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Rosie and Ziggy * Animals and Hurricane Sandy

NY Pets and Hurricane Sandy

I was in NY at my parents’ house during the Storm.

Rosie and Ziggy are their two dogs.


Rosie was obsessed with the wind.  She would repetitively run out the dog door, around the house and then scratch at the front door to be let in.

She said, “I feel the wind on my paws when I run!  The noise outside scares me into curiosity. The smells are too much to understand. I love it!”


During the Hurricane, I took Ziggy out on a leash and explained to him that he must poop and pee now because it will get worse.

He said, “I am nervous out here.  There are too many smells and sounds.  I dont like the feeling I have.”  His eyes were wide with fear and shifting in all directions as he did what he was told.  He is such a good boy!

This is what Ziggy looked liked inside.


I locked the dog door so Rosie couldn’t keep running outside. It was too dangerous.

Rosie watched me disappointingly and then found her post on an ottoman staring out into the storm.

The picture below was actually taken earlier in the day when the storm was just brewing.  Though the stance is the same 🙂

Rosie Watching The Storm


Full Article:

New York Winds

Hurricane in the Countryside

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

The morning Hurricane Sandy arrived I walked my parents’ Brittany spaniel and American Cocker in the forest and fields around a pond in my New York home town. I warned every deer I saw that a big storm was coming. I didn’t feel they really needed my warning.

The wind shaking the remaining colors off the trees and the clouds being pushed like shoveled snow was proof enough. We walked a long time that afternoon, enjoying the remaining balance of nature. The wind was warm, reminding me of California’s Santa Anas.

When I arrived home, the neighbors’ chickens where scurrying about making talkative busy noises. My father and I went out together to stock up on goods, passing gas stations with NO GAS signs. As the sun began its downward curve, Rosie the Brittany and Ziggy the Cocker stared out the big double-paned windows watching pine trees bend in the distance. The power flickered, then went out. The generator didn’t start. My father couldn’t find the key, and once he did he needed to rush out for coolant. The darkness brought the powerful hot and cold wind.

Rosie was obsessed with the wind, running out the dog door around the house and then scratching at the front door to be let in: “I feel the wind on my paws when I run! The smells are too much to understand. The noise outside scares me into curiosity.” She panted in pure excitement. Right before the brunt of the storm, I took Ziggy out on a leash and explained to him that he must poop and pee now because it will get worse. His eyes were wide with fear and shifting in all directions as he did what he was told. The wind tossed me several steps. I heard the cracking of trees in the distance. The full moon peered out of the clouds for an instant as if to say, “Remember me. I am bringing in the tides. But here you are safe from the waters.”

Rosie looking out the window as the hurricane quickens.

“I am locking the dog door,” I announced. Rosie watched me disappointedly and then found her post on an ottoman staring out into the darkness.

The rain was not heavy in our area but the wind was a constant swirl. It ripped the heavy screen door off my parent’s house and continuously rang the wind chimes, reminding me of the boats out at the harbor and the Bounty’s crew lost at sea.

The deer called out to me in the middle of the night, saying, “Thank you for warning.” They were in a cave by the lake, huddled together. “Where are you?” They asked. I explained to them. Pictured the south end of the lake, the trees along my parent’s driveway and the upstairs window of the house.

When we awoke we found that huge pine trees on the border of my parents property were snapped in the middle. Hundred-year-plus maples where pushed down like dominoes, leaving the underground roots exposed. The air was eerily silent and cold.

I told my mother about the deer thanking me and asking where I lived. She exclaimed, “You didn’t tell them, did you? They are eating my bushes.” Later they grazed and napped in fields in front of the pine trees just like they always have. My mother’s smile was admittance of happiness to see them safe

It didn’t take us long to notice there was spotty cell service – towers running out of diesel fuel, cancelled flights, telephone poles and trees on wires dangling over the streets, broken power lines everywhere. Most streets were impassable. The ones that were open were dangerous. There were no workers in site.

As the news started to brew my anxiousness grew greater. Friends-of-friends’ houses had burned to the ground. In the small lake community where I lived in my 20s a tree killed two young boys. My Staten Island friend had eight feet of water in his house. “I am thankful” he said. “It’s a miracle the water and sewage didn’t reach the second floor or blow out the windows. Now just waiting to hear is the foundation is safe.”

Most people were scared, cold, and had not showered. New York City to past Boston remained dark and in a state of emergency. My New York City friends confessed to being in a state of shock and exhibiting post-traumatic stress. My uncle was climbing 14 flights of stairs to get home.

My parent’s full house generator worked. We had fresh coffee and eggs for breakfast, charged our iPads with ease. With no Internet, I was disconnected from my business. I was stressed but I had time to read books, do yoga, and write a letter to my nieces about how a unicorn was brought to grammie’s and grandpa’s by the windy storm.

On the day I left NY the wind outside my parents’ house was calm, but the air chilled my exposed skin. In the morning, I stood outside for a moment and prayed for the ones who are suffering. I pondered the intensity of Mother Nature. I toke a breath, centered myself, and was present. I saw five robins playing on a maple sapling. The weight of them bounced the branches like a seesaw. All their eyes were on me, acknowledging that I saw them. A white-and-black cat explored the tunnels of the downed trees. He looked back at me when I spotted him. “Good hunting” I heard. Surprisingly, the neighbor’s chickens remained quiet – afraid their sounds may bring back the wind.

Posted in 02. Articles / Dear Laura | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Maia’s Passing

Storm and Maia last year

“Mom, I am ready to go.” Maia, my 14.5 year-old wolf dog, said to me one day.  “I want to hear it three days in a row.” I replied.  Day 2. “Mom, I am ready to go.” I was stalling and replied, “I want to have your picture taken. Can you wait?  It will be on Day 4.”  Maia agreed saying, “I would love to have our photo taken. I want to be in your book that changes the world. That I can wait for.” On Day 3, I avoided the subject and I said things like, “I don’t mind lifting your hind legs so you can walk around.  We can do this for years.  I don’t care if you poop in the house.  I am just glad you are pooping.  Maybe we will try the heavy muscle building pharmaceuticals.  Maybe that will help.”  Day 4. Stormy (my Aussie), Maia and I meet Grace, the pet photographer, at Griffith Park.  A coyote scavenges for food in our general vicinity.  Maia and Stormy walk side by side.  Maia smiles and looks in the camera.  She tells Grace, “I can tell you capture everyone’s soul.  Thank you.” Grace says she hopes Maia lives longer.  I say she probably will.  On the car ride home I hear, “Mom, I got my picture taken, now I am ready to go”.  I cry.  That night I take her to my friend Caroline’s so Maia can eat horse poop.  At home Maia says, “That was a perfect last day.” Then she asks if her doctor can be the one that euthanizes her.  At 4:15pm the next day, I drive her to Carpinteria to a park by the beach.  Our appointment is at 5:10.  “I have been to this park before” she says and refuses to get out of the car.  “This is perfect here,” She says about the blue comforter I laid across the dog beds in the back of Jeep. “I am just going to tell the doctor, ‘I am not moving.  This is where you have to do it and tell him thank you for being my medicine man.” Storm and Maia ate cat food and my friend Jim brought them a hamburger.  At 5:30 Dr. Otto gives Maia the sedative with Stormy lying beside her and her head cupped in my hands.  As Maia falls asleep, for 15 minutes I send her telepathic affirmations about how perfect she is, how brave and conscious, and how she has overcome so many obstacles.  I tell her I owe all of what I know to her.  I tell her I love her.  I tell her to drift out of her body and that we are connected by a golden ribbon.  To my surprise I can still hear her. She tells me of dog friends she is seeing.  She tells me she loves me.  She tells she is scared.  She tells me of the golden ribbon and how she is no longer frightened. Right before her soul leaves her body she says she sees my grandmother holding a gigantic beef bone.  She says my grandmother is telling her that her teeth will not hurt her when she eats it. Storm and I feel her beautiful strong soul lift and engulf us accompanied by a gentle breeze.  We are sad.  We take her body home so her three cats and bunny (Joey, Makia, Serafina, & Bean) can see her body then we wrap Maia in a white sheet and bury her at Caroline’s pet cemetery.  There Maia once said, “Here it feels like heaven.”

Remarkably, I can still hear her now.  She is very distant.  She says she can watch us but she is not yet allowed to come closer.  She says it is amazing that I can hear her.  She says of the others that she is with that their loved ones on earth cannot hear them.  Maia says she is learning. When I feel bad for times I got frustrated with her or feeling like I could have done more I hear her faintly say, “None of that matters.  You were perfect.” She tells me, “I will always look out for you.”   She tells me she is reviewing parts of her life.  She looks at the abuse, the wolf in her vs. the dog, how she has known love, and how she feels “smart” in heaven because she had a human that could talk to her and could hear her thoughts.  She says she is learning quickly and is moving up dimensions.  She assures that in a few days she will feel closer. Here on earth, my animal family and I are so grateful that we can still hear her, but the empty space in the house brings us often to deep sadness.  Maia in her physical form will be missed greatly.  I am so honored to have been her caretaker.  Maia, we miss you and love you.

Maia and I * Oct, 1 2007

Posted in 03. Laura's Animals, 05. Sickness, Death, Dying and the Afterlife | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 26 Comments


Here is the story of Maia and the Eddie’s Wheels cart.  In less then one month, Maia makes a rapid decline and had to be helped to heaven.  My feeling is the cart played a huge part in it.  This is our story:

It starts off in late July:

Outside of the cart Maia has limited use of her hind end.  Her muscles have atrophied and her toes turn over.  She is wobbly but she gets around with some falls.  Her front end is strained but still pretty strong.

I received the cart on Thursday from CARE in Santa Monica.  To make a long story short they tried to send me home from there with the cart not fitting correctly.  I was very concerned Maia would be injured in it and insisted on calling Eddies Wheels.  The people at CARE where nice but had no idea how to fit the cart properly.  We (care and I) sent Leslie at Eddie’s wheels pictures and video of Maia in the cart and then Leslie told us how to readjust it.  When I got home, I called Leslie again because I still did not feel comfortable with the way the cart was moving and she gave me further adjustments.

It is almost impossible to get Maia in the cart as a single person.  I have to lift her hind all the way up and down into the saddle.  If Maia struggles a little bit I am worried I am going to hurt her badly.

The cart is heavy for Maia to pull.  It bangs back and forth (sideways) on her while she is walking.  When her hind legs are in the stirrups they make her hind go in an awkward position and throws off the balance of the cart throwing the weight on her shoulders.  The wheels are at a very strange tilted angle.  When Maia comes out of the cart she can barely walk.  She is hunched over and tilted drastically to one side.  It takes about four hours for her to be able to walk normally or walk at all.  Her back is also in pain from trying to keep the cart from not banging into her.


Video of Maia walking in Cart Day 4:


Video of Maia walking crooked after getting out of cart:


Video of Maia walking Day 2 of cart:

Video of Maia Walking in Cart Day 1.  This is how CARE wanted to send us home before I said I wanted to call Eddie’s Wheels:

At one point I was worried the wheels were going to run over Maia’s legs.  You will see this if you watch closely.  The bars are slanted and it is not tall enough for Maia.  This forced her body into a hunched position instead of being straight.


Video of Maia Talking About Her Cart:

EDDIES WHEELS REFUSED TO TALK TO ME! Carole was helpful in the beginning but then Leslie the owner never called me.

ON SAT AUGUST 21TH I paid a canine physical therapist that works closely with a veterinarian to work with Maia and I and the cart.  She brought her engineer friend.  They worked with us for 1.5 hours and thought they had it fitted correctly.  Since everything is welded they adjusting height to the finest measurements and added cushion.  They were very caring and concerned.



Maia’s Last Day






I had the fully Counterbalanced Cart for Maia.  It is for dogs that have serious physical problems and will be degenerating.  It was not supposed to be as heavy as it was and it was not supposed to cause her as much pain as it did.  I know with all my heart Maia was not worse than the dogs they describe.  Maia’s cart damaged her.

From Eddie Wheels:  All standard carts can be upgraded to counterbalanced by the acquisition of new axles, brace bars and a support strap. For pets with serious forelimb deficits will remove up to 40% of the weight borne on the front legs.   For dogs with advanced DM,  cervical IVDD, osteo-arthritis.


If you are looking to buy a cart:

Do not spend your money on Eddie’s Wheels. Custom fit is not better.

They have a no refund policy which means they will not help you.

And if you beg for help they say it will cost another $150 or more.

What I learned:
You have to lift a dog high to get them into the cart. This can create great pain in the spine if issues are already present.

Very difficult to do alone if you have a big dog.

Yoke may poke dog on the side if dog struggles/wiggles a little bit.

The saddle can be very tight on the pelvis and is not always welded at the right angle.

Saddle needs more cushion.

The cart is heavy for dogs that are weak in the front end even though I purchased “counterbalanced”.

The front strap pulls on the shoulder too much. Similar to a “easy walk” harness. Which is working against a dog that is trying to move forward.

If Maia moved fast, this cart would lose balance and sway from side to side making the wheels come off the ground. I was afraid it would knock her over.

The side rails would slam into her side as she moved. Which created a great amount of stress on her spine and the muscles on her side. I would like to have seen them padded.

I would also like to see a belly strap on all older dogs carts. This would give extra support on the delicate spine.

This cart can come with stirrups. When I placed Maia’s legs in the stirrups (I was careful to follow directions) the weight of the cart would be thrown forward and rest on Maia’s shoulders. Making it impossible for her to walk forward with ease.

If I put her in this cart for 10 minutes she could not walk for 4 hours afterward and when she did she was crooked from the cart banging into her.

Many dogs that use these carts muscles are in the beginning stages atrophy. The muscles get bruised from the slamming.

The company will tell you that this pain is normal when they are getting used to the cart. I believe that if the cart was a good design Maia could be more active in it, making her more tired. But her pain was from bad design and a bad fit.

Maia was measured and fitted by CARE in Santa Monica, CA. One of Eddies Wheels Authorized facilities. I paid an extra $150 for this service. This did not guarantee a custom fit.

I was very unhappy with this cart and with the customer service.

* I would like to offer my pet psychic services to any other company that would like to know how their pets are feeling in their carts. I would like to honor Maia by helping other dogs. This offer stands know matter how much time goes by.


When I contacted Eddie’s Wheels to tell them about Maia’s passing.  Eddie’s wheels was insensitive!  I received this email:

From: “Leslie DeGraff-Grinnell” <>
Date: August 30, 2010 2:20:53 PM PDT
To: “‘Laura Stinchfield'” <>
Subject: RE: from laura stinchfield

Our sincere condolences on your loss.  Unfortunately, had we been informed that Maia had a heart condition before we accepted your order, we might have advised against purchasing a cart.  However, you neglected to give us her entire medical history.

As you can see days after I ordered the cart (after the weekend – and way before the cart even got started being built) I wrote this email to Eddies Wheels telling them about Maia’s heart:

Subject:     from laura stinchfield – ordered cart for maia GSD / wolf
Date:     July 10, 2010 7:16:39 PM PDT

We talked on the phone the other day about a cart for my gsd / wolf Maia.  I was at Care in Santa Monica.

Maia’s weight alarmed me!  I believe it was 62lbs (at her prime she was 115lbs).  Because of it I took her to my regular vet.  There she weighed 69 lbs (still alarming) and got diagnosed with a heart problem. I am going to try and get some weight on her.

A few things:

1.   I wanted to let you know about the weight.  I dont know if it makes a difference.

2.  Also we walk a lot at a grassy / dirt park and on dirt roads.  So it is important to me that Maia has wheels that are easy for her to walk on that terrain.  see below

3.  CONDITION:  Maia’s hind end is deteriorating rapidly.  Her hind muscles have atrophied and are virtually non-existent.  Her front end is very strained from pulling around her hind end but she is still strong in the front end.  She has started to compensate with her front by bowing her elbows in and her paws out.  She is amazing with her torso and can shift her body to catch herself going down a few stairs or if she goes to fall.  I am worried about her front end lugging around the rear much longer.  Her left rear is worse.

She has been diagnosed with that heart problem but she still has stamina for a 20 min walk twice a day.  Though now only on grass because she is dragging her hind so much and they will bleed.  It looks neurological with the flipping of the toe.

4.  How long do you think it will be?

5.   Please contact me when her wheels have been shipped.

Thank you!  We are very anxious 🙂  As I am sure all your buyers are.

All my best, Laura


Here is Eddie’s Wheels letter to AMEX when I tried to get my money back.  They not only mock me as a pet psychic but they also say:

“Caring for a disabled animal takes work and commitment, and despite our guidance and tutorials, Ms. Stinchfield is now too helpless to lift her dog into the cart and use it.”

Now if they think “I” (a Professional Pet Psychic, Animal Trainer & Behaviorist)- who dedicates my whole life to the welfare of animals is too helpless to help my dog use an Eddie Wheel’s cart, may I ask what about the average pet owner?  And exactly what “guidance” are they talking about?



Laura Stinchfield Has Been Featured On/In:

Laura Stinchfield Has Appeared In


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Laura On Time Warner Cable Talking About Her Work

Schedule Appointment

Animal Communicator & Time Warner Cable

Laura talks to a cat (Ike) that is going into surgery to remove cancerous tumors and a black lab (Zuma) who talks about things her pet sitter could do differently. Iris the goat is also featured.

Laura and several of her clients are interviewed on animal communication and whether they think it is a fad or if it will be a growing field. (Thank you Jaya, Jon, Jodi and Tina of Aloha Dog Grooming).

Click on Video To Watch:


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