The Power of Nature is Hidden in our Products – PART TWO

November 14th, 2018

 

Shea Butter in Paw Butter and Hand Butter

I’ve never tried shea butter for cooking but I love the nutty smell of unrefined shea butter and the feel of it on my skin. When you first apply shea butter it feels a bit heavy but then it makes a nice silky film on your skin.

Shea butter is a fat that’s been extracted from the nut of the African shea tree. It is usually yellow in colour when raw, with more processed versions being ivory or white in colour.

Due to its cinnamic acid and other natural properties, shea butter is anti-inflammatory. One compound, in particular, lupeol cinnamate, was found to reduce skin inflammation. This anti-inflammatory agent has a healing effect on conditions like scars and stretch marks, rashes, scrapes, small wounds, eczema, ulcered skin etc. Shea butter aids in the skin’s natural collagen production and contains oleic, stearic, palmitic and linolenic acids that protect and nourish the skin to prevent drying.

Shea butter helps cell regeneration and capillary circulation, and therefore it is very good for aging skin. It is humectant (absorbs moisture from the air) so it is also excellent for dry skin. (L. Price; Carrier oils for aromatherapy and massage, 2012). With long-term use of our Hand Butter, many people report skin softening and strengthening.

German Chamomile essential oil in Skin Relief, Hand Butter & Paw Butter

I love the smell of German chamomile and the dark blue colour always fascinated me. I wouldn’t think a natural product would be blue, would you? Green, white, beige, even red… but blue?

The chemical compound chamazulene is responsible for the colour of German chamomile which is also an anti-inflammatory agent. German chamomile has excellent anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial and cicatrizant (healing properties, such as when our bodies form scar tissues) and relieves itchy skin.

I use German chamomile in my Skin Relief, Hand Butter and Paw Butter.

Peppermint Hydrosol

Peppermint hydrosol has the aroma of freshly crushed peppermint leaves but less intense compared to peppermint essential oil. When applied on the skin peppermint hydrosol combats itching and burning, and provides fast relief for allergic reactions, bites, and stings. This is why it is the main ingredient in the Skin Relief.

Jitka xx

The Power of Nature is Hidden in our Products – PART ONE

November 8th, 2018

 

Despite the fact that synthetic products are used for many problems, both health and cosmetic, yet 70% of the world’s population still relies on the healing power of plants.

It helps, it works and, above all, it does not hurt.

There are over 10,000 higher plants, which are used for their beneficial effects on our and our animal’s health.

Neem oil in the Paw Butter

Every part of the neem plant, from its roots up to its smallest highest leaf, is very beneficial. Neem is an evergreen tree growing up to 20 – 40m. Products made from the Neem tree have been known and used in India for more than 2000 years for their healing and regenerative properties. Extracts (such as powder, oil etc.) from Neem are antibacterial, they support the immune system, actively fight against viruses, are deadly to 14 different types of yeast, and reduce pain and fever.

Neem oil is very effective in treating eczema, spots, acne, dry and cracked skin and yeast infections on nails and toes, and it is, therefore, a very important ingredient in our Paw Butter.

Coconut oil in the Hand Butter

Beautifully smelling coconut oil is not only delicious and fantastic to use as a cooking ingredient, but it is also very beneficial in skincare, haircare, and even dental care.

Virgin coconut oil is high in lauric acid, which is antibacterial or to be more precise, bactericidal as it kills bacteria. Lauric acid is able to damage lipid cover of some viruses, so we can say it’s anti-viral as well.

Coconut oil, and therefore also our Hand Butter, is very beneficial on sensitive skin, and especially on dry skin on the elbows and heels.

I use the Hand Butter instead of the body lotion or cream. Only a small amount is needed, it absorbs quickly, and doesn’t leave the skin oily but rather soft and silky.
In the grooming salon, we use coconut oil wrap, which is very beneficial for dogs with dry, irritated and/or flaky skin.

We apply coconut oil in the dog’s hair and skin, and slowly massage it in, covering every part. Then we wrap the dogs in a warm towel and let him rest for about 10-15 minutes. They absolutely love it and most of them fell asleep straight away!

To enhance relaxation sometimes we put a few drops of Comfort Blend on the towel. After this, we bath the dog in warm water in one of our favourite shampoos. Then dry and style as usual.

After the coconut oil wrap the skin is less red, softer and the coat is silky and easy to brush … and the dog smells delicious 😊

Jitka xx

Did you survive Halloween?

October 31st, 2018

 

And here is November … chilly, darker … not my favourite month of the year I have to admit. However, I always try not to let the outside world and circumstances affect my mood and thoughts. So when I feel low, I remind myself of all the things I am grateful for … my family, my dogs, my business, my morning coffee, my relaxing bath, my runs with the dogs … because when you feel grateful you can’t feel sad as your heart is filled with love and warmth.

I’m also very grateful for where we live … no neighbours, no walking distance from the town, no trick or treaters … do I sound horrible? Selfish? No, I just like peace and quiet … and I like my dogs to have quiet and feel calm too.

For some dogs, banging on the door, laughing kids, lots of noise, and scary costumes can be terrifying. And for them, Halloween is literally spooky. Some of these dogs come to us during the fireworks and Halloween season for boarding, as we don’t have fireworks here and we can hardly hear them from the town. And also the extra care with Comfort Blend, tuning forks or massage is always available for extra comfort.

Another thing that popped into my head over Halloween … dogs in costumes … I have mixed feelings about it 😕. I’m fine with a warm coat or a waterproof coat, when appropriate. And I know they look super cute in their costumes, especially the little ones, but how do they feel about it? Do we know? How do dogs take it when we laugh at them? Are they laughing with us? I recently read an interesting post on Facebook from Dr. Isla Fishburn:

“I am not a fan of putting any animal in fancy dress, colouring their fur, painting their nails or other forms of human preening that some may replicate on their dog. I work very naturally and in a sacred way that respects every dog as an animal that requires choice and nothing more than connection.

Of course, I equally pass no judgement on to others. If you really must dress your dog in fancy dress, dye their fur, paint their nails etc then PLEASE ask yourself why, look at the deeper symbolism and sacredness that your dog holds as an animal. If you do decide to do any of these things, then PLEASE, PLEASE be confident that your dog feels proud and comfortable rather than unhappy or humiliated.

Our dogs can and do tolerate ALOT from us and can be very forgiving with what we ask of them, but all animals deserve to be ASKED what makes them comfortable, to know they have a choice and to LISTEN to them rather than be forced into situations they’d rather not do.

Please be respectful. Please be fair. Please think about how your dog might feel before any and every decision you make for your dog – your dog has an opinion too!”

What is your thought?

If you don’t know Isla, check out her Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/kachinacanine/

And if you have a chance to go to one of her talks, don’t miss it!

Jitka xx

Make a Difference Day

October 24th, 2018

 

Just recently I found out that each year in the US they celebrate something called Make a Difference Day. It’s celebrated on the fourth Saturday in October and this year Make a Difference Day falls on Saturday, October 27th. Make a Difference Day is the largest national day of community service and is a celebration of neighbours helping neighbours. The event was created by the USA WEEKEND magazine in 1992.

Where we live, we only have one neighbour, which is really good 😊 … with many dogs and a boarding kennel as well, you don’t want to be surrounded by too many other houses. Thankfully we do get on really well and we help each other when we can.

But when I found out about Make a Difference Day, it got me thinking about what difference I am making and what else we all can do? I really hope my products are making difference in the lives of the dogs and their owners’, to live happier and healthier thanks to natural care.

Vita Canis Style to Rescue made a difference to the rescue centres and their dogs as we were able to donate over £4,400. We’re already preparing for next year’s event and have 42 competitors signed up, and a few stands booked too! I’m also hoping to get some really good speakers for next year to add to the programme. And the heart warming bonus is that the rescue centres that came this year; Hessa’s Homeless Hounds, Many Tears, and Wheels To Paws UK, are coming again next year. Yay!!

A few days ago I found another way I could make a difference when I saw this post on Facebook:

My first ecobrick is growing slowly, and that’s good

“It’s taken me nearly three weeks to fill one bottle with un-recyclable plastic. Every week we were having to throw out so much plastic that couldn’t be recycled which in my eyes is just criminal. Our world is being destroyed by plastic and our wildlife killed. It’s not right. When I found out about ‘Ecobricks’ I immediately got on board. All you have to do is fill an empty water bottle with clean, dry un-recyclable plastic and these can then be used to build indoor furniture, gardens, structures… the list goes on. The amount I have crammed into this one bottle is crazy!! Would be amazing for as many people as possible to get on board and start making ecobricks too, we need to all take responsibility for our wonderful world and do our bit to make a positive change. #ecobricks

Info on how to get involved and a full list of the currently available drop off locations is available on the ‘Ecobricks UK’ Facebook page. Please have a look and give them a like!
*The website www.ecobricks.org has currently crashed due to such a high volume of people trying to access it since my post, so please be patient – the team are working on it.

All info is posted on the ‘Ecobricks UK’ Facebook page. Since my post went viral they have had a sudden influx of new members so it’s taking the admin members some time to get all the FAQs set up. There is a full list of the currently available drop off points across the UK on the Facebook page.

Remember, to make a good quality ecobricks, fill it with clean, dry and un-recyclable plastic ONLY and make sure you jam pack it all in to make it as heavy and dense as possible.

Make changes to your weekly shop by reducing the amount of plastic you buy where possible. It’s best not to buy any plastic at all in the first place however, this is extremely difficult in this day and age I know!! So, buy as little plastic as possible and recycle whatever you can before making your ecobrick (lots of plastics that usually get thrown in the bin can be recycled at most of the big supermarkets) e.g. plastic carrier bags, freezer bags, stretchy plastic, the bags the toilet rolls come in, plastic bread bags, plastic magazine wrapping, thin bags for fruit and veg – please recycle these where possible and just use the non-recyclable plastic for your eco brick.

If you are planning a school/community project once you have enough filled ecobricks, there is a lot of ideas available on google images if you do some searching.

I hope all this helps you on your ecobrick journey!”

I am already filling a bottle with unrecyclable plastics. I’m happy to say that there are not many in our household, but still there is some … and it’s annoying. Why must a bunch of bananas be sold in a plastic bag? Or avocados? Or apples, or even wrapped up broccoli next to unwrapped ones?

Well, anyway … I will carry on making a difference the way I can, and to do my best. I think if we all do this, our planet will at least have a fighting chance.

How about you?

Jitka xx

 

Viva, Espana!

October 16th, 2018

 

This October John and I had a short break in Spain. Nothing special to do, just relax, catch up on sleep and enjoy the Spanish food and sunshine.

Driving from Alicante airport to Los Alcazares in the Murcia region we noticed large fields of olive trees, orange trees, lemons … I hadn’t realised how much Spain is a largely agricultural country until I got there. After a little bit of research, I discovered that Spain produces crops like wheat, barley, vegetables, tomatoes, olives, sugar, beets, fruit, grapes, and cork.

Once you get here you really can’t miss the olive trees … they are everywhere and delicious olives are served with pretty much everything. Olive oil and olives are one of the pillars of Spanish cuisine and the experts say that Spanish olive oil is one of the best in the world.

Because of its amazing benefits you can find olive oil in our butter.

Olive oil contains three major antioxidants: vitamin E, polyphenols, and phytosterols. It, therefore, protects the skin from premature aging (I’m thinking to have a bath in it at least once a week, lol!). It restores skin smoothness and prevents free radical damage to the skin.

Spain also produces some of the essential oils you can find in our products:

Lemon Essential Oil (Citrus Limonum)

Essential oils have all been used effectively throughout the ages to repel insects, and lemon essential oil is one of them. You can find this liquid yellow essential oil, with its characteristic citrus smell, in our Insect Repelling Citrus Spray. This fruit is cultivated, grown mainly in Murcia, and grows in spring.

Cistus Hydrosol (Cistus Ladaniferus) or Rock Rose

Has a soothing, woody and amber smell. Because of its healing and regenerative properties you can find it in our Soothing Antiseptic Spray. Suzanne Catty states that Cistus Hydrosol is astringent, cicatrisant, styptic and is useful for wound and scar care as well as in anti-wrinkle prevention and plumping skin [Suzanne Catty, Hydrosols: The Next Aromatherapy (Rochester, VT: Healing Arts Press, 2001), 84-85.] This plant is completely wild and it grows in June.

Orange Essential Oil (Sinensis)

This essential oil is orange coloured and has a fresh herbaceous citrusy smell. The smell of orange essential oil reminds us of happy moments and brings pleasant thoughts to mind. It creates a happy, relaxed feeling and works as a mood lifter, which is perfect to combat depression or anxiety. This is why you can find this essential oil in our Calming Floral Spray and Insect repelling Citrus Spray.

Jitka xx

Can dog groomers express the anal glands, plug the ears, etc.?

October 10th, 2018

A friend of mine, Joanne Angus, a very well-known and respected person in the dog grooming industry, approached RCVS for some clarification on whether dog groomers can express the anal glands, plug the ears, etc.

This was their response.

————————————————

Dear Ms. Angus

Thank you for your recent email regarding whether professional dog groomers can take the temperatures of dogs using a rectal thermometer.
To assist you, you may find it helpful to review Chapter 19 of the RCVS’s Supporting Guidance to the Code of Conduct for Veterinary Surgeons which deals with the treatment of animals by unqualified persons such as dog groomers.

As you will be aware, the practise of veterinary surgeons is limited to veterinary surgeons. For the avoidance of doubt, “veterinary surgery” means the art and science of veterinary surgery and medicine as defined by the Veterinary Surgeons Act 1966 ‘the Act’ under which the RCVS operates. This includes the diagnosis of diseases in, and injuries to, animals including tests performed on animals for diagnostic purposes, the giving of advice based upon such diagnosis, the medical or surgical treatment of animals and performance of surgical operations on animals. However, there are a number of exemptions under the Act which allow other people such as laypersons to carry out minor medical treatment.

The College does not have formal guidance on the topic of taking temperatures of dogs using a rectal thermometer, but we have sought advice from internal committees which have stated this particular task can be undertaken by laypersons such as dog groomers following suitable training from a veterinary surgeon.

May I also take this opportunity to clarify the position regarding anal glands expression and ear plucking by dog groomers.

In terms of internal expression of the para-anal sacs per rectum, it is correct that lay people such as dog groomers cannot undertake this task. This is because it amounts to the practise of veterinary surgery and therefore may only be undertaken by veterinary surgeons or registered veterinary nurses or student veterinary nurses working under the “direction” of their veterinary surgeon employer.
Conversely, external expression of the para-anal sacs may be undertaken by competent lay people such as dog groomers or owners. However, the procedure should have been demonstrated and explained to them by a veterinary surgeon (and the frequency of emptying). If a para-anal sec problem is suspected, the animal should be seen by a veterinary surgeon for confirmation of diagnosis and advice regarding necessary treatment. Routine prophylactic expression should only be undertaken on the advice of a veterinary surgeon.

With regards to ear plucking, the College is of the view that the external meatus may be cleaned by a lay person such as a dog groomer and removing minor hair/debris from a non-infected ear can be undertaken by lay person as this would not usually be considered an act of veterinary surgery. However, if there is an ear infection or a possibility of a ruptured ear drum, cleaning/plucking should be dealt with by a veterinary surgeon.

I hope the above information is able to help.

Kind regards
Standards and Advice Officer
Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons

———————-

I would also add if your dog groomer refuses to express the anal glands or plug the ears, de matt, the reason could be as simple as that a dog doesn’t like it. These procedures are not always nice and some dogs get really upset. As dog groomers we are trying to build relationships with dogs based on trust, without hurting or upsetting the dogs.

If we need to spend approximately 2 hours with them they need to be spent in harmony, with mutual understanding and respect. And sometimes it is a long distance run…

Jitka xx

Pumpkins & Presents

October 5th, 2018

I am so excited to take a part in this autumnal gathering of maker & sellers. P&P is dog friendly and last year I went and visit with Rosie & Jasmine. This year  I am taking my stand… and maybe Rosie, as she likes to help.

If you are interested in gardening, home décor, food, hand made stuff, come to The Oak Lambing Barn, Lower Farm, Sheldon nr. Bakewell, DE451QS, this weekend 6th &7th October 2018, 11am – 4pm.

The proceeds from selling seasonal soups, cakes and treats will do to Dogs Trust.

And bring along your carved pumpkin to win a prize!!

Do we have time for other hobbies?

October 3rd, 2018

 

Life is happening so fast … we have our work, our families, our dogs, and not always time for hobbies and other activities. If you’re lucky like me your work is your hobby as well and sometimes you don’t even realise you’re working overtime, and you don’t mind starting early and finishing late …

However, there are a few things I like to do outside of what I do normally. I have always loved, and still do, drawing and painting and I can’t remember the last time I held a brush. It must be at least 8 years ago now? I just need to chunk some time out and do it.

My ‘kind of’ newest hobby, or activity, is running. I started just over a year ago, and was shocked at how quickly I was out of breath and that I couldn’t run as far or as fast as I thought I could! But slowly I’ve built my strength and started to run a bit faster and a bit further. Then I started taking my Lakeland terrier, Tinker, with me. She would always get ever so excited when she saw the lead and me putting my trainers on. However, when I got the harness out she would freeze… and still does. I tried to motivate her with some treats, a toy, and nothing worked … with the harness on she refuses to walk and if she moves for some reason she looks like a beaten animal…

But now we are at the stage where she will run (whooohooo) with her harness on but the lead has to be attached to her collar, not her harness.

In July I took her for a 5km charity Mud Run, to raise money and support for the Battersea Dog & Cat rescue home. We had so much fun together and Tinker did really well. For the first time she was pulling me and thanks to her I ran a little faster. It was a real team effort on the day!

Now Tinker is in season I’ve started running slowly with Richard, our almost 1-year-old Airedale terrier. He gently trots next to me which is really nice. Last night we went to join the Shropshire Canicoss group in Telford, a beginners run, and we tried some pro harnesses, got some advice and just enjoyed a fun run with other newbies. You can check our Facebook  and Instagram social pages for our updates and progress.

Another activity I enjoy is hiking, and since I moved to the UK I haven’t done much of it. So next year I’m taking part in the Three Peaks Challenge. I’m already very excited and training hard. I’m going to raise money for a charity but haven’t decided which one yet? I already support the Soi Dog Foundation, so I was thinking about the Humane Society International … or shall I go for smaller dog rescue centres?

What would you do? Do you have any suggestions for a worthy cause? It has to be dog/animal related of course! Leave me a comment below with your idea/s!

Jitka xx

Dog walkies.

September 26th, 2018

 

Even though I love summer, and warmth, and sun, and flip flops! … I find autumn magical. The red, orange and dark green colours, the crisp (preferably dry and sunny) mornings, a warm scarf … it’s all, somehow, wonderfully calming.

We are very fortunate where we live. There’s a beautiful footpath around the quarry just behind our house and it’s a very quiet place where I can let my dogs off the lead and walk and walk and walk. I always keep away from the fields with the cows, because I know my dogs and I don’t want to stress out these beautiful, peaceful grass-munching giants. The cows next door are very friendly and curious and they always come closer to check who I’m taking for a walk this time.

If we have extra time we jump in the car and go for a walk to other beautiful places around Uttoxeter. One of my favourites is Dimmingsdale near Alton Towers. We usually go there on weekdays as it’s not so busy. Sadly, the forest was damaged by a fire this summer but it’s so nice to see how it’s recovering.

Another place we go quite often is   Seven Springs in Cannock Chase, about 20 min from Uttoxeter.

Mr. Tank loves to paddle in the springs and the small shallow lake. I think he likes to pretend he can swim. And again we try to avoid weekends there as it’s very busy with cyclists.

Our latest discovery was The Roaches thanks to my friend Zuzka who took me there. What a beautiful place!! Some people say The Roaches is a Peak District gem. It’s very rugged and steep, so I could only take my Lakeland, Tinker, because she’s like a mountain goat! For my Scotties it would be too steep and our Airedale, Richard, is too young and clumsy to go on a hike like this.

Where ever we go I always have my Tick Off  with me in the car and I spray my dogs just before our walk. Ticks are not only active during the summer, but can be present all year round if the weather is mild. I also have my Soothing Antiseptic Spray  in the glove box of my car, to treat any unexpected scratches and cuts.

What else do you take with you apart from poo bags, water, treats and snacks?

Are there any interesting walks in your area you would like to share? I’d love to read your comments.

Jitka xx

Very short & very sad blog

September 19th, 2018

 

There are times in all our lives when we experience loss and have to deal with grief. It is so hard when we lose a family member or close friend, and we can never be prepared for it.

People who read my blogs will understand when I say, losing a dog, your friend, your companion, is just as hard.

And you can never be prepared, even when you know it’s coming … and he/she is old, ill, and fragile …

Over the years I’ve lost many dogs, and every time I cried, I cried a lot. I didn’t want to talk to anyone, and I always preferred to deal with the loss from the inside out. I needed a space where I could grieve, but this space was always inside me. I would occupy myself with work, keep myself busy, and from time to time close the door and cry. Then over time the gaps between cries become longer, flashes of happy memories appeared more often, and sometimes I laughed over my tears.

Everybody grieves differently, and it is important to give yourself time and do it at your own pace. I just don’t ever want the grief to take over my life … I always want to feel the love and gratitude for everything we have been through together, good or bad, funny or sad, all the naughtiness, all the cuddles, and endless kisses.

Thank you, Kimi for being a part of my life xx

Page 1 of 612345...Last »