Recently I received the sad news that Heidi, a qualified Dog A.I.D Assistance Dog I have worked closely with over the last few years, had passed away after a short illness. A fabulous Westie, well-loved by all the trainers, clients and friends of Dog A.I.D, she captured the heart of everyone she met.
She was also adored by her baby ‘brother’ Barney; a young Westie who it is hoped will join the Dog A.I.D scheme and step into Heidi’s paw prints to take over as ‘chief helper-out’ for his owner.
Since Heidi’s passing, Barney had been sad and was obviously mourning the loss of his big ‘sister’. He wasn’t being his normal 9-month-old puppy self, so his owner contacted me to see if there was anything I could do to help.
I’ve worked with Barney before when he was just 16 weeks old so his owner was already familiar with the herbal self-selection methodology and I have his vet’s permission to work with herbs. This meant that I could prepare a few of the key essential oils, frequently chosen by other animals for grief and sadness, for him to work with. That afternoon I posted him a package of inhaler sticks, each infused with one essential oil.
I’ll let his owner explain what happened when she opened the parcel…
“Well it was incredible.
He tentatively sniffed the angelica. Then paid attention to the others. He double checked then took the stick with frankincense to his bed and snuggled with it for around 30 minutes.
In his own time he got up and did zoomies round the room for the first time since Heidi was first taken ill, so probably a week. He had a couple more sniffs then jumped up on the sofa and went to sleep.”
The resin and sap of the Frankincense tree (Boswellia carterii) protects, seals, and heals a wound in the plant. And, just like a physical wound, the resin-based essential oils are known for their ability to heal physical and emotional wounds as well.
Frankincense can induce feelings of mental peace and relaxation, lowering anxiety, anger, and stress, and helping to release pent-up emotions. It promotes deep breathing and relaxation which opens the breathing passages, supporting the lung meridian where the energy of grief is held according to Traditional Chinese Medicine, and allowing the grief to be processed in a healthy way.
Obviously Barney hasn’t read this information but he, like all other animals, has the innate ability to identify and best utilise the plant extracts they need to restore their emotional and physical balance, especially when we make a range of products available to them through the self-medication process.
“Self healing for dogs rocks – I am a complete convert.
I had done some work with Lesley and Barney when he first arrived but this evening was incredible.”
If you think your animal is holding on to grief or other emotional trauma, either current or from their past, then they may benefit from a herbal self-medication session too.
I am very proud to be a volunteer dog trainer for Dog A.I.D – the amazing Assistance Dog charity that helps people with physical limitations to train their pet dogs to complete the tasks that they need a little help with, like emptying the washing machine, taking off socks and jackets, opening doors… their capabilities as a qualified team are endless!
In loving memory of a wonderful, life-changing dog. My sincere thanks to Barney’s mum for allowing me to share this story at such a difficult time.