Stretching Spot

When my dog was a puppy she loved the car. She’d snuggle up in the back and fall right asleep. Now, at age 11, even though she thinks she’s overjoyed to go on a ride, once we’re actually underway, she cries and whines. Last summer I drove with my dog from Virginia to Colorado. To calm her down, I followed the advice of a holistic vet. He told me to add a few drops of lavender to a hanky and set it on the dashboard. The smell was supposed to ease her anxiety. Well, I can’t say it made one bit of difference, and I eventually caved and gave her half a tranquilizer. Finally – peace and quiet!

Even though my essential oil treatment failed, I love the idea of using alternative healthcare for my pet. Raquel Wynn’s book Stretch Your Dog Healthy is loaded with information about how to do just that. From hip extensions to exercise to healthy diets, the book is full of tips on how to keep your dog’s joints and muscles pain-free. Speaking of healthy diets, a few years ago I was on a kick where I would home-cook my dog’s food instead of buying bags of kibbles. I mixed rice and chicken and vegetables together. She loved it. Raquel’s book definitely encourages organic people food for pets – eggs, cheese, vegetables, yogurt, legumes and grains – to help fight disease. If you want your dog to be a vegetarian check out

“Touch is healing,” Raquel says, and her book includes a long list of stretches you can do with your dog, as well as massage, acupressure, and even Reiki treatments. No need to bring your dog to a holistic animal practitioner and pay money – the techniques are simple and can be learned right from the book. The best part? The pictures (the dogs’ facial expressions are priceless).

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