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Pets Provide Mental Health Magic

Our pets are like angels in fur. They bring us joy and they give us purpose, and this has never been more apparent than during this period of self-isolation.

In this ‘Wine and Wisdom’ episode called ‘Pets Provide Mental Health Magic’ I speak with the very talented Dr Katrina Warren.

We discuss:

  1. What role have pets played in our lives during the Covid-19 pandemic? 
  2. What are some of the ways they benefit our mental health?
  3. Pets clearly offer many benefits, are there downsides to pet ownership?  (commitment, ongoing cost and heartache of pet loss)
  4. Should we be concerned about our pets catching or spreading Covid-19?  – 
  5. There has been an increase in pet adoptions and people getting new puppies – have you got any advice for new pet parents at this time?
  6. Plus lots lots more.

You can either watch the Q&A here or read the full transcript below.

#drkatrina #tvvet #petsandmentalhealth #leadership #humanresources #businessperformance #resilience #wineandwisdom

H – Welcome to the Wine and Wisdom show. If this is your first time here, I just wanted to give you a little bit of a brief about what it is, why we’re doing it. This show began before we started having wine online with people. I’m all about building resilience, and improving our physical, mental, and social health. And we’re going to be talking a lot about mental health tonight, as you know, and what the impact that our pets make to our mental health. But it is our social health that is also very important but we don’t actually pay a lot of attention to it, and we should. And coming together in an environment like this where we can share wine together, have a laugh, have a giggle, share some stories, and of course, share the wisdom of really incredible people. And I have felt extremely lucky over the years that I’ve been able to surround myself with amazing people. People like who I’m going to be introducing to you tonight. I just felt that it should be my thing to actually share the wisdom of great people. Hello, Katrina. It’s so lovely to see you, cheers to you. What are you having tonight?

K – I’m having a little rosé. And the reason of this colour is last time I had a red wine up here one of the animals smashed it everywhere. I want to get, one of my little friends in for you. Chilli, Chill, Come here buddy. Just because we’re talking about animals I can’t handle

H – Oh my God, look at that gorgeous face.

K – He’s so beautiful. So how are you going, Heidi?

H – I’m very very well. Thank you so much for being with us tonight on. Katrina, you’re a household face and name and nowadays throughout Australia, you’ve done shows around the world. You are a great animal advocate, you’re a pet lover and animal lover and you have a particular passion in the fact that our pets really have a positive impact on our mental health and of course, that’s what we’re going to talk about tonight, but I’d love to hear it in your words. Introduce yourself who you are, what you do and what is the positive impact that you’re sprinkling across our globe.

K – Okay, well, I’m Katrina and I have been the most blessed vet, I think in the country in that, I, early on about a year after graduating from Vet science I got a job as a TV presenter on a kid’s show, teaching people about pets and pet ownership, that then led into a whole career that spanned Gosh, 25 years or something and showing my age now and I think what I’m trying to sprinkle right now and it’s not me that’s doing it, but I’m just the spokesperson, is the power of our pets and what they have done for us during this time of such uncertainty and stress and heartache for so many people and I think, I feel like I’m the kind of advocate for the animals and because I’ve been working for so long in the media, with the general public or the pet owners as well as journalists, I have a really good grasp on, just the positivity that they bring in. I’ve never seen animals step up like they have, during this pandemic.

H – Yeah and I couldn’t agree more with you. I mean, when I talk to so many people, I’m obviously talking about resilience and things like that. Pet owners refer nearly immediately to the impact their pets are making and their support and the help and the companionship and love and the sense of purpose that they’re getting by having a pet at home when they’re stuck at home. I mean, it’s quite remarkable that impact.

K – It absolutely is remarkable and I think that people that didn’t realise how wonderful it was to have the company of a pet. So we often think of lonely people, as being the older generation, the people that are living on their own, in heart and nursing homes. All of a sudden, a lot of us have found ourselves in a situation, where we’re so socially isolated. We don’t have our workplaces, we don’t have the same people around us and I think that we now realise that, it’s companionship but there’s something pets give us that a lot of us are lacking right now and that’s something tactile. It’s the physical, like you can chat all you want to your friends on Zoom, but it’s very different to actually what I’m getting from Chill. He’s eyeing me and he’s going to play with his pet cat. He loves his pet cat. So there’s something, when you look at me, just the act of stroking a pet, is quite calming and soothing and I think that, normal people and all sorts of demographics have actually started to realise the value of them.

H – Yeah, they are. They’re so funny, that’s why I love them. They give us purpose and of course, joy and laughing and happiness. I mean, that just is so good for us when, we’re being bombarded with negative stories and all, you know, crisis and threat.

K – We don’t really know what impact this is having on our kids as well. We don’t really know, this is unprecedented. So, but we do know that pets can have an amazing role for kids that are in a stressful environment, or a difficult home environment and we know that they are a constant and a constant companion and they’re confidant too. So, they don’t judge children. They don’t argue with them and I know there’s been a lot of… With my friends and everybody, there’s a lot of tensions, because tension, people are trying to work and juggle kids at home and manage a lot, but for a kid to actually have a pet, that comes into their room and I know I’ve heard teachers speaking and I even heard on the first couple of days of school, at my daughter’s grade, everyone’s showing their pets off on Zoom. It’s giving people something to talk about. It brings smiles and I think the value of a constant companion, settled companion through this for children. I think we don’t realise yet what they’re doing for kids.

H – Yeah, of course. So I’m just going to stop you there Katrina, because I just want to let everybody know, that because I know that we’re getting already some questions and we’ll get more and I’ve actually had some sent to me and we are going to get to all your questions tonight. If it’s not throughout, we will do this at the end. So, please keep writing them down and if there is anybody you know, who you think would really benefit from being on this interview, this Q&A that we’re doing right now on live, please tag them so they know that they can come on and see the wisdom that Katrina is going to share with us and I see a question there from Michael Shag. “How will my dog cope when I go back to work?” Because, I know we definitely want to talk about that. So, should we just go right into that?

K – Let’s go straight into that. It is a really big issue. So there’s two key things, there’s the adult dogs and the puppy. So for people that have puppies right now, my advice is there’s two things that people need to be doing. One is working really hard to socialise them when you don’t have the same direction that you always could, you still need to be getting those puppies out and about as much as possible and interacting as much as possible with sights and sounds of the world. You can do a lot of that without actually having to go and rumble in the dog park and in fact, in some ways, puppies are safer when they’re not being thrown right out in the middle of it. If you’re conscious about socialising. The home alone thing is a really big one. You need to be setting up your dog now for the routine that you’re going to have in a few months and I’m telling everyone, don’t let your dog follow you from room to room. I have to do it with Chill. Chill’s my isolation buddy. He’s actually, he doesn’t live with me full time, but I’ve had the luxury of having him through this period, but he’ll follow me from room to room. So, I’m actually making him have some quiet time. I give him a Kong toy stuffed with food and I pop him outside for a good hour to twice a day, just so he really has that one on one time. If you have a puppy and particularly if you’re in a household with children, it is so important that you don’t let everyone just carry that puppy around 24 hours a day. It’s so hard, because they’re so cute, but you can’t expect the puppy, to live this life for three or four months, where it hasn’t got to be on its own and then expect it to be on its own. So, I’ve got very concerned about separation anxiety issues out of here, but you can do things Heidi. So, if you have a puppy, I recommend crate training it, or getting a play pet and giving it dedicated time, in those places but making it happy time. So whenever they go in it, put them in after they’ve had a game, but give them something to do. So, something to chew on. A food with toy in it. Sorry, it’s a toy with food in it. Something that they chew on until they fall asleep, but you have to, at some point, get your hands off these animals for a while and it’s hard.

H – It is hard

K – and they’re getting more walks than ever before and some of the working dogs, but I will say if you have a young working dog, like a border collie or kelpie, they’ll take what they can get. So, if you start giving them jogging, five K’s, 10 K’s, 20 K’s a day and then you stop that. It’s going to be a lot harder for it. You need to just give them, what you’re expecting down the track.

H – Yeah and I mean we don’t have a puppy, we’ve got a five year old dog and I know she’s just loving the fact that we’re home all the time and she’s just around us, follows us from room to room. When you say that I’m like, “Oh my God, “I’ve been doing that.”

K – Give them something else to do, so they learn to self-settle. So, they need to learn to self-settle. They need to learn that they’re okay on their own and that you’re going to come back. So, I mean, I’ve also been guilty. I’ve been loving having a border collie again in my life and so we go for a drive he’s like, “Me, me, me, me, come come.” and so he’s coming with me everywhere, which is great, but reality is for a lot of people, they can’t take their pets all the time. I think we’re going to see a massive shift. I think there are going to be more people working in home and I think that if you have that lifestyle that you know you can be flexible, then by all means it’s fine. By all means if your family is ready for a puppy, it’s a great time to bring them in, but just be aware coming out of it. Gone.

H – Yeah. I see Mel’s written here, “Don’t forget separation anxiety with cats.” It may seem, but nearly the normal right now.

K – Yes and Maine Coons let you know about it, when they’re needy and cats can be like that as well. So again, dedicate a play time, but not always letting your cats follow you around. You need to go and cats are absolute masters of… I have seen all the funny photos, I have seen them on your laptop, sitting exactly where you don’t want them to be, but again, you need to give them their own time. Give them… Leo has a tall climbing tree, which he really loves and he goes and spends some of his sleep time on there. I don’t encourage him to be, right on top of me all the time. Forget about pets, because they can be needy, they really can. So, you practically need to set up a enriched environment at home for the cat, so, it has other things to do. So you cat grass, some toys, safe toys, just interaction with it in periods of time and then they tend to sleep. If you give your cat dedicated playtime, then they tend to have a nap afterwards.

H – So Katrina, we’re talking about the impact, that our pets have on our mental health. Can you list some of the benefits that you see people gain from having pets in their life that are impacting their mental health because as I was researching for our show tonight, I’ve seen some amazing research studies. There was a study out of America, with the anxiety and depression association that said 70%, 74% of pet owners, say that they have improved their mental health and an Australian study, pets in Australia national survey. 90% of owners say their pets have a very positive impact on their lives and their mental health has improved significantly because of the calming influence, the optimism, sense of purpose. Can you talk to me about all that?

K – Yes. I think one of the big things for mental health, because we know how important exercise is for mental health. So, I think for dog owners, that the dogs give you a reason and I’m going to say, when we’re talking about resilience and things, is having that purpose, gives people a reason to get up and go out and so normally, unfortunately right now, it’s not quite the same, because you can’t chitchat too much with people petting your dog, but normally, cat pets are a social facilitator when you’re out and about, they give you someone to talk to but at the moment, when we’re so isolated, it’s that being able to get out and get a quota of exercise and we know how good exercise is for your mental health. That is one. The other is which I’ve touched on there, is the sense of purpose and routine. So, someone needs you. Someone needs you and relies on you and it is, I’ve got these guys get me up pretty early in the morning for food, but I enjoy it. You get up, their happy faces, just speak to them. I mean, who doesn’t sing songs and speak silly things to their pets, first thing in the morning. And they always, they’re unconditional and I think often for mental health, if you’re in a really bad place. If your head space is not great, your pet doesn’t care. So your pet doesn’t care if you’re caught up in a bowl crying. If you’re happy, they just don’t care. They are just constant and I think to have that company, is what really helps you. It’s another living being that relies on you, but supports you in a very quiet way.

H – Yeah. Oh, look, that is just gold, because I think that I mean, I’m sure everybody who’s watching and I’d love to know, do you think your dog or your cat or your bird or your snake, whatever pet you have? Do you think they’re having a positive impact on your mental health? I’d love you to tell us in the comments. And if you have a picture handy of your fur baby, why don’t you post it right now. So we can see the gorgeousness that you have in your homes, that is impacting your mental health. We’d love to see your fury babies.

K – I think, I really do think and for a lot of people right now, the uncertainty, the stress and uncertainty and the sudden change. Like our lives just flipped so quickly. For everyone. One day I had some friends here. The two sisters here. They’re out from London and Spain. 10 days later one’s locked in, in Spain. Still locked in and ones in London and the whole world flipped in just that period of time, since we were all catching up after several years and you think, that is really stressful to take on board with the financial pressures for people and I just think that having the company of the pets, they’ve really proven themselves and just they’re little quiet achievers and also the number of people that have gone out and get puppies. Many of them are happy and planning. They’re going to have great lives in families. A few spontaneous buys, which may not be the right way to go, But the joy that the puppies have given people, the focus. I was talking to the beautiful Jessica Rhode the other day. She’s got a puppy for her family and she said, the joy that it’s given them all and the lift it’s given them and that just smiles and the puppies antics have really helped them all get through a really strange time.

H – Absolutely and talking about this strange times, there has been a number or a lot of kind of chitter chatter around whether our pets will pass on COVID-19 to us as humans and I think it would be remiss of us not to touch on that and talk about that topic. So, what have you got to say about that?

K – Okay, so there’s no evidence at all, that our pets can give us COVID-19. So, there’s no evidence of that at all. It’s theoretically possible but again, I don’t believe that there is any case that is globally, that I know of where they’ve got all this has happened theoretically, like any service, like the Uber driver bringing you in a bag where we wash our hands. Theoretically, I could cough on Chilli, right and then you could pat Chili and pick up the virus. Theoretically, as he could be a vector. Again, they don’t know that there’s any cases of that but that’s something to be aware of. So, we recommend not letting people pet your dog. Not petting other people’s dogs. Other people don’t want you in their space right now either and being aware of it and always washing hands if you’re out walking dogs. Same thing, if you have a dog walker with your dog, always practicing hand hygiene. There has been a handful of cases of animals getting COVID-19. So, there’s been a handful. There was two dogs in Hong Kong, One cat, there was a cat in Belgium, but there is something, the results and the testing is not very clear. We’re having the tigers in New York and two cats in New York. They have tested positive for COVID-19, but so and all of those had been in touch with people and quite the owners at all had it. So, it is believed that they picked it up, however only the two cats have had respiratory symptoms. They’re believed to be fine and everyone else has been okay. So the advice globally is, if you have COVID-19, act the same with your pets, as you would another person. So try and get someone else to handle them, purely because we don’t really know. If you think how many cases. How many cases of Coronavirus are now worldwide? Million, two million it’s got exponential. If you think in all those cases, these are the only animals of concern that we know of. It’s very, very small. So, in Australia it’s not something to really worry about. If you are unwell and your pet becomes unwell, obviously call your vet, explain the situation and then they will investigate as needed.

H – Yeah, I mean, that’s great advice. Thank you for that because I know there’s a bit of click bait around that but it’s always important to listen to experts and hence why I’ve got an expert on the show, sharing her actual wisdom, that is fact-based and research-based, not just clickbait.

K – That one is really and has upset a lot of people and there was a lot of rumours and there was actually in the beginning in China, people were throwing pets off balconies.

H – Oh no.

K – Because they thought that the pets were giving it to them. It was quite horrific, but this one is, be sensible. At the moment in Australia. We actually don’t have any cases that we know of pets, testing positive and we have such low right now, where we’re feeling, we’ve flattened that curve. We’ve done a great job, but animals are the least of our worries, just be a bit sensible.

H – Yeah. Thank you. Thank you for that. We’ve got a few questions coming through. Alana is saying right now, that she’s got a puppy. Well, just coming on, I bet you can read that, a bouncing Beagle.

K – A bouncing Beagle.

H – Yeah, so, What can they do, to keep this bouncy Beagle entertained for long periods of time?

K – Yes, bouncing beagles. Beagles are very bouncy beagles, Labradors bouncy as well. Long periods of time is difficult, but what I would say is giving them an exercise session and then giving them downtime or alone time with going to get yourself a few of the Kong toys like the tough Kong toys, that you stuff stop food in it. Put some of their meal in it because beagles, some of the dogs like beagles and Labradors don’t want to stop eating that. They can just keep on eating. Put some of their regular food, maybe if it’s not wet, make it wet. Shove it in the Kong, put it in the freezer. So, if you freeze and they last a lot longer and every time you want to do the downtime, give that to the Beagle and pop him outside.

H – Yeah, great. That’s great advice and I do want to go back to a question actually by Sandy. She says, “What can I get myself or my dog “involved into brighten other people’s day “after COVID-19 or during, visiting people.” Let’s see a picture of that. Can you put a picture of your doggie up, so we can see your gorgeous little doggie, who is going to brighten up other people’s lives.

K – is there’s a lot of different programs, state by state where you can take it into nursing homes or in hospital programs, but the dogs have to go through a lot of testing and I think right now, none of this is important and probably isn’t happening and same with dogs in school program. So unfortunately, there’s nothing we can probably recommend, because it’s probably not going to happen right now in the foreseeable future. When this all comes down, by all means have a look at the Delta society is one but look for just local organisations that work with perhaps some of the nursing homes, but you will generally have… They got pretty stringent testing because obviously, you need a very calm, relaxed dog that’s always well behaved, if you’re going to go and take them to bring some joy, but it does bring joy and it’s a really beautiful thing to do. And there may be a couple of people watching you, because I know there’s a lot of volunteers. I’m putting this on this or on my Facebook page, they’ll get to them to make suggestions, because a lot of them do carry their pets around the places.

H – I believe that we’ve had a big increase in people adopting pets and getting new puppies and little kittens, to keep them, because we’re in isolation and everybody thinks that’s a fabulous idea. What are your advice to people who are getting kitty cats and puppies now. I know we had a chat before and you felt really worried about, when we come out of this, maybe six to nine months, what’s going to happen and I just thought it’d be something that you could talk to us all about.

K – Absolutely. So, I think it’s wonderful on one hand, I think that we have never seen, I have never in my whole career. I think getting a puppy or kitten is fantastic. Right now, I just want people to think about their long term situation. So, if you’re in rental property for example, are you going to be moving? Certain states have different laws about rental properties now. Whether you can rent with a pet and also think about six months time. I know someone that just went and got a puppy, he got to work at the moment, but who knows what his next job’s going to be. So you might have a job, that your job might be changing and you might have to travel, if you ever had to travel, but you just need to think about your… honestly think about your lifestyle and choose the right pet for your life. A lot of that goes out the window when people adopt and I’m all for adoption. I have a beautiful rescue Goldie, which as you can see is asleep right there. I’m all for adoption, but you’ve always have got to remember, when you adopt a dog, you still need to think about, is this dog the right dog for my lifestyle. So, if you’re going to adopt a Kirby cross or whatever, it’s going to be very active. If you’re going to adopt a dog that’s got issues with separation anxiety already is it going to cope. So, you have to just ask yourself, I love that dog, I feel sorry for it, but does it fit into my lifestyle? Cats and kittens are easier option for sure. Some of the older cats can be great. They’re already toilet trained, they’re house trained and they usually are much more easygoing as a pet. So I’ve steered a few people, that wanted a pet for the family towards the cat option. Indoor cats, I’m a big believer of indoor cats. The shelters have had an amazing response, getting the pets doctrine, which is fantastic. I just hope they don’t end up back in the shelter. Because, one other thing to be aware of is that they’re into pooping a lot.

H – That’s like a default.

K – Yeah, so these puppies, if you think about it right now, so I would know at least 30 people that have got puppy in the last month. In about four months time, five months time, those puppies are going to be six to nine months of age. That is already the classic time they always get from about six to 18 months, is when they end up in shelters, because they’re not trained properly. Jumping up, their washing after they’re on back, they carry it on, they come home and they jump all over you. So, that already is a peak time and I worry very much that, on top of that being an adolescent dog, you’ve now got people back to work and a whole shift to what is going to happened.

H – Yeah, and I love it. When we bring that back to how that will impact our mental health, the dogs and the cats mental health, because, they will have some anxiety all around, that is if they’re not trained, or they’re not doing okay and they’re having separation anxiety and all of that type thing. As we will, if we haven’t trained our animals well. Bloody stressful when they’re acting out?

K – Yeah, so mostly I spend a lot of time, as, you know Heidi. A lot of time promoting all the amazing benefits of pets and there’s so many and I couldn’t be in my life without them. They can be very stressful and we forget that bit sometimes. So if you do have the dog, the neighbors are complaining about it. If you do have a dog that, the children can’t be in the same room with, because they’re jumping all over the kids or whatever. It can be really stressful or the dog that doesn’t get on with other dogs in the park. So, you want to be really working through this next period and knowing this is the perfect time to train my dog basic obedience, to teach it to lie on his mat, to teach it not to jump up the table. To teach nice etiquette around the house. So, you should put that under control and then teach it some alone time as well. I’m trying to

H – Oh, I know, thank you for that. Yeah, Delta. I know, Claire. I mean, Claire, has posted something about Delta therapy dogs being a great program and I know that her little doggy a gorgeous little Burton is a great help to them. Now, I just wanted to say to everyone, I know I’ve always said this is a half hour show. I’m not going to take more of your time, but Katrina if you can stay on longer, because I know we’ve got such interest here, with lots of questions.

K – I’d love to and now I feel like I’m live on my poor people that got half my stream and I’m making up for the technical at the start time. Yeah, right. Well, I was doing

H – Yeah, that’s right. I have two questions that I want to ask, before I go to everybody else’s bit that we’ve got down there in the stream. The first one is, I’d like to know, you’re in self isolation now with your gorgeous daughter. Of course, fur baby love helps a lot with building resilience and helping our mental health, but what else are you doing Katrina, to ensure that you’re staying balanced and okay and calm and feeling resilient during this time? Because it is a very tough time.

K – That’s actually a really good question, because in the beginning, there was a very, I think, everyone there was a sense of our normal had gone very quickly and out of our control and a lot of my work had gone.

H – Sorry, my dog just knocked over a light, I’m just putting it on.

K – Right, well ill just keep talking. events you’ve gotta feel so bad now. It’s not just me. At those events, I get a lot of one on one time and I do a lot of hands on animal stuff with a team of wonder dogs that I would’ve asked. So, everything that I’ve known with the kind of , entertainment is part of my life. All those performances. Now that it’s gone, I found that really stressful and I felt like, I’d lost my purpose. I’d lost it, completely my purpose was gone. What’s helped, two things have helped, to make sure I keep on exercising, because I do exercise a lot and then my gym closed, which is a still social world for me that I love and I’ve kept up and the border collies have helped. For me, what I’ve really realised, is change in these last couple of weeks, is I found a sense of purpose through online. It’s not the same, but I’ve really grown. You know what, I have this beautiful community of pet lovers on my Facebook page. I know they’re watching I love you. I do really love my community. I’m trying to nurture and educate. I’m like, If I’ve got a skill through this, what is my skill and how can I use it and can I help people who are feeling really crappy As soon as I started going, actually I’ve got… I have a purpose and I can give something back that has hooked me. And I have to… We were talking about this too, because I know you also do a lot of events.

H – Yes, I do.

K – It is strange and sometimes to be honest, I’ve got up in the morning put on my gym clothes, gone for a run, and then at four or five, I’m still in the same clothes. So, now I’m trying to film things with the animals and keep to myself that here’s my schedule for the day, even if there’s only one thing in the day and that has really helped as well. So, disciplining…

H – Thank you.

K – I washed my hair for you today.

H – Thank you for doing that. I painted my nails after I got the off, which took about a week, to get that concrete off my nails. But, thank you. I really appreciate you actually sharing that Katrina, because I think there are many of us, who have had our lives turned upside down in small ways, or in really significant ways and often I suppose we look to TV personalities like yourself and we think you’ve got it all together, you’ve got some fancy pants life and you’re going to be fine but in fact, these kind of tough times impact everybody and that’s what I… I don’t like to say what I’ve loved about Coronavirus, because I don’t know if that’s the right expression, but it is a great leveler for all of us. We have all been impacted in small or big ways and it has meant that we’ve all had to come together and share our stories and be vulnerable and say, “Hey, I’m actually not doing so well right now. “Can you help me? “Can you talk to me?” You know what, just doing this type of thing, where we’re sharing with our people, our friends, our family, our community. It is absolutely crucial for our mental health, because despite the fact that we have done everything possible to make sure that our physical health is okay in this country and around the world, it will be the unpacking of what’s going to happen, the unfolding of what’s going to happen to our mental health, is still yet to be seen and I think, those of us who are lucky enough to have fur babies in our life… We are one step ahead. I truly believe that.

K – I can tell you right now. So, I have Chill. Chili, Chil, he left me. Come up, come back up. Chill, Chill up here. He’s acting up going on bed with Chill I requested a little bit, because Kelly that owns him, we work together all the time. It’s not like I’ve just stolen someone’s border collie. But she was like, “Would you like Chill for isolation, “just for the company, “because my other job is quite old, now. “We only really walk a little distance. “We have a ten minute walk twice a day. “He doesn’t want to go too far.” don’t want the extra work. I cannot tell you Heidi, how much he is impacting my life in a positive way. He is funny, he’s smart. I mean, he’s a super smart dog. So we have fun and I’m back. Almost I feel like he’s helped me get back to my old self, which was back in Harry’s practice days, when I would go out training and being silly with my Border Collie. I’m very lucky. A lot of people don’t have the luxury of having a well trained Border Collie land in their house. He has really helped me and also through him, his antics have helped other people. They love watching it. And I’ve got… You know he actually came all the way from Germany and his breeder who might be watching tonight, Nikki. She’s watching and getting smiles from isolation in Germany, my friends overseas and it’s the pets bring those smiles. I think they’re much more exciting to look at than us. Chilli come back.

H – All right, I have one more question for Katrina and while I’m asking her that, and she’s answering, I’d love you to post your last question, that we will definitely get to. So if you’ve got one more question for Katrina, please put them in the comments and while everyone’s doing that, by the way, my very technical fabulous friend Amanda Farmer, has said that once we finish this live, you’ll be able to post your pictures of your pet. So, we would love you to do that, once we finish up, but Katrina, this is the Wine and Wisdom show, we have all been sharing a wine and you’ve been sharing wisdom, but what I would love to know is, what is the most impactful piece of wisdom that you have been given in your life and why?

K – It’s a big question. I think, for me, it’s actually interesting, but my answer probably doesn’t sound especially to you. My girlfriend’s, the two girlfriends that were out before they both ended up locked in in various countries. Their father Philip Knightley was a very big influence on my life when I was at university and there was a period when I was finding vet science really hard and I had this opportunity to go overseas and travel, I was being paid to do crazy TV commercials and things with the money in Tokyo. And I remember him saying to me and I took the year off and I didn’t want to go back to university, because I had this massive adventure and traveled and that was the first time I’ve actually seen that the rest of the world. I got straight from school, quite a sheltered life, into university, into vet school, study, study, study, study, and then bang, I’m now in this world, with all these crazy models and traveling, all these paid jobs. I remember him saying to me, he said, “Katrina, commit to that degree, “just commit, if you can show the commitment. ” If you can show that you’re committed enough “to do a five year degree “or you can show that you can commit solidly to something, “it is going to carry you through your life.” And his words got me back to Vet school. I would never… Not that I would have dropped out or gone a different path, but his words got me back in there that year. I have carried with me, it’s that whole thing of, if you want something so badly, if you want something, you need to work hard at it. And for me to have my career, I actually had to get myself through vet school. I had to do that as a stepping stone and it’s led me I guess, for my whole path after that. So, I can finally say, you’ve gotta commit and if you want to do something, whatever that project is, show people that you determined and you can do it.

H – Yeah, well, that is a great piece of wisdom and to you know, I’m a great believer that education changes lives worldwide and so I’m so glad you stuck to that and you finished because that has also been of course that the ripple effect. It means that you have been probably out to help thousands, 10s of thousands of people more, because you committed to that and that piece of wisdom.

K – What I do miss, because I used to do it, a lot more back in house practice. I used to actually go and talk to school girls about that back in those days. I had the dream job, the TV there and it was all good. And that was before there was a lock down. It was a very different world. You couldn’t just be an Instagram famous person or whatever lifestyle presenters. I used to do a lot of talks. I know I used to really love it. I used to love that watching, the passion of the girls and watching them think, “I would do that “when I grow up.” and it’s a little bit different now. I think the social media has, good, bad and a lot to answer for. I mean, it’s bringing us together now. I don’t know that it’s always great for teenage girls, but, yeah, I do side in my life, but I’m very glad that I’ve had it actually.

H – Yeah, no and thank you for that. Talking about that, because we’ve got a question there from Rachel about, how do you think we should handle our pet’s separation anxiety from our children, when our children return to school. It will leave a massive hole in our pet’s day.

K – Oh my gosh, it certainly will. Right. Sure. I don’t know, because the pets are in so many photos, that I’m getting a pic of the pets in with the kids, is the same thing of trying to give them alone time and people might have to do more things with their pets as well, like take them on the school run and they haven’t thought about it before this. There’s a few things of keeping the pets engaged and maybe some of the kids are now going to step up a little bit more. So unfortunately, it’s always parents that do most of the walking and what have you. But, I think that some of the kids, are going to actually step up to a bit more responsibility with their pets because they’ve spent more time with them.

H – Yeah, there is a question from Holly. A little bit before, she recently adopted a cattle corgi chihuahua. He’s about 10 months old. I have seen this gorgeous little one. She’s my neighbour and he’s very gorgeous. Even when we’re home all the time, he chews constantly on doorframes, anything he can find. He has so many toys and chew toys, that seem to bother him. Is this teething and what else can we do?

K – How old is he?

H – He is about 10 months.

K – Yeah, it’s perfectly normal. Okay, it’s perfectly normal behavior, if he’s chewing on things going but you still have forgot this one, on Molly’s bed right here. This is one type of Kong, but there’s other Kong toys. There’s a whole pile of different ones. If he is a really big chewer, you can get… If he’s a tough chewer with lots of bush strength, you can the black super strong ones, or just get classic. They’re kind of like the snow cone toy. Stuff them with food. Go and get yourself a couple of them, stuff them with food properly freezed up. Every single time he goes to chew on something, distract him and give him one of those. Start setting up a routine as well. Where you say, “Go to your bed, on your bed. “You get a nice chewie, “in your reward for going on your bed.” So, you need to distract. The thing with 10 months, that’s the adolescent. This is exactly the age when people start dumping their pets, because they leave that dog at home alone all day and they come back and the door handles missing and the door’s missing. I’ve seen pictures of doors missing. So, you need to start setting up the routine. So, you need to be teaching him what he’s allowed to chew and just use those toys, those safe chew toys. They need to really stuffed, so, they can’t bite it off and constantly set a routine. You have to break this guy down and shoot. Don’t allow the actors, for people with puppies. If you don’t want your puppy to be making mistakes in the house, confine it, when you’re not watching it. So, puppy pain or puppy training. So, if you’re going up to have a shower or into another room. Pop it somewhere, where you have it contained or else you can’t blame the puppy. So if he chews your door handle and you’re not watching, you can’t really blame it.

H – Yeah, great advice. I want to go back to a question a bit earlier in the show, from Michael Shugg and I know that he actually posted this, as a bit of a funny he says, “I will be the one with separation anxiety, not Ralphie.” which is their dog, gorgeous doggy. But you know, there is truth in that though, really isn’t it?

K – Yes.

H – Because, when we’re talking about the impact our pets have on our mental health and when we’ve been so used to having them around and getting all that unconditional love and having all that tactile that you talked about earlier, Katrina, this is going to be an impact on own, in mental health and how we experience the world, when we don’t have them with us all the time. So, what are your tips, on how we can manage that?

K – Look I actually don’t know the answer to that one. Because there’s more and more workplaces popping up and this is maybe a discussion as well. And depending, I think the whole world is going to change. I think there’s going to be a massive shift on how offices run. I think that there’s different costs. People have realised, I can run some of this, some of these businesses can run from home. I think more people may find themselves there, but in situations where, office numbers are smaller. Best opportunity and I’ve always promoted this, there is opportunity to talking to people, about can we implement a pet-friendly office space and I have seen incredibly successful ones, where they have a system, that there’s only one dog in the office, or any time or two dogs, and there’s certain rules about it. You have a roster system, but for you to be able to take your dog in, maybe one day a week is going to be really fun and really rewarding and I think that this is possibly an opportunity to start pitching some of those concepts to bosses. Let us bring our pets in and as long as you’ve got a few guidelines then people are sensible and the pets are not distracting other people. I think that my own pets, they just want pets. They wouldn’t bother other people, really if they stayed with me. So, I think there’s a huge opportunity. I think the pets are really behind closed doors plotting their rise. They can’t us anymore They wanna smoodge.

H – Yeah.

K – And to people posting videos of their home treats making and then baking for the pets. This you know live alone and all of this stuff. I just think the pets are going, “Yeah, what have we done? This is great.”

H – That’s right. “This is heaven. “My God, can we have this forever.”

K – Totally, but again, we don’t want much dependence.

H – Yeah, no.

K – It’s going to be interesting. I’m very, very interested to see what’s going to happen. I’ll be very interested to see some of the, research that come down for this. Because, I think it’s so unknown and I think we’re so lucky in Australia, Heidi. Where, I have friends, my friends in Spain have not been able to leave their apartment even for exercise. My friend in Chicago is locked in. So, I think some places they can walk the dog, some places they can’t even walk the dog now. How’s that going?

H – Oh, yeah exactly. I mean, we’re very lucky.

K – So, I will say we are so lucky and I just want people to be grateful and respectful of still staying socially distant. Because, I live in Bondi and I have to say, I get a little bit anxious because I’ve seen a lot of behaviour down here that I don’t think is respectful of the fact and appreciating where we’re at and the only way we’re going to stay where we’re at is by keeping up at distancing.

H – Yeah, no, it’s a great point. Well, look, I’ve taken so much of your time tonight. Thank you so much. Thank you to everyone who is watching right now, if you are watching after we close off, because that’s often what happens with these Facebook Lives. Please feel free to post any questions. Katrina and I will go back in and we will answer anything that we haven’t answered already. And please, as soon as we switch off, post a picture of your fur baby, we’d love to see their smiley faces. Katrina, thank you, thank you, thank you. Oh my gosh, it is such an important topic and I couldn’t have asked for a more amazing person to be able to share their wisdom about this topic tonight. You’ve been incredible.

K – Thank you. It’s been a pleasure. I’m so sorry about my technical problem but I’m going to that on. But I’m happy to chat and just pop on your questions. I’ll have a look into what I can as well.

H – And look, if you are a pet lover, which of course you are, if you’re on on this show tonight, please go on to Katrina’s Facebook or Instagram platforms. I’m going to post her links in the comments once we finish. So you can do that because, not only does she have gorgeous photos of animals that we all love, but she also is… Has so much wisdom ready to share with you and that is probably the best place for you to get that from her. So, please do that. As I as I said, I’ll put those links into the comments afterwards. That’s all from us for tonight. I will see you all in two weeks, for another Wine and Wisdom show. I would like you to think about… It’s a bit of a surprise guests. But, if you know somebody who’s got a pink Mohawk, that’s all the hint I am giving, but you’ll have to wait until then. But thank you, Katrina and thank you to everyone who’s been on tonight. We have really loved all your comments and questions.

K – Thanks so much Heidi as well. It is absolute pleasure to be on. Thank you.

About Dr Katrina Warren:

Dr Katrina Warren is one of Australia’s most recognised veterinarians and pet experts with a media career spanning over 20 years.

An established and trusted expert, her beginnings on Totally Wild, followed by her long standing role as co-host of the Seven Network’s hit television show Harry’s Practice from 1997 to 2003 ensured she became a household name for promoting responsible pet ownership and animal welfare.

Dr Katrina has been the host of Talk to the Animals, regular vet on The Today Show as well as appearing regularly on Today Extra and Studio 10. She has featured in dozens of network productions. In the USA, she hosted Beverly Hills Vet and 3 series of Housecat Housecall for Animal Planet. Further in the media, Katrina has co-hosted 2GB’s weekly radio show Talking Pets, is a monthly columnist for Reader’s Digest Magazine and has written 4 books.

Dr Katrina is also a sought after and accomplished MC, she has hosted everything from family pet events, charity fundraising events and huge live televised events, such as Carols in the Domain. Dr Katrina works around the country with the talented Wonderdogs, a team of impeccably trained border collies that do tricks and training demonstrations at family events, product launches and corporate gigs.

As a recognisable and trusted influencer within the pet industry, Katrina has worked with dozens of brands in the pet space such as Blackmores, Bayer, Royal Canin, Eukanuba, Black and Decker, Houndztooth, Snooza, KONG and many more to strengthen their message to consumers.

On a personal note, Katrina shares her Sydney home with her daughter, Charlotte, a Maine Coon cat called King Leo and an adopted Golden Retriever called Riley.

Her Contact Details:

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