BY PAULA MACIOLEK, COPY EDITOR Three Gaits, named for the three movements of a horse—walk, trot and canter—is a nonprofit organization that provides equine-assisted activities and therapy (EAAT) for people with physical, emotional and intellectual challenges. Located just south of Madison in Stoughton, it began in 1983 under the leadership of Gail Brown and Lorrie […]
BY JESSICA PAIRRETT, COPY EDITOR Snuggles and kisses, gentle nuzzles and hilarious antics. These are all attributes we love about spending time with our dogs. We’ll include the feline variety in there as well. But what about the quality time spent with horses? If you haven’t had the opportunity to do so yet, you’re sure […]
BY NASTASSIA PUTZ, PUBLISHER Development of the MKE Urban Stables is well underway and will be completed sometime this spring. Located at 143 East Lincoln Avenue, the stables will be first and foremost a dual program to benefit Milwaukee youth and Veterans, while allowing the community to intermingle with police officers in a positive manner […]
By MANETTE KOHLER, DVM
The red carpet was rolled out on June 23 at the Sonoma-Marin Fair for the 30th annual World’s Ugliest Dog contest in Petaluma, California. Many worthy competitors shuffled, snorted and slobbered their way down the red carpet to strut their stuff for the judges, vying for the coveted, prestigious title.
The winner, sporting a beautiful pink collar and matching toes, was Zsa Zsa, a 9-year-old English Bulldog from Anoka, Minnesota. It wasn’t her fashion sense, however, that caught the judges’ attention. Zsa Zsa embodies the well-known English Bulldog physical traits including short legs, massive shoulders, chest and head, and wrinkled face, but her most endearing quality has to be her incredible, lolling tongue, hanging just inches from the ground thanks to an over-pronounced under bite and crooked teeth, both top and bottom.
Zsa Zsa’s owner, Megan Brainard of Anoka, Minnesota, was over the moon with excitement when the judges crowned Zsa Zsa the winner of the contest. As if sneezing and flinging drool on the judges wasn’t enough to tip things in her favor, Megan feels it was Zsa Zsa’s awesome personality that won the judges over.
“Everyone loved her the second they laid eyes on her!” says Brainard. “The audience couldn’t get enough of her.” Zsa Zsa and Brainard received $1,500 and an impressive trophy. NBC flew Brainard, her fiancé, her father, her baby and Zsa Zsa to New York City for a three-day visit and an appearance on the Today Show.
While lovingly mocking beauty-challenged dogs may be one part of the contest, it is actually a celebration of the contestants, many of which were rescued from puppy mills and shelters and promotes the idea of adopting dogs in need of homes. Zsa Zsa herself was a puppy mill survivor.
“She was a breeding dog in a puppy mill in Missouri,” says Brainard. Identified by a number instead of a name, she ended up at an auction when the mill was done with her where Underdog Rescue in Minnesota purchased her. Brainard owns two grooming shops, and when she saw Zsa Zsa on Petfinder four years ago she messaged the rescue group offering to groom her for free. “She was exactly how I thought she would be…. Sweet and such a ham!” shares Brainard. After all she’d been through, Brainard was amazed at how “go-with-the-flow” and happy she always seemed to be. “We groom many puppy mill dogs who act quite the opposite,” says Brainard. Needless to say, Brainard’s home became Zsa Zsa’s home.
When asked about the inspiration for her name, Brainard described how Zsa Zsa used to lounge on her bed, looking like she was modeling. “I googled famous models and saw Zsa Zsa Gabor,” says Brainard. “I just knew that was going to be her name!” Lounging was actually Zsa Zsa’s favorite thing to do, be it on her pink leather bed or the couch. Toys weren’t her thing, but she loved going for car rides, watching “The Price is Right” with Brainard’s father, and having a snack at Chipotle.
All of Zsa Zsa’s favorite things are now past tense as, sadly, Zsa Zsa passed away in her sleep a few weeks after she won the contest. While she did have some typical signs of poor breeding, most of which helped her win the World’s Ugliest Dog contest, she had no life-threatening health problems that Brainard was aware of. Brainard’s heart is broken and she is still trying to process Zsa Zsa’s win, her fame and her passing. They had so many plans to help rescue groups, be advocates to expose puppy mills and get the word out to adopt rather than shop. But most of all, that Ugly Is Beautiful!
We can all do our part to expose and shut down puppy mills and their irresponsible breeding practices. While Zsa Zsa has gone over the Rainbow Bridge, her beautiful face can still be the inspiring face of change.
BY STACY KRAFCZYK
From over 15 years of animal communication/therapy sessions, dogs often request patience from their owners. The following is a description of areas in which dogs would love for us to have more patience.
“Let me be a dog,” they’ll say. “Please tell my human that it’s ok to be a dog and roll in the grass and get dirty. I enjoy rolling in the grass or dirt because it’s super fun, and it also clears my energy field.”
Dogs are like little sponges that absorb the energy of their environment so it’s necessary for them to have a good roll. It can dispel all the negative energy that has accumulated in their body over time. Yes, not all times are appropriate for them to roll in mud, dirt or snow. But you can make designated times for them to do so and plan accordingly.
Swimming also helps dogs disperse their energy and is great exercise. Water is very soothing to the soul for all beings. This activity will also be best when planning accordingly. So pack extra towels, water dishes with fresh water and enough time for all to enjoy.
Chewing & Food
Sometimes we are “stingy” on the food and treats according to our dogs. “Give me more! More food, more treats and more chews,” they exclaim.
“I like to chew on sticks and bones so please supply me safe ones to chew on so I don’t choke or hurt myself when I swallow it. And remind my human that it is necessary for me to chew so I can have fun while focusing my energy on the present moment.”
When your furry friends are on a walk they don’t want to be dragged along because you are in a hurry. Who likes being told to pee or poop on command? And who likes taking the same route for each walk—it’s super boring to them.
Of course, there are times when we must hurry. But make extra time to go on a stroll and lollygag with your pooch. Most dogs love to stop and smell the mailboxes and grass because that’s how they know who was there and what they did.
“Hey, I’m on this walk too ya know! Slow down and let me sniff PLEASE!!” Smells are important to dogs, inside and outside of the house, especially if it’s a breed specific dog that is naturally meant to track. You can go to Cabela’s or Farm and Fleet and purchase pheasant or duck scents and use them outside to stimulate their brain and body connection. In winter, you can add smells to indoor training and play sessions. Several clients’ dogs were over the moon about tracking indoors when it was too cold to play outside.
“I’m doing my best to love and follow you around but my body is starting to fail me. Please love me and be patient.” It can get frustrating and depleting to watch our beloved canine friend slowly fade away but let’s help them and ourselves through it without stressing them out.
Dog proof the house more from accidents, bring their food and water dishes closer, take them out more frequently, put a diaper on (if necessary) and add more pain meds to their regimen (again, only if necessary as pain meds can have side effects).
So take the time to contemplate the areas you can add a little more patience to your dog’s life. How can you tweak your schedule once or twice a week to accommodate their specific areas of need? You’ll see a noticeable change in their behavior when their needs get met! There are exceptions to all the rules depending on your furry critter. This is just a general guideline since most dogs ask that their human companions exhibit more patience.
By STACY KRAFCZYK
I was raised with non-denominational beliefs, and I really didn’t have an understanding of reincarnation growing up. It wasn’t until I started this career path as an animal communicator that I started to see that many animals were returning to their humans but in different forms.
Please don’t feel obligated to believe in reincarnation. But I ask that while reading this you keep an open mind. It may resonate with you or even validate something you have felt before. Sometimes just passing the information on to another can be the purpose you read this as it may resonate with another.
So let’s define reincarnation. Reincarnation is when an animal’s soul returns back to the earth but in a different body in order to continue their soul’s growth and journey. The soul goes from body to body learning different lessons and helping others. My own experience is that the soul may come back as a male or female, same breed or different breed or different species altogether. It does not have to be the same gender, but the animal may chose to come back as the same gender. Each reincarnation experience is unique in its own way.
Some clients are completely open to the idea of having an animal companion possibly return to them at a different time. Some clients request in sessions that they would like their animal to return, and some don’t believe in reincarnation at all. If I receive a message from their fur baby that they’re coming back, I just ask their humans to be open to the possibility. What is the harm of being open to the idea that your beloved animal may want to reunite with you again?
Other animals may have had a tough life in their physical body and may choose to be of assistance from the spirit plane. A rare few have said they were coming back to their humans but then sent a new animal soul to aid in the healing process—either resolving an old issue or helping the new animals soul grow and prosper. Penelope Smith, the founder and “grandmother” of animal communication, wrote an amazing book all about animals and reincarnation called “Animals in Spirit.” This is a great place to start.
A wonderful client from Minnesota lost her 13-year-old dog and dear friend. Prior to passing, the dog said he would return to her in a rescue but didn’t say when. She let that thought go because she didn’t necessarily believe in reincarnation either but loved her dog and did want him to come back. One day she felt drawn to go online to look at her local shelter for a dog. A rescue with similar colors as her previous pooch drew her in, but it was his eyes that spoke to her. She knew right away she had to go see him. She called the shelter and said to “hold that dog” and drove there. When she arrived at the shelter, a worker brought in the dog and he came running to her, knocking her over and kissing her face like her absent dog used to.
The kicker of the story is that her parents noticed the resemblance of the dog’s behavior to the previous dog as well. They started to call the new dog “bizarro dog” because he would sleep where the old dog slept, even though the old dog bed was no longer there. Eventually they did put a new one there because the dog wouldn’t lay anywhere else. The dog also started following the dad down the driveway when he left for work, which the old dog did too.
Another client’s dog came back very quickly in the form of a male puppy (instead of a female). The client blew off the dog’s message when it came through at first. The new pup had the exact same characteristics of the previous dog, same mannerisms, never had any potty accidents and was way too smart to know so much already at such a young age. The owner eventually admitted that she finally “knew” it was her previous pooch with tears in her eyes and crackling in her voice.
Other animals have come through of whom I have never met with very powerful validations of their previous lives such as quirky behaviors they used to do, what their humans did with their silky, soft ears and what it was like in their previous canine body.
It still continues to blow my mind after all these years of animal communication sessions. The stories and affirmations are so profound. There are so many beautiful stories to share. Keep in mind that an animal’s love remains the same even if they chose not to return. Be open to the idea that your beloved pup wants to return. And perhaps this is the validation you needed to confirm to you that one of your dogs was once a previous pup you had before. There’s no harm in an animal reincarnating. There’s only love. Only the love between a dog and their human.