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The time is now!

THE TIME OF YEAR HAS ARRIVED! It’s the end of April which means Vita Canis Style to Rescue for me and many of my dog grooming friends! This Sunday it will be our second year and I truly believe it will be even better than last years one.

2018 saw Vita Canis Style to Rescue be the FIRST EVER grooming competition for rescue dogs in the UK. We were sooo happy to be able to raise almost £4500 for the rescues attending and we look forward to hopefully raising even more this year 😊. Our motto is “helping those who cannot help themselves” and unfortunately, rescue dogs who need our help are everywhere!
 
The cherry on our cake last year was that we were amazed to be nominated by the grooming industry for their “Event of the Year” in their 2018 achievement awards! By the way, if you haven’t voted you still have a chance… just click below 😊.
 

Organizing the event this year was a bit easier as we knew what to expect, what not to forget (like book catering 🙈) and what to do differently.
 
Getting rescue centres involved was also easier. I am so happy that the centres that joined us last year have returned again 🎉. Many Tears, Hessa’s Homeless Hounds and Wheels to Paws UK, thank you so much… it’s great to have you back! I’m also so happy that we have some new rescue centres taking part namely,  Petwelfare Stafford, STECS and Poodles from Portugal.
  Petwelfare Stafford is a strict non destruct animal rescue in Stafford. They rehome not only unwanted dogs but also small animals like rabbits, guinea pigs.STECS (Scottish Terrier Emergency Care Scheme) aims to provide new homes for all Scottie dogs (Scottish Terriers) in need.Poodles from Portugal was founded with the intention of the rehoming of Poodles (and poodle types) from Portugal and elsewhere. This group is of interest only for people looking for a rescue dog or people interested in supporting the rehoming of poodles and poodle types.
You may be wondering why rehoming poodles from Portugal and elsewhere? Don’t we have enough dogs here that are looking for new homes 🤷🏻‍♀️? When I spoke to Patricia Wheeler, the founder and coordinator of Poodles from Portugal rescue, she explained that so many rescue centres are unreasonably strict when it comes to judging who can and who can’t have a dog.

Personally, I know a young lady who desperately wanted to rehome a Beagle but none of the Beagle rescues would let her have one. She ended up getting a puppy and they are both so happy 🥰.

This year we have EVEN MORE dogs that are ready for adoption and looking for a new home. I hope after the relaxing pampering session they’ll feel just GREAT and attract the right person for them 💛.

If you’d like to join us on Sunday please do! Although we won’t charge admission as such, we would welcome donations to the rescues attending and recommend a minimum of £2 per adult. There’s lots of free parking around the Kennel Club Hall and plenty to see inside of course.

In addition to the grooming competition, there’ll be seminars running from 10:00 am as well as various stands, raffles and competitions. There’ll also be a Kiddie’s Corner with drawing and colouring, a chance to groom a mannequin dog and yummy snacks🌭!
  GOOD LUCK TO ALL OF US ON SUNDAY!!
  Jitka xx

Stress & aromatherapy

National Stress Awareness Day took place on 16 April 2019.

Much research has shown the negative effect stress has on the immune system. It can raise blood pressure, increase the risk of a heart attack or stroke, increase vulnerability to anxiety and depression, contribute to infertility, and accelerate the ageing process. 

There’s no difference to our beloved dogs and it’s our responsibility as owners to recognise and identify the underlying cause of the stress.

Dogs can become stressed by environmental changes like moving to a new home, getting another pet or even having a baby.  All this can affect a normally happy dog and it may take some time for the dog to adjust.

Something else that happens is if we’re stressed, dogs are able to pick it up from our energy and may begin to feel the same way we do, without understanding why.

A stressed dog is very often highly reactive. He’ll become jumpy and vocal, his pupils will dilate and he may even shake and salivate. Other signs of stress are self-calming practices like yawning, lip licking, excessive self-grooming and excessive sniffing.

Chronic stress can cause diarrhoea or constipation, decrease appetite, increase sleeping and the dog may also start isolating himself from others. Aggression towards other dogs, animals or people can also be a sign of a stressed dog.

There are many complementary therapies that can be used together with behavioural adjustments and aromatherapy is one of them.

Vita Canis Calming Floral Spray has been proven by many dogs and their owners to help with tackling stress. The carefully selected synergetic blend of essential oils and hydrosols in the Calming Floral Spray has a natural calming and balancing quality and provides ultimate relaxation.

Synergy is where the action of two or more substances (essential oils in this case) achieve an effect of which each is individually incapable.

A few of the essential oils I use are:

Petitgrain essential oil – this oil has a relaxing effect. It helps overcome depression, anxiety and stress and is uplifting.

Sweet Orange – recommended for treatments of anxiety, nervousness and insomnia. Put a few drops in your oil burner and you will feel like summer is already here.

Spikenard – this is a more unusual oil I use in the Calming Floral Spray. It’s also known as ‘false’ Indian valerian root. In ancient times it was considered as one of the most costly and valuable of all aromatics. It smells similar to valerian oil, heavy, sweet woody and earthy. Spikenard has a sedative effect, reduces fearfulness and instils calm and balance.

Lavender – we all know this oil has a harmonising effect on the nervous system. Interestingly lavender can cause a sedative or a stimulative action depending on the body’s actual needs. Lavender is calming when there’s emotional agitation or unrest and it’s very good in alleviating fears. But when we, or our dogs, feel emotionally exhausted and depressed, lavender has an uplifting effect.

What is your experience with Calming Floral Spray?

Jitka xx

Peppermint magic.

In the next few blogs I’m going to be talking about plants that you can grow at home. You can eat them, make teas from them or use them for medicinal purposes. They can also be bought from the store in the form of essential oils for a variety of other uses.

Today I’m going to tell you about one that is easily grown at home, is fresh smelling, delicious and very useful. The lovely Peppermint, also known as Mentha piperita.

The peppermint plant is native to southern Europe. It’s a perennial herb, which means they live for several years and it grows up to about 1m tall (not however if it is grown on a window sill).

This plant has a long cultural tradition. Fragments of the plant have been found in Egyptian burials and because peppermint is not native to this region it is assumed it was grown in the gardens of temples and used for its all-round healing properties.

Peppermint essential oil has many therapeutic actions, some being:

  • Analgesic – relieves or diminishes pain
  • Antiseptic – destroys or controls pathogenic bacteria (Menthol)
  • Decongestant – relieves and reduces congestion
  • Stimulant – stimulates the physiological functions of the body

When peppermint oil is applied it causes local depletion of cold receptors, suppresses sensitivity of sensitive nerve endings and induces a pleasant feeling of coldness that overlaps unwanted perceptions such as itching, burning and minor pain.

This is why this essential oil is one of the ingredients in Skin Relief. The local anaesthetic action is so significant, and when applied, dogs’ stop scratching or nibbling pretty much immediately.

Peppermint hydrosol or flower water is most famous for its digestive, anti-inflammatory and mind stimulating properties. Spritz it on your face when tired, or during hot weather and you will feel an immediate refreshing effect.

Peppermint is also commonly used in cosmetics. It’s incredibly refreshing and tones the skin and tightens up pores. It’s very good for excessive sweating, relieving the feeling of heavy legs and also refreshing your breath.

And what about the home-grown herb?

The leaves can be used fresh or dry. I use fresh leaves for making tea, or I just add a few leaves to my water bottle. You can also make your own mint sauce. I haven’t tried it yet but there are plenty of recipes online. I usually add fresh peppermint to dishes with legumes such as chickpeas, beans, lentils, peas or pasta or potatoes.

If you feel like experimenting at home you can make your own peppermint facial tonic:

For this you’ll need:

50ml peppermint hydrosol (flower water)
2ml glycerine
2ml natural liquid soap with no fragrance
100ml bottle

Mix all the ingredients together and enjoy as a gentle facial cleanser.  Please remember, because it is made with no preservatives, keep it in the fridge and use it in a few days. 

How do you use peppermint at home? 🌿🌿🌿

Richard is a Butternutter…

Yip… Richard is a Butternutter.

I bet this title confused you 😊 … or maybe not if you’ve also been seeing the Facebook adverts for Butternut Box dog food. I’d been seeing the ad for some time but hadn’t paid too much attention to it as my dogs are on a raw diet. They’ve been on raw for some years now as I believe it’s the best I can give them. All of them love it and all of them thrive on it… apart from the special one… Richard.

If you follow me on Facebook & Instagram you’ll know that Richard is my 17- month-old, very immature and mischievous, Airedale Terrier.  Richard is a very fussy eater and because of this, he’s also very skinny.  When I got him last May we did a slow and successful transition from dry food to raw and he was actually doing well for a while. Slowly he then started to become picky and fussy, playing with his food and faffing about. All my other dogs eat fast, in fact, they almost inhale their food… but then there was Richard… thinking, licking and wondering around.

Over the next month I tried all different types of raw food, I even made him home-made raw food. I tried to hand feed him and I even tried dog biscuits just to get him to eat 😱. At this time we did have two girls, Martha and Adele, in season and that couldn’t have helped his appetite. Because he was so skinny we couldn’t even take him to Crufts. I don’t think he was too bothered to be honest 😂.

So if you don’t know this about me already I’m a big believer that things happen for a reason and that the Universe does listen, which is why I believe I received a phone call from Natacha Cottu from The Butternut Box Company! Somehow, they had found me and they liked my natural products!  Natacha then suggested I try their food with my dogs. In my head I was thinking, well my dogs are on raw, I’m a big believer and advocate of raw feeding and I don’t really want to change their food … but then a red light clicked in my head… Richard!!! I had nothing to lose, and he couldn’t get much slimmer so I decided to give it a bash!

I received my (Richard’s) first Butternut Box on Tuesday. It was beautifully packed, with a bandana for Richard, a wine discount coupon for me, referral cards for my friends and a booklet with lots of useful info.

The food itself looks and smells nice. It’s also a complete and balanced diet with no artificial colourings, flavourings, or preservatives. The ingredients are fresh and gently cooked and it also contains prebiotics and cold-pressed linseed and milled flax.

On Monday evening he had his first Butternut meal… and he wolfed it down like there was no tomorrow. Wowzers, he even licked the dish clean! He’s never done that before! On Tuesday morning, the same story.  He couldn’t wait for his food so much so that while I was giving the dishes to the other dogs he was even stealing from his own bowl that was on the counter lol. When he had finished I even gave him a bit more, and he ate it.

So far, I’m very impressed with the food and so is Richard 😊. I hope he keeps gaining weight so that we can start running again and showing him. The thing is, I stopped running with him, even though we both enjoyed it because strangely he would eat less on the days we went for a run. I could never understand this because I’d always be starving! 

The Butternut facts at the end of the leaflet also made me laugh. One of them is that every single person at Butternut has tasted a bowl of their food (apart from the vegetarians and 1 vegan). I’ll definitely not be trying the food myself but if I struggle with cooking ideas for John I may just defrost one for him 😂.

If you would like to try the food, you can get 75% off by using this link: butternutbox.com/VitaCanis

And one last thing… I’m so happy to report that Butternut Box is coming to Vita Canis Style to Rescue with their stand! The lovely Natacha Cottu will also be talking about their products and you’ll be able to catch her speaking at 12:50 on the day 😊.
P.S.  If you’d still like to donate to Style To Rescue just click on the button below.  Thank you so much to everyone who has contributed so far.
 

What People Say...

When we got home from the hospital with our new arrival it was clear that Perri, one of our miniature poodles, maternal instincts kicked in and went into overdrive. She was immediately acting like a mother separated from her pups and just wanted to care for the ‘naked puppy’. She has a history of being so motherly, even to the point that she has produced milk for puppies that aren’t hers even before she had a litter and has mothered every type of animal she could. She was panting, pacing and unable to relax for long at all. She could whine for England!

We tried other herbal remedies we had at hand for a previous anxious dog and nothing worked at all. She stopped eating and stressed herself into overheating too. Her stress was starting to impact the other dogs and she just couldn’t unwind. No matter if we worked off her energy with a walk and she wasn’t even interested in her usual mind games or call games. We also couldn’t offer long-lasting treats and chews too often as they gave her an upset stomach.

As soon as the Calming Floral Spray arrived I gave the bed a spritz and put some on her coat and the change was instant. She just got on her bed and fell asleep. She stopped panting and barely whines now, started eating again and she only does a bit of whining if the baby cries. We have now been able to positively reinforce her calm behaviour. I honestly can’t recommend this enough to people.
Natalie Griffiths