Posts Tagged ‘min/body medicine’

Kindred Spirit Canine Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome

Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome in Dogs (PTSD): Our Dogs, Our Selves

A recent article in the NY Times acknowledges that Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome seems to be documented now in dogs as well as people.
The dogs being diagnosed are service dogs in the U.S. Armed Forces.
It is no surprise to me that dogs exposed to such trauma experience what is now titled Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome (PTSD). As a veterinarian and an animal behaviorist, I have seen many cases over the past thirty years that I would describe now as PTSD. In the past, one would see evidence of this in dogs after car accidents and then being fearful of getting into cars, shaking uncontrollably or simply refusing to get in one, or after loud noises such as fireworks on the Fourth of July or thunderstorms. I believe we see this in many species, elephants after they watch their relatives slaughtered or horses after a traumatic experience with needles or getting into a horse trailer.  In a previous post I discussed PTSD in Chimpanzee’s in captivity.
Personally, I believe that there is not that much of a difference in the nervous system of other mammals and us. Hence, it is not unreasonable to believe that they can have similar behavioral issues as we do. Unfortunately, it takes dogs exposed to the ravages and trauma’s of war to classify these traumatic events as PTSD. There is evidence that dogs search and rescue dogs experience depression and PTSD as well. There were cases of that in the rescue dogs after 9/11.
Dr. Walter F. Burghardt Jr., chief of behavioral medicine at the Daniel E. Holland Military Working Dog Hospital at Lackland Air Force Base feels that “the four-legged, wet-nosed troops used to sniff out mines, track down enemy fighters and clear buildings are struggling with the mental strains of combat nearly as much as their human counterparts

As the article states….”By some estimates, more than 5 percent of the approximately 650 military dogs deployed by American combat forces are developing canine PTSD. Of those, about half are likely to be retired from service, Dr. Burghardt said”. The article gives multiple examples of behavioral issues in the war dogs.
Signs, diagnosis and treatment are similar to humans. Treatment consists of behavioral modification with desensitization or medications, or a combination of the two. Recently a colleague and friend of mine, Vera Paisner, a renowned human psychotherapist, developed a new approach in dogs and horses, extrapolating it from people. It is called EMDR, Eye movement Desensitization and Retraining. She has had some excellent success with a dog in an automobile accident and horses with needle phobia.

It seems only reasonable that we explore new more natural approaches for PTSD in animals as we still do not understand the modes of action of medications in people, how can we understand them in animals. In addition, if EMDR is documented to help animals, then any placebo effect has been eliminated and we can appreciate how it can be of more benefit in people as well.

 

Transform Your Mind, Change Your Brain and Your Animal Friend’s as well

meditation

The basis for all transformation of consciousness focused on creating a more compassionate world for all beings begins with our thoughts and emotions.  One of my true heroes in mind/body medicine is Dr. Richard Davidson a premier researcher at the University of Wisconsin Neuroscience Laboratory.  I invite you to watch this informative Google Tech Talk from 2009, where Richard Davidson explains the neuroscience of positive human qualities and how they can be cultivated through contemplative practice.  What is even more exciting is that new research is demonstrating that some of these meditation-based practices delivered online can produce behavioral and neural changes as well.

What has this got to do with your animal friends you may ask? I feel that this is one of the keys of transforming our relationships with our kindred spirits.  Once we develop techniques and incorporate these mental practices into our everyday lives, the results of them will directly impact on our relationships with our animal friends and thereby transform there conscious awareness and how they respond to us and others.  This is one of the key principles and bases of my proposals for  an “animal field theory” or “trans-species field theory”.  As we change our own thoughts and emotions, it changes our biochemical and energetic foundation and then we create a healthier, happier energetic field around us and that can impact on our connection and relations with our animal friends.  Potentially this can improve your riding and communication skills with your horse, your communication with your dogs, cats and all species that you share your lives with.

Watch this extensive explanation of the basis of my theories and please share with me your thoughts on this and how it may impact on you and the animals that you share your lives with.

Blessings for a happier, healthier mind and body and deeper connections with your kindred spirits!

 

 

Medicine Buddha Retreat: Healing Ourselves and Others

Continuing with the theme of retreats, I recently participated in a Medicine Buddha Teaching near my home. As I find myself following my passion of exploring the  integration of  the latest in neuroscience, quantum physics, consciousness studies, mind/body medicine with the essential truths of ancient traditions in order to help animals heal, I am always amazed at how much one documents the other.

The Medicine Buddha practice is part of an entire psychological and spiritual Buddhist tradition, and by no means do I intend to claim to understand the deepest foundations of these fascinating and invaluable teachings.  I am merely an interested novice practitioner  in the study and teachings of Buddhism and how they may be of benefit to all our kindred spirits.  These personal explorations and study are part of my commitment to be of benefit to all sentient beings, including animal lovers and all our beloved animals.  Along this healing journey I have found Medicine Buddha teachings to be of immense benefit in my own efforts to purify my thoughts and busy mind traffic and thereby improve my healing skills with animals.

One excellent Buddhist teacher, The Venerable Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche, states that “We practice the Medicine Buddha in order to attain states of mental and physical health or balance, not merely for our own benefit, but for the benefit of others as well”. This practice can improve the health of our own mind and body as they are inseparable.  As we improve our own mind and body health, we are able to be of more benefit to others.

Medicine Buddha Teachings

Medicine Buddha Teaching by Phakyob Rinpoche

I was privileged to experience these teachings again by Phakyab Rinpoche  who had his own profound experiences with Medicine Buddha.  While teaching in Tibet, Phakyab Rinoche became known for his ability to assist individuals in their physical and emotional healing. He was then faced with his own severe health challenges and left Tibet in 2003 where he was granted full political asylum by the U.S. government.  He spent several months in a New York hospital where conventional medicine was unable to help him heal and three physicians recommended amputation of his leg. He consulted with his mentor, the Dalai Lama, and made the decision to not accept further medical intervention.  He relied solely upon his spiritual practices to heal himself.  To the astonishment of his doctors, his leg and his whole body healed and he brought himself back to radiant health.  Phakyob  Rinpoche is now part of an ongoing medical study as to how he was able to alter cellular changes through meditation that led to his complete recovery.  He shared his story during the teachings with such humor and light.  He shared that often when we are confronted with challenges, mental, physical or emotional, it is so we can develop further empathy for others going through similar challenges and really be there for them.  Personally, I have found this to be so true in my own life numerous times.  Each time I have been confronted with some health challenge, I learned from it and then was able to use my experiences to be of benefit to others.  An old saying that I share in workshops that I teach is that “experience turns knowledge into wisdom”.  There is no greater teacher than experience.  Phakyob Rinpoche believes that the primary way to heal oneself is to cultivate compassion and loving kindness, as well as to practice forbearance and patience.  I have found that the more I develop my commitment to cultivate compassion and loving kindness for all beings (including myself), the more I am able to be of benefit to all our kindred spirits.   (more…)

Kindred Stress: Mood and Anxiety Disorders in Chimpanzee’s

17 March 2009

It seems that we are not alone in experiencing mood and anxiety disorders as is stated in this article http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0019855#abstract0“>paper on mood and anxiety disorders in chimpanzee’s. The paper states that ” In humans, traumatic experiences are sometimes followed by psychiatric disorders. In chimpanzees, studies have demonstrated an association between traumatic events and the emergence of behavioral disturbances resembling posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression.” According to the results of this research, chimpanzees do indeed….. “develop posttraumatic symptoms, in the form of abnormal behaviors, which cluster into syndromes similar to those described in human mood and anxiety disorders”.
It seems quite evident that since we share over 97% of our genetic makeup with chimpanzee’s, share the same neurotransmitters and neurohormones, that it is no wonder that we might share the same response to trauma. As the paper states, hopefully this evidence will lead to more humane treatment of primates in captivity and research. I would like to consider extrapolating this research to more than just our fellow primates. (more…)

Kindred Spirits, Worry, Distraction or Awakening?


“I vow to let go of all worries and anxiety in order to be light and free.” ~Thich Nhat Hanh

Our animal companions can bring us such great joy, help relieve and heal the parts of us that experience depression and anxiety. They can help calm our hearts and minds when we get caught up in the concerns about our life challenges, lessons and all that is going on in the world. In my book, “Kindred Spirits”, I review the research up to 2000 on how they can help us heal. There is an abundance of new research that continues to document these beneficial healing effects.
Some of us have a tendency to worry about almost everything in our lives from the smallest decisions to the greatest issues confronting our planet. I am aware that I certainly can have that tendency. Worry can manifest as true concern for an animal or it can just as easily and quickly take a wicked turn into anxiety and fear. As we shared in a recent post, fear can tend to generalize from one experience into many similar experiences both in humans and our animal friends. I find that that also can happen with worry. Worry, concern, anxiety are all just different manifestations of potential expressions along a wave of emotions. In each moment we can chose if we want to be aware of this concern and turn it into a productive, positive resolution to a particular issue or if we lose control of the emotion and it tumbles into worry and anxiety. (more…)

Compassion for All Beings: A New Vision for Society

The Thirty-Seven Practices of Bodhisattvas

monk and mule

bodhisattva

Last night the full moon of May lit up the evening sky throughout the world. In some societies such as Nepal, Malaysia, Bhutan and Thailand, this is a national holiday celebrating the birth, enlightenment and passing away of  Gautama Buddha. It celebrates the possibility and potential of all humans to awaken to who we really are, beyond all our busy inner mind traffic and the challenges of the external world.   As I shared in a celebration of this day with friends, we recited a teaching that  I felt offers another possibility for creating a society based on compassion for all beings.  This teaching is known as the Thirty-seven practices of bodhisattvas.  Simply put, a bodhisattva is someone who chooses to be here on earth to be of benefit to all beings.  This teaching essentially is the basis for all spiritual traditions and inclusive with all and transcends all.  Personally, I feel if we can create a society with these tenets,  the world as we know could turn around and we could have a healthier and happier society and a healthier environment for all our kindred spirits.  One purpose of the kindred spirits project is to unite animal lovers, through our heart connections, to create a more compassionate, respectful society for all beings. I thought that you might enjoy reading and reflecting on these thirty seven practices and see how you might wish to incorporate some of them into the lives you share with your animal companions.  I would love to hear from you on how you have creatively integrated any of these into your life with animals.  Here are the Thirty Seven Practices of Bodhisattvas as translated for Garchen Rinpoche, a great Tibetan Buddhist teacher. Though some of the language may be a bit foreign to some readers, listen beyond the words to the essence of the practices and interpret them as you feel appropriate for your personal beliefs and traditions. Let go of anything that does not feel appropriate for you.  I am simply sharing these in the wishes that they may be of some benefit to you, your animal companions and all beings. (more…)

Otter Joy, Judgement and Our Minds

Recently I was walking along the rocky pacific northwest beach near my cabin, where otters play joyously, seals poke their heads out of the water to see who is above the waterline, and eagles, herons, kingfishers and others soar above the water. I saw a new dock being built with large concrete posts built into ground, a metal walkway and floating wooden dock. It was located directly over large grey boulders on a prominence where the otters appeared to have their home. They would often be on the land above the rocks rolling around with each other, licking and grooming each other. My silly, judgmental mindstream immediately reacted with irritation, saying to myself, “how could someone build this dock right over their home and ruin this beautiful beach with a dock”. The poor otters home would never be the same and they would have to deal with this dock forever or move their home elsewhere. I watched my mind as it scattered in different directions regarding destroying the otters home, changing the ambience of this coastline, etc. etc. I recognized my nonproductive, negative thought patterns and then briefly chuckled at myself thinking “Oh, such a busy mind with destructive judgmental thoughts”. Continue reading Otter Joy, Judgement and Our Minds

What the dogs already know: Inner Validation

Posting by Dr. Penny

 Your recent postings came into play Dr. Schoen, when I was talking to an extremely discouraged colleague. “Where is the pay out?!” she asked. Like many of us, she has been very dedicated reading, studying, applying, visualizing, heart opening, soul searching, following guidance, excavating big dreams, growing faith and trust, diligently building the next level of what is possible from the inside out – the very best she knows how – for the past 8 years. She is one of the special ones at the leading edge, forging new territory. And she is exhausted from giving 100% plus. When is all this work going to pay off? Where are my *$%$#$! results?  She, like many of us, has bitten off a big chunk. We are learning to live, what the dogs already know. We are learning what it takes to change to something which will benefit not just us, but everyone. Service to all is unconditional love -  this way of human being in the world. That is what each of us is bringing in. That is the bridge we are all building. 

In the old system, we as individuals are rewarded for the level of work that we do. If we work smart, hard and conform to the mold for each profession, we receive reward in the form of $, appreciation, and respect. This used to be enough motivation. But now we have this strong urge to “follow our hearts” and “express our unique potential”. We want more. Once we have started this path, there seems to be no satisfying way to return to the old way. So, what is the old system being replaced with? What is our reward? Shall we take a peak and see how far we can see? 

Continue reading What the dogs already know: Inner Validation

Caring for Ourselves/ Caring for Our World: Part 1 (VIDEO)

Michael Stone of the Centre of Gravity Yoga Centre in Toronto (CentreofGravity.org) shares bountiful wisdom in this lecture that transcends yoga, buddhism and all labels and relates directly to the mission of the kindred spirits project and all animal lovers. He shares about the essence of how we can be of benefit to others in the most joyful way. Michael shares essential truths about how we can create more compassionate societies one by one. He also talks about many of the pitfalls of service such as burn out, vital exhaustion, empathy fatigue, pathological altruism, vicarious trauma, moral distress and systematic distress. I gained many insights from this lecture regarding burnout and compassion fatigue in animal lovers who volunteer or work in humane societies, animal shelters, rescue shelters as well as in animal hospitals or wherever there are animals suffering and in pain. Continue reading Caring for Ourselves/ Caring for Our World: Part 1 (VIDEO)

Welcome to the Kindred Spirits Project!

Welcome to The Kindred Spirits Project.  The Kindred Spirits Project encompasses my vision to assist animal lovers throughout the world to gather together and  unite in order to nurture, transform, concentrate and focus  the unconditional  love that they share with their animal companions into compassionate action to help improve the quality of life, happiness and health of all beings.

Are you an animal lover who wishes that they could do more to  make  a difference in the world?  Throughout my thirty three years of pioneering Holistic, Integrative Veterinary Medicine, I continuously hear animal lovers who state that they wish they could do more to make a difference in the world.  This blogsite has been created as a vehicle to support animal lovers throughout the world to come together with our intentions and compassionate energies to help create a happier, healthier, more loving society and earth!  This is a co-creative journey. By contributing, participating, spreading the word, we can change this world, thought by thought, intention by intention, action by action.  The result for you is that you will realize that you are an integral part of a solution.  By being a part of the kindred spirits project, you will reap great benefits in many ways that will begin to unfold in your heart and mindstream, moment by moment in your daily life.  As demonstrated in functional mri’s, by being of benefit to others, you become happier and more peaceful.  Join in and help us create a new, more compassionate society filled with loving kindness for all!  Again, welcome and thank you for joining us!

Through the  integration of the latest advances in quantum physics, neuroscience, mind/body medicine, consciousness studies, animal behavior and studies in the human animal bond, I have developed new theories, approaches and techniques that could possibly help transform our society into a more compassionate, happier, healthier society focusing on every place where we connect and interact with animals, our kindred spirits.  If I am correct,  every animal hospital, animal shelter, horse barn, animal sanctuary as well as each and every animal loving household can be a focal point for expanding compassionate action throughout the world.   This endeavor is a co-creative journey, whereby, all animal lovers throughout the world, can review my theories, practice the simple, yet profound  techniques that will be available for free on this website, integrate them into their interactions with their kindred spirits and report back with evaluations on their animal companions  as well as their own and others responses.  There will be questionnaires and surveys that you can fill out/ answer.  These will then be collected, collated and shared on the website.  I believe that we have the ability as individual animal lovers to gather together and  assist in the transformation of society into a more compassionate, happier healthier world, animal by animal, person by person. As the world seems to be bouncing back and forth from crisis to crisis, focusing on fear rather than love, it can be too easy to fall into hopelessness and despair.  The Kindred Spirit Project is an opportunity to offer another reality, another approach, re-igniting with unconditional love, passion and  compassion  each and every kindred spirit, each heart and each soul.  Love can be even more contagious than fear.

This is a warm, loving invitation to you, all animal lovers to say Yes to a new vision for the 21st century.  This is an invitation to help create a more loving, compassionate society.  It will require assistance from animal lovers from all walks of life, with many different skills, knowledge and abilities.  It will take great skillful means to create this new reality.  Based on my discussions with animal lovers throughout the world, I believe it is totally possible and that this new reality, Shambala, a new Garden of Eden, can become a reality beyond our wildest dreams.  So many of my clients, friends, readers of my books have asked me how they can take their love of their animal companions and help the world.  Their questions have led  me to create this project.  Please join us in this noble adventure to re-create the Garden of Eden, Shambala!