Sharing a cup of comfort…


Do you feel it? The warmth of Christmas in the air; in your heart? It is in the chatter of children, as the excitement of gifts under the tree builds, it’s in the sweet smell of pine that fills the living room, it’s in mankind’s generosity, it’s in taste of a peppermint candy cane stirring your hot cocoa…yes, it is every where if you just take a moment to notice.

JOY 12

It’s in the faith and hope that inspires us throughout the year. It’s in the shared Joy. A shared meal. or a meal given…We were on our way to NYC to bring Courtney to an appointment at the children’s transplant center at Mount Sinai Hospital. A trip interrupted; appointment was cancelled en route. (a clerical error, I won’t go into that, let it suffice to say, I was not happy, and her Momma?…well, you can imagine) We made the best of the day, driving to Rockefeller Center to see the festive windows, Christmas tree, and happy skaters (Courtney’s favorite part of the day). We ate our lunch at the Brooklyn Diner, She ordered a hot dog, when it arrived at the table we all had a good laugh. She ate about 2 bites of it, she wasn’t feeling too well.
hotdog

As we walked back to the car we passed a homeless young man with his dog, who donned a grey sweatshirt; sleeves rolled up over his paws, sitting on the side-walk, back to a tall NY, cold, stone building. As we passed, I overheard a bit of a conversation between this (boy really) and a concerned caring woman. “Have you eaten today?”, was all that I heard, I did not hear the answer. We looked at each other; Gina ( Courtney’s Mom, wondered if it would be ok to offer him Courtney’s uneaten Hotdog. We agreed, at least we could offer. Courtney and I walked over to the boy and his dog, and the girl awaiting a transplant to sustain her life; quietly handed the lonely boy her meal. She softly patted the massive dog’s head and walked back to her waiting Momma, not a word spoken; none needed.
NYC courtney

Have you felt the warmth of Christmas?

warm light

The warmth of Christmas is felt in every act of kindness. I love Christmas.

NYC creche

Be Well,
Jess

Prayer and Love…


Love and Prayer are all we have, the only way that each can help the other…

Courtney (read here) needs your prayers.

Love is a force more formidable than any other. Invisible; it cannot be seen or measured, yet it is powerful enough to transform any moment, and offer more joy and relief than we could ever imagine.

Thank you, and Be Well.
Jess

The cuddle chemical effect….no, really.


Everything that lives, lives not alone nor for itself…

Blessed with animals in our lives…did you know there are actual health benefits? Real health benefits – lower cholesterol, lower blood pressure, reduced stress levels, and better mental health. Attachments or bonding of any sort stimulates the limbic system; releasing the (oxytocin) “cuddle chemical” known for its role in facilitating trust and attachment. Bonding with your pet…is also associated with higher levels of vasopressin, and reduced stress and stress-related hormones. Going for a walk with a llama, bonding through the grooming process, going for a trail hike with friends, just providing everyday care encourages us to interact and to get out. We benefit from the exercise and fresh air that we may not seek out on our own. This does wonders for our health and emotions. I became acutely aware of life’s connections and the value of my beloved animals and friends this passed week. Some of us got together at Dakota Ridge Farm http://www.dakotaridgefarm.com/ to “finally” meet a new llama, to bring bring new llamas home and to connect as friends. It was a wonderful day, full of laughter, food, and sharing. A day that may not have occurred if not for the common connection and passion – Llamas ..well, animals in general really. I am still smiling.

For this I am grateful.

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Have you ever thought of sharing your favorite animal? Pet therapy is something many llama owners are involved with. You can actually see the positive health effects; both for those receiving therapy and those who bring in their animals to children’s activities and nursing homes. To see a nursing home patient light up when they see you and your llama or dog come through the door is an unforgettable experience. You may hear heartfelt stories of patients who haven’t interacted with or spoken for awhile- open up, relaxes, talking with, and interacts with a new friend…your animal. What a beautiful feeling. Can you imagine the impact your pet could make in a Children’s Hospital, or a visit with an autistic child? What a wonderful experience for the recipients of such a visit.

To get involved in pet therapy, please refer to some of the links below. There are national and local organizations. You could even become affiliated with a therapy organization. You may also wish to visit this http://thekitchensgarden.wordpress.com/ beautiful blog; she visits with her dog Ton-Ton, and soon a precious lamb named Minty.

Also check out: http://www.wunsapanafarm.com/ Her therapy dogs have been registered/certified with Therapy Dogs International (www.tdi-dog.org). She says, “Wouldn’t trade this life of sharing my animals – dogs, llamas, donkeys, goats… for anything.” (Lots more under the Therapy Animals category in her sidebar.)

I just had to take a moment to add this to the post: It was a reply from Katrina of Dakota Ridge Farm, she says; “As far as pet therapy goes, we’ve been doing that for over 20 years and the smiles on the visitors faces as they pet the llamas and horses are worth more to me than words can say. I still get tears when I remember the day a blind girl wanted to know what a llama looked like, so I took her hand and traced the llamas profile, this girl was so happy, will never forget this day. ” As I read her comment I had tears trickling down my face. She is such a beautiful person with so much love to share. I just thought you would want to know!

http://affluent.net/sara/

http://www.akc.org/akctherapydog/organizations.cfm

The Delta Society (www.deltasociety.org)
“Improving human health through service and therapy animals.”
Angel On A Leash (angelonaleash.org)
Therapy charity of the Westminster Kennel Club

Is your animal appropriate for animal therapy ?
Does your animal enjoy interacting with and being touched by people?
Is your animal confident in new environments?
Is your animal calm around other animals?
Is your animal vaccinated ?
Does your dog reliably respond to basic obedience cues (“sit”, “down”, and “stay”)?
Is your dog/animal polite? (does not rush at, jump on, bark at, growl at, snap at, or kick at others)?
Important characteristics of a therapy animal are that they are confident, reliable, predictable, and controllable. A therapy animal should be very social.


“Until one has loved an animal a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.” Anatole France


Animals are reliable, many full of love, true in their affections, predictable in their actions, grateful and loyal. Difficult standards for people to live up to. Alfred A. Montapert


Our task must be to free ourselves… by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and its beauty.
Albert Einstein


“If having a soul means being able to feel love and loyalty and gratitude, then animals are better off than a lot of humans.”
― James Herriot

If you are interested in further information or if you are just curious, perhaps you work somewhere that could benefit from a beautiful animal visit…check out this site.
ASPCA Animal Assisted Therapy Programs
AAT.department@aspca.org
or your local shelter or human society

Be Well,
Jess