BANGOR – Don Hanson, owner of Green Acres Kennel Shop, is getting an international reputation. Recently, he spent two weeks in Japan conducting workshops about Bach flower essences, which are used to treat behavior problems in dogs and other animals. His business card is now printed in two languages – English and Japanese.
Hanson was the first and currently is the only Bach Foundation registered practitioner in North America. The essences, he said, are an alternative approach to animal well-being and are used along with behavior modification to alleviate behaviors such as separation anxiety, food and possession guarding, fear and aggression in dogs.
Terry Ryan, an internationally known dog trainer who works with several dog training groups in Japan, and who lives in Squim, Wash., invited Hanson to Japan to give a three-day lecture at the Animal Fancier’s Club in Kurosio-shi and a one-day lecture at an animal shelter in Achi Prefecture. Hanson also gave a one-day lecture to members of the Canine Good Citizens Club in Tokyo. His audience was veterinarians, veterinarian nurses, dog trainers and dog owners.
“Dogs in Japan,” Hanson said, “are similar [to what we have here]. I saw a lot of mixed breeds, fairly small, 25 to 40 pounds.” Golden retrievers, Labrador retrievers, dachshunds and border collies were some of the dogs that seem to be popular in Japan, he said.
He said the Japanese were receptive to his lectures about Bach flower essences.
British physician, bacteriologist and immunologist Edward Bach developed the concept of flower essences in 1939.
“There are 38 essences,” Hanson said, “and each one is for a particular emotional state.” The essences were developed for use in humans, but are now used for animals, as well.
Hanson said that his training to become a Bach practitioner took place over a two-year period and involved understanding the 38 essences and their uses, studying animal behavior, doing case studies, developing treatment plans, doing field studies and agreeing to do required continuing education. He traveled to England to receive the training.
Most practitioners, he said, focus first on human practice before moving to animals. Hanson currently is studying to complete the human practice component of flower essence training.
Hanson and his wife, Paula, who are from Wisconsin, have owned Green Acres for nine years. They knew they wanted to be in Maine when they vacationed here the year before they bought Green Acres. The kennel has been in operation for 39 years.