My Gordons & Me | The China Study

It was a fun and enlightening time this morning as I was feeding the dogs.

I’ve been reading The China Study and today as I looked at their bowls I was struck by how very different they are from us humans.

The animal products (meat, diary, eggs) that create the “diseases of affluence” (heart disease, cancer, diabetes) in humans do the exact opposite for our dogs. A raw meat (whole animal) diet as they’d eat in the wild creates health, vitality, longevity and a zestful life in our dogs.

It’s easy to forget they were once wild animals that we domesticated to bring into our lives and homes. They may love being part of our pack (family), find fulfillment in doing work for us, and depend on us to feed and care for them but we certainly haven’t bred their internal animal design out of them. Left on their own, dogs would revert to the wild. That really hit home today for me.

So why do we, as the general population, feel it’s okay, appropriate and even healthy, to feed them a dead diet filled with ‘by products’ and filler ingredients (beet pulp, grains…) they would never eat in the wild and their digestive system can’t even process? And what about a vegan diet? Seriously?! No matter they live with people, they are still carnivores, not herbivores (deer, cattle), and to me respect for life means we honor their amazing design by feeding a species specific diet.

It makes me sad ? to see otherwise.

Wolves don’t get cancer. It’s only a human and domestic animal disease. Hmmm….rather curious, don’t you think? ??

Cancer is not a mutant gene ? we need to eradicate, it’s our bodies way of telling us we are not in balance and we need to get stronger. Same for our dogs.

How do we bring back balance?

Food. Exercise. Rest. Love. Surrounding, us and our dogs, with life force energy.

So as I prepared the meal for my pack today I was grateful for the life force I was giving to them. You know how they say never cook when you’re angry as you’ll transfer the negative energy to those who eat the food you’ve prepared? And how Ayurvedic medicine says to only touch your food with love?

That was me. I may personally find it difficult to handle raw meats and the thought of non-meat eating me actually having to prepare and eat it myself….?…

But when I take “me” out of equation and change my perception I can look at this food, this meat, as LIFE and everything I want to give my dogs. ? So yes, handling it brings me JOY! Compartmentalizing is a beautiful skill my brain is becoming adept at. ?

I love how a simple diet change for Nicklas, to feed him more Gounding & Cooling meats, has made SUCH a difference in his energy, happiness and peace. Still high energy and don’t even think about skipping morning play time with the balls ?? but there is a feeling of Ease in him now. ??

So as I added pork heart, beef liver, chicken, pork, eggs, beef, green tripe and the toppers of blended apples, Turmeric powder and fresh chopped garlic to their bowls I was thankful and yes, I was feeling Joy.

I have more changes still to make as I bring harmony and greater health to my gang but I’m seeing progress and feeling well on my way!

My Gordons & Me Project – Quiet Mealtime

Ian Barn Hunting

Tonight, for whatever crazy reason, I decided I would tackle Ian’s out of control excitement, crying and anxiety when it comes to meal times.

I tried putting gates up so they were not underfoot by the food; I tried making him lay down; I tried a spray bottle; I tried saying “no”; I tried holding his face staring into his eyes to see if I could shake him out of it; I tried calmly praising him the brief moments when he was quiet; I ignored him; I put him in another room; I crated him; I tried to put snoods on before getting out the food bowls;…nothing worked.

Mealtime is clearly where Ian has challenges and his poor energy spills over to Larkin who growls at him, Nicklas who starts to copy him and Elly who wakes up from her nap and runs out excitedly barking causing them all to bark. A madhouse!

I’m so happy they all love their food now and have healthy appetites but OMG, the craziness needs to stop.

Tonight, I fed everyone else one at a time as they were all happily calm, having listened to me and received praise for patiently waiting, sitting nicely and putting on their snoods with good manners. After they each finished eating, I sent them outside leaving only Ian who was running around, spinning circles and being loudly vocal, knowing it was finally his turn as there was only one bowl left. ??‍♀️ (sigh…)

He finally quieted down a bit, although still anxiously breathing, but every time I reached for his snood he would lose it and start howling again.

Nothing I was doing was working, I was getting frustrated and that’s not helpful. At my wit’s end with how to help him, I walked away and sat down in the library to meditate. I did it for me. I know it’s not the right time for the dogs to expect them to participate in a meditation when it’s mealtime, playtime or bio break times but goodness, I had nothing else left to try so as a last resort I wanted to calm ME down.

Ian escalated his efforts, coming over to shrilly bark and cry right into my face, rattling my ears, all while I had my eyes closed and was “meditating”.

Determined to ignore him (that was certainly a challenge!) I persisted and after finally starting to feel more centered and able to be kind, I stopped meditating, opened my eyes, gently grabbed Ian’s cheeks and firmly said No.

He eventually laid down at my feet where I decided I was going to stay sitting and watch a documentary while I waited him out. He got quiet after some time passed but if I made a move to get up, he’d immediately start excitedly crying.

At some point, now over 2 hours since I’d first started prepping their dinner, he moved to the couch and curled up.

After a few minutes, I calmly and ever so slowly got up and walked to the kitchen, all the while not looking at him. He followed and calmly sat there looking at his food bowl on the counter. I looked at him then and when he looked back at me I wanted to jump for joy! My handsome boy was looking back at me, making a connection. The crazy man who was out of his mind was gone.

We had a few tiny hiccups with the snood but he quickly got it this time, that he had to be quiet ?. He kept eye contact with me the whole time as I smiled and praised him for being quiet. Snood was on!!!

I turned to grab the bowl, expecting the howling to start but though he followed the bowl, he kept his manners, was politely excited to see his bowl coming, sat down in ‘his spot’ and quietly waited for the “ok” after I had put the bowl down.

What a shift! Hallelujah ?

THIS was my handsome gentleman, Ian, that I love and the Ian I feel like I lose at every mealtime. A Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde.

It was such a joy I felt inside and such a beautiful moment.

2 1/2 hours later and dinner is finished! ?

Was is the meditation? Ignoring him? Leaving the kitchen? Him being alone with me? My not giving in or giving up? All of the above?? I don’t know. All I can say, I’m documenting this for posterity so I can remind myself and I hope we had a breakthrough tonight as I’m not ready for another marathon at breakfast. ?

Ian Eating Dinner

My Gordons & Me Project – Doggy Doshas

The wisdom of Ayurveda teaches that the highest levels of physical, emotional and spiritual well-being can be achieved through the application of ancient principles of healing to restore your body to it’s natural state of balance.
Bringing balance to my pack is what this project is all about!
How do you know if YOUR pack is balanced? Or maybe it’s you that is out of balance? Some questions for self/pack assessment can be found in this blog post.

We, along with all of nature, are made up of the 5 elements – Earth, Water, Air, Space and Fire. The combinations are expressed in energies, or Doshas – Vata, Pitta and Kapha. This article goes into more detail.

What’s that got to do with my Gordons, you may be wondering? Dogs have Doshas too! The even cooler part is that you can bring balance to each type of dosha with nutrition.

I have dreams of Ian and Larkin being like this ⬇️ all the time when they are together.

To that end, I’m going to be testing out how their behavior is effected by adjusting their foods, based on what I learn about each of their doshas. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Identifying Doshas

First, I needed to identify the dosha combinations for each of my dogs and then looking into their imbalances and the associated foods I can feed them.

Using a Dog Quiz and Behavior Characteristics documents I got a copy of from animal relationship expert, Jamie Lee, I’ve arrived at these doshas:

Nicklas –  Vata / Pitta

Ian- Kapha / Pitta

Larkin – Kapha / Pitta

Elly – Vata / Pitta

4 dogs with the secondary dosha of the Fire 🔥 element. 😱 Which is where Ian’s intensity, Elly’s spunk, Nicklas’ determination and Larkin’s strength all come from. Also makes sense why they push each other’s button, lol, especially the 2 boys whose doshas match – Ian & Larkin.

I will probably look into this a little more to quadruple verify.😛 I get that first impressions are usually correct but this is all new to me so I want to be as sure as I can to know I can trust the results I get from my “experiment”. Up to this point it’s making a lot of sense but if anything changes, I’ll be sure to come back and update!

Imbalances

Because of having identified their doshas, I can next look at how each combination shows up with their characteristics and what those imbalanced behaviors look like. Here it is by dog:

Nicklas – anxiety, worry and over active mind

Ian – aggression and withdrawing when sad

Larkin – aggression, needy

Elly – Fear, confusion

Wow, yup this still makes sense. I could easily identify which was the imbalanced behavior they have simply by looking at a list of them organized by dosha. Very interesting!

Now what?

Next I need to read up on those dosha combinations and the foods associated with bringing balance. For example, I know that meats are known as cold, warm or neutral. Which is which and which is for which imbalance? Lol. I’ll share what I discover in a future blog!

The days of feeding 4 identical meals may be over….uh oh…

Ayurvedic Herbs

My Gordons and Me Project – Days 4 – 14

The days run together when I let too much time go by between posting, oh well, I’m not losing sleep over it. 😂😉 That would defeat the purpose now wouldn’t it? 😜

Here are some highlights:

•I’ve proven that meditating IS helping as the days I haven’t done so, everyone has been a little out of sorts, me included. Regardless of the time of day I do it, a simple 10 minute time out works wonders. And we’re only inconsistently just getting started. Imagine when I get good at it and the gang learns the routine?!

•I love the simplicity of the Joshin Kokyu Ho meditation but I’m ready to branch out and add a second one into my repertoire.

•Larkin’s pattern of going out of his way to growl at the other 2 boys after eating makes meditating then a challenge. It works, IF I can get everyone settled but trying to sit down, get comfy and relaxed myself while also holding onto a squirming Larkin’s collar to stop him running off to stir up trouble…🤦🏼‍♀️ is not setting us up for success. I decided to try something new.

Larkin most often (99.9% of the time) finishes eating first, though he gets his food after the two older boys. Always hopeful there is another bone or second helping waiting for them, as each boy finishes they race inside to the kitchen sink and lift their noses in the air – checking. Many times there IS indeed something else. 🙂

 As Larkin runs in first I quickly close the door behind him, wipe his face as I take off his snood and then I gently escort him over to the carpet, have him lay down and tell him to STAY.

My new plan is to have him stay there and as Nicklas and Ian each came in I’ll do the same and have them join Larkin one at a time.

The first time I lost track of how many times I returned Larkin to his spot, ugh! but nobody was perfect. They all “forgot” at least a few times and would try to go find another napping spot.

I remained calm and patient, after pausing a few times to remind myself. I finally released them a while later when they were chill, relaxed and staying in place. One by one they slowly moved away after my “ok” and found cozy places apart from each other where they all immediately curled up again and went to sleep. My plan worked! Peace, quiet and no growling.

I’m extremely pleased by the great response and plan to continue this new routine.

 

•Exercise has been lacking but I did manage to get Ian out on a little adventure to exercise his brain.

•Ball playing is now back on! I figure this is good practice for them too as it’s a ‘group’ play time. Well, except for Elly, as she doesn’t like to play ball. The boys get to experience lots of bodily contact and hopefully they will learn some manners and tolerance.

•Need to ramp up the exercise plan, especially while the weather is not hot, and set up a rotation for taking them out on walks and adventures. Solo trips for now.

Day 11 ~

•While out in the backyard, Nicklas started staring at Ian all wrong so right there and then I stopped what I was doing (working on my new veggie bed), corrected both, sat down between them and had them lay right there by me on the grass. Ian immediately relaxed into the meditation energy ⬇️ (hard to mistake the feeling in this face). Nicklas however was up and loudly protesting – “No mom, I don’t WANT to lay down. I want to play ball. Throw it for me, NOW!”

Tough to stay focused to meditate when you can’t hear yourself think 🙄 but it at least changed the vibe – Ian was soaking it up, Larkin came over to hang out and Nicklas was back to his demanding self. Crisis averted 👍🏼

•Manners update – sitting and having to hold it till released before going outside, one at a time, is in progress. Whew, more patience is needed on my part! It IS helping though. Nicklas is no longer harassing Ian when they first go out. Another win! 👍🏼

I think that’s everything.

Previous episodes can be found here:

My Gordons & Me Project – Days 1, 2, 3

It’s already the evening of Day 3 and things are starting to become blurry so I’m writing quickly to put something on “paper” before it blends in with the days that are ahead. ☺️

 

Day 1

  • EHT supplement – Gave the boys each a half pill and Elly a third, with dinner.
  • 10 minute Joshin Kokyu Ho meditation after feeding the gang breakfast.
  • Put snoods on ‘before’ getting the meat out as they are calmer then. Made everyone sit while putting on their snoods. Lots of “Shhhhh…ing” with my hand palm out in the “stop” sign, till everyone was relatively quiet. Lol.
  • Morning was busy with Kerwin and I both needing to leave the house together, so he was putting food together in the kitchen and I had still had wet hair. Larkin was doing his usual challenging growls after eating. I sat down anyway, said Let’s Meditate! and started deep breathing.

Larkin needed lots of my attention but finally settled down and at the end he was sweetly kneading his toy at my feet. Nicklas eventually stopped barking at me and curled up in the chair next to me. Ian went to his space on the couch once he couldn’t get to me because Larkin was hogging my lap. Elly was back in the bedroom, in her usual place on the bed.

Coming home that night the gang was overall much calmer, it was strange as I’d expected them to be wound up since they’d been alone all day. Dinner was a simple affair and everyone chilled on their own afterwards. Hmmm….nice.

Day 2

  • EHT with breakfast as that was the boneless meal of the day and I mostly got away with hiding the pill in their food. 🙂
  • Probiotics – (This isn’t new but I’m calling it out for clarification purposes) I always split a packet of the same probiotics that Kerwin and I use between the 4 of them, once a day. They LOVE it and will gladly open their mouths as soon as they see me tear open a packet. But it’s much easier to sprinkle on their food as I’m sure you can imagine.
  • 10 minute Joshin Kokyu Ho meditation.
  • Nicklas got a 2 minute walk with me out to the mailbox. I had the other 3 out in the backyard but when Nicklas entered the house, his energy was good.
  • It was Saturday and my morning was clear so we had a slow time of it, late breakfast as the meat was still frozen and lots of backyard time as it was a gorgeous, windy day. I decided to meditate outdoors in the sunshine, only making sure they were all out there with me but let them do their own thing. It was lovely!

Here is Larkin afterwards – it’s become his thing to be sweetly playful after I meditate, more puppyish – Cuteness reappears. 🥰 Elly, Ian and Nicklas were all lounging on the grass, awake and sniffing in the breeze but grounded and calm.

Day 3

  • I’m already getting things confused! Lol
  • EHT & Probiotics at breakfast again.
  • No morning meditation. Unexpected garden soil delivery, from the fabulous Tomato Lady, used up my available time.
  • Need to get some new balls so we can play in the morning as has been our routine. Nobody likes their all time favorite balls to be half chewed up. Thanks, Ian!
  • Meditated an hour or so after dinner as Larkin started getting grouchy.

It’s challenging to focus on meditating when you have a dog in your lap with his toy that he’s constantly licking. (Larkin!) My friend and animal relationship expert Jamie Lee tells me that licking is a sign of accepting meditation energy. Better the toy than my face, which he was doing when I first started meditating!

Post Meditation

Always revved up and ready, Nicklas is looking mighty relaxed with those droopy eyes. 😍Woohooo!

During...

Notice where Larkin’s toy is in the picture….🤦🏼‍♀️ One guess how it got there.

If you missed my Introductory post with the details on this project, you can find it here!