Talking with ‘Talented Friends of Pets’

Hope Williams is the type of animal owner who cares about the health and wellness of her pets.

She’s the type of business owner who cares about the community and takes the time to greet every customer — human and critter — with a friendly smile, a joke and a piece of pet care advice.

If she were a dog, Williams would be sitting pretty and letting out a “woof” of delight. The “Talented Friends of Animals” series she started two years ago has been revived. Anna Gardner, a holistic veterinarian, educated a small group of animal enthusiasts on holistic pet health and healing, providing an introduction to the preventive and healing benefits of nutrition, homeopathy and acupuncture on July 12.

“Talented Friends of Animals” is an ongoing series of pet care classes and seminars geared toward owner knowledge, healing and a healthier life for pets. Classes are Saturday morning and afternoons and require preregistration and a donation. Speakers choose what animal welfare group donations benefit.

Williams started the series in 2006 after opening Best Friend Nutrition in Carlsborg.

“When we first opened this store, we introduced holistic pet care to the peninsula and it was easier to do so if we educated the community at the same time on all the different elements that go into holistic pet care,” Williams said. “More goes into holistic pet care than just nutrition — it’s about food, training, education and playing with your pet.”

“Talented Friends of Animals” was a hit, Williams said, but the store didn’t have the space for weekly workshops and retail services. The classes were canceled but Williams had the intention of resuming the series when the time was right.

A year later, the time is right. Upcoming subjects include pet first aid, lymphatic drainage massage, Tellington Touch, traditional Chinese medicine, pet massage and animal communication.

If classes fill up quickly, speakers may schedule additional workshops, but the community shouldn’t count on that, Williams said. If interested in a subject, sign up immediately, she encouraged.

Fall topics may include hydrotherapy with La Paw Spa owner Cindy Horsfall and a speaker discussing the health benefits of raw pet food.

“The whole concept is to introduce new ways of thinking on how to take care of your pet holistically,” Williams said. “It isn’t just about long life, it’s about healthy life, whether it’s an animal or a human. That’s what ‘holistic’ means.”

Williams highly recommends the “pet first aid” seminar and will be taking the class herself. “No matter how good of care you take of your pet, if you can’t stop choking, do CPR, or stop bleeding, you run an increased risk of losing your pet,” she said.

Williams had a close call with a cat that snuck a piece of shrimp shell off the dinner table and choked on it. Not knowing pet first aid, she reacted with pure instinct to save the feline’s life.

Next time, she wants to be more prepared, Williams said. And she wants her customers to never be in that position of being unsure of how to save an animal’s life.

“One of my purposes on earth is to help as many humans as I can have as healthy pets as they can,” Williams said. “I am really clear with that purpose and whatever I can do to inspire people to do things differently in a healthy, positive way — I’ll do it,” she vowed.

Another goal of Williams is to set the record straight. “There is a tremendous amount of misinformation about products that advertise themselves as food but aren’t really food and concepts about how to train and emotionally connect to pets that don’t really work,” she said. “I’m here to tell you that every dog and every cat is an individual.”

Williams stands by the class fees that range from $10-30. “In another environment, in a place like Seattle, these classes would be more expensive,” she said. “The worth of these classes far exceeds the donation.”

Most of the speakers live on the Olympic Peninsula. “Living on the peninsula, we have so many people with knowledge, expertise and a willingness to share it with others,” Williams said. “That’s worth taking advantage of.”

Best Friend Nutrition, a health food store for pets, presents “Talented Friends of Pets,” an ongoing series of holistic pet care classes and speakers:

• 9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m., Saturday, July 19 – “Pet first aid,” with Daniel Myo, an American Red Cross certified instructor. A hands-on class to help people learn to prevent, prepare and respond to pet emergencies. Topics covered will include treating common ailments, aid for choking, performing CPR and building a pet first aid kit. The class is limited to 10 humans and costs $30.

• 2-3:30 p.m. Saturday, July 26 – “Lymphatic drainage massage for you and your pet,” led by Victoria Eaton. Participants will learn the benefits of a unique massage technique used on humans and animals. The class is limited to 15 humans and five dogs responsive to voice instruction and costs $10.

• 1-5 p.m., Saturday Aug. 2 – “Tellington Touch workshop,” with Margaret Walker, a certified “T-Touch” practitioner. Walker will introduce a series of “T-Touches” to enhance the pet’s behavior, well-being and ability to communicate. The workshop is limited to 12 humans and five dogs and costs $60.

• 10:30 a.m.-noon Saturday, Aug. 9 – “What traditional Chinese medicine can do for our pets,” with veterinarian Dennis Wilcox, who will explain and extol the virtues of traditional Chinese medicine and its eastern practice of acupuncture and herbs to heal common ailments in animals. The class is limited to 25 humans and costs $10.

• 10:30 a.m.-noon Saturday, Aug. 16 – “The mutual benefits of pet massage,” with Linda Stumbaugh. The class is limited to 20 humans and costs $10.

• 10:30 a.m.-noon Saturday, Aug. 30 – “Animal communication: Get more than physical with your pet,” led by Claire Bernards, who helps owners connect with their furry loved ones. The class is limited to 25 humans and costs $10.

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