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First-Person Essay: Healing Joe

We have had enough behavioral and allergy issues with Cleo to be very empathetic to the unique needs of all dogs. We know many people who advocate raw food diets and all natural products for their dogs. With Cleo we read the labels closely on all her food as well as her shampoos.

Because she gets hot spots so easily, we are known for giving her the once over like an airport TSA agent. Lucky for us, she likes our subtle pat downs because she gets a massage out of it too. What I'm trying to say is that we love our dog and do our best to make sure we cover all our bases when it comes to her care.

Today we have a first-person essay about how the holistic, treat-the-whole-dog approach applied to their beloved Boston Terrier, inspired a mother and daughter.

This is a guest post by Mary Louise Shenk, Co-Founder of M&J Dog Essentials. She shares how one small dog, changed the course of their life, for the good.


The origin of my firm belief in the healing benefits of flower essences began with our Boston Terrier Joe (the ‘J’ in M&J). 

It thankfully wasn’t long before I realized the connection between the many scars Joe carried from his past, his sensitivity and his neurotic behavior and seizures. 

I had read about flower essences and was curious to see if Joe could possibly benefit from them. The effect flower essences have on the human system is subtle but extremely effective. A dog’s sensitivities can be just as subtle but just as powerful- our canine friends all too readily pick up on our worries, fears, and our happiness too (come home in an excited state and see how quickly your dog gets excited too).  So I began applying Bach’s Rescue Remedy.

I noticed a remarkable change. He would let out the deepest, biggest sigh when I applied a few drops between his shoulder blades and massaged it in. As I continued to apply Rescue Remedy to Joe, he began to visibly calm down. He started eating properly. He had more time to focus on his very serious job of chasing squirrels up into trees.  His neurosis and seizures were no longer a daily occurrence.

I was so curious about how something that you apply externally could have such a powerful internal effect. I began to delve deeper into the subject by studying with some of the most highly regarded herbal practitioners. After I learned about the different healing quality of each flower and its essence, I was convinced that every dog could easily experience the same benefits that Joe had experienced.  Joe was the first, but not the only, motivation behind our inclusion of custom-made flower essences in every M&J Dog Essentials product. Though he’s no longer with us, he continues to inspire our work every day.


MaryLouise_HannahMary Louise Shenk and Hannah Shenk are the co-founders of M&J Dog Essentials. This mother-daughter team from Chicago set out to put their esthetician licenses (they studied at Aveda. Mary Louise has also been a dedicated herbologist for 15 years) to good use and soon discovered the perfect place for their talents- their dogs! M&J Dog Essentials was founded with a mission to ensure that all dogs have the healthiest skin and coats possible. Their all-natural products contain absolutely no harsh chemicals, no synthetic fragrances and are ph-balanced especially for dogs.

Today, they proudly sell their holistic, fresh-smelling and fantastically reviewed wares (seriously- 5 stars!) on their online store, visiting dog shows all over the country, and working on new products with their canine consultants Moe and Toby. This post originally appeared on M&J Dog Essentials’ blog “A Dog’s Life” where you can learn more about achieving an ideal healthy lifestyle, through grooming, nutrition and exercise, for your dog.   

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