Name: Zannah Mass
Location: San Diego, California
Zannah Mass is a NYC transplant to San Diego, a dog mom to a senior, special needs rescue, an animal advocate, and a dog health advocate with a holistic health business called Well Beings Unleashed for dogs and the people who cherish them. She provides health coaching services for both dogs and dog parents, animal communication and energy healing for animals, and is launching a digital course and virtual membership for dog parents to optimize well-being in their households.
She helps dog parents make small lifestyle changes to take better care of themselves and their dogs by integrating nutrition upgrades, relaxation techniques, detox tools and more that can prevent chronic disease and improve daily living. Her hope is to lend a hand and paw to thousands of dogs and people over the coming years by giving energy healing for the dogs, information, advocacy tools, support, and a community of like-minded people to dog parents who want to take a proactive approach to well-being.
Q: What inspired you to enroll at IIN?
My birthday present when I was turning 40 was a fibroid tumor and mid-life crisis. It was time for some changes, some healing, and exploring. I had adopted my dog Django a couple of years beforehand and I was so attached and protective but didn’t have enough tools to keep his health in an optimal place. He inspired me to make a change in my career, my way of thinking, and the consumer choices I make as well as to study energy medicine and dog wellness.
So along with IIN - which was originally for my own well-being more than a career - I studied dog health from several reliable sources. We moved cross country three years ago, the pandemic hit, career changes were needed, and some health scares hit our household. So, I did more coursework through IIN, integrative veterinarians, and other practitioners and educators. It was then that I launched my holistic health practice to serve both dogs and people.
Q: How are you using your Health Coach Training Program education?
So, as I mentioned, I became a holistic health practitioner for both dogs and people after studying health and wellness for both.
I realized early on that I was as interested in advocating for dogs and their health as I was interested in being a health coach for people. I saw my own concerns about my dog’s ailments and aging, about dog food, toxins, stress, safety, and pills for every ill in the veterinary field versus a holistic approach with root causes evaluated and nutrition prioritized. I saw my dog having problems that maybe could’ve been avoided – arthritis, tremors, a cancer scare. I couldn’t just rely on his vets, occasional check-ups, and the typical monthly cocktail of chemicals and toxins in the name of prevention. I needed to study up and implement changes to improve his well-being and chances of a long health span with a way more balanced approach to disease prevention.
I realized a lot of other dog parents and guardians were frustrated with the conventional veterinary medical model, frustrated by how little time they get if they can even get an appointment and how their dogs kept having the same symptoms. I saw they were overwhelmed by dog food options and unclear on what food could be medicine. I saw how worried dog parents were about their dogs aging, getting sick and possibly dying while they felt helpless - unaware that they had a lot of power to protect their dogs and promote longevity – more than most realize to this day. So I help them get clear on lifestyle, environmental and, of course, dietary decisions they can make to fortify the immune system and help their dogs thrive along with themselves. Diet is key and most vets don’t study nutrition much or take much time to explain food choices. My services complement standard vet care, I’d say. Of course, they don’t replace vets any more than they replace doctors, but I’m pioneering holistic health coaching for dogs along with a select few others out there.
Add to all of this that I had an alarming wake-up call to put my own oxygen mask on before my dog’s when I was rushed to the hospital a few years ago to undergo life-saving procedures where the root cause of all the physical trauma was actually stress. It’s wild how stress can induce a hormonal response that can literally kill you, deplete your blood, and require organ removal. It was time to renew my commitment to my own well-being at that point instead of just laser-focusing on my dog. And thus, my business was born – for both dogs and people.
Q: How did your understanding of Health Coaching expand upon taking the program?
I never knew anything about health coaching before getting certified through IIN. I was always fascinated by alternative medicine, but I didn’t realize how big the community of integrative health practitioners was until IIN introduced me to many of them. I was inspired and continue to learn from IIN instructors – both doctors and other practitioners - to this day. As for health coaches, it’s good that society is catching on that health outcomes improve when coaches are used.
Q: Did IIN help you find a way of eating that works for you? If so, tell us more about that journey.
The concept of bio-individuality is one of my favorite lessons from IIN. I try to listen to my body more than I used to. I also try to have my diet match my ethics, but I am not fully vegan. My severe anemia of the past wouldn’t let me be, for one thing.
Q: How do you nourish yourself beyond your plate with primary foods?
You can probably guess my relationship with my dog is the most nourishing and fulfilling relationship and “primary food” in my life. My connection to all animals and nature along with my spiritual practices that do involve animals (energy healing, animal communication, meditation with spirit guides) all feed my soul and spirit immensely. Daily walks with my dog and social interactions in the dog community boost my mood and are part of our human-animal bond. There’s a lot of joy shared outside and at home. Keeping my home neat, tidy, and serene helps me function. In our house, you’ll find low lighting, calming music, sage burning, lots of natural light and a thousand signs that my dog lives here and runs the show. Other primary foods – education and creativity, which I combine in my work. I’ve got a voracious appetite for knowledge and this former arts curator likes curating content for my upcoming course and membership plus for business marketing. It’s fun.
Q: How are you living a life you love? How did the program help you achieve this?
I lead an authentic life. I live in alignment with my values. The program inspired me to check in about that. I’m connected to the earth, the universe, my loved ones and my purpose. I’m proud that I took a giant leap and moved across country away from my community, my people, my city. I’m happy that we have more access to nature now. I’m proud that I’ve taken risks and made career changes more than once. I love all the training I’ve gotten. I love what I do. I love helping animals in every way I can. I’m an animal advocate and feel fiercely protective of dogs in particular. I love being entrenched in the dog community and also helping dog parents take control of their family’s well-being. It matters. It’s that ripple effect.
Q: Health is not a destination; it's an evolution and a journey—how does this resonate with you?
It resonates in a big way. I always think about how health is a journey – for both animals and people. It means that we can’t take health for granted and the time to work on it is now. Don’t wait for a bad diagnosis. Take steps to prevent it!
But you know what else the journey means? It means we need not feel defeated if we or our animals become unwell. We all know people and dogs whose cancer has gone into remission and some of us have seen diabetes reversed and mobility improved with age. I’ve seen my own dog thrive despite earlier health challenges. And I work on improving his well-being everyday with dietary choices, rehab exercises, detox tools, clean/green products, various healing modalities like laser, massage, acupuncture, ozone and Reiki plus bonding activities and more.
As for human health, it is so clearly a journey. We go through tough times and our overall vitality suffers. We feel better about our place in life and it seems like the universe is conspiring to bring us all we need. Our tastes and preferences change with time – food, social life, relationships, activities. Our food tolerances can change with age. We may have liked running in our twenties, yoga in our 30s and pilates in our 40s. Maybe we used to sleep like a rock and then struggle with insomnia from hormonal changes. Maybe we move and get exposed to different toxins that compromise our health. And often people seem more comfortable in their own skin with age. Less self-conscious. What a wonderful evolution that is. Finally, I’ll say I think it’s important to be vigilant about lifestyle and environmental choices we can make to maintain or improve health.
Q: If you could tell your pre-IIN self one thing, what would it be?
Get quiet and still to find what works for you and utilize a holistic approach to well-being.
Q: What is your morning routine?
Do people get up before noon? Alarm, snooze, cuddle with my dog, Athletic Greens to get my needed vitamin/mineral/phytonutrient/antioxidant/probiotic intake out of the way, mushroom coffee on a walk with my dog, breakfast for him and eventually for me while I catch up on news and notes. I don’t find quiet time to meditate or do energy work until later in the day.
Q: What music do you play to get out of a funk?
Bill Withers ‘Lovely Day’ is a go-to classic. Also Ziggy Marley’s “Dragonfly” among other tunes. Tom Petty. Prince and Stevie Wonder especially in the past. Florence & The Machine. I love so many genres, so it’s tough to list everything and everyone. If I’m feeling stressed and want to get calm, I’ll put a meditation station on even if I’m not meditating then.
Q: What's your favorite on-the-go snack?
I’m obsessed with olives. My husband jokes that I order olives for dessert. Now that Trader Joe’s makes olive packs and artichoke packs, the combo along with a good cashew cheese like Miyoko’s on some healthy cracker like Mary’s is my favorite on-the-go snack. I do forget to eat sometimes and then realize I’m hungry right as my dog is about to take me on a 90-minute walk. So just a pack of olives is sometimes the menu.
Q: What's one thing you can't run your business without?
The inspiration of animals, especially Django.
Q: We are calling our IIN graduates and community members Well BeIINgs - how do you embody well beIINg?
Well, my business is called Well Beings Unleashed, so I think my dog and I could be your mascot. Ha. The term well-being resonates with me more than health. I’m not your stereotypical health nut. I’m motivated to take care of myself so that I can be here to take care of my dog more than anything. I crave healthy food – vegetables in particular, but I’m not passionate about cooking. I stay active, but I’m no fitness guru. I love my sleep, but I’m a night owl. I love Scottish whisky. I value connection as well as being a homebody. I embrace my spirituality and creativity. Learning lights me up as does helping protect my clients’ dogs. I love what I do. I love the people and animals I serve. I am a spiritual being having a physical experience called life. It’s a bumpy ride, but finding joy and purpose is key to embodying well-being.