People and Their Pets….Got Cat? Why I Ask About Pet Ownership During an Assessment

When I meet with an individual to perform a vocational assessment, I ask many questions to gather information about their work and life background. One question I ask, underlying other questions regarding psychosocial factors, is about pet ownership. Asking about pet ownership during an evaluation can tell a lot about a person.

Got Cat?

Of course pet ownership is not for everyone, but if the individual is a pet owner, and a discussion develops about the topic, it offers me insight about the person. Pet ownership allows for psychosocial benefits accruing within an individual from the one-to-one type interactions with their pets.

Pet ownership can also influence broader social interactions and perceptions, experiences of sense of community, and social capital at the neighborhood level. In addition, a pet owner’s sense of health and well-being often emerges as a valuable and positive feature of daily living.

SamiJo The Love of My Life!
SamiJo The Love of My Life!

This is SamiJo, the Love of My Life!

Okay: I have 3 cats (Felix, SamiJo and Alaska), a dog (Bella), a guinea pig (Peggy), and a fish (Bluebee). Oh, and a hedge hog (Sandslash). My beloved rabbit, (a mini rex named Patches) died last week.

It’s a big responsibility to own a pet. You must provide basic care which includes food, water, shelter, veterinary care and exercise for your pet. And you must abide by the City’s bylaws around pets and animals.  For Bella’s 5th birthday awhile back, she received a dog pass to the Riverwalk Dog Park!

Patches
Patches

Patches was a grateful rabbit

Patches had plush, velvet like fur and a happy personality. A mini rex is known as “The Velveteen Rabbit”. Patches was small, weighing 3-4 pounds. He liked to lunge out of his wooden hut when his cage door was opened. Some people (like my husband) got a little frightened of this burst out thinking they were in danger! But I saw his behavior as a great show of energy! I also loved his happy hops!

 Patches loved rose petals….He ate them! 

Patches always was thankful when he was fed (and especially when he received a treat!) with a little snorty sound. I had noticed he was getting very thin, however he still was eating. And then one morning, he was not lunging out of his hut, and he was very still, yet he was breathing. I checked on him several more times.

Later in the afternoon he did lunge out, although it was a very unusual lunge. He bonked off his litter box and landed on his side. I started to pet him……continuing to stroke his very soft fur….until he died.

Think about pets you’ve known and understand why I find it important to ask about pet ownership. Have you ever gone to a dog park and learned dogs’ names, but never asked the owners for theirs? And observed their behaviors (both dogs and owners) to compile evidence about your theory of dog parks!?!

In a previous post on April 2nd 2012, I blogged about another question I ask about the person’s nutritional intake and habits. Want to Heal that Injury? Focus on Your Nutrition!  Healthy nutritional intake is just as important for your body as it is for your pets. Please feed everyone well!

For You Patches. I Love You!

Let me know if you have questions about how I perform a vocational assessment. You can also click over to the right under documents for download to see a sample vocational assessment and evaluation report.

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 My professional rehabilitation counseling practice is focused on helping people participate in the world around them, particularly in their own world of work.

Benefits of Water Aerobics, and Splashing About!

I started a water aerobics class three weeks ago and am really enjoying it. This is a first for me!  There’s about 12 women and 2 men in the class, held at a local high school indoor pool.  All different shapes, sizes and personalities splashing about!

We all aren’t shaped like this!

It is a fun, but serious workout, where you learn water-related exercises with a fun variety of musical accompaniment. You’ll stretch to improve flexibility and work out to strengthen your cardiovascular system. The teacher, Robbie, is a kill! She is an excellent teacher, and I gauge this on how I caught on to the routine(s) fairly quickly!

Another exercise love! 

There are many benefits to water exercise:

  1. Non-weight bearing exercise
  2. Improves muscular endurance
  3. Improves core strength and endurance
  4. Great exercise for pregnant women
  5. Improves flexibility
  6. Improves cardiovascular conditioning
  7. Burns enormous amount of calories
  8. Keeps the body cool during exercise
  9. Fun and enjoyable exercise
  10. Great way to modify or spice up normal routine

Keep in mind the ability to swim is not required.  All you really need is a decent swim suit (still searching for one….), motivation (the water is between 78-80 degrees, so there’s no balking when the time comes to jump in!), and dedication to caring about your body.

It’s Fun to Splash About!

Research proves that as you improve physically, so do you mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. I think if I interviewed the people in my swim aerobics class, they would agree with the research….  In fact, I’ve talked to a few of my classmates while splashing about. One told me she has lost 47 pounds since starting the class. Another one tells me how much better she sleeps at night. And another, he just likes to joke around and laugh!

Engaging in continuous exercise and being physically fit is incredibly important during any rehabilitation. If you are recovering from an injury, be sure to exercise everyday. I’m happy to help motivate my clients to exercise!

Stay tuned for more about the benefits of exercise and physical fitness…..yoga yogi is coming in the future!

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My professional rehabilitation counseling practice is focused on helping people find a place in the workforce.

 

Observation Skills and Body Language – Where’s Waldo?

Observation skills are important in my work as a counselor. Observation skills incorporate visual analysis, memory, concentration and the ability to pay attention to detail and to notice visual signals like body language.

When’s the last time you checked out Where’s Waldo?

In counseling, body language is used to help build rapport. It helps to observe the client’s/customer’s body movements and match or mirror them in an appropriate way. This can improve communication and  can help people feel more comfortable being around you. It’s true that people seem to gravitate towards people who are most like themselves (I find that boring though.)

ZeBra

As a counselor, I observe people’s body language a lot and can notice when a person is in discomfort, is lying/not being truthful, or is hiding something.  If the person is a client or a friend, if there’s conflict between what comes out of their mouth and what is being said by the body, this could indicate they are having a difficult time verbalizing something. I encourage the person to explore their feelings and try to reconnect their mind and body.

Looky

Look Long!

It’s not unusual when counseling, the client will break down and cry…..which calls for some serious quiet time.  This offers an opportunity for the person to be still.  This silence is the calm and a much needed break. The person will resume a conversation when they are ready. Body language speaks loudly without pretense. Body language is often more important than the spoken word which can be done quite softly.  Body language doesn’t lie.

I’m off to meet my step aerobics buddies for a night out (originally posted June 4, 2012 ).  I’ve had a couple of weeks of not doing aerobics so it’s time to see my buddies in real clothing, and eat with them!  However, I have been going to boot camp! Silly me! So what’ve you been doing for exercise lately?

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My professional rehabilitation counseling practice is focused on helping people find a place in the workforce.

 

 

What is Rehabilitation Counseling?

Rehabilitation counseling is emerging as a popular career choice for high-energy people who want to be creative and independent while making a very real difference in the lives of people with disabilities.

EnlighteningHigh Energy! 

Here’s a great brochure prepared by the Rehab Services Administration, Department of Education describing the profession, rehab jobs, and information you’ve always wanted to know! It’s the source for the above sentence and the next couple paragraphs in my post.

Being unique, rehabilitation counseling trains professionals who will be dedicated to working with individuals with disabilities in order to help them achieve productive and independent lives.

In short, the goal of rehabilitation counseling is empowering people with (or even without) disabilities to make informed choices, build viable careers and live more independently in the community.

Just as other counseling tracks, rehabilitation counseling educational programs – in order to produce competent and certifiable professionals – are at the master’s level.

Drake University, School of Education, Des Moines, Iowa offers an excellent Council of Rehabilitation Education (CORE) accredited master’s level Rehabilitation Counseling Program.  This accreditation enables graduates of the program to become Certified Rehabilitation Counselors. The Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification (CRCC) sets the standard for quality rehabilitation counseling services in the United States and Canada.

mascot.spike

Drake’s Mascot, Spike

Here’s a better bulldog picture. She has experience in Drake’s Beautiful Bulldog contest! Her name is Fat Amy. She owns Jeska Reese Dean, a family friend.

FatAmyFat Amy 

I completed all required coursework at Drake University in the Master of Science in Counseling program. And in addition, I took extra coursework focusing on job placement and mental health. I was then eligible to take a national examination which I took on October 30, 2004, and upon passing, I earned the coveted CRC (Certified Rehabilitation Counselor) designation. Since then I re-certify every five years.

For a little background, there are two main sections of the CRC exam:  Counseling and Rehabilitation/Disability.  A statistical procedure called equating is used to ensure all examinees demonstrate the same level of ability in order to pass the exam.

Here’s my results:

Counseling Section:

Amy E. Botkin Scaled Score:       598         Passing Scaled Score:   500

 

Rehabilitation/Disability  Section:

Amy E Botkin Scaled Score:       628            Passing Scaled Score:   500

TaDa

Here’s a link to my CRCC Certificate 71256. I love this career! I will use my talents wisely!

Please let me know if you have questions about the profession, my education or the professional  associations and groups I belong to. It may be a good career option for someone you know!

As a service provider, please contact me at 515-282-7753 to learn more about how I could help you help your client.

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My professional rehabilitation counseling practice is focused on helping people participate in the world around them, particularly in their own world of work.

 

Services to Evaluate Vocational Rehabilitation Potential

The variety of services available to evaluate the vocational rehabilitation potential of the claimant are useful for insurance carriers, employers and attorneys.

Services benefit the claimant through counseling for disability-related concerns, and when appropriate, to access the labor market and identify job placement opportunities.

Contact us at vocresources@msn.com for samples of recent casework and who benefited, and how!