About Me

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Mother, Christian, Currently retired due to disability, Prior K-9Kampus/Owner, Primal K9 Inc., Author, Stand A Chance Foundation/Founder, Working Dog K9/Handler Trainer/Instructor, Consultant, Mentor, Advocate for Arachnoiditis and RSD/CRPS

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Standing with the Dog K9 Psychology in a Nutshell

Standing with the Dog K9 Psychology in a Nutshell

In the book, “Standing with the Dog: K9 Psychology in a Nutshell,” author Mel Helmick, dog training expert and advocate, urges readers to stand with the dog, offering key insights about canine behavior, training and handling to all who love dogs.

Order your copy today!!! www.standingwiththedog.com

In Standing with the Dog: K9 Psychology in a Nutshell, readers will learn keys to quality animal education, including:
• Prerequisites for the handler, canine and training team.
• History of the domestication, unique drives, and pack structure of the canine.
• Characteristics of the shelter dog, and how to care for the abused and neglected dog.
• Problems with current canine breeding practices, and popular spaying/ neutering practices.

Those who love the dog, who are willing to commit their time to making the world of the dog a better place will find a wealth of useful information in these pages. Standing with the Dog K9 Psychology in a Nutshell, will deepen readers’ knowledge and understanding of "man's best friend" and inspire them to stand with the dog always. 

Mel Helmick has decades of formal training and field work in canine training and handling, and is recognized as an expert by professional canine organizations nationwide. She has trained countless animals that have deployed professionally in the United States and throughout the world.

Order your copy today!!! www.standingwiththedog.com

Thursday, December 1, 2011

The Spirit of Christmas

The Spirit of Christmas- 

The holiday season is here and I look around and observe the meaning behind Christmas through the eyes of others around me and in society in general.  The commercialism, greediness, and traditionalism that is exhibited is truly a disgrace and I hate that for my Lord. The Christmas season is here and as the day approaches where everyone surrounds around their Christmas to open up presents, I would like to take the time to share with you all the Christmas in me. 

The celebration of Christmas actually stems from a pagan celebration of the winter solstice. Over time it is easy to see how we as Christians have taken Christmas, just as we have done with Halloween and turned it into fall festivals and open the church doors to pass out candy and bring giving and thankfulness into what for years has been a celebration of spirits and related festivities, and Easter being about the rabbit and chocolate, we have taken the winter solstice and put Christ in it. It is easy to do the math, and it is now common knowledge, or should be, that Jesus Christ was not born on December 25th.  He was not born in the winter. December 25th was being celebrated centuries before the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus in Bethlehem.  The celebration of Sun gods - Sun worshippers are spoken of throughout the Holy Bible. Atheists celebrate Christmas all over the world, putting up their trees, adorning them in gold and silver and cover the skirts with presents. We are warned about this many times in the Old and the New Testament, for now I will reference the book of Jeremiah Chapter 10 v 1-15 King James Version

1 Hear ye the word which the LORD speaketh unto you, O house of Israel:
2 Thus saith the LORD, Learn not the way of the heathen, and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven; for the heathen are dismayed at them.
3 For the customs of the people are vain: for one cutteth a tree out of the forest, the work of the hands of the workman, with the axe.
4 They deck it with silver and with gold; they fasten it with nails and with hammers,that it move not.
5 They are upright as the palm tree, but speak not: they must needs be borne, because they cannot go. Be not afraid of them; for they cannot do evil, neither also is it in them to do good.
6 Forasmuch as there is none like unto thee, O LORD; thou art great, and thy name is great in might.
7 Who would not fear thee, O King of nations? for to thee doth it appertain: forasmuch as among all the wise men of the nations, and in all their kingdoms, there is none like unto thee.
8 But they are altogether brutish and foolish: the stock is a doctrine of vanities.
9 Silver spread into plates is brought from Tarshish, and gold from Uphaz, the work of the workman, and of the hands of the founder: blue and purple is their clothing: they are all the work of cunning men.
10 But the LORD is the true God, he is the living God, and an everlasting king: at his wrath the earth shall tremble, and the nations shall not be able to abide his indignation.
11 Thus shall ye say unto them, The gods that have not made the heavens and the earth, even they shall perish from the earth, and from under these heavens.
12 He hath made the earth by his power, he hath established the world by his wisdom, and hath stretched out the heavens by his discretion.
13 When he uttereth his voice, there is a multitude of waters in the heavens, and he causeth the vapours to ascend from the ends of the earth; he maketh lightnings with rain, and bringeth forth the wind out of his treasures.
14 Every man is brutish in his knowledge: every founder is confounded by the graven image: for his molten image is falsehood, and there is no breath in them.
15 They are vanity, and the work of errors: in the time of their visitation they shall perish.

In the New Testament book of Mark chapter 7 Jesus is speaking to the Pharisees – I will reference only scripture but will recommend reading the whole chapter to grasp the whole context.

13Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye.

I could sit here and pull scripture out all day, instead I will urge you to go to the Holy Bible and just read.
As Christians, we should celebrate the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ throughout the year. It isn’t about what gifts you get or how many. I can’t imagine my Lord and Savior making a birthday list of things he wanted, yet we continue to rear our children up of making those lists of I WANT WANT WANT and somehow justify it as representing the gifts that were brought to Jesus when He was born in a manger in Bethlehem, and through commercialism enter Santa Claus. St. Nicholas has a history. There are many images and statues of him showing him carrying three bags of gold that he is known for dropping down the chimney of a poor man in his village so the daughters would not be sold as slaves. He was kind and generous and gift giving throughout the year. He didn’t wait until the month of December to mount his sleigh and give gifts to kids after checking his list to see who has been naughty and who has been nice.

Each day of the year we should be humbled at what our Jehovah God did for us, not just in the month of December. We should be humbled by the dedication and faith that Mary had and for Joseph’s love and endurance to see them through. We should be humbled that God gave His only- HIS ONE AND ONLY SON- to a world that at the end of the day would only forsake Him for traditions and ways of the world, all so we could have a choice to spend eternal life with Him. We are His flock, he is our Shepherd. He calls those to Preach- our Pastors are called to be our Shepherds, the congregation is the flock looking for that leadership, guidance, knowledge, seeking nourishment.

Our society rolls over to the many false religions all day long every day. Major stores refuse to allow employees to say Merry Christmas because we as Christians have put Christ in Christmas. All these people running around making excuses for those of other religions pulling out the Freedom of Religion card- while you sit there and allow and promote our rights to be taken from us really need to wake up. This is America last time I checked and there is such a thing as Freedom of Speech as well as Freedom of Religion and it applies to American Christians too. We too are warned of this in numerous books of the Holy Bible. Yet Christians will flock to these same stores and support them financially more than they tithe to their own church to help the homeless and spread the word of the birth of Jesus Christ. I don’t see Christ in that. I don’t see St. Nicholas in that either.

So as the day approaches and the trees go up, may we as Christians remember we are celebrating the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ, and may you carry the true meaning of Christmas with you each day throughout the year and share the love, share the true gift, and the real reasons we rejoice. May your evergreen tree represent the everlasting life and never changing love that our Father gives us each and every day.(  Isaiah 40:8 ) May the white lights represent the sinless purity of our Lord Jesus Christ and may we strive to be more Christ like in all we do. May the red garland, ornaments and poinsettias you bring out this time of year remind you of the crucifixion, the suffering and blood shed that Jesus Christ endured and shed for you. May the star that tops your tree represent the wonder of our Lord and that his light shines down upon us all for us to us to cling to the path that will bring us to Him. The three wise men did rely on a star after all to find their way to their new born King.  May the angels you bring out remind you that He surrounds us with them all the time, each and every day throughout the year.

May we cling to and remember throughout the year, the greatest gift God ever gave us was a child, His own.  Jesus Christ-

Matthew 1:21-25 KJV
 21And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.
 22Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying,
 23Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.
 24Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife:
 25And knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name JESUS.

I will close this with one of my favorite all time songs by Marina McBride


The Christmas Guest- by Reba is another dear favorite of mine as it reminds me of my Great Grandfather. One of the most Christ like men I have ever known. He would have never passed up the opportunity for the Lord to appear to him- he never turned down the hungry, the poor, and less fortunate. He was not a wealthy man- but one of the richest I have ever know in his soul. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y8SgpLKjxTo

May the spirit of Christmas live within you throughout the year-

God Bless You and Yours,
Melanie Helmick

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

K9 Breeding

It has become commonplace for dogs to be bred haphazardly without the people involved ever placing much thought or consideration as to the sizeable investment of time, effort, energy, and money that will be necessary in order to become a successful breeder. In addition to all of this, the potential breeder must begin at an early point in their program to address the proper education that is essential to not only their success, but to producing healthy, thriving dogs as well.

I can recall a time when breeders were more responsible. Preserving a breed’s particular drives, traits, and characteristics was of highest priority, with profit being secondary. The resulting specimens from their breeding programs were dogs to be proud of, and could readily perform the type of tasking that was typical of what that particular breed had come to be associated with.

Now, we have backyard breeders who have chosen to participate in this particular venue of the animal industry only so that their children may witness the actual whelping process and experience raising puppies. This decision is made after putting the least amount of energy possible forth to not only know the particular breeds specific drives, traits, and characteristics that should be present and bred for, but they also do not put forth the effort to learn how to achieve these desired drives, traits, and characteristics in the offspring through complementary breeding. This is one of the poorest and most irresponsible excuses available for intentionally breeding dogs, yet one of the most frequently used.

There are breeders who keep their dogs in kennels for the balance of the dog’s life, never providing the dog with essential nutrition, socialization, and exercise. There are also those who are involved in dog breeding solely for what they believe will be great monetary profit, and while in some cases this may be true, these breeders still exhibit little to no concern for the wellbeing of the breed in general, or for any particular dog. Irresponsible breeders are on every street corner or hanging out in parking lots trying to get rid of the problem they have created.

We received a ten-month old female German Shepherd that the owner had brought to use for training after having purchased the dog from what most would consider a professional breeding facility. Upon her arrival, we began the conditioning process immediately by socializing her with other people and other dogs, and this is when I began to notice some issues with this dog. When we would turn her out to “empty”, she would go to the concrete to relieve herself instead of going on the grass. Upon turning her out with other dogs, she would run to find a corner and try to seclude herself.
This dog definitely did not understand normal canine play behavior, nor did she want to participate in any activity with other dogs. After a few of these introductions, she began to come out of her shell and began to interact more. It became evident that this young dog possessed the potential to be a very nice companion, and quite possibly would excel in advanced work the owner wanted to participate in. This elevated level of activity fueled by her newly found confidence also allowed me to see her body movement in a much different light.

I noticed her right hip seem to snap quite often, and she had the ever so noticeable bunny hop, a clear sign of hip dysplasia. After contacting our client we took the dog to our Veterinarian for x-rays.

Below are the results.


From this picture, the dysplasia in this dog’s hips is very evident. Just as striking is that this radiograph is of a ten month old puppy, not a much older dog that had endured the progression of dysplasia over a number of years.

For comparison, this is an x-ray of a solid hip structure. This particular radiograph was taken of a sixteen-month-old female German Shepherd of approximately the same size.

From this x-ray, the well formed hip joints are evident. Nice, symmetrical formation, with deep, uniform sockets.

            From the behavior this particular dog exhibited while being here, it was very apparent to me that the breeders she came from are either in this business for the wrong reasons, or clearly have no idea what they are doing. With such a lacking of core social skills, it is evident that this dog was separated from the litter at way too early of age. It is also apparent she was placed in a concrete kennel to grow until she was close to the age of one year old. Ironically, this particular kennel, as do many, guarantees hip until the age of one year old as well.

            This dog was born with this disease, and with every breath she took she was experiencing pain. The level of the severity of her hips proved this. No dog progresses to this stage overnight, yet it seems the breeders simply turned a blind eye to her, never acknowledging she had an issue. How one, especially the breeder, could not see this is beyond reason, yet this happens all of the time.

            People, have clearly lost respect for the dog. I clearly understand and acknowledge that it is possible to breed two OFA Certified Excellent dogs with the best of intentions and possibly still whelp a puppy that will have hip dysplasia, although this, too, can be prevented through proper education and research. However, the issue is that this very nice dog was allowed to live a life enduring excruciating pain, while her condition went unaddressed due to the negligence of irresponsible breeders, as well as the initial trainers who had begun the conditioning process with her.
            That very same week, we recommended another client take their nine moth old Rottweiler in for x-rays after noticing issues with the dog’s mobility. This dog was diagnosed with hip dysplasia as well, but his case is a moderate one, not nearly as severe as the earlier discussed case. This dog will endure increasing levels of pain and lesser levels of mobility as he matures and his condition worsens. He will be able to go to a home where he will be cared for, and his level of activity will be kept at mild to moderate. He will never be able to work or perform any of the duties that the Rottweiler was originally bred for. Specifically, he will never be suitable for work as a personal protection dog, and definitely has no future as a potential stud dog, which were the two primary purposes this particular dog was originally purchased for.

            Hip dysplasia has become so common in most working breeds that one must ask themselves how the dog being bred today could ever begin to meet the same criteria that was once not only required of them, but respected with significant loyalty and gratitude for the resulting services that the dog provided.

            Just as we have breeders who turn a blind eye to the dog every day, there are also registry organizations that have actually promoted the destruction of many breeds in our society today.  I have little to no respect for any of these organizations. Some require that you only provide a picture of the dog, and state the breed, gender, and date of birth to receive registration papers. They continue to register litters that are most likely carrying bad genes, and are quite obviously opening the door to registering dogs that are not a purebred, accurate representation of their respective breed.

            Professional breeders, registry organizations, and backyard breeders alike all need to be held both responsible and accountable of their actions, or lack thereof, that have contributed to the overall demise of the dog, specifically the promulgation of hip and elbow dysplasia. While they continue to speak, write, and promote genetics, animal husbandry, conformation and other various standards, they still make the conscious decision to not address this issue from a realistic approach, allowing this serious issue to thrive through an actual recognition and registration process that allows these genetics to continue to be passed from generation to generation.

            We have also accepted the classification of “Pet Quality” dogs. What does it take for people to recognize the true meaning of this? Be applying this classification to puppies and young dogs, the breeder is acknowledging that this particular dog does not exhibit the drives, traits, and characteristics typically associated with the breed. It goes without saying that these dogs cannot pass on what they do not possess, therefore further diluting the gene pool for the respective breed. These dogs are typically the result of poor breeding programs, yet the breeder will follow through with the sale and placement of these dogs to the unsuspecting buyer in the pursuit of making just a few more dollars.

            There are many rescue and shelter organizations that continuously provide our communities, including our children, with information that is clearly unhealthy. Information such as it is wrong to purchase a dog from a breeder while there are so many poor, helpless animals in a shelter. Many people who are interested in purchasing a dog have a particular breed or breeds in mind that they are attracted to, or perhaps they want a dog whose medical history, lineage, and genetic profile can be documented. It is also possible they do not want to risk disease, life long medical issues, or to possibly deal with bad cards. Regardless the reason, it is wrong to play up on another’s pity by using the reason of the poor, helpless, homeless dogs in the shelters.

            Not all breeders are bad. Many breeders have dedicated their entire lives to not only this industry, but to striving to better the particular breed, they are involved with. Many breeders are dedicated animal advocates who stand with the dog against animal cruelty and neglect, and would support shelter and rescue organizations more in this area if they were not constantly being ridiculed by them.

            Yet, many breeders, and sometimes retired breeders, also chose to operate breed specific rescue and shelter organizations. By doing so, they provide many years of experience of not only working with that particular breed, but of also understanding the specific drives, traits, and characteristics that should be present within specimens of the breed. They are dedicated to not only adopting out those who exhibited an “even” character, but they are just as dedicated to ensuring the new handler also exhibits “even” character.

            The actual art of breeding requires commitment, dedication, proper education, and of course, a fair amount of money, but is an honorable, rewarding profession when engaged with the dog as the number one priority.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Sharing a bit of my day-

So much going on these past few days- part of this has been working on the foundation with my wonderful Team in which the legacy will be built upon. It’s a pretty big dream, and I have spent many years climbing to this point. That being said, I saw God today and wanted to take a moment to share with you.

I said my prayers last night as I do every night and awoke to beginning my day in conversation with Him too. My prayer last night included a dear face book friend whom I had not heard from in quite some time. She has touched my life so many times with her stories and life experiences, more so than I think she is aware of.  She will know who she is when she reads this note. I prayed for our soldiers who are deployed on foreign soil, for their safe return to their families and loved ones. I asked for guidance and reassurance that I was on the right track with the foundation, the dream. I prayed for many and gave thanks for even more.

Today, I awoke to a post from my friend Karen, a hero to me. Her post read- "Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it." – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Before lunch, a Soldier I know who is currently deployed contacted me and let me know they are safe and returning soon.

After lunch, my face book friend had made a post sharing her words of wisdom. It was in regards to choosing to see the light, or choosing to see the dark in situations we all face in life. It was about making the choice to have a good attitude because it rubs off on others and affects the lives of those around you as well. It was about spreading some good cheer.

My Great Grandfather embedded in my brain from early on as a child that no matter the situation or person, if you look deep enough you can always find good. Sometimes situations can seem awfully dark, but when you can’t find the good in it, the light my friend was speaking of, you have to dig deep within and the light will come from you. That’s how God works through each of us. So much meaning to the song, This Little Light of Mine we learned in Sunday school.

In the midst of my day I had a random thought while walking through my kitchen to refill my glass of sweet. It was actually a random song. Hands- by Jewel

I would like to share those lyrics with you.

If I could tell the world just one thing
It would be that we're all OK
And not to worry 'cause worry is wasteful
And useless in times like these
I won't be made useless
I won't be idle with despair
I will gather myself around my faith
For light does the darkness most fear
My hands are small, I know
But they're not yours, they are my own
But they're not yours, they are my own
And I am never broken
Poverty stole your golden shoes
It didn't steal your laughter
And heartache came to visit me
But I knew it wasn't ever after
We'll fight, not out of spite
For someone must stand up for what's right
'Cause where there's a man who has no voice
There ours shall go singing
My hands are small I know
But they're not yours, they are my own
But they're not yours, they are my own
I am never broken
In the end only kindness matters
In the end only kindness matters
I will get down on my knees, and I will pray
I will get down on my knees, and I will pray
I will get down on my knees, and I will pray
My hands are small I know
But they're not yours, they are my own
But they're not yours, they are my own
And I am never broken
My hands are small I know
But they're not yours, they are my own
But they're not yours, they are my own
And I am never broken
We are never broken
We are God's eyes
God's hands
God's mind
We are God's eyes
God's hands
God's heart
We are God's eyes
God's hands
God's eyes
We are God's hands
We are God's hands

Link to view video of Hands performed by Jewel http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AfsS3pIDBfw

We are God’s Hands when we give ourselves to Him to work His Glory through us to touch the lives others. I am forever blessed by those who have touched mine.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Leave No Man Behind

Leave No Man Behind-     

The heart and spirit within the United States Military creed is to never leave a man behind- injured, captured, or dead- LEAVE NO MAN BEHIND. 

Army Spc Joseph Bushling is still missing. His family needs your help.  Winter is approaching quickly and we need to get in as much search time as we possibly can. This can be costly. PLEASE HELP this family if you are able. 

We need media attention-we need radio air time, and prayer.  I am reaching out for the family to help obtain any and all help that is available to them. Please readers; this is an American Soldier, his home, his family, are here, in Arkansas. They weep for him with each passing moment. He enlisted under the creed “Leave No Man Behind.” We owe him the honor of being returned to his family, anything less is unacceptable.   

I am asking for help from every Arkansan and American, and I am praying for a miracle. Army Spc Joseph Bushling served his country for you, and for me, for our freedom, the land of the free, and the home of the brave. I am asking help from every Soldier, from every branch.  He was your brother, your partner.  We can do this if we pull together as a Team, a Unit. 

Will you please help? Media friends- please contact the parents Lisa and Kevin Bushling for this story.  If you need their contact information I can provide that to you. Let’s get this back on the air so everyone will know, WE HAVE A MISSING SOLDIER AND WE NEED TO BRING HIM BACK HOME. Please, I beg of you, help me help them.  I know our community will help if they are made aware of this shattering situation. 

Will you stand for Army Spc Joseph Bushling? We as Americans should heed to the creed as well, and stand up and do what we can to support not only the family and search efforts, but for the United States of America. He is an American Soldier, missing, on our soil.  It’s the right thing to do.  Let’s bring him home.  Don’t leave him behind.  NO Soldier deserves that.  

Anyone that feels that they could help with a small donation to help hire professional search and rescue efforts can do so by going to Pay Pal and entering our e-mail klbush@centurylink.net or donations can be made to Joseph Bushling Search & Rescue Fund at any Arvest branch by wire transfer,credit card,debit card or check. You may also call 479-880-5010.

May God Bless You and Yours-

Melanie Helmick
K-9 Kampus/Stand A Chance Foundation