagle her way into my hockey bag. Of all the joints …

The perfect dog.

The reason for my sharing this story, beyond Ryder’s upcoming 5th birthday, is that with the increase in social media, I continually read stories about abused animals. But with the increase in stories, comes an escalation in both awareness and the rescue mentality. More and more people are choosing to adopt, and rescue those in need. As awareness is raised, my heart becomes full knowing that there are people in the world who share my mentality on saving animals and showing kindness.

I won’t lie and say that rescuing a puppy has been an easy road, it comes with challenges. It can be said that it was both the best and worst decision of my life all rolled into one. It wasn’t planned, it wasn’t wanted, but the good has far outweighed the bad. I never would have been able to live with myself had I left her. I always would have wondered what had happened to “that puppy”. Now I know that puppy will hopefully live a long, happy loving life. Ryder is one puppy in a large pool of animals who have had a rough road. For many, the option to go out and spend hundreds of dollars on the perfect purebred, top notch, blue ribbon puppy is the only choice, and you shouldn’t be condemned for that. However, you can take the risk and create your own perfect pet by putting forth hundreds of pats, hugs and kisses and be a life changer for one a bit less fortunate than the rest. Perhaps you don’t want a dog, puppy, cat or kitten now or even ever. Perhaps you do. Either way, helping out an animal is certainly the way to go and I’ve outlined a few different ways to accomplish it.

1) Volunteer: Spend an hour each week, a day each month, a day every 3 months at your local shelter. They’re always looking for someone to help out. Granted it probably won’t be glamorous and might involve some cage cleaning, but chances are it’ll involve dog walking and cat snuggling also!

2) Donate: If you can’t donate your time, you can donate all different ways. Donations don’t have to be in a monetary form. Many shelters look for old sheets, blankets, towels, washcloths, newspapers, etc. Pick up the phone and ask – many local shelters have accounts with gift list through major companies like Amazon, or a “wish list” on their website.

3) Adopt: Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and every pet is special. So give that cat, dog, puppy, kitten, rabbit, gerbil, etc a home where they can be loved.

4) Foster: Adopting a pet is a big commitment in many ways. Fostering can be another option to help aid an animal in need until someone who can make that commitment comes into the picture.

Here are a few links that might be of interest:

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals: Here you can read about animal cruelty, ways to prevent it, make donations, etc
http://www.aspca.org/

Animal Shelter.Org: This site allows you to put in the kind of animal you’re looking to adopt, size of the pet and a zip code. It will then give you a list of all the local shelters in your area to check out. It also has the option to look up shelters by state.
http://www.animalshelter.org/shelters/states.asp

Adopt an Animal: This site runs on the same principals as the site mentioned above, but it’s strictly for shelters in Canada.
http://www.adoptananimal.ca/

The Pet Foster: This site outlines basic information on fostering a pet and how to locate pets in need of foster parents.
http://www.petfoster.org/

“No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted,” -Aesop

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You’ve decided to try oil pulling, now what?

Up until two months ago, oil pulling was a foreign concept, almost as foreign to me as actually visiting a dental office. From a young age, I’ve had a hate-hate relationship with the dental chair. If you’ve ever heard about that select group of people that have fabulous oral hygiene habits, but still hit the dental lottery of cavities despite their flossing and brushing regime — I am one of those winners.

While at our latest yoga get together, a select handful of ladies began talking about oil pulling . Chances are, if you’ve found this post, you already have a handle on what oil pulling is. If not, “Oil pulling or oil swishing is a traditional folk remedy where oil is “swished” (kavala graha) or “held” (snigda gandoosha) in the mouth,” according to Wikipedia.

You’ve decided to start oil pulling, now what?

Oil Pulling Essentials

So you have a firm handle on what to expect. What do you need? A spoon, a virgin – bottle of coconut oil that is, you can also use sunflower, or sesame oil and essential oil (optional).

How many times have you eaten a substantial helping of peanut butter off a spoon ? That is a good guesstimate of the amount of oil you’ll need to use (about 1 tablespoon, so upon further consideration, not my average mound of peanut butter). Personally, I love adding a drop of peppermint essential oil to the mix. The smell of peppermint and the taste triggers a mental switch in my mind that it’s part of an oral regime.

Another essential oil that people love to use while oil pulling is Thieves from Young Living, with it’s spicy aroma, it pairs nicely with the coconut oil. The beauty of essential oils, is that you can pick one that you’re drawn to for use. Just be sure to verify that it is therapeutic grade and you can safely ingest it. When using oils, do your research – we will be posting about essential oils regularly with guest bloggers, so stay tuned.

Once you’re done pulling, ALWAYS spit the oil into the trash, or a bottle and then throw it out, otherwise it will clog your drain. A benefit of oil pulling is to pull toxins out of your mouth and body, why would you want to swallow that? Ick.

Survival
Oil pulling is 10% action, and 90% determination. Perhaps an odd percentage combination, but let me explain. For 20 minutes, you are swishing, sucking and pulling oil all over your mouth. If you survive the first 45 seconds to one minute of allowing the oil to melt in your mouth, half of your battle is already won. For the next 19 minutes, your survival instincts will be in full effect. Your jaw will get tired, your patience will diminish and your mind will repeatedly ask you what on earth made you decide that this was a good idea. Your eyes will dart to the clock and/or timer and your heart will drop when you realize you still have 18 1/2 minutes to go. Is oil pulling really that bad? For some, yes. For others, it’s an almost cathartic experience.

Chances are, you won’t survive 20 whole minutes the first time you do it or maybe even the 8th or 9th go around — build up to that. In the long run, it will make survival of the process that much easier. I promise. But keep in mind how amazing you will feel when you can finally stand the process for a whole 20 minutes. Victory.

 

Benefits 

While there are no official studies to support claims, it is said that oil pulling can help with overall oral health, cavities, and dental issues. It is a method that has been used on the holistic front for ages. If you’re having dental issues, or just want to experiment with your overall oral health, at least trying oil pulling may be worth your time.

What is the experience really like? 

For roughly two months now, I’ve become a serial puller. While it takes about a week to ten days to notice any real difference, it comes, and when it does, you’ll wonder why you’ve never tried it before.

Personally, I never had an issue with the texture of the melting coconut oil and from the start, I was determined to train myself to pull for 20 minutes. I didn’t build my way up to the 20 minutes, (although I strongly suggest it), but powered through the practice daily until it had become second nature.

Most people suggest pulling first thing in the morning, but as someone wisely said, “ain’t nobody got time for that.” My mornings are a blur, and while I would love to start the day with this practice, I choose to do it in the evening before bed. The feeling of pulling before bed, and going to sleep with clean teeth is satisfying for me. Of note, you do not need to brush after pulling, although I do. I would suggest trying it both ways and feeling out what feels best for you. I enjoy the added brushing effect post pulling, perhaps because I’ve been conditioned to brush my teeth for decades!

In my own experience, my teeth are much whiter and my mouth generally feels cleaner and refreshed. The biggest positive in terms of my mouth, is a noticeable reduction in pain from a tooth that has been bothering me for almost a year now. The pain was so bad that I trained myself to chew on one side of my mouth, I couldn’t bear to brush my tongue against my tooth without pain, etc.  I no longer need to fear chewing food on the left side of my mouth, and the nagging discomfort has begun to cease. For me, that’s a win.

Although I wish that I had the foresight to promise oil pulling will work for you, it’s a journey you need to try on your own. A journey that you may love, or one that you may decide just is not for you. Like anything, you never know until you try.

You’re ready to give it a go: 10 Things to do While Oil Pulling

10. Catch up on the latest episode of your favorite TV show.
9. Hit the kitchen and try this recipe from The Pink Puck for No-Bake Peanut Butter, Cranberry, Chocolate Chunk Bars
8. Meditate for 7 minutes, journal for 13 minutes.
7. Play with your favorite pet, belly rubs for the cat, fetch for the dog.
6. Start meal prep for your (or your family’s) breakfast, lunch or dinner.
5. Hop on YouTube and get in a mini, gentle yoga practice. Is downward swishing dog a thing?
4. Start laundry, fold laundry, match that pile of socks you’ve been staring at for a week.
3. Do any light chores that need to be done around the house.
2. Catch up on emails, social media, etc.
and the number 1 best thing to do while oil pulling …
1. Shower! Seriously, you’ll be amazed at how quickly the time goes by if you pop the oil in your mouth as you start to get ready for your daily shower routine.

How do you spend your 20 minutes of oil pulling? Comment below!

 

Disclaimer: I am not a dental professional, this post is strictly based on personal experience.