When Janet Porter started training to be an aromatherapist she never thought that she would end up using the products on her dog.
But after seeing the results it changed hers and her dog’s life forever.
Since the age of two, Janet’s fox terrier, Mr Finn, began suffering with bad skin and slowly over the years his condition worsened.
He was diagnosed with psoriasis and prescribed with steroids but unfortunately for them both his condition still flared up.
Janet from St Michaels said: “About seven years ago I took Finn to the vet who diagnosed him with an allergy to dust and house mites.
“He was on steroids for two years and then we would wait and see but it was just temporary relief and would then come back.
“He had antibiotics and then in the end he had a vaccine which was extremely hard to do as I had to inject him myself.
“I really feared for his health because his skin was so so bad.”
At the time Janet was in training to become an aromatherapist and came across the work of Caroline Ingraham who is the pioneer of ‘applied zoopharmacognosy’. After researching it further Janet went to a workshop in Reading in the hope that this could be the answer for Mr Finn.
Applied zoopharmacognosy is an evidence based theory that animals are natural foragers and at one time sought out their own medicinal constituents from plants.
Janet said: “When Finn’s skin got really bad I went to Caroline and she said his condition may be linked to stress and he was given barleygrass which he really liked.
“Fox terriers are renowned for being highly strung. But at the time his immune system was low and basically his little life wasn’t right, which became apparent when he self-selected barley grass which is very rich in magnesium. So that was a good indication that something wasn’t right and he kept on having that for about four months.”
At the workshop Janet was encouraged to let her dog self-select which products he wanted, which he selected by either sniffing, licking or eating.
She said: “When he went into the room which had all the products laid out around it and he knew exactly what he wanted which was a blend of sandalwood, bergamot and German camomile, which then turned out to be his own blend.
“The idea of applied zoopharmacognosy is to allow your dog to chose what is best for them and self-select what they want and need.
“When they really need it, it will taste really good to them and they can evaluate how much they want and when they are feeling better they don’t want it and it becomes almost unpalatable to them.”
After the workshop Janet continued to use the blend of natural ingredients that Mr Finn had chosen and also experimented with spirulina and bees wax.
When she saw the amazing results she realised she had found her passion and that this was the career path she wanted to take.
Janet is now trained in applied zoopharmacognosy and while she stresses that it is not in any way a substitute for veterinary care, for herself and Mr Finn the results have been life changing.
Janet said: “Because of what Finn’s skin was like the transformation was almost miraculous.
“It was so outstanding that he was cured and after seeing him get so much better I knew I wanted to do the course in zoopharmacognosy.
“I am in no way undermining what vets do because I am not a vet. But I can’t deny the transformation in Mr Finn because he is living testimony to this treatment.
“He is honestly a different dog, he is 13 years old now and is full of vitality.
“It’s been life changing and not only for Finn but for me too because of the journey it has taken me on.
Janet has now opened up her own business with Mr Finn as her inspiration and offers home consultations or in her shop on Garstang Road in St Michaels-on-Wyre.
All the products she uses are human graded including the dog food ‘Lily’s Kitchen’ that she sells.
She also provides a professional dog grooming service which ranges from £20 to £35.
Janet who opened her shop four weeks ago, said: “I am hoping to just give dogs a choice in how best to maintain their own well being.”
For more information email Janet at email@example.com or ring her on 01995 679906