The Art of Healthful Cooking (for Sophie)

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The Life Theme of HEALTH is very appropriate for a January focus. So many of us make our New Years resolutions around our health issues, whether it is about improving our diets for weight and related issues or about eliminating unhealthy habits in our lives.

I’d like to share with regard to the HEALTH Theme about what I have been learning recently as I am now cooking 100% of my dog Sophie’s ‘diabetic diet.’

Dog diabetes is a daunting condition, as any of you know who have dealt with this.  Apparently almost all dogs who are beset by diabetes develop Type 1 such that the pancreas can no longer produce insulin. Many also develop cataracts that leads to blindness. And the first six months are the most dangerous for getting the condition under control and developing a good management program to maintain glucose level stability.

So Sophie and I are dealing with this big time. She is just 6 1/2 years old.  I have shifted her diet almost 100% to home cooked food and we are exercising 3-4 times per day plus I give her insulin–I call it “bacon boosts” because it is developed in pigs–twice a day.  Our excellent vet is a very caring person and we are trying to get the glucose down to a good level, though we have yet to achieve that in a stable way so far as I can tell after about 6 weeks.  We are down to an allowable range but are still working on all the right doses, etc.

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Cooking for Sophie truly is an art as well as a science.  With a good friend helping me at first to develop the right portions and ingredients, we now use about 1/3 three complex carbs per cup that I rotate with more that 1/3 pureed, low glycemic but high protein and/or high fiber veggies, and a little more than 1/4 cup of either chicken with liver, turkey with liver and beef with liver. The carbs are either low carb oatmeal or quinoa in the morning and, so far, pearled barley for dinner. I also give her one mid-afternoon treat usually without the complex carbs in that. We have the insulin after the morning and dinner meals and go for a walk after all three meals, at least.  In addition I give her a multi vitamin the vet gave us, plus taurine, bromelaine, apple cider vinegar, cinnamon, turmeric, and Glipizide (to add a bit to the insulin force).

The veggies I use most are broccoli, zucchini, parsley, asparagus, pumpkin, celery, clover sprouts, some garbanzo beans, and green beans, occasionally adding some spinach or kale. I puree the veggies with some meat/ veggie broth and add the apple cider vinegar to the puree, the after warming everything I blend  it all together in the food processor, then add the vitamins.

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images are from pixabay.com

We see the vet next this coming Saturday: wish us good health! We are also going to an ophthalmologist the next Thursday to get a baseline on her eyes’ condition.

If anyone has advice or suggestions from your own experience, please share your Comments!

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One more note about this photo of Sophie from my previous post. Notice the stuffed animal hedgehog at her front paws. I hadn’t even realized that was there. Hedgehog is a very positive animal symbol that betokens persistence and overcoming obstacles. Go Sophie!

A Te Sante: Running with Sophie

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Happy New Year to all!  This post begins a new year of Better Endings. This year we will be focussing on Life Themes: those recurring kinds of situations in our lives that form the core substance and weave the patterned fiber of our/your Life Stories. Each month we will focus on one of twelve Life Theme topics that are commonly identified in Life Path Mapping (also see menu tab: Monthly Topics):

January –   Health

February – Romance/ Relationships

March –     Vocation

April –        Work

May –         Family

June –         Adventure/ Travel

July –          Friends

August –     Relocation/ Moves   

September–  Education

October –     Spirituality

November – Pets

December – Life Lessons

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To begin this New Year of Better Endings, for this month of January we will focus on the Life Theme of HEALTH. This is particularly appropriate for me at this time, as I am in a process of adjusting to and learning about my dog Sophie’s condition of diabetes. What a daunting diagnosis this is, knowing all the possible complications and wanting to improve her condition in every way possible. (BTW, your helpful suggestions are quite welcome! Please Comment if you have positive suggestions!)

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My Dear Companion, Sophie

Sophie is more than a Friend; she is my Soul companion. We have adventured on six cross-country trips from Colorado to New York already, and she is six and a half years old. We have another BIG move to look forward to this August, after I retire and we and our two beloved cats Loki and Emily relocate to New York state for good.  I discovered around a month ago that my girl Sophie has a diabetic condition. I now am cooking for her and providing supplements, exercise, insulin, and lots of gratitude and love.

Today I will just post about a typical morning walk’s meandering thoughts, from this morning:

I love you so dearly, my Friend. I worry as much about my own attitudes or worries as I do about the therapeutic measures themselves. I do not want to overreact or do things that may harm more than help. Let’s do our best and keep things simple. If cataracts develop, we can remove those. For the liver, kidneys and pancreas, we must be observant and do our preventative best. Most information affirms that as long as we change the diet properly and have the right amounts of protein, fiber, low glycemic veggies and complex carbs and the proper amount of exercise, this can be managed and complications improved.

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This dog looks so much like Sophie in her new coat!

Running With Sophie has become itself a Theme in my current life activity. We have been exercising three times a day, after meals and the mid-afternoon dried liver or small veggie and meat snack. She runs a good 1/4 or so of her walk time, which I am grateful for. It helps her lower the sugar content in her system and gives us both a healthful Time Out.

This theme of Running with Sophie also pertains to an earlier theme seven years ago of “the Running Dog.” This was about my previous dog Ellie, whom I lost and tried to find in greenways of Denver for six or seven months unsuccessfully. People would notify me on Craigs List that they thought they had seen her, often running. So I would go up there to where she was “spotted,” rain or shine, looking for and calling for her, but to no avail. I can only hope someone did take her in, as she did not get picked up at any of the pound or lost dog facilities as far as I could tell. Anyway, that is seven years ago. I wanted then to write a story about “The Running Dog;” now I would add to that story, “Running with Sophie.”

As Soul Companions, Sophie and I (and our additional, feline family members Loki And Emily) mean more to me and each other than can possibly be expressed in words. Love is Love. This morning the thought came to me (while on our morning walk) that :

Since God is (in) Everything

And God is All Good

Then Everything is God;

Life is Good.

I do believe this (above).  Everything is God, so Everything is Good.  Live or die, succeed or not so much, EVERY condition, every thought, word and deed, every life experience is an experience in Living, and everything is Divine. We can learn from any experience; experiences do not DEFINE us but they can help us grow spiritually and in wisdom, courage and compassion. Another thought from Running with Sophie this morning:

Gratitude and Love

Go Hand in Glove;

And:

True Love is Reciprocal,

All Ways.

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images (except mine of Sophie above) are from pixabay.com

So “A Te Sante!” To your great Wellness and Good Health in 2018 and forever on YOUR Soul Journey.

Better Endings to You Always!,

Linda

 

 

Healing Paws

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My heart has been aching this past few weeks as I feel caught between a rock and a hard place in one situation. Fortunately I have my pet companions: my golden Shorkie, Sophie and my two cat friends Emily and Loki . They are together and each one of them a refuge of the heart who engulf me in their own Healer ways as I do them. So today I will post about my animal Soul companions because it lifts my heart to do so.

Emily, Sweetheart

Tomorrow my Emily has to go to the vet to have her teeth cleaned and possibly to have a tooth extracted. Last year she lost her brother Arthur, who apparently had heart failure or a blood clot when he had dental extractions. These current vets I am taking Emily to specialize in cats and give me many reassurances, but until she is well recovered after tomorrow I will worry. She seems to sense this and is staying closer than usual, as if to reassure me herself that all will be well. {PS Tuesday: All is well!}

I always tell my pet companions that I love them for always: “24/7 times eternity!” I know they feel the same about me. They are for me a well in the Desert, sometimes.

Loki

Loki, my Lifesaver

(But that’s another story!)

The Healer nature of animal companions reminds me that humans are not the only Soul-embodied beings with archetypal consciousness formations.  Some animals are trained as Warriors or as Nourishers, others are naturally inclined to develop as Healers or even Elder Leaders, and they express their Lover qualities unconditionally–so often better than humans –so long as they are treated with love in turn.

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Sophia

(Her name so fits her Wisdom and boundless Joy!)

So lap it up! Enjoy the special healing purrs and comforting paw taps of your sacred animal Friends. They will be there for you Always, no matter your relations with much more (too!) complicated humans.

A Quilt of Unconditional Love–a Principle We Learn from Our Pets

Today’s post will be composed like a quilt, a pastiche of images and expressions.

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Above picture and poem below From http://tvkapherr.wordpress.com/about/  Cats at the Bar (Everyone has opinions, especially cats):

Stressed by deadlines,
Oppressed by bills,
Depressed by the cruelty of the human race.

Battling traffic,
Fighting the flu,
In arms against the world’s frenetic pace.

All washed away,
A breath of relief,
Innocence, love, in a sweet little face.

By E.J. Geras

 Dogs and Cats, oh yeah!

We opened this week with the topic of “Pets ARE Better Endings“. Why? Because of their capacity to give and to receive unconditional love. Is there anything more important? Our animal companions bring the energy of love into our lives and hearts, daily. We can learn so much from their example.

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The simple act of maintaining caretaking routines (feeding, grooming, playing, litter, walks) helps to keep us humans engaged in giving love daily, and what we can give and receive from this is immeasurable. Even the heart rate and blood pressure of ourselves and our animal friends harmonizes in a healthier pattern from such interaction.

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http://tvkapherr.wordpress.com/about/

As a pet parent without children, a caring relationship with my pets is a life saver, a Godsend. For it allows me to be in the world as a loving companion. With today’s increasingly computer oriented technology and cyber-focussed reality, touching base with the purity of a pet’s unconditional love and acceptance is a healing force in itself. It is restorative, transformative, reminding me  of why we are truly here.

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The Secret of Life, by Roxi St Clair

http://roxistclair.com/2014/02/09/the-secret-of-life/comment-page-1/#comment-7869

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http://rachelmankowitz.wordpress.com/2014/01/26/thunder-shirt/

Your Pets Lifemap

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For our Better Endings Life Maps Activity this week, you can start by listing all of the pet friends who have shared their life with you. Using your own intuitive guidance, list your pets’ names, the years they have been in your life, and something unique or characteristic about each pet and about the time frames they shared with you. You might use an adjective or a phrase describing each one. Then create a Mapping that shows in a way that is meaningful to you an arrangement of how these pets have ‘patterned’ in your life journey. The Bubbles chart shown here is my own mapping of individual or groups of my pet friends who have been in my life in different time frames. As an example for your own creative mapping–which might take another form for you–let me describe my mapping:

The first time frame shown in the orange bubble to the right represents Special Animal Friends from my Childhood, from about 8 years old til 18. Reviewing the list of some of my favorite animal friends from that time, I see some patterns. I befriended a wide variety of animals, both wild and domestic. I was always bringing animals home: frogs, white mice, a pigeon who flew into my garage and stayed for a year. I rode wild colts with my neighbor friends at local horse farms. I had a parakeet, Petesy, who was a close friend to talk to for many years. There were many cats…most of which I also brought home and only a few of which my father let me keep; and Queenie, a great companion beagle-poodle, who was ubiquitous as my special friend until and even after I left home at 18 for college.  These childhood friends exposed me to my own wildness and unconditional love. Animals were my special family, my Friends.

Reading my Pets Lifemap from East to South to West to North (yes, like a Medicine Wheel!), next came my heart throb of 11 years, my first solo pet away from home in college: Chela. I described her in my pet ‘reincarnation’ story Wednesday. What a great friend and constant companion Chela was. She accompanied me on my Big Move, from East to West; from Buffalo to Phoenix, Arizona. I would say she was a lifeline for me. CONTINUITY has always been one of my most valued and important values in relationships, and Chela was there for me–and I for her–as a thread of continuity linking my Childhood to my later life Journey in graduate school, dissertation research at Zuni,and beyond.

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After Chela left, Ariel, shown here, moved into my Heart.  She was a dear Soul companion (absolutely I believe that Animals are Soul, Too), for 20 years!  Reflecting on her qualities that were a big part of my journey with her and other pets we also had while she was with me, I see attributes of their special characters that mirror archetypal character aspects  of myself: Intelligent/ Artistic Ariel; Freedom loving Skyway (a brindle dog who was an escape artist and loved to run!); Quiet/ Timid Ellie (an orange boxer/Rhodesian Ridgeback mix who was Skyway’s life companion and mine but who was very timid; a one person dog); and Expressive Loki (still in my life; a beautiful, all-white cat who is very communicative; he was quite the mischievous kitty and is such a SOLID friend!).

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All but Loki passed–by their own life stories–before the next Ensemble Set arrived. I now live with Loki-Emily-Arthur (3 cats) and Sophia (Sophie, my Shorkie buddie; shown above with my mother, Elizabeth).  All of them are always there and I am there for them. They are my refuge, the Family I return to daily and spend the nights with between having to be out in the world. As a most naturally quiet and introspective sort of person myself, my pets are my touchstones. I am entirely humbled by their magnificent unconditional love and companionship. They are constant and true, whatever hardships or complexities have come into and gone out of my life among other Humans.

So try mapping your animal friends in relation to your life history. When did which of them enter and exit? What QUALITIES did they exhibit for you; what relationships did you learn about through them? People say we tend to resemble our pets. I would say there are no accidents and each of our special friends has had a special affinity with us; an archetypal synchronicity. Take some time if you would then to pause and APPRECIATE the wonderful LIFE GIFTS each of your animal–and human too, of course!–friends have shared!

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I invite you to compose your own Pet Life Mapping. And do feel free to share your insights–or pictures!–with us!

The Olympics, or Synchronized Peeing (Reblogged from February 9, 2014, by rachelmankowitz)

The first Olympics I really remember was in 1988, with the Battle of the Brians, and the Battle of the Carmens, and Liz Manley coming out of nowhere with her cowboy hat. I’m a figure skating fan, obviously.

I used to think about taking Cricket skating, on a lake, if a rink wouldn’t accept her. I think she would prefer hockey skates to figure skates, so she could do fast stops and flick snow on me. Butterfly would look adorable in a figure skating dress and four little white skates.

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“Can I have skates?”

This is the first Olympics where I don’t wish I could go in person; most of the time it sounds so exciting, to visit another country, to be there in the stands for the opening ceremonies, and to cheer on my favorite athletes. I love the ideal of nations coming together in peace and sportsmanship. I can feel my heart expanding as I watch the march of the athletes into the stadium. I learn a lot about the cultures of other countries, I learn the names of other countries, and enjoy their fashion choices. But I don’t want to go to Russia.

Maybe it’s because I grew up with stories about Refuseniks, Jews who were not allowed to leave Russia or to practice Judaism freely in Russia. But also, Putin scares me. And Siberia scares me. The extreme cap on free speech, and the ease with which they throw people into prison, scare me.

But I still love watching the Olympics on TV, whether it’s on time or delayed or taped on my DVR. Somehow they get me to watch ski jumping, and snow boarding, and rhythmic gymnastics, and beach volley ball, for hours. I think I even watched a few minutes of curling last time around.

I wish my girls could participate in an Olympics. They could have all kinds of events specifically for dogs:

  • The great poopy run – judged like a rhythmic gymnastics routine.

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Cricket is in the lead!

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Look at her go!

  • The long distance pee trip – a dual test, both of how long can you walk, and how many times can you pee in one walk without refueling.
  • Synchronized peeing, a pairs’ event – two dogs trying to match their stance and the length of the pee at the same time. Butterfly and Cricket have been practicing for this event for months.

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Consecutive peeing, it’s a start.

  • The escape from your harness event – how fast, and with what level of ingenuity can you get out of your harness? Cricket is the odds on favorite!
  • The barkathon – endurance, volume, artistry. And then, the group barkathon!

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Prepping for the barkathon.

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Butterfly’s looking to Cricket for lessons.

            Wouldn’t a group barkathon be the ultimate way to end the closing ceremonies?

ABOUTpic7 RACHELMANKOWITZ

I am a fiction writer, a writing coach, and an obsessive chronicler of my dogs’ lives.

Pets ARE Better Endings

Little Girl Cuddling Soft Toys

Animal companions are, to me, Better Endings incarnate. How can they not be, with their amazing capacity for unconditional love and acceptance? A pet is for Life, with the only hard part being that, as humans, we tend to outlive them.

My pets certainly bring Better Endings to work days or basically to any time away from and then returning to our house. They make of our household a Home, just by being there. Coming home to my beloved pet companions lightens my load and helps me more than just about anything else to keep an open Heart.

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Sophie en route to New York to see her Grandmom

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Loki (with Arthur above)

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Arthur and sister Emily

Currently I live with four animal friends, three cats and a dog.  Cats include Loki (8y), all white with golden eyes, and Emily (4y) and Arthur (4y), orange tabby siblings. Emily is petite and short-haired while her brother Arthur looks like a Lion. Sophie (3.5y)–or, Sophia Grace Jade Wattsida [that’s Zuni for ‘dog’, and a pun on my name]–is my Shorkie (Shitzu-Yorkie) buddy. She is small of height but huge in her energy and a totally loving character. I have driven cross-country 3 times already with Sophie. She is a magnificent, all-round companion who loves to vacation at “La Quinta!” hotels. I am humbled to think of how these Souls (Animals are Soul, Too) have sacrificed other possibilities to live with me; especially my “indoor cats” whose whole ‘outer’ life anyways is in our house with one another, me, and our sometimes housemate Gianmichele.

Kitten on Samos

Okay, so there you have a narrative slideshow of my family (the  3 photos together above are They). Pet stories abound in my life. I invite you to send some of your own along, too, so we can swap some Better Endings pet tales this week!