April 2020

Your Dog Is Paying Attention To Your Emotions

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If you've ever wondered if dogs can sense emotions, they can! Dogs are social animals, and they want to understand us as best as possible. That’s why they read our emotions through subtle postures and facial cues.

Since humans have no tails to wag, our furry friends have to decipher other signals to uncover our emotional states. And they’re really good at it! For example, when dogs bare their teeth it’s often a sign of hostility. But when a dog sees a human smile at them, they are able to recognize a smiling face as non-aggressive. Over time, dogs have become so good at judging human behavior, they’re even more successful than chimpanzees at reading human social cues!

Researchers tested canine reactions against a variety of expressions by people and other dogs, according to a report from the Canine Science Forum. They were able to conclude that dogs were more sensitive to the facial expressions of other canines … not surprising, right? But they also found that dogs responded differently when exposed to positive and negative expressions in humans. One other interesting note, dogs viewed neutral human faces (neither smiling, nor frowning) as negative or threatening.

In another study, researchers trained nine dogs to touch their noses to the photos of their pet parent’s smiling faces. The dogs were then shown the smiling and neutral faces of strangers. When shown all of these photos together, the dogs selected the smiling faces, both of their people and of strangers, more often than neutral-expression photos. However, not all dogs were able to do this exercise, which suggests that some are more sensitive to human cues than others.

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While this information is interesting, it can also help us further our bond through communication and training. When you interact with your dog, remember that they are always reading your face, looking for clues to your emotional state. If you are happy or pleased, let it show on your face with a big smile!

This is particularly vital when training, as it lets your dog know what actions or behaviors you want from them. You can also reinforce your smile with a dog treat, like Tasty Rewards, which are perfectly sized for training.

Using a combination of facial cues and treat rewards to train your dog is the most efficient and encouraging way to let your dog know they are doing the right thing. Now, if your dog does something that displeases you, let it show on your face by frowning and through voice tone. But don’t overdo it because, as we just mentioned, when our faces are neutral, dogs assume that we’re displeased.  

What about you? Have you known some dogs who seemed more highly attuned to your facial expressions or emotions? Leave your own experiences in the comments section.

Sweet Potato Protein Bread Recipe

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Many people have turned to the satisfying task of making their own bread while they are stuck at home. In fact, so many people are baking bread that yeast demands around the country have been soaring!

Bread making is a time-consuming yet rewarding task that many people have found to be therapeutic while social distancing. Try it for yourself —here’s our unique recipe for sweet potato protein bread that the entire family will enjoy. 

Ingredients (one round loaf)

  • 3 chopped and boiled sweet potatoes
  • 1 tbsp of active dry yeast
  • 1.25 cups of milk of choice (dairy or non-dairy)
  • 2 + 1 tbsp of butter
  • 1/3 of a cup of maple syrup
  • 2 tbsps + 2 tsp of organic cane sugar
  • 1.5 tbsp of salt
  • 1 scoop of Life’s Abundance Vanilla Plant Protein
  • 3.5 cups all-purpose flour + more to dust
  • 1.5 cups of whole wheat flour

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Directions

  • Peel, boil and mash the sweet potatoes.
  • Heat the milk and 2 tbsp of butter until the butter is slightly melted. Stir in the sugar and let the mixture cool to room temperature.
  • Add the yeast to the milk and put it aside to activate. After about 7 minutes it should start to form a froth, with a lot of movement and yeast activity.
  • Mix the mashed sweet potato into the yeast mixture.
  • In a large mixing bowl sift together the flours, salt, sugar and protein powder.  Add the yeast mixture and start mixing until the dough starts to form.
  • Stir the yeast into the water and allow the yeast to bloom until foamy.
  • In a large bowl, mix together the flour and salt by hand. Once incorporated, create a small well in the middle and pour in the water and yeast mixture.
  • Mix by hand, wetting your working hand before mixing so the dough doesn’t stick to your fingers. The water and flour should come together and form a rough dough that pulls away from the sides of the bowl. If the dough is too sticky, add more flour in small increments, about 1 tablespoon at a time. If the dough is too dry, add more water, 1 tablespoon at a time.
  • Once the dough comes together, cover and let rise until doubled in size (about 1 ½-2 hours).
  • Uncover the dough and give it a few pokes with your finger. If the dough has risen properly, it should indent under the pressure of your finger and slowly deflate.
  • Using your hand or a rubber spatula, start from the rim of the bowl to work the dough loose from the sides and fold it up and towards the center of the bowl. Turn the bowl 90 degrees, and repeat until all the dough has been pulled from the sides and folded towards the center.
  • Once finished, cover and let the dough rise again for another 1 ½-2 hours.
  • Once the dough has doubled in size again, gently transfer it from the bowl to a lightly floured surface.
  • Sprinkle a bit of flour on top of the dough. Using your hands, begin to shape it into a loaf. Fold the dough under itself several times to form a ball, then pinch together the seams of dough underneath.
  • Place the dough seam-side down in a clean bowl that has been lightly coated with olive oil and dusted with flour.
  • Cover and let rise for 1 hour.
  • Meanwhile, place a 6-quart Dutch oven (or heavy cooking pot with oven-safe lid) inside the oven. Preheat the oven to 450˚F (230˚C) with the pot inside for 45 minutes-1 hour.
  • Carefully remove the pot from the oven and place it on a trivet or heat-safe surface. (Be careful! It’ll be VERY HOT.)
  • Turn the proofed dough over onto a lightly floured surface and carefully place it inside the pot.
  • Cover with the lid and return the pot to the oven.
  • Bake for 45 minutes, removing the lid for the last 15 minutes.
  • Remove bread from pot, cover, and let cool for 10 minutes before slicing.

Enjoy!

COVID-19 And Your Pets — Update from Dr. V.

There’s a lot of confusion and misinformation surrounding COVID-19. Don't worry — our friend, Dr. V, hosted a live video stream where she shared what the veterinary community is saying about this pandemic and how you can and your fur family can stay safe. Keep reading for a recap of Dr. V’s live stream, or watch the recording above for yourself.

What To Know About COVID-19

  • Pets should practice social distancing too.  The biggest unknown right now is how long the virus can cling to a dog or cat’s fur. 

  • When walking your dog, stay at least 6 feet away from any other people or dogs. A dog is an extension of the person who is holding their leash.

  • We still do not know how this virus reacts under specific conditions. Experts believe that it survives on smooth surfaces the best, such as doorknobs or railings.

  • COVID-19 is a zoonotic disease, which means it was initially transferred from an animal to a human.

  • This virus loves people — experts do not believe at this time that dogs and cats are really at risk of getting sick. The medical community is more concerned about your health and helping you manage your pets so you can continue staying safe.

How A Virus Can Affect Animals

When a virus encounters a new animal, it can do up to four things: 

  1. A virus can have no effect. This happens with most dogs and cats.

  2. A virus can linger with your pet, although they are asymptomatic. This was the case with two dogs in Hong Kong who tested positive for COVID-19, but did not seem sick.

  3. A virus may get into an animal and make them sick. This is newly developing — as of this recording there has only been one cat with a confirmed case of COVID-19. Ferrets have also proved to be susceptible to the virus.

  4. A virus can be passed from species to species. This is NOT the case with COVID-19, but it is the worst case scenario when it comes to viruses.

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Vet Changes

  • Many vets have discontinued non-essential services, meaning they are only accepting immediately sick or injured animals. Plan to postpone any upcoming grooming or booster shot appointments.

  • If you do have to take your pet in, many vets are offering curbside service, where someone will come meet you at your vehicle and bring your pet into the office.

  • Emergency clinics are very busy right now — teams are working their best to treat everyone!

  • Although the FDA has loosened restrictions on telemedicine for pets, vets still must get permission from the state they practice in.

  • Teleadvice can be a helpful tool, though it is not the same as telemedicine. Asking for teleadvice is simply receiving a professional’s opinion. A vet can diagnose or prescribe medication through telemedicine.

Shelters & Rescues

  • With adoption numbers down, the number one thing you can do is to direct people to correct information. The worst case scenario is someone thinking their pet can get them sick and surrendering them to a shelter.

  • Many shelters are offering fostering of pets. If someone is stuck at home alone during this time, fostering may be a great option for them.

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It’s important we all do our part in being informed with accurate updates as we navigate this  pandemic together. To watch Dr. V’s entire live stream, watch the video attached to the top of this blog, or click here.

 

Fresh Fruit Delivery From Our Friends: The FruitGuys

Family Using FruitGuys Delivery To Make Juice

If you’re among those who are searching for ways to help others through the tremendous impact coronavirus has had on jobs and businesses, we have a company we’d love for you to meet.

Our friends at The FruitGuys are an amazing bunch of people.  For 22 years they’ve made it their mission to do right by their customers, farmers, the environment, and the communities they serve.  Like us, they are a private Evergreen company working to make lasting change in the world. In short, we’re proud to know them.

Use our exclusive LIFE25 code at The FruitGuys checkout for a 25% discount on your order!

Here’s Where You Come In!

Home Delivery:
The FruitGuys deliver fresh fruit and snacks straight to your home.  You heard that right!  In a time when so many of us are craving fresh, healthy produce and want to avoid a trip to the store, these folks are packing an array of fresh, farm-sourced fruit and healthy snacks, and bringing them straight to you. You can also send a box of fruit to a friend or loved one who doesn’t have access to produce. They deliver nationwide from 15 regional distribution hubs with local farm and supplier relationships. 

Remote Staff Support:
If you’re an employer, consider their Remote Staff Delivery boxes for your staff who are working from home.

Nourish Our Heroes:
You can also contribute to their Fruit for Heroes Campaign, which is supplying hospitals, food banks and other charities with fresh fruit for the people who are bearing the brunt of the pandemic. So far, over 111,000 servings of fruit have been donated by people just like you.

Why Now?

The FruitGuys have facilities across the United States and are certified with top scores for food safety by Primus, a 3rd party auditing agency.  In this unprecedented moment, The FruitGuys can safely pack your box of fruit for delivery so that it is both convenient and helpful to you. By trying out The FruitGuys home delivery service, you can help support farmers and staff while getting something you love at the same time!  

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“Lester (CEO of Life's Abundance) and I met through The Tugboat Institute and realized how similar our world views of businesses were.  As both an Evergreen and B-Corp business, we strive to bring delicious fruit and snacks to folks while also helping those in need and small farmers across America.  I love the care that Life’s Abundance gives to their customers and we love to bring that same spirit and support to those who order our fruit.”  

--Chris Mittelstaedt, The FruitGuys Founder/CEO

 More Reasons To Support The FruitGuys:

  • Right now many supply chains are disrupted and it can be difficult to find the fruit that you want from online grocery delivery services or at the store.

  • The FruitGuys share values similar to ours as a people-first business that is in service of your health and happiness.

  • The FruitGuys Community Fund is their nonprofit, founded in 2012, to provide annual grants to small farms and agricultural nonprofits. They fund sustainability projects that have a positive impact on the environment, local food systems and farm diversity. They are about to announce their class of 2020 grantees.

  • The FruitGuys GoodWorks Program makes sure all their excess or imperfect fruit is donated to local food banks and charities each week — they’ve given more than  15 million servings of fresh fruit since 2000!

  • Fruit mixes change each week — check out this week’s local fruit and snack mixes here.

During this time of need, we think it’s important to look out for one another when possible. The FruitGuys are an amazing company that is giving back to communities across the country and truly making a difference in the world. 

Use our exclusive LIFE25 code at checkout for a 25% discount on your order!