Friday, March 20, 2015

Adventures of Sheldon: Acupuncture Saves The Day

It has been quite some time since an installment of The Adventures of Sheldon appeared here, but this week qualified as blog-worthy.  On Monday, March 16th, I noticed Sheldon was not his usual happy outgoing self. He was quiet, not moving around much and didn't have that spring in his step. He is aged seven, which technically makes him a "senior" in dog years, but this change in behavior was sudden. It wasn't until later that evening when I returned home from a dinner that I noticed Sheldon was breathing heavily, in a still position and did not want to go out for his nightly walk. I knew something was amiss. I watched, waited, spoke to him, gazing into his eyes in a desperate attempt to try to get a glimmer of insights to what was wrong. Dogs have an amazing tolerance for pain and adapt exceptionally well, out of necessity he kept his body stiff and still. 

Sometime around 9:45 pm I decided I couldn't wait any more, and brought Sheldon to an emergency after hours veterinary hospital. When I arrived, it was packed. No good things are happening at an emergency vet hospital. Virtually every dog or cat is in some sad situation, and their human parents are nearly always weepy, stressed and visibly concerned. I was intermittently in those states the entire 3 hours we waited for his turn to be seen. We waited in my car for most of the duration, where Sheldon would be more comfortable and not around all the other sad people and sick dogs in the waiting area. 

Midway through the waiting period, I asked the vet to just perform a quick X-Ray to ensure there was not internal blockage or life threatening risk, such as bloat where minutes matter. The X-Ray ruled out bloat or anything where an immediate surgery was obviously required. This was some consolation to me, and we continued to wait our turn. Eventually as the wee hours of the morning approached, I met with the Veterinarian who diagnosed Sheldon with back pain, due to narrowed disk space between several vertebrae. The pain he was suffering was very real, and was now limiting his movement. The Vet administered a dose of the narcotic Buprenex through IV to help with pain management. He was prescribed a series of other meds and anti-inflammatory pills, as well as Gabapentin to treat nerve pain. Sheldon was finally released with strict orders for two weeks of very limited movement-- no playing, walking, jumping and suggested confinement to a kennel or crate. I was mentally exhausted and drained from a long evening of waiting and worrying. Close to 2:30 am I brought my best friend home, carefully carrying him into the car. He was under slight sedation, drooling heavily from the meds and just out of it. He slumped into the back seat and barely moved.

Back at home, I placed Sheldon into a spot on the floor with a soft blanket (he could not go onto my bed as usual). Stroking his head and body, I wept for hours as I watched my best friend in the whole world lay helplessly in pain. I slept on the floor next to him all night long to be with him. For the next 24 hours Sheldon barely ate or drank much water. He took his meds but had no desire to do much else. I consulted his regular doctor, who advised getting Sheldon some acupuncture treatment as soon as possible. I did not know any acupuncture vets but decided to search for one in the next day or so. By an interesting happen-stance, that very evening, while having a glass of wine with a friend, I chatted with someone who mentioned in conversation--with no knowledge of Sheldon's situation that she had brought her cat to an acupuncturist earlier that day. Ah-ha! It would seem the Universe was bringing me what I needed. She shared the vet's name and contact info and the very next morning I managed to get a same-day appointment for Sheldon.
Taking Sheldon to a certified, Holistic Veterinarian seemed perfectly reasonable to me. I am a believer of a combination of Eastern and Western medicine practices, particularly Eastern methods for preventative care and wellness health programs. In this case, I felt that just treating Sheldon's back pain with drugs to manage pain were nothing more than a short-term solution and would be bad for his liver and kidneys long term. He certainly needed those to get relief and enable his body to rest and heal, but once he was past the severe pain, a holistic approach to address the nerve and vertebrae pain points made sense. Upon meeting the doctor, I immediately warmed to her bedside manner. After reviewing his X Rays and giving a physical exam, she explained the treatment he would need. Acupuncture, laser light therapy and a massage, with a bit of aromatherapy to relax him. He would also begin a regimen of herbal medicine to help his organ functions. We began treatment immediately, with some aromatherapy oils and a massage to relax him as much as possible.
A series of acupuncture needles were placed along the spine at specific intervals and along his head, neck, hips and hind quarters
The treatment went for 15 minutes, and Sheldon was totally calm and relaxed.
Relaxing music filled the treatment room, and Sheldon was very relaxed in a Zen-like mood. He didn't mind the needles at all. When the acupuncture treatment concluded, he then had the laser-light therapy which he also seemed to enjoy very much. Here is a quick video clip of Sheldon while he had the acupuncture needles in him. You can see how relaxed he was from this video...
video
Sheldon slept so well that night!
The holistic doctor explained that Sheldon would likely sleep well later and be very relaxed. When we returned home, that is exactly what he did! Sheldon's facial expression was very calm and happy,
he had a great night of sleep that day. He will have several more acupuncture and laser therapy treatments to help him heal, but he is definitely feeling and looking better. 

In the meantime he is not allowed to climb stairs, run or jump, just to be sure his back has a chance to heal. I've been supplementing his normal dog food with some home cooked ground turkey with pumpkin and green peas, just for love. Additionally, I started Sheldon on Cosequin D5, maximum strength for proper dose levels of Glucosamine/Chondroitin, to help lubricate his joints. To help boost his bodily functions, he is now on
These applicators make it easy to squeeze the correct dose!
Caninedophilus, a pharmaceutical grade refrigerated probiotics gel made by Natren, the probiotics experts. While the probiotics are not intended to help his back, I believe that proper gut and digestive health will ensure his organs function optimally, which will help his entire body's immune system and reduce toxins and ultimately be able to minimize inflammation. Sheldon is on the mend...he is benefiting from the great treatment by the regular vet and the holistic vet, along with proper diet and supplements to help boost his system. None of us- human or canine can live forever, but my hope is that we live our lives fully and as healthy as possible. That is what I intend to provide for my best friend in the world, Mr Sheldon Gryffindor. These Adventures of Sheldon were a bit more dramatic that I would have preferred, but looking back on this past week, it was indeed an adventure.

As a reminder, this is not a paid post, despite my product mentions here, I wrote this entirely of my own desire to share what I believe is helping Sheldon return to good health.

PS- I wish to thank all the pet bloggers, who shared positive energy with our #pawcircle prayers. It made a difference for Sheldon.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

The Power of Positive Thinking

When I was a kid, I read a biography of President Abraham Lincoln, who was something of a hero to me as early as 5th grade. I remember reading some quote attributed to him that was something like: "Most people are about as happy as they make up their minds to be". Even as a kid, that made an enormous impression upon me, and I understood from a young age the importance of choosing one's attitude, and the importance of having a positive outlook on life. 

While I was blessed with a very good family, my life was about as normal as most American kids growing up in New England during the 1970's. Yet that simple quote from President Lincoln was hugely instructive to me, and has helped me overcome every hurdle, set back or negative thing that has come my way in life.

About ten years ago I began studying Buddhism out of pure interest. I was not seeking to change my faith, merely to broaden my understanding of world cultures and other people. I am not a Buddhist by practice, but I remain a student, so to speak. Early on in my studies I learned the importance of positive thinking. The notion that: "We are what we think. All that we are arises with our thoughts, and with our thoughts we make our world" especially resonated with me. It reminded me of a similar lesson President Lincoln was giving from that quote. 

Whether one calls it the power or prayer, power of thoughts, or positive energy, it all stems from the same source in my opinion. These principles apply to personal life, business, career or family. If you dwell on what is wrong, or what could go wrong, or what went wrong, your mind--and world around you reflect that negative energy, and the laws of attraction tend to just bring more.

Like this sign reads above, "Once you replace negative thoughts with positive ones, you'll start having positive results". My life has been met with many similar challenges, disappointments, and sadness or loss as the next person, yet I have never-ever felt negative or as if life was unfair. In fact I've felt exactly the opposite. I consider myself truly blessed and the luckiest person in the world. Truly, most people are about as happy as they make up their minds to be. I just made up my mind many years ago to be happy. And that positive thinking has made all the difference.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Morning Coffee Routines with Mr Sheldon

One of the things I've always appreciated about the similarity of humans to dogs is how we are both creatures of habit and like familiar routines. As a Standard Poodle, Sheldon is intelligent and studies every move I make. He knows my routines and how they affect him. In the mornings when I brew some coffee, he usually waits in the kitchen with me, and then the moment I pick up my mug, dashes out to the patio ahead of me, sits down by one of the chairs and waits for me. (Having four legs, he gets there several paces before me.) Usually I read the morning news from the usual websites, and Sheldon gets his news...so to speak. He hops up on one of the chairs-- or an ottoman, and scans the world from his vantage. All the comings and goings must be carefully observed and monitored. 

Sheldon is a good pal... he humors me when I read a headline or recant some story to him, particularly if it is a dog story. He turns his head toward me, listens intently and when he tires of my meaningless words he looks away in boredom, dismissing me ever-so-gently. Of course periodically he gets riled up about something and barks his opinion to tell off some dog, or to tell me that he smells another dog walking by.  He isn't one to bark often, so I let him blow off his steam and then circle back to me huffing and puffing a bit, until he settles back down by my feet.

Breakfast on the patio is a routine he also enjoys, as there is always the distinct possibility something could go flying off the table and require canine cleanup service. I always say it is a side business he runs called "Sheldon's Canine Clean Up Service" but it doesn't get much business in my home, as I'm not a sloppy eater. But its certainly reassuring to know that I never have to worry should I drop a piece of toast.

Sheldon also seems to know that I have two mugs of coffee, and no more. When I finish the second mug of coffee, he leaves his post and heads to the master bathroom, as he knows I'll shower and get dressed. I enjoy having my morning coffee with Mr Sheldon, he is my best friend and a perfect roommate.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

So you're an entrepreneur...now what?

Over the years I've met hundreds of people who describe themselves as an "entrepreneur" of some type.  It sounds exciting, doesn't it? The word is defined as "a person who organizes and manages any enterprise, especially a business, usually with considerable initiative and risk". There some incredible success stories of people who made something out of nothing. Think of people like Bill Gates, Richard Branson, Mary Kay Ash, Ray Kroc, Sean Combs, Milton Hershey,  Jeff Bezos, Mark Zuckerberg, Caterina Fake, etc. Some of those people never went to college, and some never even graduated from high school. 

So what is it that makes an entrepreneur successful? Contributing factors include ambition, drive, determination, focus, willingness to take risk in the face of uncertainty, ability to dream, think conceptually, or "outside the box" challenge the norms, using a blend of art/science and gut instinct, creativity etc. By no means is this a complete list, and any one of these alone does not guarantee success. In my experience, the successful entrepreneur also does these other things correctly:

  • Finds innovation to meet the needs of others
  • Self Awareness of their own shortcomings and seek out people with skills and expertise to fill those gaps.
  • Recognize that there are things they do not know, and actively solicit feedback from others.
  • Networks extensively to fine tune concepts
  • Possesses an in-depth knowledge of their space 
  • Secures adequate financial resources to ensure development
  • Writes down their vision and sets multi-year goals
  • Develops a business plan and strategy
  • Knows how to create value for stakeholders/investors
  • Grooms leaders and bench strength for continuity
  • Defines the exit strategy for their involvement 

It is true that there are some entrepreneurs who achieved success as a result of being in the right place at the right time. Those instances are more often the result of being first to market or creating opportunity out of necessity or an urgent need. For everyone else-- and that is nearly all of us, being creative alone just isn't enough.

As a business consultant, I frequently meet with individuals with incredible passion, enthusiasm and creativity, yet lack business skills to monetize and execute their ideas. My advice to anyone who considers themselves an entrepreneur is to write a business plan, and let someone else read it. Seek out advice from people with experience and proven track record for success. The Golden Rule I happen to live by for Entrepreneurs, is "If it is too good to be true, it usually is". 

So you're an entrepreneur...before you run down the path of bringing your great idea to reality, step back, take the time to ask the tough questions and get someone to "punch holes" in your big idea. Then, and only then find an experienced business person to engage with on a project basis to get some professional advice. It could save you from burning through investor's money, or worse yet, your own life savings.

Rick Rockhill is Managing Partner and co-founder of Zarhill Partners Group, a retail brand and sales consulting group based in Burbank, Palm Springs and Los Angeles. They serve clients throughout the USA and Asia.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

A Whirlwind Coast to Coast Trip

Last week was one of those "coast to coast" trips where I was attending conferences, trade shows, client meetings and public marketplace events. A day meeting in Phoenix, AZ with a client, then it was off to Orlando, FL to attend the Global Pet Expo. As an 18 year veteran of the pet industry, the Global Pet Expo is an annual required ritual, and this year was no exception. Aside from having a few clients in the pet industry, it is also critical to remain current with new and emerging trends in the pet marketplace. I tend to be a creature of habit, and frequent the same hotels, restaurants and such. This year my usual hotel was booked solid, so I went to the Waldorf=Astoria Orlando, which is a lovely property.
Hilton Hotels, which owns the original Waldorf=Astoria New York, extended this luxury brand to other cities by building other Waldorf=Astoria properties. While no other location could match the magic of the historic Manhattan property, they have done an excellent job with this brand. The Waldorf Orlando is quite nice, with many familiar aspects of its NYC counterpart. For me, being at the Waldorf Orlando made being away form home--and in Orlando much more tolerable. The only way it could have been better was if I had my poodles with me. After a few days in Orlando, it was off to Las Vegas for a quick pit stop meeting, then back on the road again to Anaheim, California to attend another industry gathering.
Natural Products Expo West, or "ExpoWest" is an absolute juggernaut of trade shows for natural products. I have been attending this show for at least 10 years now, and truly enjoy this show. In addition to the trade show floor exhibits, there are a series of seminars and educational sessions to learn and network. I was still on EST when I was dragging my body through the ExpoWest event, with my brain still confused on zone zones. A few doses of strong coffee got me through client meetings and helped me shlep through the many trade show aisles. 
Somehow I squeezed in time to leave Anaheim to attend a charity luncheon and fashion show in Rancho Mirage, CA to benefit the Animal Samaritans of the Desert.  Before it was all over, I darted over to the Pasadena Rose Bowl Flea Market where I visited a new client who was exhibiting there. I enjoy these retail events, equally to observe the merchant vendors and consumers in action. Sunday brought the Daylight Savings Time time change, so losing an hour of sleep threw me off a bit. As I settled into the Burbank house this evening, I looked back on the last 7 days in awe. Somehow I got it all in, remarkably so. It was a whirlwind, indeed.

Disclaimers...

This blog is about life experiences & observations and stuff I am interested in. It is simply a side hobby and creative outlet; generally with a tongue-in-cheek tone. I don't take it too seriously, nor should you. I do not profess to represent every point of view. Nothing on this site is a paid post.

It is for entertainment purposes only it, so just lighten up and just enjoy it. Life is short, live in the moment.

As the author, thoughts/views have no affiliation to my clients, business colleagues or my company.