Curious dogs are Gordon Setters. They very much love to explore their world, right noticing every little thing.
My garden plan not only took them into consideration, they were able and are the reason for many of the elements. I wanted them to have fun in their yard, have interesting things to sniff and look at, while also creating a more hospitable space for them so they could enjoy time outdoors, even in the summer Vegas heat (within reason of course). It brings me joy to see them happy and enjoying their home. ☺️
Here they are in around and about in the yard or, as the overall plan in the yard is for it to be mainly edible, I like to call it all my garden.
Fruit trees that I wanted were planted 2 feet away from the wall to allow the dogs to go completely around the tree, while also using them as pee posts. ☺️ A win for all of us!
Grass in the desert is a big one. Yes, I love grass too but would I be so determined to grow it otherwise? Even in the dead of summer it NEVER gets to hot for 🐾 and it drops the air temperature around 10-15°.
Shade! This one was huge for me too. Now that the trees are growing I am really seeing and feeling the benefit. You don’t even have to be sitting in the shade, it just creates a cool, welcoming space.
And Gordons can find any sliver of shade in the yard. Lol.
I was excited to plant our first tree- an Elm. It was a huge hit right from the start!
Note where they are laying…☺️
And then there’s Elly May – our sunshine girl 😍
They all love their veggies and will raid a tomato 🍅 right off the vine, without even damaging the plant or you even knowing it was there.
Ian is already claiming the garden as his space. Lol.
Now that the resident rat 🐀 has moved on the boys are back to their very gentle, trainable selves and are enjoying time with me in the garden, staying on the paths as they sniff away looking for ripe veggies.
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 like beet pulp, and grains that 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 who choose that philosophy, 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. Cancer is only a human and domestic animal disease. 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 the equation and change my perception I can look at this food, this meat, as LIFE, HEALTH, VITALITY and the quality of life I want to give my dogs. So yes, handling meat 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 Grounding & 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!
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.
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!
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!
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…
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, note the leg in Ian’s face (smh), 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! 👍🏼
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. ☺️
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.
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.
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!
Always revved up and ready, Nicklas is looking mighty relaxed with those droopy eyes. 😍Woohooo!
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!
Part of my mission to be the healthiest I can be and live a vibrant, joyful life absolutely includes my dogs.
This new project is the next step in that journey. Organizing it as a Project helps me stay focused and documenting it for posterity allows it to help other dog owners and ensures I don’t forget.
On this path of health I recently drastically changed their diet, just as I’ve done mine, although in kind of the opposite way. 😋 I’ve stopped eating all meat, of all kinds, and now feed raw meat to my dogs. The change in their lives, brightness of eyes, energy, shiny coats….has been a joy to see! Nicklas has beaten the fatal diagnosis of Dilated Cardiomyopathy thanks to skilled emergency cardiology medicine AND the diet he now eats.
Now that revved up energy and happiness has changed the vibe in the house a bit, okay let’s be honest – a LOT. I’m feeling outnumbered by their pack energy. It’s time to step it up as Pack Leader and create some change, to ‘bring balance to the force’. 😉
Some of the things I want to address are:
The mad rush to get out the door, the first to go after the bird in the yard.
The jostling to be the first to make it through the bedroom door in the morning, even before me.
Craziness at meal times. Although it’s an incredible shift from when I had to beg and cajole Nicklas to even come sniff his bowl of kibble that he’d leave half-finished.
Larkin, the baby of the group, challenging Nicklas and Ian, especially Ian ALL THE TIME.
Nicklas and Ian able to walk peacefully together.
Dog(s) returning home are peacefully greeted by the pack so I’m able to take one dog out at a time for exercise and one on one time.
No jumping up, no matter how much they want to smell my lipstick or the day cream I’ve just put on.
Politely greeting guests that come over. Not bowling them over with their excitement to meet a new friend.
Ian’s intensity that destroyed the grass in the yard and my garden and his anxiety that sorely tests my patience.
Though it looks all like ‘dog’ items, I know it’s going to involve more of me and changes I make, then about them. I’ve created and enabled the energy in my pack and now it’s time to bring some grounding influences into my/our lives.
Why am I doing this?
Simple answer is – Peace. Harmony. Wellness. Love.
The longer answer is that stress, tension, uncontrolled energy, anxiety, jostling for position and power are all negative energy. Energy creates health or disease. I want, like I’m sure we all do, HEALTH. Our dogs die waaaay too young and I’m passionate to do what I can to change that. It’s not just the genes they were born with. Not by a long shot.
I don’t even know all that I’ll be doing yet. I’m open for new ideas and learning from others. Please share in a comment what you’ve done or learned to do with your dog(s) that has been beneficial. I’m open!
Here are a few things I know I’m going to look into. If you’re a little skeptical of the Eastern Medicine items, no worries let me be the guinea pig for you. 😛
Ayurveda. Did you know dogs have doshas too? There are even are specific foods that support each of the doshas to bring balance and wellness.
Meditation. As much as it kills me to slow down and be still I’m going to tackle this head on!
Yoga. I’m learning that the poses are only 1 piece of the larger whole, that is how you live and go through life. Ashtanga yoga sounds surprisingly right up my alley.
Training. Simple positive training hacks and GAMES that I can incorporate into our routine.
Reiki. This healing ‘art’ that uses energy is fascinating. I may not understand it and certainly can’t SEE it but I’ve seen how responsive my dogs are to it and for me, that’s all the “seeing is believing” I need.
Exercise. No, this one is definitely NOT for me. Lol. I see them running free in the desert while I calmly stroll along. 😉
Essential Oils. Supportive diffuser blends and ways to use different oils topically on each dog based on their needs.
EHT – Brain supplement. Dogs experience neural degeneration and dementia too. Who knows, it may help their ‘moods’ too, like it does for people.
And I still want to have a life outside of this project! 😂 I am planning for a 60 day course and will tackle one item at a time, making adjustments as I go depending on the results I get. By the end of these next 2 months, I hope to have fine tuned a system for us that works. 🙂
It really feels like a lonely journey I’m beginning, with many even vehemently opposed. Actually, I’ve been on this lonely road since I started saying No to vaccines and even more so since starting to feed raw. I’m not looking for confrontation but that being said, I feel I owe it to the 4 amazing dogs my husband and I have the honor to have in our lives and care for, those that came before them 💕💕and to all the dog moms and dads out there (aka owners) who are open to asking questions and long to have dogs with a better quality and even extended length of life – to not be silent, to bravely move forward.
Be sure to subscribe to stay in the loop on my adventure!
Do you see? Facing away from the camera, on purpose I’m sure, lol 🙄, Elly came to join us for our after dinner meditation tonight.
Elly is always off happily doing her own thing when I meditate, enjoying her time while the boys are leaving her alone. I heard her puttering about in the kitchen and then about dropped my jaw when she came into ‘our space’. She never, seriously never, hangs with me and the boys in the library. She’s Daddy’s Girl and when he is away at work in the evenings after dinner, you will find her on our bed chilling.
To top her entering our space, she came over and sat within reach of me. 😮 I was trying to stay focused on my meditation, but I was dying to grab my phone and snap a picture. Lol. After a few minutes she moved away and I thought she was leaving…nope. She goes over to the couch, The Boys couch mind you, jumps up and gets cozy. 😳
Here she is a while after I finished, still on the couch, asleep and looking even cozier. 🥰
It was an odd night all around.
Ian came over to me for some attention. Second time he’s done this. Then he went to what is already becoming His Spot.
Larkin needed LOTS of hands on attention. He was even on my lap – and you try staying focused and meditating when your dogs face is so close to you his whiskers are touching your lips! For a time he was on the floor next to me and with my hands on him he would periodically change to position where he wanted me to touch him. Then I could somehow tell he was good and had gotten what he needed. He moved away, said a sweet hi to Elly and came back to sleep at my feet the rest of the time.
Not to be left out of the unusualness, Nicklas didn’t just sleep, he snored. 😝
I had intended to spend this time in February planning out what I was going to start implementing on my 6o day plan beginning March 1st to address the next thing I want to work on with the dogs.
Some of the big things I’ve accomplished:
•I transitioned them to a Raw 🥩🍖🦴foods, species specific diet, and they’ve been doing excellent!
•Grooming 💇♀️, brushing , nail trimming 💅🏼and baths 🛁 are now on track for all of them. 🧖🏼♂️
•Project to improve Nicklas’ back leg strength was a success. 🏃🏼♀️🏋🏼♀️🧗🏼♂️
Now the upcoming new project is about Manners, Energy, Health and Longevity. We could all benefit from that, huh? 😉😜
I will do a blog post sharing the details and goals of what I want to do as part of #MyGordonsProject and why, but for now, suffice it to say one of the items I knew I was going to add back in to our daily routine in March was meditation. Once I had the idea though, I couldn’t just wait for the day on the calendar to be “right” to move forward. 🤷🏼♀️ Seeing their open response, acceptance and enjoyment of the brief time I spend meditating, now I feel like how could I NOT do this for them?
I’m new to meditating, have always struggled with it, the idea of it, the stillness, does it really work, how do you ever know, am I doing it right, why am I even doing it….and so the never ending thoughts go. Can you relate?
But I’m open to things I don’t understand, I still don’t get how planes ✈️ get off the ground but I love to ride in them. 😁 I do believe there is energy all around us, science has proven that. I don’t get Quantum Physics but somehow science has proven that magic happens and is basically what life is made up of, how crazy is that?!
Side note 📝- have you read the book, A Happy Pocket Full of Money? If you’re curious on the science behind The Law of Attraction or The Secret, it’s well worth a read. It’s not techy, or woo-wooy. It’s mind blowing.
My friend Jamie taught me this Japanese method of meditation and one of them, the Joshin Kokyu Ho, is what I’m doing now.
Still not sure I’m doing it right or what I’m supposed to feel but I know my dogs and seeing the changes in their behavior tells me without a doubt that “something” is happening. And something good at that. I.am.grateful.
So let’s see if I get ‘good’ at this meditating. I’ll continue to post on the journey as we go. And if you want to know more about this ancient Japanese practice of meditation and how it can help your animals, you can connect with Jamie Lee here, or drop me a note and I’d be happy to introduce you. 😊