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  • How New Immigrants in the US Can Adjust Comfortably

    Image via Pexels Building a new life in an unfamiliar culture is a daunting task. Immigrants to the United States have a number of unique opportunities to pursue and many challenges to overcome. It can be difficult to find a community to fit into, and your friends and family back home may feel very much out of reach. Using the resources at your disposal will help you adjust to your new lifestyle and find financial success. Clandestant Ministries is a nonprofit interfaith organization offering resources to those in need. For more information, please visit our website or contact us today! Connect With Your Local Community Wherever you hail from in the world, the odds are that you can find microcosms of your home culture thriving in any of the major U.S. cities. The United States is a very large country, though, with urban areas that may feel particularly few and far between depending on where in the nation you live. You can try posting in an online community or social media group dedicated to your city or area to find like-minded individuals who may share your cultural heritage. Using similar resources, you might discover public events to connect with all kinds of individuals and build a brand new community of your own. Embrace American Culture It is extremely common for overseas visitors and immigrants to feel culture shock when setting foot in the United States. Of course, every nation in the world has its own unique culture. The overwhelming reality of the U.S., though, is that each state and city seems to have its own independent culture or ideology. Adjusting to America will take a great deal of time, but some common tips will make the transition easier. Immerse yourself in American media and pop culture Try local food specialties in your area Find a sense of community in your workplace Seek Professional and Financial Success Many immigrants come to the U.S. to live out the so-called "American Dream," which is even more true if you intend to support any loved ones back home. Starting your own business can be a major step toward improving your finances. Though it may require some startup capital, you could consider launching a business by selling food or a product related to your native culture. There are also options for running an online business from your own home. If you’re just starting out, it’s typically more cost-effective to hire a freelancer or agency to handle projects you don’t have the time for or expertise in. For example, if you want to develop an app for your business, it may be a good idea to work with an app developer. You can find app development companies through job boards online where you can vet companies by their ratings, reviews, and rates. Pursuing educational opportunities is a common method of improving one’s quality of life. Online degree programs offer a flexible way for students to achieve a degree from an accredited university. There are dozens of different degrees available, and scheduling can be adaptable to your needs. Stay Connected to Loved Ones Overseas While statistics show that hundreds of billions of dollars are sent from migrant workers back to their overseas families each year, there is more to maintaining your bonds than just financial support. Keeping in touch is difficult when you and your family go about your daily lives in very different time zones. Even so, it can not be overstated that making time to catch up over a phone call is incredibly important for your relationships. Better yet, enjoy a face-to-face conversation using applications such as Zoom. Families and individuals immigrate to the United States for a variety of reasons, but they all face roughly the same obstacles. Being far from home and starting a new life elsewhere is challenging. Accepting the support of your loved ones and welcoming the opportunity to build new communities will help get you through any hard times you may face during your future ventures.

  • Self-Care Is Vital Care

    Image via Pexels Self-care is vital to living a healthy life no matter where you live, including in Blooming Grove. It's often overlooked, but taking care of yourself is crucial to your mental and physical well-being. Here are some critical self-care practices to incorporate into your daily routine. Don't Skimp on Sleep Most people need around 8 hours of sleep per night, but you may require more or less. Getting enough rest is vital for your physical and mental health. To improve sleep, establish a regular sleep schedule, avoid caffeine and alcohol before bed, create a relaxing bedtime routine, and keep electronics out of the bedroom. Relax Relaxation techniques, such as yoga, meditation, and deep breathing, can help reduce stress and improve your overall health. Consider incorporating exercise, such as taking a walk in one of the many parks in Blooming Grove, into your relaxation routine. Taking just a few minutes out of your day to relax can make a big difference. Reduce Stress Chronic stress can adversely affect your health, so it's essential to reduce it. Exercise, journaling, and spending time with friends and family are great stress-busters. Many people find comfort and calmness that improves mental health and reduces stress through religion. Belief in a higher power can give you a sense of peace and hope. Say No It's essential to know your limits and not overextend yourself. When you say no to things you don't have time for or don't want to do, you free up time and energy for the things most important to you. If you're having trouble with this step, consult with your pastor. Spiritual guidance can be constructive in deciding how to best use your time and resources. Natural Remedies Many natural remedies can help improve your mental health. Some herbs and supplements, such as lavender and chamomile, can help reduce anxiety and promote relaxation. Omega-3 fatty acids, found in fish oil supplements, are thought to improve mood and reduce inflammation. As part of seeking more natural solutions, pay attention to your diet. Rather than grabbing fast food on the go, make time to cook healthy meals at home. Eating nutritious foods helps improve mental and physical health. These healthy choices can also boost your energy naturally. Focus on Your Finances Money problems can be a significant source of stress. If your finances are causing you anxiety, you can take steps to get them under control. Make a budget and stick to it. Automate your bill payments, so you don't have to worry about them monthly. You can also refinance your mortgage to save money each month. Talk to Someone If you're feeling depressed, anxious, or stressed, talking to someone can help. A mental health professional can provide guidance and support. If you can’t find a professional in your area, there are online therapists you can connect with via telehealth. In addition to therapy, they can also discuss with you the available medications for depression. Although these aren't the only options for getting help, they can be very effective. Keep up with follow-up care to monitor your progress and watch for side effects. Don't Neglect Yourself Self-care is vital to maintaining your mental and physical health. Take care of yourself to look and feel your best. Consider attending religious services, such as those at Interfaith Ministries in Blooming Grove to help reach your personal wellness goals and reduce stress.

  • Birth Charts or Natal Charts

    Birth Charts or Natal Charts Everyone knows about horoscopes and most people can tell you what their sun sign or astrological sign is. This is usually the first step, or should I say my first steps into reading more in depth content into how the star were aligned on your birth and how they may affect who you are as a person. I will try to not go too deeply in depth in this article and save a more in-depth article for those that are more advanced or would like to know more information later. My sun sign is Leo, my moon sign is Cancer, and my ascendant sign is Libra. With my birthday falling on July 24th, I also fall on the cusp of Cancer and Leo also known as the Cusp of Oscillation. Leo is a fixed fire sign and Cancer is a Cardinal water sign which makes for a very forward and directive personality. With my ascendant sign in Libra, I like to look at all angles and possibilities in a situation before deciding which can seem like indecisiveness, but I would rather think of it more as seeing the whole picture instead of just the summary. This is a system that is widely used in Western Astrology. Personally, I feel like this is the easiest one to start dabbling in for beginners. The tropical system of astrology refers to the position of the sun relative to the vernal equinox. Placidus system is a time-based method of calculating the houses that was created during the renaissance period. Personally, I enjoy studying the Tropical system but inherently it is slightly inaccurate compared to others such as Vedic Astrology. That is a conversation for another day. Aspects in your natal chart are another thing you can look at in your birth chart to see how the angles of planets create and shape who you are. The five major aspects are conjunction, sextile, square, trine, and opposition. In my own birth chart and I will reference my sun sign in Leo, my sun conjuncts Venus which is the only way the sun can aspect Venus. Sun conjunction Venus brings out feminine characteristics in all sexes. It can bring out artistic characteristics and creative inclinations in all aspects of the individual. Optimism and the want to be on the latest trends can also manifest into your personality with this aspect. The more favorable aspects are sextile, trine and conjunction with the harder aspects being square and opposition. I will try to do a simple break down of aspects first starting with sextile. Sextile in your birth chart with cause a natal flow between those planets. Trine is especially neat if you believe in karma, reincarnation and past lives. Trine is your reward from a past life but it can easily be over looked and not utilized. Conjunction we talked about above. Square can be what is hidden form you, challenges and difficulties you will face. Opposition is exactly what it sounds like it is two planets in your birth chart basically opposing each other. Its not always opposition that effects these planets in a way its an ebb and flow you cannot have one without the other. With opposition you have find a middle ground with the difference between the two. Another aspect we can touch base on is parallel and contra-parallel. Parallel is like conjunction with added benefits and contra-parallel is similar to Opposition but with weaker effects. The planets all have their own individual areas in which they define who you are. Most people know the Sun which is the core of your personality, yourself and your identity. Moon is your inner self, intuition and emotions. Mercury is how you communicate, how you process information and your thought process. Venus is all about love, relationships and pleasure. Mars is your energy, your actions, aggression and sex. Jupiter is your luck, expansion and abundance. Saturn is structure, discipline and maturity. Uranus is innovation, change and how your future is oriented. Neptune is your subconscious, dreams and creativity. Finally, Pluto and one of my personal favorites to read about in a person’s natal chart is spirituality, death and rebirth and transformation. Chiron and Lillith are some fewer known points in birth charts but well worth the read about. Chiron in your birth chart is your unhealable wound and trauma. Black Moon Lillith I could talk about all day and will make several posts about this apogee in birth charts. To sum up Lillith as simply as I can she represents a title we must carry regardless of how untrue it may be, I feel like she stands for individuality, freedom and making your own path. Now let’s talk about the houses and how they correlate in your natal chart. The First House, like your Sun sign is your identity, your outward appearance and your beginnings. The Second House stability, money and self-worth. The Third House communications, thinking and community. The Fourth House home, roots, security and foundation. The Fifth House romance, love, and fertility. The Sixth House health, habits and self-care. The Seventh House is relationships both personal and impersonal. The Eighth House represents death and rebirth, sex and inner depths, The Ninth House is your expansion, growth and wisdom. The Tenth House represents masculinity, legacy, status and achievements it is also the Mid-Heaven. The Eleventh House groups, friends, your hopes and wishes and the future. The Twelfth House represents endings, healing, closure, spirituality, solitude, karma, what’s hidden, and the subconscious. Fun fact my Part of Fortune lands in my 12th house. Nodes in birth chart are the north and south points on your birth chart. As for myself they are in north Aries and south Libra. North represents the here and now and what lessons you need to learn or chose to learn in this life. Your south node is your past karma that was left unfulfilled and what you carry into this life. It is fascinating and one of the deepest introspections you can dive into in your birth chart to learn about elevating yourself into a higher frequency vibration. Breaking the wheel of Karma can be a very enlightening experience that few achieve. Most people simply walk around close minded and never truly open their eyes to the lessons set forth in the past and future. I don’t feel like nodes in our birth chart spell it all out for us but kind of give us a rough draft on points to start with on the path to enlightenment. These are my own interpretation. I do not claim to be an expert of any kind. Birth charts and anything I do as far as tarot, horoscopes and birth charts I do out of a pure fascination and enjoyment. A lot of things in astrology/tarot I feel like is up to the interpretation of the individual reading into it.

  • How to Make Moving Less Painful for Your Dog and You

    Photo via Pexels There are few activities that are as stressful as moving, especially if you’re relocating to another state and need to find a new job and secure housing in an unfamiliar area. Luckily, a real estate agent can help; but it’s still important to look into state-specific items you might need, like a driver’s license and even your dog’s license. If you have a pet in your household, you can expect that they’ll be just as stressed with this transition -- in some cases, maybe even more so. Dogs, in particular, are very perceptive and will notice the changes. Naturally, you are going to want to make this entire experience as easy on your pet as possible. The following suggestions from Clandestant Ministries can get you both through this challenging process. Prioritize Comfort for Both Pet and Human With the goal of making the move as painless as possible for everyone involved, dog included, it definitely pays to take it a step at a time. To start, make the effort to maintain your calm as you pack. If your pet has a favorite spot at home, save it for last. Most importantly, maintain your dog’s routine as much as possible. JetPet Resort points out that all these will serve to minimize their stress, which, in turn, gives you one less thing to worry about. During the move, you can be sure that your dog is going to be underfoot. With the flurry of activity on moving day, this is the last thing you need. So, if it’s possible, leave them with a trusted sitter for the day. If you can’t afford a sitter, see if a friend or family member near your new home can look after them for a few days. Getting assistance from relatives or loved ones is an excellent way to save money, so you may want to consider this option first. If all else fails, do your best to tire them out early in the day and keep them surrounded with their favorite things, such as toys, treats, and blankets. At this point, the goal is to keep them comfortable enough to be out of the way. Even as you settle into your new home, the work is not done. This may be the most challenging part as it can take your dog a while to get used to their new environment. Your goal should be to make your dog comfortable as quickly as possible. Consider staying home with them for a few days, and try to stick to established routines. Get them their own personal couch for your living room so that your pup stays near you, but your new space also stays stylish and clean. Pay close attention to behavior changes, too. Above all, shower them with lots of love and attention. The key is to re-establish their sense of security and good habits because the sooner you do, the sooner you can put this stressful time behind you. If you’re stressed out, notes that your dog will notice and be anxious as well, so prioritize creating a healthy and relaxed home environment. Reduce stress by keeping your home organized throughout the move. If you have a home office in your new home, there are steps you can take for your pup’s safety. Keep electrical wires out of reach, secure heavy objects, and keep the room locked if possible. Simply Understand and Honor Your Pet’s Needs Your pet may not be able to effectively communicate what they feel or need at any given time, but you probably recognize their every quirk and whimper. Still, you might not always be in tune with their needs when you’re busy packing and physically moving an entire household. But the fact remains that your dog will need you more than ever in the face of such a big event, so try to pay them as much attention as you can. Know that some breeds of dogs are actually better suited to traveling (and moving) than others. On the other hand, the temperaments of some breeds may require just a tad more TLC. If your pet tends toward more anxiety when in the car or during big adjustments, work with your local vet clinic to determine some steps you can take to put your pup at ease. Perhaps it’s with more play time or even medications or supplements, such as CBD. More veterinarians are exploring the benefits of CBD, and how it can benefit dogs. CBD has been found to provide pain and anxiety relief. If your vet approves of administering CBD to calm your pup, there are a variety of animal formulations on the market that work well and have strict quality standards. CBD oils, for example, can be easily added to their food or water for quick consumption. Treats, on the other hand, can be provided intermittently throughout the day depending on the dosage. Whatever type of delivery method you decide, focus on ingredients, source origin, CBD concentration, flavor, and reviews before you make your purchase. At the end of the day, while you can’t completely spare your pet from the rigors of moving, you can at least find ways to make it easy for them. If you can pull that off, you’ll find that the rest of your move will go a lot smoother. Clandestant Ministries seeks to further the well-being of our community members, and bring about positive change. Visit our website to donate or to learn more about us.

  • About me

    My name is Brandy, and I am a Diviner. I bridge the gap between words I read tarot, and birth charts. I’ve had an interest in Tarot going back ten years and started reading two years ago. I feel like I have a natural gift for reading into how the position of the stars effect who you are. Just as how everything is affected by the placement of the cosmos you are also affected by the push and pull of the sun, moon and stars. I live in Blooming Grove, Texas which is a small town about an hour south of Dallas, Texas and I have lived in this area most of my life. I live here with my three girls ages six, five and four. My oldest Daughter has an auto immune disease called Type 1 Diabetes and my middle daughter is on the autism spectrum and Microcephaly. I love all animals but have two cats and one outside dog. I like collecting crystals, reading and playing games on my computer in my free time. I have always had a love for music, and I played bass clarinet in high school band where my senior year I made second chair honor band. I’ve dabbled a little in trying to teach myself how to play bass guitar and own a B.C. Rich Beast. I also played clarinet while attending community college in Corsicana, Texas. I enjoy all kinds of music but mainly listen to rock, alternative rock and heavy metal. I am also very proactive in a non-profit in my area called Clandestant Ministries who finds resources for homelessness, domestic violence survivors and those in need in the United States. Its an interfaith ministry who does not discriminate against any religion or background that those in need might have. As of April 2022, the ministry has been temporarily closed to in person services due to the public health emergency and we are still actively trying to abide by the CDC regulations on businesses. If you are in need or know someone who needs assistance in the United States, we are working on a case-by-case basis. Our priest encourages anyone who wants to donate to click on our affiliate program links on the ministry webpage, you can donate through a PayPal link that will go straight to the Ministry or contact us and volunteer your time. All proceeds from Tarot readings and birth chart interpretations go to Clandestant Ministries and to help those in need.

  • The Benefits of Church for Senior Citizens

    Photo courtesy of Unsplash The Benefits of Church for Senior Citizens Once they are free from work obligations and raising a family, it’s not unusual for many senior citizens to feel lost, depressed, and without a sense of direction in life. This can worsen over time as they lose peers or begin to feel more isolated from friends and family. However, recommitting to church attendance not only offers a welcoming community, but a purpose and reason to get out of bed in the morning. It can also result in numerous physical and mental health benefits. For seniors, the congregation of a church can act as a support system in times of need. Members are likely to check in on those that are not in attendance, and foster deep relationships with one another. Boxcast points out that, “With age, many people drift from friends due to retirement, medical problems, or a reduced ability to perform the hobbies and activities they once enjoyed.” The benefits of a connection with God are plentiful. While everyone’s spiritual journey is different, prayer can equate to a healthy outlet for one’s emotions and reduce stress, fears, and other worrisome thoughts. A relationship with God can bring a senior a sense of inner peace, forgiveness and hope for the future in a way that little else can. God can help them cope with recent losses and come to a place of reflection and understanding. With all the activities available for one to partake in, church allows for a more active lifestyle. Just getting out of the house and into a routine of attendance, whether it’s for bible study, regular worship, potlucks, or volunteering, usually results in multiple gatherings a week. By extension, a senior can take the position of a leadership role within the congregation and be more involved within his or her community through charity work. Helping others and having a positive cause to rally behind can make all the difference in their quality of life. Church also brings an opportunity for physical fitness since many churches offer senior recreational programs, oftentimes with a connection to a Silver Sneakers program. This Medicare-funded program provides a variety of fitness activities for every ability, in addition to group classes that promote community. Not only will physical activity help keep seniors live healthier lifestyles, but exercise can also have a positive impact on mood and weight management. In fact, even something as simple as taking the stairs can make a difference or going for a walk with friends have make a difference in their lives. By being included in something important and meaningful like church, an elder will likely feel less lonely. The hymns and sermons can offer guidance and a sense of belonging that they were missing before. In addition to a stronger spiritual connection, time around others will do a wonder of good for any older adult. Founded in 2009, Clandestant Ministries is a non-profit interfaith religious organization that strives to help community members reach their goals and fulfill their potential. You can learn more about how to donate or volunteer your time by exploring our site.

  • Dog Grooming

    Almost every dog owner has smelled the dirty dog smell and either taken on the task of grooming the dog from home or finding a professional groomer. Dogs start smelling funky when they have a build up of dander, dirt and oils, so regular grooming can prevent them from getting to the point of having a noticeable smell. Dogs can be overbathed though, so it is important not to bathe a dog more than once a month. The frequent bathing will wash away too many oils from the skin and either dry it out causing flaking or cause an overproduction of oils making the coat greasy. There are shampoos specially formulated for frequent bathing which helps to reduce the amount of oils stripped away from the dogs coat. There are many different kinds of shampoos formulated for different coat types and ailments such as whitening, low shed and medicated. When bathing a dog the key to a good bath is saturating the coat completely, scrubbing the shampoo all the way to the skin and rinsing the coat very well. Rinsing is very important because any shampoo residue left on a dog's skin can cause irritation. Usually an at home groom/bath would end with a good towel dry whereas a professional groomer will use a high velocity dryer to quickly dry a dog completely. Many dogs require regular haircuts along with their bath which should be left to a professional groomer as grooming can be very dangerous. Professional groomers will also clean a dog's ears and clip their nails with each grooming service. Whether you bathe your dog at home or take it to a groomer, try to maintain a 6-8 week schedule to keep you four legged family member nice and clean.

  • Clipping a Dog's Nails

    Dogs can be such a special part of any family. Many people consider them like four legged children, and just like children they require assistance grooming themselves. Toenail trimming is vitally important to maintaining a dog's health and comfort, but quite often overlooked until they start causing the dog issues. When a dogs nails get too long they can get caught on things and can be ripped out or broken into the quick, both of which are very painful. Also if a dogs nails are left overgrown for too long it can start to change the bone structure of the dogs feet, flattening them out and/or even twisting the toes. How often a dogs nails need to be clipped depends on how quick the digs nails grow, how active the dog is and what kind of surfaces the dog walks and runs on. Rough surfaces like cement keep a dogs nails filed down so they need clipping less often. Smooth surfaces like tile are not going to have any kind of filing effects so the nails will likely need clipped once every month or two. When it comes to actually clipping the nails the most important thing is to avoid clipping into the quick, or sensitive blood vessel at the base of each nail. White nails are much easier because the pink is generally quite visible so you just clip a little before the pink area. Black nails are more difficult because more often than not you have to try to pinpoint the quick based on where the nail begins to look hollow. For most people this is a job best left to the professionals like veterinarians and groomers.

  • Donation and Giveaway Facebook Group

    Check out whats new with Clandestant Ministries! We now have a Facebook group for taking donated items and giving them away to eligible group members. This new group is called Clandestant Ministries Donations and giveaways. Anyone can donate household items, pet items, childrens items, outdoor items etc. The giveaways will all require different ways to be eligible to win, such as like, comment and share the post, like the ministry page and share the post etc. All donations are guaranteed to be given away in the group and no money will ever be made from the items. Any member caught selling giveaway items will be banned as it goes against Clandestant Ministries group integrity. Many of the giveaways will be as easy to enter into as simply liking and sharing the post, others may be more difficult and require explanation as to why the person should receive the item or what they are needing the item for. The different means of entering the giveaways helps ensure the items being given will actually go to someone who needs the item and is going to help people save money in these uncertain times. All giveaway winners will be announced via live stream or prerecorded video upload once entry minimums are met. This group will start off serving Navarro county Texas and surrounding counties; Ellis, Hill, and Johnson, The plan is to one day be nationwide giving the ability to ship giveaway items to winners all over the US. We hope you will join us in this group to help spread kindness to everyone! Click this link to take you to the group

  • Clandestant Ministries Pet Rescue Initiative

    At Clandestant Ministries we are committed to helping those in need. This desire to make the world a better place does not stop with just humans. This why we are proud to say our first program initiative is a pet rescue! We will house homeless pets, groom them and make them available for adoption so they can find loving homes. Right now this program is only in the initiative phase meaning we are still needing funds and a location to house the pets and run the program. Once we have enough funding we can begin the search for a prime location. Then once we have a location we can begin to turn it into a facility catered to the needs of a pet rescue. Our plan is to both foster and adopt out all pets in the facility , helping to find each and every animal their very own loving family. The running of the facility will be the job of those in our transitional housing program, volunteers and of course ministry employees. This will provide transitional housing members with stable work, companionship, and a way to become adjusted to having a job and the obligations it entails. Also with Pawsitively Purrfect Grooming already a part of the Clandestant Ministries family, we will have a way of managing the grooming of the pets within the facility, keeping them clean and ready for adoption! We hope you will be a part of our pet rescue initiative by donating today! Also once the program is functioning we will be in need of volunteers to help keep the program running. Thank you for taking the time to read about Clandestant Ministries very important program initiative. Remember, "Together We Can Make the World a Better Place!"

  • Should we Shave Double Coated Dogs?

    We as people love our four-legged family members, and want to do what is best for them. We feed them, water them, play with them, love them, and try to keep them as comfortable as possible. One debatable subject in the dog grooming area is double coated dogs being shaved. Pet parents see their beloved dog panting and hot with all their hair and don’t want them getting overheated, so they turn to clipping off the coat. Many groomers will say it's fine, while others will tell you it’s a terrible idea for many reasons... But where are the real answers? The PROOF for either side of the argument? One reason many groomers are against shaving double coated breeds is because of the look and possible issues with how the coat grows back, if it grows back at all. I have personally seen these issues in my 10+ years grooming, many double coated dogs with 'damaged' hair, patches of hair that grows back, and coats that have never grown the same since being clipped. The question is though, why does this happen? Well there are 4 stages of a dogs hair life cycle and two different types of hair. Anagen or Growth Phase The anagen phase is the first phase of new hair growth. Dogs that do not shed heavily have a longer anagen phase. Dogs that continuously shed have shorter anagen phases. The amount of time the hair follicle stays in the anagen phase is genetically  predetermined.  Poodles for example spend almost 98% in the anagen state – their coat basically grows  constantly . Breeds with shorter hair spend less time in this phase. Catagen or Regressing Phase The catagen phase is the transition phase. The catagen phase starts when the cell creation signals to stop. Hair stops growing during this phase as the outer root sheath attach to the hair. Telogen or Rest Phase Telogen is a rest period between the catagen and anagen phases. This period varies depending on the type of coat the dog have – in most breeds this is the longest period in the cycle. Breeds with a “Nordic” type of coat – such as Huskies and Elkhounds can spend several years in this phase. This is natures way of using the nutrition/energy in a good way – in a cold climate you need the energy to keep you warm – not to grow coat. Exogen or Shedding Phase The final phase, exogen, is the shedding phase. This phase occurs when the hair falls out and the follicle starts the anagen phase again. The length of the shedding phase depends on the season. A new phase has been introduced,  when we talk about  coat growth phases – ‘‘kenogen’’: It applies to hair follicles  that have passed the telogen stage, lost their hair fiber (exogen), and remain empty for a certain time before a new anagen phase is starting. ( The Hair Follicle: A Comparative Review of Canine Hair Follicle Anatomy and Physiology . Monika M. Welle and Dominique J. Wiener ,2016 ) A dog's hair follicles are in different stages all over their body at any given time. So, while some follicles are in the anagen stage just starting new growth, others are in the catagen, telogen and exogen phases. This is very practical because creating new hairs demands a lot of nutrition. If all the hairs fell out at the same time there would be a massive amount of nutrition needed to create a full coat again and it's going to be tough to fill that demand. But if some hairs are resting while others are created the nutritionally demand will be much lower. We would also lose the purpose of the guard hairs if they all fell out at the same time – that would leave the dog without a way to shield themselves from the elements. Which does happen when we clip the coat short (regardless of breed!) And remember now that there is one cycle for the guard hairs and one for the undercoat/wool. In some breeds the guard hairs remain in the resting phase for 4 or 5 years. So when we clip the coat down on these breeds there is the possibility that the coat will not grow back normal for years, it just depends on what phase the hair follicles are in . Senior dogs are more susceptible to having coat issues when being clipped down because their bodies may decide the nutrition needed for growing the coat back is needed for other things. Dogs with underlying issues also run the risk of not growing their coat back because the hair follicles have stopped growing, but we don’t realize this until after we clip the coat and it doesn’t grow back. The undercoat has a much shorter resting phase - roughly 6 months. This is why we notice dogs shedding in the summer and the winter. The undercoat is thicker in the winter and thinner in the summer time because their undercoats are used for both keeping cool and staying warm depending on the season. The dog's body can also decide to put the hair follicles in a permanent resting phase when we clip them short. This is mostly common in the ”nordic type” of breeds – but it can sometimes occur in other breeds as well.  The cause of this is still unknown – one theory is that the cooling of the skin when the hair is gone gives a signal to the body to reduce the blood flow to the skin to keep the core heat and that affects the hair follicles growth cycle. Another theory is that hormones is disrupting the growth cycle. (A Colour Handbook of Skin Diseases of the Dog and Cat UK Version, Second Edition,Patrick J. McKeever, Tim Nuttall, Richard G. Harvey) So it's not that the coat is damaged or destroyed from being clipped, it simply depends on what phase the follicles are in, and any underlying issues that cause the coat to not immediately grow back just as it was before being clipped. This may leave the dog with an ugly coat, so it is very important to educate pet parents on how the hair follicle phases work and the risks that come with shaving their dog, especially “Nordic” breeds as their guard hairs stay in the resting phase for so long. Now that we have a better understanding of the hair follicle stages, we can discuss dog's thermal regulation. The thermoregulation system is basically the same for all warm-blooded creatures. The body have an advanced system that is in charge 24/7 to keep the body temperature –core temperature – at the correct level. It works like a thermostat in a home, if the temperature goes too high or too low, the system kicks on to bring the temperature back to normal. Dogs’ have protoplasm, which is a vital liquid within the cells that contains proteins and vital nutrients, enzymes, and hormones necessary for life function. If the temperature gets too low or high the chemical reactions happening within the cells are altered causing damage to the cells and even death. The coating of the body with hair is to insulate and prevent heat loss and to protect the skin. The hair insulates and prevents the heat from leaving the body. An example of that is dogs that are from colder environments because they have thick coats and small ears that are very hairy, while on the opposite dogs from hot environments have thinner coats and large smooth haired ears to make it easier for heat to evaporate from the skin.  Dogs have also been altered by humans through generations of breeding with the purpose of picking characteristic in the dogs they want to carry on to the offspring. This has created much different coats than these breeds originally had many generations ago. While humans changed dogs' coats, nature left dogs with the same thermoregulation system, so now there are issues with thermoregulation because it's trying to do more work than it used to. The ways that dogs cool off are laying on something cool, such as tile floors and dirt they have dug into, or getting airflow into the coat such as sitting in front of a fan. Dogs coats are generally thinner on their belly so when they do lay on a cool surface it helps to lower their temperature. A groomer may even do what is known as tunneling or shelling out the belly, which is where we shave the dog's whole underneath, in order to help the dog cool down without exposing the majority of the dog's body to the elements. A layer of air is trapped between the surface of the skin and the outer surface of the coat. Air has a low heat capacity and is a poor conductor of heat, therefore it serves as an insulator. The degree of insulation can be altered by increasing or decreasing the thickness of the air layer (brushing). Dogs have muscles that control their hair follicles allowing them to lift or lower their hair to allow air into the coat or to keep it out. The only problem with these cooling mechanisms is that the outside temperature must be cooler than the dogs internal temperature. If the temperature is higher outside the dog is left with panting and sweating to cool off. The main mechanism of heat loss during panting is by water evaporation from the moist soft tissue in the nose. Heat is radiating out from the dog's body and if the dog has a dense coat, it is going to trap the warm air against the body making it harder for the dog to cool down. So if a dense coated dog is kept in full coat, regular brushing is needed to remove lose undercoat in order to help keep them cool. The final factor to consider when shaving a dog is its environment, does it stay predominately inside or outside? Does it have shade if it is outside? A dog who spends most of its time indoors can be clipped down low without having to consider much other than the possibility of the coat not growing back for years or at all. If the dog is an outside dog then the environmental factors need to be considered before choosing to completely shave down the dog. If you live in a northern area it is not likely you will have to worry about heat stroke due to lack of shade. Whereas those located in southern states must make sure their dog has constant access to shade if it will be shaved. It is also a good Idea to keep the dog well brushed during summer time and not clip the coat too short so that they have protection from the sun. In conclusion, there is no simple yes or no when it comes to the question, should double coated dogs be shaved? The pet parent must factor in everything,: environment, does the dog have any illnesses or skin issues, how old is the new dog, and are they willing to risk the coat not growing back quickly or at all? Once the pet parent considers all these factors they can make an educated decision on what best suits their dogs needs.

  • How to Be a Better Steward of the Environment

    The issue of the case concerning climate change may be up for debate, but the fact that we are polluting the earth is not. For our comfort and the comfort of those who follow us, we need to admit our pollution and begin to take our role as stewards of this earth. Small steps matter. Here are some suggestions to consider. Cut Your Carbon Emissions From the food you eat, the clothes you wear , and how you use electricity all impact the environment. Make these choices based on the result of knowing how the earth will be impacted. Look at the five R's of refuse, reduce, reuse, rot, and recycle as impact to consider when deciding on purchases. Consider non-emissions forms of travel such as walking or using a bicycle. Help to create ideas that make our society earth-friendly. Respect Wildlife We share this planet with many other forms of life that are impacted by our choices. Evaluate how the choices you make will impact their lives. Find some ways to leave the beach, forest or other natural environments cleaner than you found it. Find an area on your property to plant trees and landscape with native food plants to provide nourishment for your wildlife partners. Native birds love the nectar and seeds from local plants as well. Wherever you go, leave the wildlife alone. Every animal and insect has a role to play in keeping a natural healthy balance in a clean environment. We need them, so find ways to support our wildlife friends. Support Green Friendly Companies and Products Think of your dollars as votes. Every time you spend money it is a vote for a more or less clean environment. Companies and products only exist if you support them. By choosing earth-friendly products you are telling companies the type of products they should make available. Insist on the brands and items that not only are environmentally compatible but can help to replenish the natural balance. The technology is here, so it is time to use it to the advantage of the earth. It would be devastating to know that the human population will be the next natural disaster. It is our choice to allow nature to redeem herself by getting out of her way. Be proactive as you choose to become an earth steward. By choosing to examine your carbon footprint, you can adjust your daily choices to lessen the harm to our planet. We are working together to make the world a better place. Join us.

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