Category Archives: Pet Feature Stories

Addressing change through energy work

Big dog sniffing little kitten in female handsBy Rebecca Stares

I can’t think of a change in my life where my pets haven’t been transitioning with me, be it directly or indirectly. We’ve moved — including across the continent, twice — formed new relationships, ended relationships, welcomed new family members, lost beloved family members, travelled, navigated illness and injury — mine and theirs — and well, lived. Rarely is there a life that’s static! Change, both planned and unexpected is inevitable.

What I’ve learned through all of these experiences is that each animal has his own capacity for change, and that my ability to help each pet through it, to ease the process and speed up the integration, is paramount. I’ve also learned that while I plan and prepare for things like moving to a new home or introducing a new family member, these changes are likely going to take my animals by surprise. This means that I have to factor their well-being into my plans too. I never want to see my animals distressed and it’s important to me that the support provided is effective; I want to see immediate results!

Fortunately, there are many tools we can use to make these transitions more seamless for our pets and help reduce any stress along the way. These may include the use of aromatherapy and essential oils, all forms of body work including T-Touch and massage, even acupuncture and acupressure.

My absolute favourite though is energy work — any therapy that manipulates the bioenergy of the animal with the intention of removing blockages and restoring harmony. Energy works helps to reduce stress and anxiety, minimize or eliminate the physical and behavioural manifestations that can accompany change, facilitate relationship building, ease grief and loss and promote curiosity, which is a key component in creating new habits.

With energy work, it doesn’t matter if the transitions are planned or not. When I moved across the continent, with three cats as company, I used energy work on all three of them so they were calm before the trip and so they would settle in the car (seriously, not a single meow the entire time). We had to make three different pit stops too, which were added stressors because it meant the cats were exposed to multiple new environments in rapid succession. But, thanks to the energy work, I had cats who snuggled and purred each night and who didn’t hide or resist when I pulled out the carrier to load them back up.

I used energy work on my cats when I brought my new puppy home, to help them feel safe and secure and happy with a new addition in the house. I used energy work on the puppy to help her with the grief of losing her litter-mates and to feel at ease in her new environment.  Energy work is a phenomenal tool for personal transitions too; births, deaths, change in mobility and ability, adjusting to illness/injury, all of it. This last winter I had to put my cat down so I utilized energy work to help everyone with their grief and to help him as he transitioned to the other side. It eased his pain, minimized his discomfort and added to his quality of life in his final days.

Seeing instantaneous results with energy work is another reason why it’s one of my favourite transitioning tools. Jack for instance, is the definition of a “fraidy cat.” He’s a rescue kitty and he does not like any interruption in his routine. He needs a lot of support for even the smallest change. What’s great about him is that I can see immediately that the energy work is effective because he settles right into sleep, and none of his typical stress behaviours — licking, pacing, meowing, missing the litter box, destroying the furniture, etc. — which happened before I started using energy work. Energy work keeps him in perfect health and balance throughout any of the changes life has demanded of him.

The absolute best part of energy work is that it is easy to learn and anyone can use it to support their pet(s) through any transition. Energy work is an easy to employ tool, can be applied in any situation where we are asking our pets to adjust to changes and it works with all animals of all ages, all species and breeds.

—Rebecca Stares owns Spirited Connections Counselling, which offers energy healing services for both animals and their people. She is also a clinical social worker specializing in animal assisted therapy and equine assisted therapy. Visit www.spiritedconnections.ca for more info.

Tips for choosing a dog-friendly vehicle

0915dogincarIf you have pets, finding the right vehicle for your family requires a little more thought. How many dogs you have along with their size, age and temperament should be considered when deciding which vehicle to purchase. The following list of dog-friendly vehicle features should help make that decision a little easier:

  • A compact or full-size minivan, SUV or crossover are usually better choices than a car simply because they offer more room and more dog-friendly features.
  • A vehicle with a low-to-the-ground profile will make it easier for dogs of all sizes and ages to get in or out of the vehicle.
  • A rear hatch or barn doors that allow you to fully open up the back will make it easier for your dog to jump in and out. It also makes it way easier for you to load or unload the vehicle.
  • Choosing a vehicle with a large, boxy cargo area rather than one with sloped walls, wheel wells or spare tires, will better accommodate your dog and supplies.
  • Rear cargo attachment devices will help keep a harnessed dog or dog carriers/crates from sliding around in the cargo area.
  • Some vehicles come with a pet barrier (cargo divider) or you can buy one after market. The barrier prevents your dog from jumping into the front seat, which can be unsafe.
  • Seats that fold down or are removable make lots of room for your dog and keep your seats clean for your human passengers.
  • A vehicle with non-carpeted walls and floors will keep dog fur from accumulating and make clean up easy.
  • A removable cargo liner, either built in or purchased after market, can be hosed off, making clean up a breeze.
  • In floor storage bins are a great way to keep your dogs away from anything you’re transporting, especially food.
  • Rear air conditioning is a must to keep everyone comfortable on hot days.
  • Childproof windows and door locks help prevent your dog from accidentally opening or closing the windows or doors.
  • A sunroof will provide maximum ventilation without worrying about your dog falling out of the vehicle.
  • Some other items to consider purchasing after market if they don’t come with the vehicle include waterproof seat covers and a fold out ramp to make it easy for your dog to get in and out of the vehicle.

—Source: The Fun Times Guide, a network of websites that cover a variety of niche topics. Visit www.thefuntimesguide.com for more info.

Tips for taking better pet pics

With the holiday season fast approaching, we asked photographers, Erica and James Fernandes from Evocative Photography in Calgary and Lorena Smalley from Chewed Slippers Photography in Edmonton, to give us some tips on how to take great photos of our pets. Here is what they came up with:

  • Learn your camera. This sounds obvious but take the time to learn how to use your camera and any other equipment you wish to use. Knowing what buttons to press and when will go a long way to ensuring you “capture the moment” and create the best image possible.
  • Chewed Slippers Pet PhotographyMake eye contact. Some of the best shots are those where your pet is looking straight into the camera. To make that happen, hold a treat or toy in your hand to get their attention, then move it into position right behind the camera lens. Feel free to squeak, shake or rattle away to get them to look at what you’re holding. (If  you need two hands on the camera, get a friend to work the toy.)
  • Make it fun. Taking photos of your pets should be fun for both of you! Gather up some treats (for yourself as well) and special toys and give your pet lots of affection and praise. Your pet should equate the camera with fun and good things.
  • Chewed Slippers Pet PhotographyConsider dog level. Want a different look? Try changing up your position. Get down on the floor at dog level and see the world from their point of view. Let them come close to your camera as you snap shot after shot of them sniffing their way to model stardom!
  • Only shoot when everyone’s safe, comfortable and happy. Don’t pull out the camera if your pets or you are tired, cranky or feeling impatient. This will only create frustration for you and your pet and offer little chance at capturing a great photo.
  • Chewed Slippers Pet PhotographyRemove distractions. As you frame up your perfect shot, take a moment to look at the background. Ask yourself the question: “Does what I see in the background help or distract from the picture?” Then take a couple moments to remove any distractions from the picture or change your angle so background clutter is reduced or eliminated.
  • Work in short sessions. Pets usually have the attention span of a fruit fly so taking photos in short sessions (work up slowly from about five to 10 seconds per day to five to 15 minutes per week) will keep them entertained while you work on taking great photos. Don’t force your pet to do anything they don’t want to do.
  • Chewed Slippers Pet PhotographyPump up the cute. Ask yourself: “What is the one thing that makes my pet so cute?” Is it their adorable eyes, the way they cock their head to the side, those raggedy paws or their size. Once you answer that question, you’ll know exactly what to capture in your photo. Now you just have to be creative and figure out how to pump up the cute.
  • Practice, practice, practice. Sage advice but don’t practice taking photos of your pets unless you  make it fun for them and yourself.
  • Patience and more patience. Take your time, slow down the pace and have patience. Snap a couple shots off to make sure the picture will work as planned, then settle in and wait. Pets know when we are frustrated and hurried. When we slow down, they relax and feel free to give us their best moments.

With small pets comes big responsibility

The name “hamster” comes from the German word “hamstern,” which means “to hoard.” This is a very apt way to describe how hamsters eat. They have pouches in their cheeks that they stuff with food. Then, they carry their hoard back to their colony so they can eat it later. Pet hamsters will often store food under their cage bedding.

The name “hamster” comes from the German word “hamstern,” which means “to hoard.” This is a very apt way to describe how hamsters eat. They have pouches in their cheeks that they stuff with food. Then, they carry their hoard back to their colony so they can eat it later. Pet hamsters will often store food under their cage bedding.

By Terri Perrin

They are small enough to put in the palm of your hand, but big enough to steal your heart! Hamsters and gerbils are often a parent’s first choice for their child’s first pet. Unfortunately, according to veterinarians who specialize in the care of small mammals, not a lot of forethought often goes into buying them.

Dr. Louis Kwantes, from Park Veterinary Centre in Sherwood Park, AB, says when people phone his clinic to ask about getting a hamster or gerbil for their children, their intention is often to teach the kids to be responsible for something. “It doesn’t matter whether it a tiny hamster or a dog, the parents are ultimately responsible for animal care,” says Dr. Kwantes.

“Unfortunately, many hamsters and gerbils are bought on impulse,” he adds. “The animal may only cost about $20, but a visit to the vet clinic can be $75 or more. Just because it was inexpensive to purchase doesn’t mean it isn’t worthy of veterinary care when it is sick. People need to think about this before they make a purchase, and budget $100 to $200 a year for veterinary care.”

Dr. Eva Hadzima, from Dewinton Pet Hospital, located just south of Calgary, agrees. “The gastrointestinal problem called ‘wet tail,’ for example, is common in hamsters,” she says. “They get loose stools, often as a result of too much moist food being offered or due to unclean housing.

“A hamster with wet tail is actually gravely ill and needs to be taken to a clinic that is familiar with small mammals within the first three or four hours of the onset of symptoms. Most people wait too long,” explains Dr. Hadzima. “Treatment can mean the difference between life, death, pain and suffering. Just because they are small, doesn’t mean they should be considered replaceable.”

Gerbils are mammals that are native to northern China. Gerbils first arrived in the United States in the 1950s. They were to be used in research, but they quickly won the hearts of lab workers, who began taking them home as pets.

Gerbils are mammals that are native to northern China. Gerbils first arrived in the United States in the 1950s. They were to be used in research, but they quickly won the hearts of lab workers, who began taking them home as pets.

Purchase considerations

Hamsters and gerbils are easy to hold in tiny hands but also easily dropped. Both animals will bite if mishandled or scared. If they manage to escape, they are difficult to find. If you want a pet that your child can interact with more and enjoy watching, Dr. Kwantes says that guinea pigs are often a better option for smaller kids.

Dr. Kwantes also reminds potential pet guardians to remember that these animals may carry zoonotic diseases such as salmonella, ringworm and fungal diseases. And don’t forget that the cross-species contamination works both ways! YOU can make little “Hammie” sick, too. For their protection (and yours) be sure to sanitize your hands before and after handling your small mammal.

Housing for Hammie

Some websites recommend using aquariums to house hamsters and gerbils but according to both vets we spoke with, this is not a good option. Aquariums do not provide adequate ventilation, and the high humidity can result in illnesses and infections. A rabbit cage with a plastic bottom and a wire top is your best bet, however, be aware that the wire spacing may be too wide and you may need to modify it, or choose a cage with smaller bar spacing.

Best bets for bedding

Dr. Hadzima says that proper bedding is vital to your hamster or gerbil’s health. Wood shavings are not recommended, due to their potential toxicity and likelihood of causing life-threatening intestinal compactions, kidney/liver failure, as well as trauma to the eyes.

Contrary to what you might read on the Internet, shredded newspapers are ideal. The ink on newspaper is now soy or plant-based and no longer contains lead. Colourful flyers are also great, as they have water-based ink. You can save yourself time (and money) by purchasing a cross-cut shredder to make your own bedding.

Enrichment and exercise

Both hamsters and gerbils are busy little creatures that need lots of exercise, so a hamster wheel is a must. When they are not scurrying around, they are chewing. Avoid items made of plastic. Obviously, ingested plastic is not good for your pet. Dr. Hadzima warns that the rough surface of chewed plastic can result in scratches and bacterial infections. Small cardboard boxes, toilet paper tubes and hay-based toys are also great.

What’s on the menu?

Commercial hamster and gerbils foods that provide a complete and balanced diet are available in most pet supply stores. Further vitamin and mineral supplements are not required.  Hamsters and gerbils also enjoy munching on hay. Babies under three months of age should be fed alfalfa while Timothy hay is best for adults. Dr. Hadzima highly recommends any products manufactured by Oxbow because this company is willing to share its product research and feedback.

“I am strongly against hamster or gerbil food with any seeds,” warns Dr. Hadzima. “With seeds we see many impactions in the mouth and bowels, and they are very high in carbohydrates. And be aware that they can get giardia (also known as ‘Beaver Fever’) from tap water. I recommend using bottled spring water or 5-stage osmosis water, to eliminate heavy metals, fluoride, chloride, and giardia.”

What’s right for you?

Whether you choose a hamster or gerbil is a matter of personal preference. Whatever you do, make selecting the pet a family affair … and treat your new furry friend as a member of the family.

 

Pedalling into fall

Biking with your dog lets you enjoy the great outdoors and exercise your dog at the same time.

Biking with your dog lets you enjoy the great outdoors and exercise your dog at the same time.

By J. Leslie Johnson

As Timber and I cycled around a corner of the bike path and left the shelter of the aspen trees, I felt a cool breeze, wafting in from the Rocky Mountains to the west, brush against my face. The breath of chilly air suggested the sultry days of summer were over; autumn was on its way.

I was grateful for the end of summer and the arrival of fall. Summer seems like an ideal time to bike with your dog but the sizzling heat and strenuous activity can easily cause a dog to suffer from heat stress. During the sweltering summer months, I constantly kept an eye on the heat and biked with Timber only at the coolest times of the day, usually in the early morning or late evening. On blistering hot days when it failed to cool off, I did not take him out at all.

The appearance of the cool weather brought another benefit: as Timber and I continued our leisurely ride, we discovered we were the only ones on the bike path. I could listen to the sound of the leaves rustling in the wind and enjoy the sight of the changing fall colours: the trees that bordered the path were no longer bathed in hues of green but tinted with tones of gold and amber.

Glancing down at Timber, I saw a gust of wind ruffling the fur around his face and knew he welcomed the return of colder temperatures as well. A northern dog bred to run for long distances in arctic temperatures, Timber could lope along beside the bike almost effortlessly. From time to time, he broke out into a sprint, stretching his long legs fully and satisfying his desire to run. Biking was an ideal activity for Timber: it enabled him to get outside and go for a run but it kept him safely away from traffic and other hazards.

Leaving the asphalt bike path, Timber and I cut across a grassy field towards a small, shallow pond. The knobby tires on my mountain bike provided great traction on the uneven ground and gave us the flexibility to explore the many small trails that intersected the field. Aside from being more scenic, the softer, earthen trails provided a more paw-friendly surface for Timber than asphalt.

Like the amber-coloured trees along the bike path, the pond was showing signs of the changing season: bits of ice were floating on the water and creeping along the pond’s edges. Passing the shallow, frosty pond, Timber and I made our way towards an old dirt road — one of our favourite trails in the area. Tall grass, tinted with shades of rust, grew beside the trail and gave it an air of seclusion. As we rode along, a movement in the grass, perhaps a mouse or rabbit, caught Timber’s attention, and he put his nose up in the air to test for scent. I saw a jostle in the grass as the animal moved and Timber instinctively jumped as if to give chase.

The Springer bike attachment features a large coil spring that absorbs the force of sudden tugs from the dog.

The Springer bike attachment features a large coil spring that absorbs the force of sudden tugs from the dog.

However, I only felt a momentary tug as Timber bounded toward the little animal; the special dog biking attachment on the side of my bike, appropriately called a Springer, had a large coil spring that absorbed much of the force of Timber’s sudden pull. Because the Springer attached to the side of my bike, it enabled me to keep both of my hands on the handlebars, which also helped me maintain control of the bike. Using a special attachment such as this one — designed specifically for biking with dogs — definitely made it much easier to take Timber for a ride.

Ignoring the small creature in the grass, I kept pedalling along the dirt road and Timber’s attention soon returned to the trail. As we approached a junction with the main bike path, Timber looked up as if to ask which direction I intended to take. “Right,” I said, calmly but firmly. When Timber and I started biking together a few years ago, I began training him in directional commands such as “right,” “left,” and “straight ahead.” Now, he understood the brief commands completely; this enabled us to work together as a team and helped strengthen the bond between us.

Continuing on the main bike path, we leisurely rode along a flat section and then made our way up a gradual, grass-covered hill to a steep ridge overlooking the Bow River. It was a great place to stop, take a break and give Timber a drink of water. When I first began biking him, I carried our extra gear in a small backpack but it was uncomfortable and shifted around on my back while I rode. Eventually, I acquired a sturdy rear rack for my bike and put a small pannier on each side. This kept my centre of gravity low and helped me keep my balance as I rode. The panniers also helped organize the gear: All of Timber’s stuff — water, bowl, treats, and dog first aid kit — went into one pannier and all of mine — water, hat, mitts and sweater — went into the other.

Timber sat quietly as I reached into his pannier and took out his water bottle. I squeezed a small amount of cool water into the built-in plastic dispenser and offered him a sip. That done, I stood back and took a leisurely look at the wandering river. There was a small shrubby island below us and when the river was low, a gravel bar stretched from the island to the bank on the floodplain. The year before, Timber and I had seen a well-fed coyote emerge from the lush foliage along the bank and confidently trot across the gravel bar to the little island, perhaps in search of an evening meal.

Stopping at the ridge on a regular basis gave me the opportunity to enjoy the river in all its moods — from the turbulent, rushing water during the spring runoff to the unhurried, shallow flow in the fall. Timber seemed to enjoy these brief breaks too; as usual, he was sitting quietly beside the bike, looking at the valley and occasionally putting his nose up in the air to catch a scent. I started to pet him just behind the ear — the place he really liked — burrowing my fingers into his deep, soft fur. It was such a simple thing, biking with my dog, and yet it gave me such a feeling of contentment; it gave me a chance to sit back and really just be with my dog.

—J. Leslie Johnson is the author of Bike with Your Dog: How to Stay Safe and Have Fun: a handy guide that shows average dog owners and cyclists how to enjoy biking with their dog. The book is available at FriesenPress.com, Amazon.com, BarnesandNoble.com and e-books through Kindle, Kobo, iTunes and Nook.

Animal assisted therapy helps humans heal without words

Georgia, a "Chimo" dog, helps students at the University of Alberta's Campus Saint-Jean relax during exams as part of its "Unwind Your Mind" stress relief project.

Georgia, a “Chimo” dog, helps students at the University of Alberta’s Campus Saint-Jean relax during exams as part of its “Unwind Your Mind” stress relief project.

By Sherry Warner

One of the oldest relationships on the planet is the human/animal bond. Those of us who are fortunate enough to share our lives with pets know what they bring to our lives — a sense of joy and unconditional love. And nowhere can you see the significance of this bond better than in the healing modality of Animal Assisted Therapy (AAT).

Kyla Rae, president of Chimo Animal Assisted Wellness & Learning Society, an Edmonton-based non-profit that assists in the development, planning, and implementation of AAT in a wide variety of settings, describes AAT as a goal directed intervention where the animal is an integral part of a structured treatment program.

“There are so many different situations you can put this adjunct therapy in place,” says Kyla. AAT can be used in a therapeutic setting, in educational institutions or as part of a physical therapy or occupational therapy program, she explains.

When psychologists and psychiatrists use AAT in their practices, the presence of the animal, whether the patient interacts with the animal or not, helps create a sense of trust, safety and security. “The patient sees that the animal is comfortable with the therapist and that the animal trusts them,” says Kyla. “That helps create that trust in a relationship that is dependent on trust.”

In a school setting, for example, with children who have ADD or autism, AAT may help encourage the behaviours teachers are looking for. “In that setting, if things get too rowdy or uncomfortable, the animal will walk away so then the kids realize that the dog is moving away and they will start to calm down and the animal will come back.”

Both the University of Alberta and the University of Calgary as well as other post-secondary institutions across Canada bring in dogs to help students relieve stress during exam time.

AAT can also be used in a physical or occupational therapy setting to help patients heal after an injury or surgery. “Often with seniors or people who have had severe trauma and needed surgery, they get to a point in their treatment where they plateau and don’t want to do anything that is asked of them in terms of rehab,” explains Kyla. But if there is a dog around, the therapist may suggest taking the dog for a walk to get the patient moving again.

Whatever setting AAT is used in, the goals are chosen by the professional — whether it’s a librarian, social worker, nurse, teacher, psychologist or psychiatrist — and their client or patient depending on the situation.

 

Straja Linder King's patient, Shannon, enjoys some down time with King's two therapy dogs, Twillow and Tala, at her Strawberry Moon Art Studio in Calgary.

Straja Linder King’s patient, Shannon, enjoys some down time with King’s two therapy dogs, Twillow and Tala, at her Strawberry Moon Art Studio in Calgary.

Straja Linder King is a board certified, registered clinical art therapist and a pioneer in art and  animal-assisted psychotherapy. With the assistance of her two Shiloh Shepherds, Twillow Rose and Tala Rain, Straja counsels patients experiencing all types of challenges from grief to stress, developmental or learning disabilities and addiction to those suffering disease such as cancer or Aspergers Syndrome.

“AAT is a wonderful treatment modality that is effective because it’s non-verbal,” says Straja. “I love that I’ve merged the animal assisted therapy with the art therapy because that gives me a language that’s older than words.”

Animals are incredible because they’re totally unbiased, they’re non-judgmental and they don’t care about your value and belief system, she says. If people are shut down, grief stricken and haven’t showered for days, there is something incredible about an animal being non-judgmental, explains Straja. “They can make a connection with the animal without rejection and criticism.

“If you are in the darkest night of your soul, brushing your teeth is just not going to be high on the order. It’s all you can do to get your butt out of bed and actually put some clothes on,” she adds. “The dogs help build trust in the therapeutic alliance so we can roll our sleeves up and do some of the deeper work.”

There are many benefits to patients of AAT. Through all of the research that has been done on this kind of treatment, there are five benefits to patients that studies consistently reveal, says Kyla. They are reduced anxiety, increased social interaction, increased attendance, increased motivation and reduced depression.

Shiloh Shepherds Twillow Rose and Tala Rain are Straja Linder Kings therapy dogs.

Shiloh Shepherds Twillow Rose and Tala Rain are Straja Linder Kings therapy dogs.

In Straja’s practice and depending on the patient, Twillow and Tala help them understand healthy boundaries and the sacredness of play, enhance their social skills and learn how to communicate better and boost their confidence and self esteem.

“The animals create a positive relationship and that’s (the patient’s) first segue into safely working towards reengaging in society and communicating,” says Straja. “And it’s one of the first steps to initiate closer relationships with people.”

Not every dog is an ideal candidate for AAT. Dogs suitable to work in this field can be a purebred or a mixed breed but there are some innate qualities that make the best animal assisted therapy dogs. The dogs have to really like people, be friendly, have an even temperament and not be afraid of strangers or new situations, says Kyla. They need to be obedient to whoever is handling the animal. The can be very social in nature, but have to be able to focus on what they are there to do, she adds.

“We have lots and lots of rescue dogs, which make a fantastic example to use for the people you are working with,” says Kyla. “With some of these dogs and the situations they have come out of they’re still able to come and do this kind of really important work and do it confidently even though they suffered.”

Straja sums up the benefits of AAT when she says: “Animals make us better human beings. They are the best diet and medical plan there is.”

Chimo Animal Assisted Therapy:
Chimo AAT was founded in 1999 by Dennis Anderson, who at that time, was the Alberta president of the Canadian Mental Health Association. The organization was initially called The Chimo Project, and was named after Dennis’s animal companion, Chimo, a Blue Heeler/Labrador cross.

Dennis personally experienced the psychological benefits of human-animal interactions, and he aspired to obtain evidence that animals may be beneficial in the treatment of persons with mental health concerns.

The name “Chimo” comes from the Inuit toast for “good cheer”, which is what the organization hopes to bring to those suffering from mental illness. Chimo’s mission is to develop and make available effective animal assisted therapeutic services to health and social services providers. Chimo AAT supports effective AAT through program development, education and research evaluation.

Here is a run down of the work Chimo does:

• Recruit and certify therapy animals including dogs, cats, birds, rabbits, and mini-horses
• Recruit and train volunteers with qualified animals
• Train a wide variety of therapists to use animals to help their clients
• Facilitate ongoing AAT programs in our community
• Provide services to assist new facilities in creating and sustaining their own AAT programs

For more information visit www.chimoproject.ca

Strawberry Moon Counselling 
In addition to offering art and animal assisted therapy at her Calgary-based Strawberry Moon Art Studio, Straja Linder King teaches two full credit courses in the Addictions Program in the Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of Lethbridge: Introduction to art therapy with animal assistance and Merging animal assisted therapy and art therapy.

Straja also offers a number of workshops including Living On Artfully: Healing From Loss; Get Yer Ya-Ya’s Out; Animal Communication; and Soul Wisdom: Deeper Meaning Through the Arts to name a few.

For more information visit www.strawberrymooncounselling.com