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Echinacea: The Powerful Healer

I’ve been back home (my English home) for almost a week now and the six days spent in Slovakia with my family were AMAZING! The weather was good, the food was incredible, as usual, and it was lovely to see new cafés and restaurants opening where you could sit outside and enjoy the lovely food.

Apart from the traditional Slovak restaurants (traditional Slovak food is not vegetarian/vegan-friendly) many of the places offered a nice selection of vegetarian and vegan food. Everything I tried was so delicious… rice noodles with pak choy, vegan galletas, delicious falafels from a new Turkish kebab shop, raw cakes with coconut, mango, grapefruit and pear sorbet (not all on one plate of course 😂).  And then of course… mum’s cooking. Mums ratatouille and her mash potatoes (made especially for John) are incredible!

We all enjoyed our trip to our cottage in Hrochot’. It was lovely to let little Cherry off the lead and watch her explore our big garden. It must have been enormous for her! She took in her surroundings slowly but surely while keeping an eye on us, especially my mum.

This lovely little dog had no intentions of running away or hiding and getting up to mischief like we’re used to from young terriers her age. How refreshing that is lol! After she played with some teeny tiny sticks, gooseberries, walnuts and chased some ants, she happily fell asleep on my mum’s lap ❤️.

It was so nice to be in our garden, and I was telling John that when my Nan used to live there we used to spend our summer holidays there. At that stage, the whole garden was just a vegetable garden – no grass and no barbecue area to be seen. Every little piece of land was used to produce something… from potatoes to peas to lentils and beans, salads, strawberries, you name it.

I remember my Nan used to wake the children up early in the morning (at about 4 am 😱) to water the garden before it got too hot. We’d also pick up the black and yellow-striped “potato bug” before it did too much damage. Now you’ll find mainly grass, quite a few fruit trees, gooseberry and red and black currant bushes… and not forgetting, a lot of herbs.

One of them caught my attention this time… Echinacea.

Echinacea originates in Northern America and was brought to Europe by the German pharmacology trader, Joseph Mayer, around the end of the 19th century. Echinacea got her name from the Greek word echinos which means hedgehog. This herb is one of the best known for building and maintaining immunity.

It’s also known to:

🌸 Protect against infections
🌸 Shorten and ease recovery time 
🌸 Suppress bacteria and other viruses.

Echinacea also helps with the common cold as well as respiratory and other infections.

And what about our furry friends?

Echinacea benefits dogs who have weak immune systems and are susceptible to acute bacterial or viral infections. If a dog is exposed to an acute illness or has a sign of infection (for example kennel cough), or even if you feel your dog is coming down with something, it is suggested that you administer echinacea. The dosage depends on the needs and size of the dog but a conservative rule is to give 12-25 drops of the tincture 3 times a day.

If you want to give your dogs echinacea as a support to their immune system then small amounts of the tincture or herb can be given once every 3-4 days.

Even though Echinacea isn’t toxic, it’s not suitable for dogs with immune systems that are already overly-active and functioning abnormally, such as those suffering from autoimmune diseases, leukaemia, or diabetes. The same applies to humans including those affected with HIV/AIDS and other autoimmune problems.
Have you tried echinacea and if yes, what did you use it for?

Let me know!

Sleeping Under The Stars

I’m not an experienced camper at all but I do ❤︎ it. As a little girl, I always dreamt of camping in the wilderness, with my dog, under the stars. I imagined us asleep, under a big rock overhang. We’d have a fire going and would be nicely cuddled up in a sleeping bag. We’re yet to do it – quite like that – but I believe there is still time. At that point, I didn’t even have a dog (I now have seven) so at least that part of the dream has come true 😊.

The first time my dog and I went camping was when I was 20. She was a lovely Hovawart girl called Cherry and my friend Lubka and I, together with both our furry friends went to a lake near Banska Stiavnica. Cherry had always been a very good guard dog so I put her on a long lead outside the tent thinking she would prefer to sleep outside and guard the tent. Guard it… she did! Each time someone walked past she would bark, run towards them, pull the peg out, say hi and come back. This happened a few times during the night before I gave up. I eventually let her come into the tent and she fell fast asleep, happily snoring till morning.

Twenty-five years later, here I am again but camping with another Cherry. What a beautiful coincidence, isn’t it?

This time however it’s in Germany, not Slovakia, and this Cherry dog is much, MUCH smaller but not less of a dog. I have to say, John planned the whole trip perfectly. We left our home at about 6 am on Thursday morning and got comfortably to our campsite, Camping Im Siebengebirge, at about 7 pm.

Camping Im Siebengebirge is a lovely and small dog-friendly campsite with quite a few quirky features. It’s also only 20 euros per night! The tent was set up in no time. Our comfy chairs and our little gas camping stove followed and we started to get our dinner ready. While John cooked I took Cherry for a walk which she really enjoyed!

She’s a little explorer, very curious and scared of nothing. After a lovely vegan burger and baked beans for me, chicken sausages, eggs and beans for John, we just sat there enjoying late cuppas in the evening sun. As the site was very quiet we let Cherry off the lead and let her explore the tent and surrounding grass area. She found some leaves to play with and chased a few bugs which was then followed by a few mad minutes running in and out of the tent. She’s such a funny little dog and didn’t even attempt to walk away from us. For the rest of the evening, she sat on my or Johns lap loving her camping adventure.

Because John had done some research before the trip, we not only had a tent that was very easy to put up but also camping beds and camping mattresses. I didn’t even know they existed but it made the whole experience even more comfortable. Note…I definitely wouldn’t drag it under the rock overhang lol 😂.

With Cherry’s bed between our beds, all three of us slept like logs. We woke up to a beautiful, warm sunny morning and shortly after we were ready for the second half of our journey. CHERRY IS ON HER WAY HOME! ❤️

Jitka xx

Loving Them Is Nourishing Them

As you probably know, I’m a BIG advocate of raw feeding and I believe in and can see the benefits when it comes to my dogs as well as others. Raw food, in my opinion, is a species appropriate diet for our dogs as their whole digestive system is designed to process meat, bones, occasional veggies, berries and botanicals. Dogs are also designed to eat moist food, and they don’t get this if we feed them dry food.

I understand that some owners have a problem dealing with raw meat but it’s funny how they’re still able to cook a steak for themselves 🤷🏻‍♀️. See, although I’m vegan, I can still handle raw meat for my dogs and John (yes I cook it for him 🤪). I do this because I know it’s the best food I can give my dogs and in the case of John, well… no comment lol.

Another reason people prefer biscuits is that it’s more convenient nevermind cheaper. Yes, you don’t have to think of ordering the food in advance before holidays, you don’t have to fill your freezer, you don’t have to remember to get it out of the freezer the night before and when you run out of food you just pop into a local pet shop and get some. Simple. BUT…did you know that more and more pet shops are starting to sell raw food which is BRILLIANT 😉!

Yes, it’s more expensive but on the other hand, it’s an investment in your dog’s health and wellbeing and we can’t put a price on that.

There are also other options like Butternut Box or some good quality tinned food. Butternut Box was amazing for my Airedale Richard when he ran out of food because he was in love with it! The little weirdo wouldn’t eat meat but he’d happily munch on broccoli. Was he trying to go vegan, after me 🥦?) He loved the food but then his stomach stretched and we switched him back to raw.

Whatever dry food or kibble that you feed your dog you can still enrich it with some tasty healthy goodies. As I mentioned earlier, dogs are designed to eat food that is 70-90% moisture and dry food only has about 10% moisture. So if we don’t moisten the food the digestive system will seek the moisture and rob the dog of his vital fluids. As we know, staying hydrated is not only important for us, but for our dogs as well. Proper hydration maintains proper digestion, body temperature and circulation etc. If you rehydrate the kibble you’re helping your dog get extra fluids to stay hydrated and the biscuits will be easier digested. It can also help to reduce bloat.

What can we use to rehydrate the kibble? Here are some healthy options:

❤︎ Raw Goats Milk – Raw goat’s milk contains both anti-mucous and anti-inflammatory properties. This makes it a perfect supplement for dogs who suffer from allergies of any sort, including food and environmental allergies.

❤︎ Bone Broth is good for your dog for many reasons-  it’s extremely rich in healing protein and is a source of numerous minerals as such as potassium, magnesium, calcium and phosphorus.

❤︎ Raw Kefir – Kefir looks like milk, but it’s made from kefir grains and whole milk. Mixed together, these ingredients ferment at room temperature.  Kefir is great for digestive health and gives a boost to the immune system.

Any other tricks up your sleeve?  Let me know 🤞
Jitka xx

Meeting Cherry

This month is all about puppies coming and going. The little Scotties are old enough to go to their new homes. This brings sad and happy moments combined so it’s definitely bitter-sweet. It’s sad to see them go as they are such a lovely bunch of cuteness – even when they bite my shoelaces and hang on my trousers –  but it’s nice to see the new owners so excited and to see the love they have for their new puppy. Good luck to our little chubbies in their new homes! ❤️

John & I are taking some well needed time off this month and driving to Slovakia to visit my family. The main reason why we’re driving is that we’re taking a Chihuahua puppy for my mum! I don’t know who’s more excited, me or my mum and dad!

After they lost our last dog a few years ago, which was a Miniature Schnauzer named Indy, mum didn’t want another dog. She didn’t want the responsibility and was also worried about walking a dog on the icy roads in the winter. As a result, for a few years, she just looked after her friends’ dogs while they were on holiday. Thing is, that every time she had a little holidaymaker with her, she lit up because she had somebody to look after, walk and play with… a little project, something to occupy her and something to entertain her.

I tried to convince her that a little dog would be good for them both, but there were always arguments like who would look after him/her if they came to visit me? What if my dad leaves the door open and the dog escapes? How will the regular holidaymakers react and how was she going to walk her/him in winter when worrying about falling?  

Now… because I’m a clever girl (I take after my mum), I came up with a solution to the problem and if you find a solution it’s not a problem… right?
Soooo, we decided that if my mum comes to visit, my sister will look after the dog. I’m sure her two cats won’t mind as they’re used to dogs. The regular doggie visitors are pretty sociable and they’ll have to accept the new arrival. I actually think that they’ll all get on very well.

A pen or crate is a great solution too if she is worried about the little dog sneaking out while dad’s going out. And winter times? If it’s a small breed, it can get plenty of exercise indoors on the grass area behind the block of flats, so no need to go on the icy pavement. Anything else? LOL 

One of mums holidaymakers is a Chihuahua and both of my parents fell in love with her for a few obvious reasons. She’s small so she can’t pull my mum on walks, she’s quiet (I thought Chiwies were yappy but apparently they actually aren’t), she’s affectionate but not too clingy and needy and can be happy on her own if mum goes out shopping.

This was the breed for them! Yay! So, I started researching. Originally I wanted to get a rescue Chiwie because I know lovely Rosie and Stan who come to me for boarding and they are so adorable but the problem would be with the house check and other procedures rescue organisations follow. Then I started to search for a breeder. I wanted a well-bred, healthy, strong little dog with a good temperament.

By this time my mum knew I was getting her a dog. After an initial, “no way, no, maybe, probably, ok then” she started to become very excited. My Dad too and that surprised me the most 😊. I thought he would have an angry outburst stating that it’s a stupid idea and that they’re too old for it, etc. but he didn’t and he agreed that a little four-legged addition would be lovely.

Then in stepped the Law of attraction and I came across Liga Rimovica on one of the dog grooming groups where she was looking for an ear cleaner for her chihuahua girl who had had small pups. Somebody had recommended my Ear Cleaner and tagged me. You know when you get that feeling, this is the person, these are the dogs? Well I did and so we started chatting, I really like her dogs, her approach & beliefs but ultimately it was up to my mum to choose the puppy.

Firstly mum went for a chocolate dog but then she changed her mind to a black and white little girl who is beautiful!! It’s actually a colour I’ve never seen before on a Chiwie. She’s nice and compact, has a good build and has a beautiful temperament.

When my mum was here, about 8 weeks ago, we went to visit Liga and we were so impressed with her little pack of Chiwies. They were all so well behaved, sociable and funny and for the first time, my mum had a chance to hold little Cherry. It was so sweet seeing them together. 
 
So now, everybody is excited about our new addition 😊! I can’t wait to pick her up next week and then pack the van with puppy pads, food, toys and of course the Calming Floral Spray to make the journey easier.

Liga did a great job training little Cherry to be in a crate so it won’t be a shock for her. With an overnight stop in Germany and regular stops during the day, it will take us two days to get home and I can’t wait to see my parents meeting Cherry. My heart melts when I think about it!
I think this little dog will definitely enrich my parents’ life. Research into the health benefits of owning a dog is now well established, especially for elderly people I think. Dog ownership even increases survival rates after heart attacks – thankfully not relevant to my parents though.
 
Did you know that it’s been found to:

❤︎ Lower cholesterol and triglycerides.
❤︎ Decrease blood pressure and stress
❤︎ Increase physical activity
❤︎ Increase feelings of well-being
❤︎ Lower rates of depression by elevating the levels of serotonin and dopamine.  
❤︎ Helps to feel less lonely
❤︎ Helps promote social interaction with other people
❤︎ May reduce the demand for medical care for non-serious health issues
❤︎ Pets have been shown to build self-esteem, increase mental alertness and lift the spirits of people with Alzheimer’s disease.
❤︎ Seniors also tend to care for themselves better when they own a pet.
 
Do you have any happy stories about a dog and an elderly person that you’d like to share?
P.S. Before I leave you, if you haven’t read up about the exciting fund-raiser I’m embarking on yet click here to read all about it!  With your donations, we will be able to make such a difference for those in need.

What People Say...

Just to let you know we LOVE the Comfort Blend we got from you at Crufts. The girls love the smell and try to lick it, and I find walks are a lot calmer these days. THANK YOU!! Calming Floral Spray is next on my list and maybe a burner with some stones.”
Savannah and Jasmine are  two lovely Italian Greyhounds, and you can find them on Instagram @sister.iggies.ig