BrightHaven is unique for the work we do and the results we get. Our holistic approach to healing is renowned as our animals seem to live longer and look healthier than most. For example, Frazier the cat survived cancer and lived to age 34 and Ollie the paralyzed Dachshund lived to age 24. It’s all about living well through the last breath!
Please consult your vet before making any changes to your animal’s healthcare regimen.
The BrightHaven Menu for Healing
Our Menu for Healing, which is the foundation of our work, focuses on the best quality of life at all stages. The goal is to achieve optimal balance of body, mind and spirit.
This menu is also affectionately known as “The Love Sandwich” as it begins and ends with love, and the healing power of love can never be overstated!
BrightHaven recipe for balance of body, mind and spirit from youth through the autumn years is:
BrightHaven recipe for balance of body, mind and spirit at the end of life is not much different:
- A changing diet, depending on what animal will eat
- Diagnostics – likely not needed
- Classical veterinary homeopathy for care at all life stages
- No vaccines or titers needed
- Immune and organ support, Reiki and other complementary therapies
- Natural path to death
Our Menu for Healing is also affectionately known as “The Love Sandwich” because, as you can see, our list begins and ends with love. Its tremendous healing power can never be overstated!
At BrightHaven, we believe that love is such an essential, transformative and powerful healing force, we celebrate it each and every day! The unquestionable understanding of the importance of love to living a full life is but one example of the deep wisdom shared with us by our beloved animal teachers over the years.
Diet — raw meat based, fully supplemented
Feeding an appropriate diet is one of the best ways to maximize an animal’s health and well being, as food provides the body with its primary energy and nutritional source.
Every single feline and canine resident at BrightHaven, regardless of age or physical condition, is fed this diet. We’ve seen that even the oldest animals show a remarkable improvement when switched from a conventional method of feeding to our natural menu.
Another important consideration:
Older or sick animals must transition very slowly to any new diet and also elders or those closer to the end of life may need some treat food to help them get to know and eat their new food.
We run routine blood panels–probably more often than most as we endeavor to check homeopathic remedy responses and progress. We also perform very regular urinalyses for our paraplegic animals. Other less often performed diagnostic work is the occasional fecal check or tissue analysis.
Due to the fragility of our hospice patients we rarely run more detailed diagnostics that would involve taking them away from their home, preferring to make contact with mobile veterinarians who are able to come to the patient if necessary to perhaps perform an ultrasound.
Classical veterinary homeopathy for care at all life stages
BrightHaven has seen astonishing results in our animals over the years and when one looks at our track record of animals’ health and longevity, one may wish to remain open to this method of care.
Meaning of Holistic vs. Homeopathy
Before talking more about this fascinating subject, it’s important to understand that homeopathy is a holistic modality. Oftentimes people get confused between the two words, thinking they mean exactly the same thing.
Holistic medicine treats the entire being: body, mind, emotions and spirit. “Dis–ease” denotes an “out of ease” or unbalanced state. Often, holistic approaches can detect problems at the dis-ease state and correct the imbalance before serious illness sets in.
What is Homeopathy?
Basically homeopathy is a form of holistic medicine used by over 200 million people worldwide to treat both acute and chronic conditions. It is based on the principle of “like cures like.” In other words, a substance taken in small amounts will cure the same symptoms it causes if that same substance was taken in large amounts.
Homeopathy is a complete system of medicine that involves treating the individual, animal or human, with highly diluted substances, given either in tablet or liquid form, with the aim of triggering the body’s natural system of healing. Based on each patient’s very specific symptoms as well as health history, a homeopath will match the most appropriate medicine.
Alternative vaccination protocol / titers
Vaccinations have been linked to many side effects including lower energy, dull fur and eyes, dirty ears, thirst and appetite changes as well as some emotional issues. They can also result in higher kidney and liver values, tumors, asthma, skin and ear problems as well as frequent upper respiratory illness.
A titer test is a measure of antibodies in the blood, providing a check of disease immunity, rather than relying solely on a predetermined schedule to determine if a particular vaccination is required or not.
Immune and organ support, Reiki and other complementary therapies
BrightHaven regularly utilizes many different supportive therapies. Here are just a few:
Immune and Organ Support
Providing our animals with immune and organ support are top priorities for BrightHaven. The immune system, which comprises organs, special cells and substances, helps protect from bacteria, germs, parasites, infections and diseases. It is truly the body’s defense force. It keeps track of normal body substances and raises an attack when it encounters an antigen, or anything unknown to it.
Organ support clearly goes hand in hand with immune support and is most important to address in chronic illness.
Subcutaneous (SubQ) Fluids
Many years ago we learned that dehydration is a common problem in cats or dogs as they grow older, and most especially in cats with chronic kidney disease. To avoid or help control dehydration we quickly began treating many of our animals with fluids that we were able to give under the skin with a small needle at home.
We noticed very quickly how beneficial this treatment was for our old timers and how revitalized they felt afterwards and so most were given supportive subcutaneous fluid therapy on a rotating basis, many every day unless our vet found them to have heart problems or a health issue which might preclude fluid administration.
Hemp, or Cannabis
Hemp is a recent addition to our Menu for Healing as we’ve seen many improvements in our animals since they’ve been trying out the product:
- Lessened joint discomfort associated with normal daily exercise and activity
- Increased energy and a healthy new brightness
- Healthier digestion and stools
- Improved neurological function
- Enhanced immune system support
- Heightened “end of life” comfort and sense of wellbeing
Feng shui in Chinese tradition is a system where the practitioner works with the art of placement and balance in the home or office in relation to the flow of life force energy. At BrightHaven, we look to feng shui to help us create a peaceful, energetically balanced environment for our animals and humans.
Since Kathleen Prasad of Animal Reiki Source introduced animal Reiki to BrightHaven in 2004, this gentle, healing practice has become an integral part of our daily life and often plays a critical role in nearly every aspect of our Menu for Healing.
Reiki is essentially meditating with your animals. But in a broader sense, Reiki is a spiritual system cultivating a compassionate intention, which in turn may bring about healing transformation.
Our animals have taught us to let intuition be our guide, whether our own or the intuitive skills of a practitioner, particularly towards the end of life. We rely on symptoms to guide us and homeopathy and supportive therapies to heal. Intuition also enables the animal to impart to us how they feel and what they wish for or what would make them feel better.
We also rely on medical intuition to describe what’s happening within the patient, and we often call upon amazing animal intuitive July Berrin, founder of The Temple Cat (http://thetemplecat.uno/). She has been of tremendous assistance to us in helping us to better understand what an animal is experiencing.
Natural path to death
BrightHaven’s Guiding Statement on Animal Hospice & Natural Death:
At BrightHaven when an animal enters hospice care our expectation is that the animal will have a painless, loving, peaceful journey followed by a painless, loving, peaceful & natural death.
If a place is reached during that journey where the caregiver, the veterinarian and the animal believe that the animal is in need of critical assistance, then euthanasia will be used.
We are privileged to have provided hospice care for and shared the dying experience with over 600 animals who taught us so much. Since Mariah’s natural death in 1995, we’ve euthanized only 20 animals, the last being Daisy the horse in July 2015.
It’s all about love!
Love is life. And if you miss love, you miss life.
Knowledge reduces fear and increases confidence, and conscious decision-making may minimize future regrets. We invite you to explore our caregiver resources (including animal hospice education and holistic healthcare education), online learning and publications to learn more. You may also wish to book a consultation with BrightHaven President and Founder Gail Pope.