Friday Favorite: National Pet Day

(The first paragraph isn’t meant to be funny or disrespectful, it just is what it is and is unintentionally on topic. Also, I really need to stop writing disclaimers!)

Happy Friday! I have to admit that I’m actually slightly dreading this weekend. I need to start my 18 hour cat dissection lab for my A&P class and I’m not exactly looking forward to spending all day in my basement trying not to inhale too much formaldehyde while I dissect a poor cat. The animal lover in me is completely conflicted. I find a little comfort in the fact that the cat is from a kill shelter, not bred for this reason. I look at it this way: instead of being cremated, the cat is living on, so to speak, to help me so that I can help others.

Lab Paq AP-1-CAT

The dreaded box

Speaking of shelter animals, did you know that today is National Pet Day? And did you know that there are some great health benefits to owning a pet? Pets may reduce your risk of heart disease, you’ll be less likely to suffer from depression, and if your kids grow up with pets, they may be less likely to have allergies (ahem, Whole Health Mom and Dad!). I know that when I’ve had a hard day and go to pet my rabbit, I definitely feel a bit more at peace with the world. I can feel my breathing, blood pressure, and heart rate go down, as well as my mind start to clear out.

Rabbit yoga

Someone decided to crash my yoga session, but I can’t be mad when all he wants is to be pet.

My love of animals started at a young age when, like many little girls, I fell in love with horses. I started riding when I was six, training in dressage at an Arabian horse barn, and I kept at it until I was in high school. Once high school hit, I was involved in school sports and had little time for it. Plus, I didn’t enjoy showing and I was being pushed further in that direction. I even considered becoming a large animal vet for a time, but felt my skill set was more of the people variety.

Horseback riding in Bath, Barbados

Bucket item checked off: riding on a beach in Barbados!

I miss riding and hope to return to it someday. It’s definitely one of those things that I regret giving up. There was a part of me that felt more complete being around horses. I felt that the horse and I understood each other (most of the time) and the bond between horse and rider is a unique one. Horses are such amazing, intelligent creatures and I am blessed to have known so many wonderful ones over the years.

Growing up, my parents wouldn’t allow us to have a dog, but they did allow me to get a rabbit when I was about ten. Unfortunately, she broke her back not long after we adopted her and died quickly after that. Then a friend of mine’s guinea pigs had babies, so I was allowed to get two of them. We thought they were sisters until one day I walked into their room, only to find four guinea pigs instead of two. That was a shocking experience to say the least. They lived through most of my high school years and I’ll get to re-live the experience again when we babysit our cousin’s guinea pigs next week!

We have yet to own a dog (though we had a test run/fostered one for about a week), but I look forward to the day we do. Just this week my co-worker was saying that when she was curled up on the bathroom floor in the middle of the night thanks to the flu, her dog was by her side the entire time to watch over her and keep her company. I can’t think of anything sweeter or more comforting!

Corgi foster

Harry, our foster Corgi

In the meantime, we are rabbit people. Though we just have one rabbit right now, WH Family actually consisted of up to three rabbits at one time. This is Bella and Winston, our bonded pair of buns.

Bonded rabbits

Unfortunately, we lost Bella in early 2010 due to a gut issue (food was getting stuck in pockets of digestive tract and kept building up over time, leaving her malnourished—we’re pretty sure her issue was due to serious inbreeding) and Winston in mid-2011 to e.cunniculi, which he had been battling for a few years.

Bella was the first pet we ever had to put down and it was one of the most heart-wrenching decisions and situations we’ve gone through. Choosing to end a life was not a task we took lightly, but we also didn’t want our selfishness of wanting her around to prolong her suffering. In that moment, in those first few days, it is terrible and you feel as though you’ve done the most awful thing possible.

Frozen water bottle for hot rabbits

 Rest in peace, Winston and Bella

Thankfully, we still have Wilbur to love. Now that he’s the only bun in the household, he’s thrived on having our undivided attention. He has slowly warmed to us over the years and though he can still be a bit aggressive if he feels he’s backed into a corner, we’ve figured each other out and love hanging out together.

Wilbur eating Kale

 Wilbur wanted to remind you to eat your greens!

We’ve also worked with a local rabbit rescue group and fostered other rabbits over the years. Quiggles was one of our favorites. He was much closer to a cat than a rabbit, following us around and jumping on us and licking us to death whenever we were on the floor.

Rabbit licking

Quiggles “grooming” WHH

We also had a mom and her three baby buns, who were adorable. The mom had really bad mats in her fur, which was terrible to witness. I don’t understand people sometimes. If you can’t take care of a pet, don’t get one!

Three bunnies

A common misconception about rabbits is that they like to be held. This couldn’t be farther from the truth except in rare instances and when they’re young, as above. In the wild, rabbits are prey. Any time you take their feet off the ground they think they are about to be someone’s dinner. Rabbits haven’t been domesticated for very long so most of their instincts are still very strong. Whenver we occasionally need to pick them up to check them over and clip their nails, they either flail around or play dead. It’s not a pleasant experience for either owner or bun. So if you’re considering a rabbit as a pet, please know this critical fact.

Wrap rabbit in towel to clip nails

Necessary to clip his nails

As a long-time animal advocate and former vegetarian (for over seven years), I’d like to encourage you to adopt if you are considering getting a pet. The rewards of saving an animal are endless, as is their love and devotion. I understand if you want a particular breed of animal and won’t argue with you too much if you want to get one from a breeder, but please consider adoption as your first option.

Questions: Do you have a pet(s)? Did you grow up with pets or only have them as an adult? Do you feel your health has benefitted from having a pet? Have you fostered or worked with a rescue group?

P.S. I’ll be giving a running update next week. I’ve found the less I talk about it, the better I’m recovering, hence the silence!

Also, my work team that ran last weekend’s 5k came in first place, with one of our runners coming in at 16:25 for second place! Holla! I didn’t end up participating due to a plantar fasciitis flare-up the day before and instead manned peoples’ belongings.


Plantar Fasciitis is a Pain in My (Heel)

So sorry for the late follow-up post! I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving!

My treadmill session went pretty well on Monday. I didn’t have any pain and barely any discomfort during the workout, but my foot was definitely sore on Tuesday and Wednesday. I know that some soreness is to be expected, but I can’t get it out of my head that if I’m feeling discomfort, it’s not good for the healing process.

Here’s what I did on Monday: When I got to the gym, I massaged my foot a bit to warm it up, as well as some gentle stretching (I just put my left leg over my right and pull back on my big toe to stretch the plantar fascia).

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I had my trusty Sauconys with my Super Feet inserts.


I also had some KT tape wrapped from my arch up the inside of my leg, although I don’t think I had it wrapped as well as it could have been.


I ended up doing stage 2 of the Return to Running program I mentioned on Monday as I had done some light jogging the week before and felt fine. I was unsure of what speed to start jogging, so I started with 5.5 mph and did each interval 0.1 mph faster so that I ended at 5.8 mph. My stride felt good and pretty natural, though I think I was hyper-aware of my heels and staying off of them, so I may have been landing too much on my forefoot.

11-25-13 jog

After I finished the intervals, I cooled down with a 5 minute walk, did about 10 minutes of stretching, and massaged my foot a little bit. By the time I got home, it was starting to feel tight, so I broke out my tennis ball and Foot Rubz and started kneading my arch over them.


I like to start with a tennis ball since it’s a little softer, just to warm up the tissue. Then I switched to the Foot Rubz. I have used it too vigorously in the past and been sore the next day, so it’s possible I did that again on Monday.  Finally, I took my plastic cup ice mold from the freezer, popped out the ice, and rubbed it over the sore area for a few minutes.

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I wore my sexy PF brace to bed and hoped for the best.


On Tuesday I was sore most of the day, which really had me bumming. I know that I can sometimes focus too much on something that is bothering me to the point of probably making it worse than it is. Some days are easier than others to get my mind off of the injury. Tuesday was not one of them. I did the same massaging, stretching, icing, and bracing that day. Wednesday morning it was quite sore when I massaged it before getting out of bed, but it didn’t feel as bad Tuesday. 

I happened to have a perfectly timed follow-up with my podiatrist on Tuesday. She said that from her perspective, I had gotten better compared to 6 weeks prior. She said that I should expect soreness as I continue to heal, but to be vigilant with stretching and icing. She said I was discharged, and if I have any issues in the future, I can call her back up. Good news, but I was still hesitant to get excited given my current discomfort.

On Thanksgiving morning, I walked a local 5k turkey trot with my mom. The race is capped at 10,000 and you can see why based on the starting line looking in two different directions:

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When I signed up for it back in early September, I had hoped to be able to walk/jog it. Being at a race and not being able to run is torture for me. I reminded myself to be thankful that I could at least walk the 3.1 miles since plenty of people can’t even do that.

I felt decent for the first half, then I started to have some discomfort in my arch during the second half. I’m sure the cold (around 30 degrees F) didn’t help. Even though I didn’t care what time we got, we ended up with a respectable 15 minute/mile pace. Finally, it was on to lots of delicious Thanksgiving eats!

How was your Thanksgiving? Anything you’re especially grateful for this year? Did anyone participate in Thanksgiving day race?