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When the signs are speaking, are you listening?

When the signs are speaking, are you listening?

What did your January 2020 look like? Big expectations, New Year's resolutions in place? Eager for what lay ahead and what you would make happen that year?

At the risk of stating the obvious, what a strange year it turned out to be. I recall going to a Lunar New Year dinner on January 23 to celebrate with friends of Chinese descent their upcoming New Year, which was January 25. Yet many didn't show up, apparently yielding to what we then perceived were over-blown fears of a new flu strain from China; I mean really, kids starting to mask up in school, even wearing gloves in class! How ridiculous... or so we thought. Then 46 days later, on March 11th, The World Health Organization declares the new flu a Pandemic. Two days later, the Canadian government followed suit. With the benefit of 20-20 hindsight (sorry, couldn’t resist!), it is now clear that this new flu, now known just as COVID-19, was really going to impact the daily lives of everyone around the world.

The local community in Vancouver with the lowest infection rate was the one most ethnically Chinese. Taiwan, an island nation of nearly 24 million people has as of December 31, only 7 deaths associated with COVID from the astonishingly low number of just over 800 total reported cases of the virus. They noticed the signs and took appropriate action early. The purpose of this post is not to rehash what those signs were, but a few may be worth noting. On December 30th, 2019, Wuhan doctors officially had communicated that there was a new, more-aggressive pneumonia. Days earlier, Taiwan had already determined that all incoming travellers from the Wuhan area of China had to be monitored. By January 22nd, China banned any domestic travel (surface or air) in or out of Wuhan, isolating approximately 11 million people. Taiwan closed off flights to Wuhan and aggressively accelerated production of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) while banning exports or hoarding of the same items. The signs were there, but what if our Government (and ordinary folks like us) had paid more attention? 

This leads me to the point of this reflection: Are there signs in everyday life that we are missing? Signs to be cautious, or perhaps signs to be ambitious. Signs of changing health (mental or physical) in ourselves or loved ones? When thinking about loved ones such as aging parents, I’ll admit that I first thought about noticeable signs of decline, but we should also be mindful of signs of improvement. Be thankful for those, as they can unintentionally be taken for granted.  

How do you look for the signs that are work-related? When it comes to stress and declines in production in the workplace, not all of it is preventable, but there are some ways you can give yourself and those around you a better chance of staying mentally and physically well. The American Institute of Stress published a recent article on how to recognize the signs of (and recover from existing) workplace-related stress. 

The bottom line when looking for signs in life is to pay attention, which requires taking time to be still, to be mindful, and to be asking questions about what you observe. It's about actively listening (words and actions) to those who are close to us. It can be as simple as asking your spouse how their day was and listening to their answer, stepping onto a scale or in a larger context, paying attention to quality news sources, including those that don't align well with our own outlook! It doesn't mean blindly following predictions of the famous, or others who have large platforms. Sometimes, some famous people get predictions right, but consider their opinions with your critical thinking skills and don't just gobble them up like dogs devour SierraSil’s Leaps and Bounds treats!  

Finally, a word about Martin Luther King day coming up on January 18th. I've long admired the famous preacher from Atlanta. He lived with a purpose to honour his God and his dream that was shaped by his faith. 

So this January 18th, no matter your nationality, consider reading his famous "I have a dream" speech. Let's dream about the future that MLK Jr did and do what we can to make that dream a reality. MLK Jr's prayer "Use me God. Show me how to take who I am, who I want to be, and what I can do, and use it for a purpose greater than myself," may be worth meditating on or repeating for yourself, depending on your beliefs.

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February Newsletter

February Newsletter

Our Leaps & Bounds soft chews for dogs have become a best-seller online and we have recently refreshed the packaging. Last year we talked a lot about dogs because they are such a huge part of our lives. We want them to live long, healthy lives, and that includes taking care of more than just their joints!


Everyone knows a dog brightens even the rainiest of days. Read through a collection of our favourite feel-good dog stories. From helping others through therapy to being trained or acting instinctively to save lives, dogs continue to show us the meaning of living selflessly. More importantly, they are always up for a good time! Don’t believe every crazy dog story you hear or see, though. We’ve compiled a list of some common dog-related myths.


As we start to long for the warmer months ahead, all of us at SierraSil are looking forward to getting outside. There are a number of great activities that we love to do with our dogs. Some of our favourites include hiking, agility games, and even taking our dogs camping with us!


Before you go camping with your canine companion, though, make sure you’re prepared. A quick trip to the vet beforehand, combined with a doggie first aid kit can prepare you for any number of little mishaps that can occur. Pack your dog’s supplies and ensure they have what they need to enjoy the experience. Better yet, practice sleeping in the tent to help get them used to it. Once you’ve found a pet-friendly campsite, you can be on your way!


If your dog can’t enjoy some of the more rigorous outdoor activities you do, it’s important to care for them in an age-appropriate manner. Elbow dysplasia may be to blame for your dog’s limb discomfort. This is a relatively common issue that can affect dogs of all ages, so we’ve put together a list of things to do and watch out for. Limiting distractions and ensuring your dog’s comfort will help keep even the oldest canine happy. Read our post on what you can do to help them through their senior years here.


Follow us on Instagram and submit a pic of your pup for a chance to win a free bag of our soft chew dog treats.

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