My new pup and rabies. What’s the connection?

I really did it… I gave in to two years of persistent requests, power point presentations and pleading by my kids for a dog. Yup, we got a puppy, cutest thing ever. I may be a bit bias.

dog2016_6920This is my first dog ever. I knew nothing of owning a dog –nothing! So our first vet visit was full of questions and more questions about how to care for the pup and about all the vaccines he needed.

My pup needed vaccines at each vet appointment including the rabies vaccine.

Of course I’d heard about rabies, but I didn’t know it is a deadly disease in both humans and animals. And I didn’t know that in Ontario it’s required by law to vaccinate all cats and dogs over three months old and if you don’t you could be fined.

Why should we protect our pets and families from rabies in Halton? Well our neighbours in Hamilton reported their first case of rabies in a domestic animal in over 20 years; a cat was found to be positive for raccoon strain rabies.  Raccoon strain rabies is circulating in raccoons and skunks in Hamilton and the immediately surrounding area; to date there have been over 180 positive cases.

So what can you do to help?

  • Ensure your dogs and cats are kept up-to-date with their rabies vaccinations.
  • If your pet comes in contact with a wild animal take them to a veterinarian for follow up.
  • Teach children to avoid unfamiliar cats and dogs, not touch sick or dead animals and to observe wildlife from a distance.
  • Call 311 to report all animal bites, scratches, and possible exposures to the Health Department asap.

Our growing pup instantly became part of our family. Everyone, including our kids has their responsibilities and I will admit he is a lot of work. I don’t know much about dog ownership. I’m learning, but the one thing I do know is that I want to keep all my family safe, including the furry ones.

For more information about rabies, feel free to contact us.

For parenting information or to speak with a Public Health Nurse (every Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.) simply dial 311 or 905-825-6000.


Posted in Babies, Environmental, Parenting, Physical Health, preschoolers, Safety, School-aged Children, Teens, Toddlers, Tweens | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Snivy lives upstairs – Making self-regulation your own

When my son faces a stressful or frustrating situation, he uses his self-titled  snivy-power. Yes, just like a lot kids his age (well all ages actually), he loves Pokémon. His favourite is a green grass snake Pokémon named Snivy. Snivy has a calm, collected demeanor and is very intelligent.


So when stressed, my son uses his snivy-power to work through his frustrations and calm his brain.

Snivy-power is his take on what adults call self-regulation. Self-regulation is talked about a lot in parenting circles these days. So what exactly is it?  Dr. Stuart Shanker describes it as responding to life’s stressors, returning to a calm and alert state, ready to deal with new circumstances.

Dr. Daniel J Siegel and Dr. Tina Payne Brysons have come up with an analogy of how the brain works. They refer to the brain as being like a two story house with a connecting staircase.

The downstairs (or feeling) part of the brain is responsible for our basic body functions, like breathing and blinking as well as basic emotions like anger and fear. It is important because it can keep us safe when there is real danger.

The upstairs (or thinking) part of the brain is responsible for things like planning, problem-solving, imagining, and making good decisions. It helps us think before we act, helps us consider other people’s feelings, it regulates our own emotions and helps calm ourselves down.

Electrical Circuit Brain Child ConceptIt is important is for both parts of our brain to work together, especially in situations that are stressful or frustrating so that we don’t get “stuck” with just the downstairs brain being in charge.

So, back to my son’s Pokémon descriptor – Snivy clearly lives upstairs.  My son uses his snivy-power to remind himself to consult with that calm, rational, intelligent “thinking” brain upstairs.

To him, using snivy-power means

It is also important for me to recognize that his upstairs brain is still developing. I can’t always expect him to access his calm thinking brain at a moment’s notice because big feelings can be blocking the way.

Also, the idea of “name it to tame it” comes in handy.  When my son is experiencing powerful emotions, I ask him if he is feeling frustrated. Helping him name his feelings will help release important chemicals in the brain and help him access his snivy-power upstairs.

I would encourage you to talk about our amazing minds with your kids and come up with your own strategies when the downstairs brain is taking over. And don’t forget to make use of them yourself. As a parent, I too need a healthy dose of snivy-power on a regular basis.

Connect with us. We love to hear your stories.

For parenting information or to speak with a public health nurse (every Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.) simply dial 311 or 905-825-6000.

About this guest blogger:

Kajsa KlassenKajsa Klassen – I am a public health nurse with the School Years Program. I love working alongside students, school staff and parents to create positive environments where all can thrive. As a mom of 3 I greatly enjoy sharing in the parenting journey with other Halton parents and all the adventures that come with it.  Our family likes to                                         explore the outdoors in our Halton Hills community.


Posted in Mental Health, Parenting, preschoolers, School-aged Children, Teens, Toddlers | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The realities of “bad moms”

I was ready for some much needed routine as this school year starts, but then the reality hit me! The relaxed mode I was in is over and I’m left with an enormous amount of stress. Yes, stress with the demands of being super mom! This includes the never ending demands of motherhood, including balancing work; helping with lunches, homework, after school activities… the list goes on (and on… and on…).

It feels like I’m swirling around in chaos, but then it hits me and I chuckle… you see I watched this summer’s blockbuster comedy “Bad Moms” (with tons of other moms –there was a lot of estrogen in that theatre!). So while the movie is not appropriate for the young and at times is a tad lewd,  I had gone simply to enjoy a good laugh.

However, after a bit of reflection, I couldn’t help but feel some of it rang a bit true!  The struggle to be the perfect mom is overwhelming and what does “perfect” really mean anyway?

In the movie, the main character seemingly has it all… a great husband, beautiful home, overachieving children and a successful career. However, we soon discover she’s the one keeping everyone and everything together. She is leading a thankless, drudgery of a life with never-ending demands.

Is being the perfect mom about doing everything for our kids?

We learn by the end that a bit of mom pulling back (okay, I’m being kind… she actually loses it in the movie for humour) actually does the kids well and allows the kids to develop responsibility, independence and resiliency.

Mixed Race sisters preparing foodSo as the craziness of September starts, I plan to take a deep breath and NOT be a super mom, a bad mom or a perfect mom (and not just because of this movie… either). I just hope to survive and help my kids develop their own skills… and stop doing it all!


Share with us, we’d love to hear from you.

For parenting information or to speak with a Public Health Nurse (every Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.) simply dial 311 or 905-825-6000.

Posted in Babies, Mental Health, Parenting, Pregnancy, preschoolers, School-aged Children, Special Needs, Teens, Toddlers | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Story of the Deputy Police Chief and his Teacher

Halton Police Deputy Chief Nishan (Nish) Duraiappah overcame some tough obstacles in his youth, a time when change is difficult and its impacts are often unforgiving. During his high school years, Nish experienced two significant life changing events. Sadly, his dad passed away and, while still coping with this great loss, he severely injured his arm. Nish was fortunate to a have great support from family and friends, so these challenging times were cushioned for the only child and budding musician. Continue reading

Posted in Parenting | Tagged , , , , | 8 Comments

Happy September

I simply love September.  It’s my favourite month of the year.  There is just something about this month and season that wraps me in feelings of renewal and optimism.  September is more like New Years Eve to me, full of hope and excitement in what lies ahead. Continue reading

Posted in Parenting | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

What is a growth mindset?

My 14-year-old sits hunched over her math homework. She is frustrated because she does not understand it. Her hands fly up in frustration and the words spew out “I can’t do it – I’m just not a math person!”

According to Stanford University researcher Dr. Carol Dweck my daughter is showing a fixed mindset. This is when you believe that your talents, intelligence, and personality are fixed and can’t be changed.

The opposite mindset – a growth mindset – is the belief that how smart you are, how well you do at math, how you dribble a basketball or how you manage your time – can improve with effort. Continue reading

Posted in kindergarten, Mental Health, Parenting, preschoolers, School-aged Children, Special Needs, Teens, Toddlers | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Potty training: Is my child ready to start?

There’s nothing that strikes fear and anxiety in a parent quite like the words “potty training”. This stage of development often conjures up a range of emotions. Whether you refer to it as potty training, toilet training, or toilet learning – the fact remains – it is a huge milestone for both children and parents. So, it’s no surprise that one of the most common questions I get asked by parents is “When should I start potty training my child?” There is so much conflicting information about when to start, it’s no wonder there is confusion. My message is simple: Continue reading

Posted in Parenting, potty training, Preschool, Toddlers, toilet learning, toilet training | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment