MAGGIE: the dog who changed my life

MAGGIE: the dog who changed my life
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Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Former Chipotle Mexican Grill Marketing Man Becomes Raw Dog Food Entrepreneur

What's Really Best for Our Pets? That is the title of Chapter 9 in my book,  MAGGIE the dog who changed my life, where I write of my alarming discoveries about the commercial pet food industry and what prompted me to change Maggie to a raw food diet. Evidently Jim Adams, former Chipotle marketing guru, feels the same way about feeding a raw food diet to dogs.

According to Denver Post Columnist, Penny Parker, in a column earlier this year, it was Chipotle founder Steve Ells' mission to use organic products and naturally raised meats whenever possible when he birthed Chipotle Mexican Grill. And it was Jim Adams, a Denver marketing man, who helped catapult Chipotle into financial success. In 2008, after 11 years of being schooled in Ells' mission, Adams left the company in a mutual agreement,

After taking some time off, Adams decided to translate his experience with Chipotle's organic food mission into making dog food. What promted him to go this route?

Adams switched his Schnauzer, who was toward the end of her life, to a raw dog food diet. He saw a big improvement in her (in much the same way I saw Maggie improve), which prompted his recent start of Red Bud's Raw Dog Food, named after his long-haired dachshund Red. Red Bud's Raw Dog Food is made from antibiotic-free chicken, ground chicken bone, and organic vegetables and fruit. It comes in frozen 1 pound packages and can be delivered to your door.  You can learn more and check the ingredient list at

I continue to feed a raw food diet to Maddie, our current dog. At 5 1/2 years old, she has the energy of  a pup. Many people expect her to be about 2 years old and are shocked when I tell them she's going on 6 years old!

Posted by:

Dawn Kairns  

Twitter: themaggiebook

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Do Your Animals "Speak" to You in Your Dreams?

Years ago I began recording my dreams in a journal, and spent years with a Jungian therapist learning how to interpret them. It was fascinating, and for me, a spiritual journey to learn how to pay attention to messages coming from my soul in dream symbols, reflecting life lessons I may have otherwise missed. After all, most of us are taught to think of our dreams as "just dreams" with nothing to offer or teach us about ourselves.

It wasn't until I had dreams about my dog, Maggie, that actually manifested in waking life that it began to dawn on me that some of my dreams were predictive, or clairvoyant, if you will. This is not something unique to me -- I think we all have these type of dreams, but don't pay enough attention to know it. Perhaps especially when it comes to our special animals. I began to wonder if the special bond between animals and their humans allowed for this type of animal communication to take place in our dreams. Dreams are Messages from the Soul is a chapter in my book, MAGGIE the dog who changed my life, devoted to my predictive dreams about Maggie; dreams that were trying to warn me about her health.

My cat, Cinnamon and I have always had a special communication with each other. As she was declining last month, I asked her to please let me know in a dream when she was ready to go, ready for me to me to make that decision we all dread -- to say our final good-bye.

It was Wednesday night, August 25. I slept on the living room floor, hoping Cinnamon would sleep near me. I awakened once, warmed to find her lying just a couple feet from my head. I reached out to touch her. I fell back to sleep and then the dream came:

Cinnamon and I went to speak to a young dark-haired man. He was an animal communicator. As I stood there silent, he looked at me and said, "Isn't there something you want to ask me?"
"Oh, yes," I said, as though I'd forgotten why we'd come. "Is it time to euthanize Cinnamon?"
"Yes!!" he said emphatically, while nodding his head just as forcefully. In fact, it seemed his entire body was nodding.

It was a message I could in no way miss. It was totally congruent. I awakened in tears, knowing the truth -- that this was our last night together. Cinnamon was still lying in the same spot. I got up and went to her, crying.

"I get it, Baby Soul," I told her. "I get it." She was purring. My heart was breaking, but I knew what we had to do.

I called the mobile vet the next morning and we honored Cinnamon's desire that afternoon. In all my pain in losing her, there was a comfort in having had such a clear communication from her.

A similar unmistakable dream about Cinnamon came to me years before. Cinnamon had developed hyperthyroidism, and it was a few days before she was to have surgery to remove her "enlarged" thyroid gland. The dream character was menacing as she told me in no uncertain terms that Cinnamon would die if she had this surgery. I canceled her surgery the next morning. After informing myself further about radioactive iodine treatment for hyperthyroidism in cats, I elected to go this route. After they scanned Cinnamon's thyroid gland, they told me it was a good thing I didn't have surgery done because the difference in size was nearly impossible to see with the naked eye, making it difficult to know which lobe of the gland to remove. Although I wasn't wild about exposing Cinnamon to radioactive iodine, it seemed the least invasive therapy over time. The idea of forcing medication down her every day to suppress the thyroid was not a direction I wanted to go with her. The drug route was not without its' side effects. Cinnamon did great with the iodine therapy. She never developed hypothyroidism (the iodine therapy did not destroy the "good" remaining lobe of her thyroid gland), nor did her hyperthyroidism return.

The importance of dreams are one of the ways Maggie changed my life, and why I wrote MAGGIE the dog who changed my life. I can't encourage you enough to connect with your dreams as a part of you. They can have vital messages that many of us miss because we don't give them enough credibility. Our animals, in particular, may communicate with us in our dreams.

Posted by:

Dawn Kairns  

Twitter: themaggiebook

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Puppy Mill Rescue in Missouri: 100 Dogs Saved

100 Dogs Saved From Missouri Puppy Mill

(Reprinted from Care 2 post by Sharon Seltzer)

Teamwork between several national and local animal welfare groups saved the lives of more than 100 dogs on Tuesday from a puppy mill in Central Missouri.   

The owner of the kennel could no longer afford to feed the dogs.

The dogs, which included small breeds such as Dachshunds, Malteses, Shih Tzus, Lhasa Apsos, and large breeds such as Huskies and Boxers, were voluntarily surrendered by the owner of the puppy mill.  He contacted a local rescue group, Half-way Home Pet Rescue and explained that he couldn’t afford to feed the dogs.  The rescue group called the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals for help.

The Rescue Plan
The ASPCA quickly put a collaborative rescue plan into action.  They sent eight members from their Anti-Cruelty team and their 60-foot-long animal transport trailer to the puppy mill.  They also enlisted the help of PetSmart Charities to supply the large number of pet transport carriers and crates needed.

The dogs were then transferred to two local animal rescue groups - the Humane Society of Southwest Missouri in Springfield and HSMO in St. Louis.  Each of the rescued pups will stay with the rescue groups until they are given a clean bill of health and ready to be adopted into a family of their own.

Collaborative Efforts Are A Win-Win
This is not the first collaborative rescue between national animal welfare groups and local organizations, but in my opinion it seems to be a new trend that wasn’t present in many large rescue efforts just a year or two ago.
Previously it was common for the animals rescued in those missions to be victimized further by deeming them unadoptable and euthanizing them.

Now it is becoming routine for the victimized cats, dogs and other animals to be sent to regional animal rescue organizations that are nursing them back to health, rehabilitating them and successfully placing them in adopted homes.   It’s a win-win for everyone.

The cooperative efforts aren’t just limited the ASPCA.   Last week a dozen regional rescue groups took in 200 dogs and 54 cats after PETA exposed a North Carolina research laboratory for the cruel treatment of the animals at the facility.

And last year the Humane Society of the United States teamed up with a multitude of local animal welfare groups after they organized the largest raid on dog fighting rings in U.S. history.  The majority of those dogs was rehabilitated and found loving homes for the first time in their lives.

Tim Rickey, the ASPCA’s Senior Director of Field Investigation and Response had this to say about the puppy mill rescue on Tuesday.  “The ASPCA is committed to assisting local animal organizations, as well as overwhelmed breeders, to help find homes for animals in situations like this.”

He also acknowledged the extra burden placed on local animal rescue groups. “Having too many dogs, as this crisis clearly illustrates, puts a tremendous strain on local agencies when they are suddenly forced to care and find homes for large numbers of animals,” said Rikey.

But everyone involved in the effort believes this is still the best way to handle large scale rescues.

Latisha Duffy of Half-way Home Pet Rescue said, “We’re grateful to national and local animal welfare groups for stepping up to the plate and working together for the common goal of saving lives.  Instead of being sold off to auction, these dogs now have a second chance at life.”

Missouri Puppy Mills
The ASPCA reported that Missouri, where the dogs were rescued, is considered to be the puppy mill capital of the country.  The state, “exports more than 40 percent of all dogs sold in pet stores nationwide,” ASPCA said in a press release.  “It is home to more than 3,000 commercial dog breeding facilities.”

Because of these facts, the ASPCA is urging those living in Missouri to support Proposition B, or the Puppy Mill Cruelty Prevention Act, which will be on the November ballot.

Posted by:

Dawn Kairns  

Twitter: themaggiebook

Friday, September 10, 2010

Just One More Time ...

Good-Bye, My Sweet Cinnamon
Cinnamon in our camper in Wyoming, July 12, 2009

Many of you who read my book remember Cinnamon, our spicy feline who came to live with us as a kitten and became Maggie's best friend. At 17 years of age, Cinnamon shared a huge span of our 20 years of life together in this house. She was here through conflicts, career changes, personal growth/changes, surgeries, dog losses, family visits, family heart breaks, parent losses, foster dogs, new dogs; through our laughter and tears ... It is with great sadness that I tell you that Cinnamon passed on August 26, 2010. My photos of Cinnamon here aren't an exact match to what I'm writing about, but I wanted to share the beauty and joy of her as I write this very difficult post.

April 8, 2010 in our yard -- Cinnamon's domain

As a kitten and young cat, she was a pistol, and earned the name "Little Buggs," short for "Little Bugger." Anyone who stayed in our basement bedroom felt her wrath when they pet her ... my nephew, who lived with us on 2 occasions, my parents when they visited, and others. After all, this was her room, right? Along with every other room in the house! She thought nothing of swatting anyone who touched her below her head. She rolled on her back seemingly to invite a belly rub, but grabbed anyone's hands with her teeth (play, right?) and kicked with her back feet.

The beginning: May or June, 1993, on Tom's lap

But with age (and treatment for hyperthyroidism many years ago) she calmed and allowed more touch. Our bond grew; trust deepened. Cinnamon came to be the steady force of peace and simply "being" in our home, a gentle, quiet presence who purred when I simply walked into the room she was in. Her entrance was subtle; her presence powerful.

Queen Cinnamon on bed in South Padre rental condo, 12-07-07

I looked at her in June and remarked to Tom, my husband, "She just doesn't look 17 -- she still has that curious kitty face she's always had." He agreed. I had noticed, however, that during the early summer she began eating a bit less, and drinking more. Knowing how common kidney disease is in elderly cats, I found myself silently saying to her while petting her at her food bowl, "please, just one more camping trip, Baby Soul, just one more time so we can cuddle together.

Serving the Queen on "her" bed in camper, 7-26-06

We had taken Cinnamon in our camper with us since she was 12 years old, and she seemed to thrive on it. In fact, we all did. The 4 of us (including our black lab, Maddie) were always in sight in such a small space. And Cinnamon crawled under my sleeping bag every morning at first light, lay close, and purred. Oh, how I loved this because my Cinnamon was not a cuddle cat at home in any way, shape, or form. Be in the same room and close, yes, but "do not pick me up or place me in your lab, please!" As we prepared for our upcoming mountain camping trip in early July, I resolved that if her increased drinking and decreased eating continued or worsened, I would get obtain lab work. Her weight was unchanged, so I wasn't too concerned about her eating.

7-6-09 Cinnamon gets brave at gas station in Pinedale, Wyoming. "I can do it if Maddie can."

My angel gave us that one more time. The first week of our trip was beautiful, camping and hiking in Lake City, CO. Cinnamon was herself, except for one thing. Each morning she came to my sleeping bag and seemed to want under, like always, yet she was restless and didn't come under it; or if she did, didn't stay. Once I sat up with my tea, she'd finally come under my bag and cuddle next to or inside my legs -- purring to the nines. I wasn't sure what to make of this, but at the time didn't make much of it. Then she began leaving her wet food at night.

"Prrrrr -- ah, good, Tom I love your foot ear rubs! Just a little further up..."  In camper, 7-21-07

We went on to the next town, Montrose, where her eating definitely diminished. I called the vet and made the appointment. I have written about the results and Cinnamon's ups and downs on our trip in my previous blog posts, which you can refer to. After that trip to the vet, Cinnamon's behavior radically changed. She didn't want to interact with us, and ate nothing but a small portion of dry food at night. I was devastated. The many endearing things she did flooded my mind, and I had that awful realization that I may have experienced them for the last time.

Cinnamon fearlessly peers off 7th floor in South Padre Island, 11-17-07

I thought of the way she always bit my head and chewed on my hair when I lay on the living room floor doing yoga stretches at night. She lay right where I needed to stretch, sink her teeth into my head and pull my hair, and then licked the cream off my face with her sandpaper tongue. It used to irritate me, but what I wouldn't give to have her do it again, just one more time ...

Then one night in the camper I was stretching on the bed. I felt her familiar rub on my head, and yes, there was the bite and pull. My eyes teared with hope and recognition of what she was giving me. Yes, she gave what I loved one more time, as if she, too, were saying good-bye to each of our special interactions.

Cinnamon loved biting my head and licking my face as I stretched, 12-22-06

"Please make it home with us," I silently begged her. "Make it through Brad's (my nephew) wedding." She obliged. I so hoped arriving home would change things, but when we got home, Cinnamon was so not herself. After the first few nights, the only food she ate was from our hands. Over the course of the next several weeks, I found myself thinking of so many precious things she always did -- sweet behaviors that I was already mourning. I silently wished she would do them again, at least just one more time: meow outside the bathroom door after my shower and come in to rub on my legs, and lay against them as I dressed; come lay with us in the living room as we stretched before bed; hang out and sleep close to me on the living room floor when I slept out there on a pad (a snoring husband or difficulty sleeping sends me sleeping elsewhere); come to the screen door when I was outside and ask to come out ...

"I will ALWAYS love black dogs!" (Cinnamon and Maddie on "Maggie's" bed, 4-23-08)

I knew our days were numbered, and my heart was so heavy. I treasured the touch of her nose and tongue on my fingers when she took her food from me, and backed off when Cinnamon turned her back with her clear signal of, "get that food out of here."

Oops, busted...hogging middle of dog bed -- AGAIN. "But ALL beds in this house are MINE." 6-29-08

I catered to her, bringing her water to her new day hang out at the top of the stairs to my office, where she could observe every move we made, but be far enough away; carried her outside to lay in her favorite spots when I/we were out there; fed her pieces of grass when she couldn't find one that suited her; gave her Bach Flower Remedies; had a vet come to the house to do acupuncture. Had we not been hand feeding Cinnamon, she'd have been gone weeks earlier. Each time I lifted her, she felt lighter. Yet she purred every time we came near. Each night I awakened several times and opened my eyes to her sitting at the bedroom screen door, watching what she loved the most: the outdoor world. I lay awake watching her, drinking in my last nights with her, wanting to burn this image of her in the doorway forever.

Cinnamon "terrorizing" mellow Maggie in her young years

One night after my shower, I opened the bathroom door. Cinnamon walked in and looked as though she were trying to remember something. She walked into the bathroom for the first time since we returned home, and sat against my legs, ever so briefly. My heart was full as I luxuriated in the softness of her fur -- just one more time. Then she was out of there. I felt like she had honored my unspoken wish, and again was saying her own good-bye to this particular special moment we so often shared. What a validation of our spiritual connection, and her ability to tune in and respond to those bonding moments I missed most, and find a way to give them one last time.

2-8-10 in Padre, crossing paws as Maggie used to do

After many nights of keeping her distance, Cinnamon did lay with us in the living room during our stretching, as long as we didn't try to feed her, for the last few nights of her life. What amazed me is that rather than remove herself totally from us as so many animals do before they leave this world, she still wanted to be a part of us, and just made sure we knew exactly how she needed her distance.

Cinnamon and Maddie, back seat, from Lake City to Montrose, 7-11-10

A very special "just one more time" came Tuesday evening, August 24. Cinnamon always wanted outside with me as I watered the front flowers. But she had not come down to the foyer in days. It was later than usual when I watered, and already dark. I kept looking back at the screen door, hoping to see what I knew I wouldn't: Cinnamon sitting at the screen door, meowing to come out, or kneading her claws in the screen. But after several minutes I did a double take -- there she was, claws in the screen, looking at me, waiting. I was delighted! I NEVER let her out at night, but I figured she couldn't run from me, and I'd hover over her every move. I opened the door and out she trotted; down the steps, then the driveway, and into the street (we are on a quiet cul-de-sac with virtually no cars)! She hadn't done this in years! I lifted her light body and placed her back at the end of our driveway. Lo and behold, she leaped forward in a sudden move. There was a baby toad that her little paw found -- just one more time. Of course I didn't let her hurt the toad, but I will always treaure that 2 nights before she left this world, she surveyed her "domain" one last time, and got in one last "hunt." And we got to share one last moment doing what we always did together -- hanging out outdoors, what we both love the most. I think I owe this to her acupuncture treatment on Monday, bringing out her last bit of "chi" (energy), the last of her life force.

7-31-10 in camper in Montrose, CO

On Wednesday my Cinnamon barely ate. I knew she was going downhill. I slept out in the living room on the floor again, hoping she'd sleep near me. Since we returned home when I tried this, she did not. But when I awakened, there she was, just a couple feet from my head -- and we shared our last night together, just one more time.

The last time Cinnamon exercised her claws on camper couch, 7-28-10
Cinnamon, I love and miss you more than my words can begin to express. Thank you, my girl, for all the wonderful years you gave us. I will always, always love you ... 
1-26-10, South Padre, relaxing on couch

Posted by:

Dawn Kairns  

Twitter: themaggiebook

Friday, September 3, 2010

Blood Dolphins (Video)

I want to share this post with you from the blog. Animal Planet begins airing this series about the dolphin slaughter in Taiji, Japan tonight. If you aren't aware of this issue where thousands of dolphins are captured and slaughtered each year, beginning in September, please take a moment now to educate yourself and share this information with others and get involved in any way you are guided. Our fellow creatures need us to help stop this atrocious practice.

Blood Dolphins: A Sad Sight in the Cove (VIDEO)

posted by: Cris Popenoe 15 hours ago

Blood Dolphins: A Sad Sight in the Cove (VIDEO)
Care2 members are very active in raising awareness of dolphins in danger. A petition to end the dolphin slaughter currently has over a quarter of a million signatures.

Add your name to the petition!

And the dolphin slaughter issue is tops in the news again, as Japan's dolphin killing season has just begun.   
Animal Planet has a new TV series, Blood Dolphins. A fresh episode airs Friday at 9 pm and if you missed episode one, "Return to Taiji", you can catch it tonight at 9 and again at 11 pm.

 To learn more about the plight of the dolphins and the power of these films, watch the video below. It features Lincoln O'Barry -- son of Ric O'Barry who started the dolphin crusade -- sneaking past barbed wire and guards with his colleague Kate Tomlinson to get shots of the cove.

Re- posted (from Care 2) by:

Dawn Kairns  

Twitter: themaggiebook

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Inside the Minds of Animals

What animals do know that humans were taught animals didn't have the capability to know was one of the motivations for me to write my book, MAGGIE the dog who changed my life. Science is now showing what so many of we animal lovers have known intuitively from our animals for a long time: that they think, communicate, empathize and feel. It's nice to see the science catching up, as this August, 2010 cover feature in Time Magazine demonstrates.

Excerpt from Time Magazine's Inside the Minds of Animals

"Our dodge ... has always been that animals are ours to do with as we please simply because they don't suffer the way we do. They don't think, not in any meaningful way. They don't worry. They have no sense of the future or their own mortality. They may pair-bond, but they don't love. For all we know, they may not even be conscious. "The reason animals do not speak as we do is not that they lack the organs," René Descartes once said, "but that they have no thoughts." For many people, the Bible offers the most powerful argument of all. Human beings were granted "dominion over the beasts of the field," and there the discussion can more or less stop.

But one by one, the berms we've built between ourselves and the beasts are being washed away. Humans are the only animals that use tools, we used to say. But what about the birds and apes that we now know do as well? Humans are the only ones who are empathic and generous, then. But what about the monkeys that practice charity and the elephants that mourn their dead? Humans are the only ones who experience joy and a knowledge of the future. But what about the U.K. study just last month showing that pigs raised in comfortable environments exhibit optimism, moving expectantly toward a new sound instead of retreating warily from it? And as for humans as the only beasts with language? Kanzi himself could tell you that's not true.

All of that is forcing us to look at animals in a new way..."

Read the entire Time magazine article here: Inside the Minds of Animals

Posted By:

Dawn Kairns  

Twitter: themaggiebook