Seeing-eye dogs help blind dog


On a rough day, Kiaya collapsed on the cold living room floor, unable to make it to her queen-sized dog bed.doggierure

Within minutes, her two “brothers” snuggled up on each side of her.

The sight brought tears to pet owner Jessica VanHusen’s eyes. That’s because life hasn’t been easy for the 10-year-old Akita, who lost both of her eyes to glaucoma over the course of 15 months.

Not only can the 100-pound dog not see, she also has a hard time walking — that is, without help from her “seeing eye dogs.”

The special needs dog didn’t have too much trouble adjusting to her new normal with 8-year-old Cass and 2-year-old Keller by her side. Without any commands, the dogs decided on their own to be her guides.

“The boys both respect her fully,” VanHusen told CBS News. “[They] allow her to eat first, they lean her up against the side of the car when we are traveling to stabilize her.”

Wherever Kiaya is, “middle-child” Cass is not far behind.

The dog has been by Kiaya’s side ever since her first eye was removed in July 2013. He would constantly follow her around in their backyard, standing next to her “blind side.”

“He became more attentive to her needs, leaning on her and cuddling,” VanHusen explained. “He even cleans her ears and face, where her eyes used to be.”

It took Keller a little longer. At less than 2 years old, the dog wasn’t fully attentive at first, VanHusen said, but he’s getting there.

“It’s amazing to watch,” Blue Pearl Veterinary Partners Ophthalmologist Dr. Gwen Sila, who performed Kiaya’s surgeries, said in a news release. “It’s clear the other dogs are trying to protect her. Their sense of loyalty is really remarkable.”

VanHusen said she has never considered training the pair to be service dogs. For now, they’ll just continue to take care of their sister, Kiaya, who turns 11 next month.

“She may be a special needs dog, but to us she’s just special,” VanHusen said. “When we ask her where her eyeballs went, she replies: ‘They’re in the garbage, I didn’t need them anymore.'”

With her brothers stepping in to assist her, that statement couldn’t be more true.



Clearing a Space


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Clearing a Space

I am clearing a space—

Here, where the trees stand back.

I am making a circle so open

The moon will fall in love

And stroke these grasses with her silver.—Morgan Farley

Mindfulness: Reason Mind, Emotion Mind, and Wise Mind



996972_621934824532791_1132991476_nI have been practicing meditation since the mid-70’s and started a mindfulness meditation practice in the mid-90’s. Mindfulness has to do with the quality of awareness that we bring to what we are doing and experiencing, to being in the here and now.  It has to do with learning to focus on being in the present, to focusing our attention on what we are doing and what is happening in the present.

Many of us are distracted by images, thoughts and feelings of the past, perhaps dissociating, worrying about the future, negative moods and anxieties about the present.   It’s hard to put these thing away and concentrate on the task at hand.

I started teaching mindfulness to patients a few years ago and often used the following as a hand out:

Mindfulness has to do with states of mind. Reason Mind, Emotion Mind, and Wise Mind. Reason Mind is your rational, thinking, logical mind. It plans and evaluates things logically. It is your “cool” part. Reasonable Mind can be very beneficial. It is easier to be in Reasonable Mind when you feel good. It is much harder to be in Reasonable Mind when you don’t feel good.


You Would Use Your Reasonable Mind To:
Build a bridge
Figure out how to double a recipe
Balance your checkbook
Figure out the fastest way from point “A” to point “B”


Emotion Mind describes times when emotions are what influence or control your thinking and behavior. Emotional Mind can also be very beneficial. Emotions are what motivate us to action. Emotions are what keep us attached to others and building relationships.SONY DSC


Emotion Mind can be aggravated by:
Illness, Lack Of Sleep, Tiredness, Drugs, Alcohol, Hungry, Overeating, Poor nutrition and/or lack of exercise, Environmental stress and threats, not taking your meds.

Both Emotion and Reasonable Mind Are Equally Important And Valuable

Reasonable mind gives you a way to solve your problems.

Emotion mind gives you a reason (motivation) to want to solve them.


Wise Mind is the integration of emotional and reasonable mind. Wise mind is that part of each person that can know and experience truth. It is where the person knows something to be true or valid. It is where the person knows something in a centered (balanced) way. It is almost always quiet and calm in this part of the mind.

Everyone Has A Wise Mind!

Some people have simply never experienced it.

No one is in Wise Mind all of the time.


Wise Mind – An Analogy for Wise Mind is like a deep well in the ground. The water is at the bottom of the well. The entire underground is an ocean called Wise Mind. But on the way down, there are often trap doors that stop progress. Sometimes the trap doors are so cleverly built that you actually believe that there is no water at the bottom of the well. The trap door may look like the bottom of the well. Perhaps it is locked and you need a key. Perhaps it is nailed shut and you need a hammer. Perhaps it is glued shut and you need a chisel.

Honesty handout


This is a handout I use for groups that tend to be dishonest. 
  1. Figure out why you lie and who you lie to. We’ve all lied at one time or another, to different people, to ourselves, and for different reasons. But coming up with a systematic plan for becoming more honest will be difficult unless you try to define those reasons and those people for yourself.Transformation.jpg
    • Lies to make ourselves look better might include exaggerations, embellishments, and flat-out tall-tales we tell to others, and ourselves, to make ourselves feel better about our inadequacies. When you’re unhappy about something, it’s much easier to fill it in with lies than tell the truth.
    • We lie to peers we think are better than us, because we want them to respect us as we respect them. Unfortunately, being dishonest is disrespectful in the long run. Give people more credit for their ability to empathize and understand you on a deeper level.
    • Lies that avoid embarrassment might include lies told to cover up bad behaviors, transgressions, or any activity we’re not proud of. If your mom found a pack of cigarettes in your jacket, you might lie and say that they’re your friend’s to avoid punishment.
    • We lie to authoritative figures to avoid embarrassment and punishment, including ourselves. When we’ve done something we feel guilty about, lies are told to eliminate the guilt, avoid the punishments, and get back to the objectionable behavior we’re forced to lie about. It’s a vicious cycle.
  1. Anticipate behaviors that will make you feel guilty. To break the chain of embarrassment and lying, it’s important to learn to anticipate things that you’ll likely    feel guilty about in the future, and avoid those behaviors. When you lie, you’re covering up some uncomfortable truth that’s more easily couched in a lie. You can either get comfortable with the truth, or abandon the behavior that makes you embarrassed.
    • If you smoke cigarettes, you won’t have to lie if everyone knows it’s true. Own up to it. If a behavior is un-own-upable, it’s probably best to avoid it. It would be humiliating for your wife to find out that you had an inappropriate relationship with a coworker, but you won’t have to lie if you don’t do it.
  1. Avoid situations in which you’ll have to lie for others. Be wary when someone tells you something in confidence that you know that you should share with someone else (e.g., knowledge of a crime, a lie, or a harmful act against another). Hearing such information puts you in a difficult position, especially when the truth eventually emerges and reveals to the affected person that you knew all along.
    • If someone begins a sentence with “Don’t tell so-and-so about this, okay?” be prepared to offer your own disclaimer: “If it’s something that I’d want to know about were I them, then please don’t tell me. I don’t want to be responsible for anyone’s secrets but my own.”