I am excited to finally debut my personal website, sanaesuzuki.com (I created four different websites previously) on my birthday, April 4th 2016, which focuses on healing, happiness and what I love to share with the world. It will be an ongoing creative process, so if you see a section that is not available, please revisit…
Seven days after Kula’s departure.
I am not a mindful Buddhist practitioner, but I want to honor my beloved dog daughter, Kula—who departed just seven days ago—with my heart of spirit. I decided to follow some Buddhist traditions for her.
Shonanona is a Buddhist service held on the seventh day after death. This is when the deceased crosses the River Styx (4000km – 2485.485 miles wide) after she passes 3200km/1988.388mile long steep mountain. Depending on her behavior during life, the stream of the river will change. So, the deceased’s family gather and honor her, sharing good memories and thoughts so that she will receive a gentle stream.
Kula was a perfect dog, so I am sure she’ll have no problem passing the steep mountain and receiving a gentle stream, but I wanted to be certain. So, Eric and I went to the beach—Kula’s favorite place. We swam, and I called her name seven times loudly to reach her and send my wish that her journey to heaven is smooth. As I was finishing swimming, my right hand caught some seaweed, and I thought it was Kula saying, “I love you!” She loved seaweed, so I decided to bring it and put it on the altar for her.
We have received many emails, comments, and Facebook messages about Kula. Eric and I are deeply touched by everyone’s kind thoughts. Appreciate everyone!
I want to share two quotes from messages we received
- From Madir Scalini, Maui, Hawaii
“The reality is that you will grieve forever.
You will not ‘get over’ the loss of loved one; you will learn to live with it.
You will heal and you will rebuild yourself around the loss you have suffered.
You will be whole again but, you will never be the same.
Nor should you be the same, nor would you want to.”
– Elizabeth Kubler-Ross and John Kessler
- From James Peden, Santa Barbara
Some wise person wrote:
It came to me that every time I lose a dog they take a piece of my heart with them.
And every new dog who comes into my life, gifts me with a piece of their heart.
If I live long enough, all the components of my heart will be dogs,
and I will become as generous and loving as they are.
I love both of them so much. The one from Madir is so true and made me feel grounded to move forward. The one from James made me smile. Eric said “Sanae, components of your heart are already 85% dog!” hahaha
On September 18, I plan to hold a shijūkunichi—an important Buddhist memorial service for the 49th day—for Kula. I will let everyone know more details, and I hope you can join here with us wherever you are.
Oro (Kula’s a half sister) who is grieving and missing so much Kula with us. We took her also to the beach and she met new friends – Noman with Josie and Susan with Morgan.They helped Oro feel so much better.
When I took a photo of Oro with women (her name was Anna), Oro showed me Kula smile and surprise us.
We also found out that Kula’s nephew, Luka was also swimming in the face of Percé Rock, Percé, QC, Canada.
Kula’s spirit is continuing with Oro and us everywhere and everyone.
Thank Kula with all my heart!
I shall continue writing about Kula and her family to spread their healing spirits.
Life is so precious.
My dog daughter Kula’s life has been very simple, but she enjoyed every day to the fullest even after her spleen cancer spread to lungs.
I asked her recently why she can be so patient and kind to everyone even after getting cancer…she said without any hesitation,
“Why? Because life is so precious, don’t you know mommy? Every day is never exactly the same. I love each day that the sun comes up in the morning, no matter what. Sometimes the sun is not showing the face, but I feel the existence of the sun every day, and the sunlight makes me feel so good. That’s why I really enjoyed you and papa Eric taking me to see the New Year sunrise in the mountains every year.
“I also love feeling the breeze coming into the room when you open the window first thing in the morning. I love fresh air so much. That’s why I love going to the beach whenever you were able to take me. After I stretch you take me out to the yard, and each time it smells different, believe it or not. I enjoy relaxing while you make breakfast with the music you play from your iTunes, YouTube or Spotify. I love your choice of music most of the time, but I love your singing even more and your dancing. My food is always freshly made and organic, and it smells so delicious and tastes super yummy. Since I got cancer you not just prepared a healing delicious food, but started to give me a body scrub and shiatsu massage which felt so good, then finishing up with Do-in excise which was fun and stimulating. You are the best caretaker, but you are of course my mommy! Also, please let papa Eric know that he was the best papa and his ukulele music heals my soul every time he played and I love him with all my heart and more than going to beach!”
“I love watching doves and hummingbirds in the yard after breakfast and taking naps whenever I want. I love you and papa Eric for taking care of me like I am the most precious dog in the world. Papa Eric carried me when I was not able to walk and cuddled with me when I was having a fever.”
“I love my animal family – My half sister Oro respects me so much as her big sister, so we never had an augment, and I will miss her a lot. Leo cares and worries with his eyes about me as Oro’s partner. Bubu is a great nephew who never bothered me and gave me space, but he was there for me always. Lumi, my niece and also my sister Dore in her previous her life, tries to play with me everyday and it’s fun playing with her, even though sometimes she is too frisky for my age. My great niece Happy who is so cute and beautiful, but she does not know how beautiful she is so she is insecure like I used to be. I appreciate TinTin the boy cat who comes to check on me and talks so much to me since I am a pretty quiet dog and therefore a good listener, and MaiMai the girl kitty sleeps in the same room every night when I have a fever and have to sleep in the back room with mommy. I never thought that I can be the leader of a family of eight, but after my big sister Dore was killed in a hit-and-run car accident, and my Kin mama was so sad that she left us 10 days after Dore, I had to learn to accept the role of leader of our pack quickly. It was not easy and I may not be a good leader like Kin mama, being around so many dog-and-cat-facilities. Thanks to mommy for taking animal communication classes so we were able to communicate better and papa Eric for taking his time to slow down and understand his animal family.”
“I also need to let you know how much I love road trips since you and papa Eric took me to Quebec and Nova Scotia when I was 8 weeks old. I remember my first and last experience chasing roosters in Eric papa’s uncle’s yard. It was so much fun! Since that trip, the car became my second home.”
Watch Kula’s amazing diving at Manzanita Lake on Youtube.
“Going to North Fork and swimming and diving at Manzanita lake was one of my most favorite things, as was going to Farmers Market and seeing all the children and adults who pet me; visiting Leyla the apple vendor, who always gave me my favorite Fuji apple; meeting people at Seed Kitchen; talking to people at the bookstore; going to the senior home to put a smile on the residents’ faces; hiking with mommy who was able to walk farther every time we went. On the last hike in March, she hiked faster than me – I thought I was getting too old, but I think I was getting sick already.”
“I can tell you more and more, but you kind of get the idea why I love my life so much and have no reason to complain.”
“Life is so precious, and true happiness is not about how much money you make or how famous or how popular you become, or how big a house your live in, or how many amazing places you travel to. I have a great family and loving home and just enjoy whatever comes because everything changes. I have learned it from you, mommy because you have limited mobility from the leg injury from the car crash, but you always find something in life to enjoy, and you taught me each day how precious life is.”
Dore(left – Kula’s sister), Kula and thrie mama Kin with me in my wheelchair
”I thank you and papa Eric so much for giving me such a wonderful life. I was born in this house in Santa Monica, and I know that I will depart from this house to go to heaven. Mommy, you helped me to arrive in this life and I know you are going to help me to depart also. I trust you, and I know you trust me so when the time is right I will be departing soon.”
“I will miss your hugs, kisses, and our conversations, but I will be always with you no matter what. I trust that we will see each other again.”
Kula was a big sweetheart, and she has been truly our angel. I thank her everyday for her life of 13 years. She always put her paws to my face or arm to be connected, and I showered her with kisses and hugs whenever she needed to sleep with me when she was lonely and tired.
This conversation with her made me cry. I thanked her again and told her to promise that when she wants to depart I will be there with her, as I always will be in her heart.
She got my message and she departed the next day, on Aug. 1, 2016, at 5:45pm in my arms, on her own will. After her departure, her face looked very peaceful, as though she was smiling. when I put her on her bed she looked like she was just sleeping. I put plumeria flowers next to her. Kula’s holistic vet. Dr. Lane and her husband Patric came to pick her up and she was cremated with her plumeria flowers at Los Angels Pet Memorial Park, SOHIE Kula was cremated on Aug. 3, 2016 at 9am.
Eric and I have been crying and missing her so much, but we are so grateful to have been her human parents and proud of everything she did and who she was for us and others.
I created a temporary altar to place her ashes when she comes home.
Kula’s altar waiting for her ashes to come back home
While I was creating the altar, Lumi, who played with Kula everyday, just came and lay there like she knew that Kula’s spirit was there.
Then all the rest of Kula’s dog family came and sat there. They are so sad and missing Kula so much!
They miss Kula so much, but the same time feel her spirit! Now they are teaching me that Life is so precious!
Thank you for reading this blog, and please share it because life is so precious.
Love, Sanae 💖
Finding the Right Remedy of Fever is The Key.
Kula was diagnosed with spleen cancer on May 18, 2016, and she is on her healing path for her life with macrobiotic food and natural remedies with a holistic vet. Dr. Sally Lane.
Overall her health got better with her new healing diet, herbal medication, reiki, moxibustion, acupuncture, massage, Do-in exercise, body scrub, and healing power stones etc. The type of cancer she has does not give her pain, so she is spending her 13-year retirement life comfortably.
One challenge Kula faces is high fever from time to time since the diagnosis. Last week her fever was almost 106 ℉ (normal dog temperature is 101 ~ 102.5 ℉). This was the highest her temperature had been, so I was concerned, even though I understood that cancer patients suffer from high fever intermittently in reaction to the body’s attempt to detox and/or purify cancer cells and bring them back to being healthy cells. When I had ovarian cancer in 1993 I also had a high fever from time to time.
Kula’s holistic vet Dr. Lane said sometimes if the tumor is changing in any way it can elicit a fever that can be persistent or cyclic.
When her fever goes up I try to lower it with cucumber juice, apple juice, watermelon juice, and/or cool lotus root creamy tea and brown rice cream with daikon juice. I also give coconut water when fever is very high fever that caused by yang condition. I spray her body with water with peppermint essential oil with Bach flower Rescue Remedy.
I also apply a tofu plaster, taro plaster or cold towel compress. She likes all the juices and cooling liquids and tofu/taro plasters – Her favorite is cool lotus root creamy tea to drink and tofu/taro plaster over her tummy, but making all these remedies take time so sometimes it is not easy for me to apply them. To make easier for me I have used a cold towel to help lower the temperature quickly, but it does not work for her. Indeed a cold towel is much easier to apply, but her body temperature drops too fast, making her start to shake.
When the right remedy works she feels very comfortable and sleeps for a couple hours, so I had to experiment with different types of remedies in different combinations. Then it occurred to me: cabbage leaves!
Yes, it turns out Kula’s favorite remedy is cabbage leaves for her head, ears, chest and tummy. It required many cabbage leaves, but it was quite easy to put them all over her body. (cabbage leaves are used for an inflammation and apply on a breast cancer in macrobiotic healing).
The only problem was that her dog family (especially Bubu) would come to steal her cabbage leaves while she slept, and she would wake up when there were no more cabbage leaves left on her head and body. Well, at least cabbage is good for the digestion and safe to eat, and I only use organic cabbage.
If you are looking for a remedy for you or your family, including your animal family, the key is finding the right remedy for natural healing.
I hope Kula continues to get better as she navigates her healing path.
To be continued…
Kula is a golden retriever and service/therapy dog.
She has been raised on organic homemade foods（Healthy Happy Pooch) in natural environments of no chemical or GMO with her family of five dogs and two cats.
Since she was a puppy, Kula has been a smart and lovable dog with a gentle, kind and calm soul. As a service dog, she has been making everybody smile during her visits to senior homes and the Santa Monica Farmers Market for many years. She has also supported me while I had to use a wheelchair and canes to walk after a near-fatal car accident. Her nature is a bit shy and quiet, but she has been fulfilling her role as a good service/therapy dog, as well as a beloved member of our family, with her unconditional love.
After her 13th birthday on May 16, 2016, she had her annual check up. She had started limping. Her holistic veterinarian doctor Sally Lane told us that Kula does not seem to have any bone problem causing the limping, but her blood test shows that she has anemia and internal bleeding. We were referred to an animal special internal medicine hospital for an ultrasound and x-ray test. On May 18, 2016, we were shocked to learn that Kula has spleen cancer, “Hemangiosarcoma.”
Hemangiosarcoma of the spleen is highly metastatic and malignant vascular neoplasms-tumors in the blood vessels that arise from the endothelial cells – the cells that line the interior surface of blood vessels. It is an aggressive, malignant tumor of blood vessel cells. Kula’s cancer had already spread to her both lungs. Usually, hemangiosarcoma can be successfully treated by surgical removal of the tumor. Chemotherapy is often used in addition to surgical excision if the veterinarian was not able to remove the entire tumor or it has penetrated into the subcutaneous tissue or muscles below the skin. Radiation therapy is also used to treat dermal hemangiosarcoma. In Kula’s case, since it had already spread to the lungs, surgery was not recommended. Dr. Hadar of the special internal medicine hospital told me that Kula’s life span will be 2 weeks to 2 months.
As I wrote in my blog about her diagnosis on May 29, 2016, I was so sad and did not know what to think in the beginning, but I realized that it is not the time for me to feel bad because Kula is still with us, and she is still enjoying eating her healing food, being outside and watching the hummingbirds every evening, and going on walks whenever she can, and moving her tail when greeting people who come to our house.
It has been 2 months since Kula was diagnosed with hemangiosarcoma. I have been using all of my knowledge as an of whole health macrobiotic counselor and nutritionist and getting help from Dr. Lane, Dr. May and animal communicator Lydia Hiby. I have read many books, blogs, and Internet information about hemangiosarcoma.
Cause of dog cancer factors that I found:
- Carcinogens & toxins found in commercially manufactured foods
- Indigestible and other “non-species appropriate” ingredients
- Malnutrition, due to malabsorption, from an inappropriate diet
- Lack of whole food sources and variety
- Environmental pollutants, especially herbicides/weed killers, and flea/tick products
- Too many vaccinations
- Breed Genetics & immune system dysfunction
Dr. Lane (my main holistic vet) and Dr. Hadar ( a conventional vet of the special internal medicine hospital) both said since five of Kula’s brothers died from cancer at a much younger age, and most golden retrievers get cancer because of a genetic propensity, Kula may have succumbed to that. I also believe that Kula’s case the vaccinations and flea/tick controls products I have given when she was younger when I did not know much about how much the vaccinations and flea/tick controls products affected dog’s health.
I was surprised to found out that many dogs who had Hemangiosarcoma and had surgery did not live much longer (average was two months), so it may be the best thing that Kula could not have surgery, like me.
Since I did not have any experience of counseling clients who had spleen cancer, I decided to talk to my friend, Mr. Isogai, who is a macrobiotic counselor in Japan with experience of macrobiotic healing counseling for over 6000 people. He does not have much experience with animals, but I was able to receive confirmation and gather some information from his experiences which I could apply to Kula.
What I have learned from my research and from Mr. Isogai enabled me to complement the macrobiotic approach with Chinese herbal medicines, acupuncture treatments, and my intuition from communicating with Kula every day. Kula’s cancer is a yang cancer like ovarian cancer I had in 1993. Kula’s cancer spread to her lungs, so it also had yin cancer energy. I needed to focus on making her food more yin – soft and naturally sweet food for the spleen – and at the same time food that would abate the yin energy for the lungs.
Kula is better overall and stabilized, so she is walking short distances on her own, except when climbing stairs. She has an appetite most of the time. She has high fever time to time so I have been very careful what to do when she has a high fever.
I make special healing homemade food, combining the foods she likes to eat so that she will want to eat more. She is no longer eating the same foods she was eating before, such as raw food. If she does not like the food she will spit it out to let me know that I need to come up with the recipe that she likes and will enjoy especially when she has high fever. If your dog gets sick, it is normal for her or him to not want to eat as before, so we must make adjustments to whet the appetite.
Here is the list of what I have been doing for Kula:
1) Healing food for spleen and lung cancer (also when she has high fever)
2) Healing Beverage
3) Massage her gums
4) Body scrub
5) Do-in exercise
7) Remedy drinks
8) External remedy
2. Chinese herbal medicines for her spleen cancer, lungs, and blood builders provide by Dr. Lane
3. Homeopathy medicine
4. Bach Flower remedies
5. Essential oils
6. Acupuncture by Dr. Lane and Dr. May
9. Healing music
10. Healing power stone necklace and bracelets
11. Positive enforcement words
12. Manifesting “Arigatou” chanting
13, Animal Communication
As you can see my day is pretty full. I need to organize my day and monitor Kula and at the same time enjoy my day, practicing my meditation, yoga; keep up my work for Seed Kitchen’s business, teaching, counseling people and dogs/cats; and spend time with my friends and family, consisting of my husband Eric and five other dogs and two cats.
It is surely a challenge to take care of Kula’s condition.
Perhaps it is not easy to keep a balance, but because of Kula’s cancer I am more focused, and I feel so satisfied to be able to do what I can for her in the midst of my hectic daily routine.
I am grateful to Kula, who gives and teaches me unconditional love every day.
Usually we celebrate our wedding anniversary by going someplace special and exchanging traditional anniversary gifts, followed by dinner at the Shutters hotel, where we had our wedding dinner with family and close friends in 2004.
This year, we felt we should do something different.
Our eldest dog, Kula, was diagnosed with spleen cancer last month (I wrote about her here, with two weeks to two months to live. So, we wanted to take a video of how I have been taking care of her every day. The first one shows me giving her shiatsu and Do-in exercise. I posted it on Facebook and got more than 1,700 views in one day, so I also posted it on YouTube to help other dogs.
It was a wonderful way to start our wedding anniversary. This marks 12 years, for which the traditional gift is silk/linen or pearls, but we broke the traditional gift exchange by giving each other stand-up paddle boards (SUP) and going paddling in Marina del Rey with our dog Lumi. Eric found two used SUP boards at a reasonable price on Craigslist, and it was in Manhattan Beach, so we decided to drive there as our wedding anniversary event. They were the perfect size, so we got them and went to Marina del Rey with Lumi right away. They were sturdy boards and heavy, so it was not easy for Eric to put them on his car, but he is such a strong guy!
It was a great day for us to go all the way out by the Burton Chace Park area to paddle. I wish we had photos to show you, but we were too busy paddling. Lumi was good at balancing, and popular with everyone who passed us, since she was so cute in her life jacket. I think I did pretty well, too, for a beginner; I did not fall at all. It was an absolutely different anniversary than usual, and we enjoyed it so much. Here is a photo that a woman from Sweden took of us.
We learned that day that it is all right to break tradition, as long as we are enjoying our lives together and still celebrating our special anniversaries!
Happy Anniversary to anyone celebrating also!
We love simple and pure for making a little dessert for us.
The last weekend we taught a cooking class and one of recipe was “Dates and Almond Finger Sweets” as a traveling dessert. Everyone loved them so much there was nothing for us to taste!
It only has two ingredients with a small amount of water.
We chose three different coating this time.
Here is recipe for you!
Dates & Almonds Finger Sweet
Makes 12 pieces
To make the balls:
4 oz pitted dates
2 oz almond meal
1 tablespoon water
For the coating:
2 tablespoons grain coffee
2 tablespoons kinako powder
4 leaves of mint
- mix in food processor the dates and almond meal to a paste, add water if necessary to make it sticky to hold together.
- Divide the mixture into 12 pieces (about 0.5oz) and roll into balls between your hands.
- Coat the balls in a small bowl with your favorite coating.
- Keep refrigerated.
Which one is your favorite?
What do you think, let me know.