Monday, August 26, 2019

Kids and young adults need to know they are loved...

Dr. Virginia A. Rockhill
On my podcast and radio show recently, I had my mom as a guest. She wrote a book for young adults (ages 11 and up) called UnconditionalThis is the story of the unlikely friendship of a dog and a toad. Their many adventures in “the world that is invisible to humans” leads them to fulfilling their true purpose in life. The delightful personalities of the animals they befriend prove that, despite their differences, they can work together to overcome evil, defeat the dark plot of the sinister scientist and save the environment from his destruction through the power of Unconditional Love.

During the podcast my mom explained how important it is for kids to know they are loved, particularly if they experienced the loss of a parent (death, divorce or abandonment), suffered abuse, or trauma. These situations can be difficult for young adults and often times they struggle later in life. In addition, kids who have ADD, ADHD (attention deficit disorders) or even autism need to discover important lessons of life and love in a way that is approachable and enjoyable. Whether you are a parent, grandparent, guardian, aunt, uncle or a caring neighbor, this book Unconditional is a helpful read that kids will enjoy. 

You can listen to my interview from this podcast here. Below is a recap of the book, I hope this is helpful. Please feel free to share this with anyone you know who may be in need.

A Toad, A Dog and Varying Animals Work Together to “Save the Planet” and Deliver a World from Racism, Homophobia and Hatred in New Adult Children’s Book “Unconditional
Virginia A. Rockhill, Ph.D, uses the Innocence of animals to tell the tale of how Faith, Love and Acceptance can overcome the biggest problems the world faces today. This new adult children’s fictional novel subtly confronts today’s toughest moral issues.  Unconditional is available for ($14.95) on
Dr Virginia A. Rockhill is a licensed, practicing psychologist in both private practice and in long term care. She earned her degree in Psychology and Chemistry at Rhode Island College, and received her Ph.D. in Psychology at the University of Rhode Island.  Influenced by C. S. Lewis’ “Narnia” series the books features talking animals interacting with one another to overcome the forces of evil. “Unconditional” was written to “plant the seeds” of awareness, each person has the ability to make his or her own choices, and have far-reaching effects on others and the world around us. 
This podcast a great listen for anyone who cares about a young adult healthy development. In particular children who experienced divorce, absent fathers, absent parents, loss of a parent or experienced some kid of trauma or stress. This book is also helpful for anyone who knows a young adult with conditions like ADHD, ADD, attention deficits, and autism.
Related topics in this podcast include:
  • Faith,
  •  Love,
  •  Fiction,
  •  Novel,
  •  Natural Law
  • , Friendship,
  •  Animals,
  •  Acceptance,
  •  family values
  • family support
  • , ADD,
  •  adhd,
  •  ADHD, Teen,
  •  Christian Values,
  •  Father absence,
  •  absent fathers,
  • fatherless,
  • fatherless daughters,
  • Fatherless Sons,
  •  children of divorce,
  •  Good vs Evil
  • , cultural differences, feeling loved,
  •  Creator, God,
  •  Unconditional love,
  •  Self Awareness
  • , Self Awareness, Help, Faith,
  •  Peace,
  •  Peace of God
  • , books for kids
  • , books for Young, adults
  • Self Esteem
  • , self worth,
  •  purpose in life, and 
  • Purpose of life.

Thursday, August 22, 2019

When is it time to change your dog's food?

During a recent podcast, a caller asked me for recommendations on things to get for their new puppy. I shared a story about a friend who recently added a dog to his family, who also asked me for advice on what he needed. Having spent nearly a quarter of a century in the pet industry, he knew I would be able to answer most of these questions about pet supplies. From the basics like what kind of bowls are best for dogs, the toys, the poop bags, or even deciding the best choice for a harness, collar and leash, I was never at a loss on what to recommend. When it comes to food and treats I am especially opinionated because I am a pet nutrition specialist. Whether you walk into a brick-and-mortar pet store or shop online at or Amazon, it can be overwhelming. There are hundreds of brands or pet food, and it can be very difficult to sort through the marketing claims and labels. My friend was surprised just how many brands were available. When he told me what the dog had been eating previously I was horrified and encouraged him to change the food he was feeding right away. He flat out asked me, "What is the best dog food to feed?" I replied that finding the best dog food for your dog can depend on factors such as health conditions, age, body weight, breed needs, etc. Aside from the brand I recommended, my first advice was to IGNORE the marketing claims on pet food labels. Most marketing claims are there to influence you by getting you to focus on what they want you to respond to, and not necessarily what is best for your dog's health and nutrition needs.

It turns out that dogs have very specific nutrition needs. Dogs are omnivores, meaning they eat both meat and plants. Dogs are not wolves, no more than we humans are not the same as our caveman ancestors. Neither humans or domesticated dogs hunt exclusively for our food. We eat in regular intervals and have relatively sedentary lifestyles. So dogs require very specific nutrition which can come from protein, carbohydrates, fats, fiber, vitamins and minerals. Being omnivores does not mean it is OK to feed them everything. Home cooking, table scraps, etc is not a healthy choice for your dog. If you want to give your dog a treat once in a while, in addition to their kibble, that's generally OK; their main source of nutrition should come from kibble. Dog food kibble is hands down the best option to feed your dog because it is designed to be complete and balanced and provide the 40+ essential vitamins and minerals your dog requires. I also said not to fall for those trendy raw and fresh foods, they just are not scientifically right, and are extremely expensive anyway. Avoid those brands at the supermarket or mass merchant mega-marts.

Instead look for a dog food that talks about all the ingredients, and not just the first few ingredients on the label. Imagine if you were buying a car, and all the car company talked about was the hood and the lights. Most people want to know about the cars interior, engine, wheels, fuel efficiency, trunk space, safety stats, etc, etc. So when you see a dog food label focus on something like "high protein" and focus on the meat ingredients, what are they hiding? Why aren't they talking about the importance of everything in the food?

Most people just don't have time to research pet foods and try to find the best dog food, so they rely on reviews, and what friends say. I do tell people to at least look at the dog food brand's website, and see what the company is focusing on. Look for companies with science based nutrition, and not just marketing fads or slogans. Because I have been closely involved in the development of Lucy Pet Formulas for Life dog foods, I am very knowledgeable about what is in them and why they are the best dog foods on the market. Science now shows that gut health is the key to overall better health. The digestive system in dogs is the epicenter of the immune system, so getting the balance of bacteria is essential. Lucy Pet's dog foods focus on creating better gut health through a proprietary blend of prebiotic fibers that actually change the gut by creating more good bacteria and outnumbering the bad bacteria. The end result is your dog will have a stronger immune system to stay healthy and fight disease as they age. The quality of ingredients Lucy Pet uses in their dog foods will really make a difference to your dog, especially when they have a healthy gut from these diets.

So when is it time to change your dog's food?
  • When a pet food company is sold to one of those huge conglomerates, it is time to switch. I have seen, first hand how big companies immediately start looking for ways to save money, cut costs, cheapen ingredients, and change suppliers. So if you have been feeding your dog one of those brands that has been sold, and is now available in the big discount stores, ask yourself, how is it they can afford to do that? The answer is often because they quietly changed the formula and are using cheap ingredients. 
  •  If you find that your dog is experiencing ongoing digestive issues that do not clear up in a reasonable time frame, it may be time to switch to a new brand. 
  •  Read the pet food bag. If it says "high protein" it is time to switch your dog's diet. There are studies that now show feeding high protein foods over long periods of time can cause cancer. 
  •  Read the ingredient panel on your dog food bag. If you see any non-specific animal protein such as "meat by-product meal" or "poultry by-product meal" instead of "beef meal" or "duck meal" or "chicken meal", you should change your dog's food immediately. Non-specific animal protein means the company can use whatever is cheapest and available.
  • If the brand says anything about implying your dog is a wolf, or this is an "Ancestral Diet" They are trying to mislead you with marketing hype, instead of proven nutritional science.
It is very hard to navigate all the dog food brands. There are so many brands that are really garbage. There are a handful that in my opinion are decent and safe for feeding. Of course I am partial to Lucy Pet foods, but not only because I work at Lucy Pet, but also because I know first hand what is in the diets and I know how the formulas were developed. Including how they ensure the proper ratios of amino acids, omegas, and proper fiber ratios for gut health. When should you change your dog's food? The answer is now. Dogs don't live nearly as long as we would like them to, so why not feed the best dog food to help them stay health and live as long as possible. That's why I am so passionate about recommending Lucy Pet Formulas for Life dog food.

So what about those other pet supplies I recommend when getting a new dog?

Since I mentioned this at the beginning of the post, I decided to share my opinions on a few other pet supplies when you have a new dog. Bowls: ceramic or stainless steel bowls are best for food and water, because they are durable and can be put in the dishwasher regularly. The choice of toys depends highly on factors such as the age, breed and size of dog you have. Toys are meant to occupy your dog and allow them something that they know is "theirs". Be prepared for toys to get destroyed and worn out, your dog's individual traits will dictate how often you'll need to replace them. I like to have a variety of toys, hard rubber toys (like a Kong), one or two flavored Nylabone bones, an antler for long lasting chewing, tennis balls, and a variety of plush toys with the dreaded squeakers. Personally I choose to avoid any and all rawhide and prefer the antlers or plain large white bones. Depending on your breed/size and how well they are trained, I usually recommend using a harness to walk your dog. However, all dogs should always wear a collar with a name tag. The harness is good for walks because it gives you better control and prevents you from choking your dog if you need to yank the leash suddenly. Remember to get your dog micro-chipped an registered and also have them spayed or neutered.

Other things to purchase for your new dog:
  • Dog bed
  • Brush (type varies on the coat)
  • Treats (get biscuits, and also a small meaty treat for training)
  • Shampoo (bath your dog regularly to keep their skin and coat healthy)
  • Stain/Odor Remover (accidents will happen so be prepared)
  • Wire Crate (for sleeping, travel, or for emergency preparedness)
  • Exercise Pen and Baby gates (ideal for containment)
  • Tie-Out stake for the yard 
  • Paw wipes (tidy up after walks)
  • More Toys and Balls
  • Soft blanket for them to nest or to protect your sofa
I hope this information is helpful to you. If you have questions please feel free to contact me.


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.

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