As a Reiki practitioner I just never stop learning, as an Animal Reiki practitioner the animals never stop teaching me and as a Reiki Teacher this can only be a good thing!
I was reminded of this during my recent visit to The Tree of Life for Animals (TOLFA) in Rajasthan India. TOLFA is a shelter on the front line of animal welfare and some of the animals coming in are in a very poor physical condition and it is fair to say staff see a lot of extreme cases that we just don’t have experience of in the west. So for me it would be a test of my belief in Reiki, to work with the animals and teach Reiki to members of the shelter staff – while trying not to feel overwhelmed – so some gentle reminders about the fundamentals of Reiki from the animals, were most welcome.
The Tree of Life for Animals was founded by Rachel Wright in 2005. Rachel is a British vet nurse who is dedicated to animal welfare, she was awarded the CEVA Welfare Vet Nurse of the year in 2012 is highly regarded for her work in the community where she now lives in India. Rachel and I met in 2002 while studying Essential Oil Therapy for animals and both living in London. Rachel gave me my first experience of offering Reiki to animals by inviting me to the veterinary surgery where she worked and had recently set up a programme of complementary therapies for animals, with a lovely room dedicated to this purpose within the surgery.
TOLFA – The hospital sits in a beautiful valley in the Aravalli Mountain range, between Pushkar and Ajmer in rural Rajasthan. The hospital is surrounded by beautiful countryside, still green after the monsoon, perfect for dog walking. Pushkar is one of the oldest towns in India known for the famous Bahma Temple built in the 14th century, According to legend, the origin of Pushkar dates back to the time when lord Brahma was on his way in search of a tranquil land, lotus fell from the hands of the lord into this valley and a lake sprang up on this spot which was dedicated to him. The Brahma temple located here is a popular place of pilgrimage the area has a wonderful energy attracting many tourists and travellers visiting the holy lake and taking part yoga, meditation and ayurvedic health retreats. Pushkar is also famous for its Camel Fair which TOLFA attends every year to educate the public on animal welfare.
The majority of animals coming through Tolfa’s gates are street or community dogs. Life on the street is hard and when they become ill or injured their local caregiver will contact Tolfa or ambulance staff will pick up sick and injured animals on their rounds. After treatment the animal is always returned to it’s own neighbourhood, if possible.
Tolfa runs a volunteer programme welcoming anyone with animal experience and time, willing to give a bit TLC to the animals in their care. In fact, Rachel sees what she calls Nurturing Volunteers as an essential part of care and rehabilitation that animals receive not only veterinary treatment but also love and attention, so welcomes volunteers especially those with therapies such as Reiki.
So it was as a ‘Nurturing Volunteer’ that I spent 6 weeks there in 2010 putting into practice my skills as a holistic therapist including aromatherapy, massage zoopharmacognosy and Reiki. This year 2013 sees TOLFA become a SARA shelter and I was honoured to attune some wonderful practitioners to Animal Reiki.
My First Day
Accompanying Rachel on her morning tour I soon had a list of animals that she wanted me to do some work with: some had wounds that were taking a long time to heal – perfect candidates for essential oils and nutritional supplements. Many were undergoing treatment that would mean long-term care and, as well as the stress of being confined in a kennel, the veterinary treatment although essential can be a frightening encounter and painful for dogs. Some, suffering from Mange, had already been subjected to emotional trauma while other animals were ready to pass over – TOLFA never turns an away an animal in need and many spend their last days being cared for and loved in safety.
Rachel already had in mind that Reiki could be an important part of end of life care at the shelter and that was certainly to be the theme of this visit, something I needed to work through also, having had a very difficult experience with one of my own precious dogs a number of years ago. Funny how Reiki works, isn’t it!
Remember To Listen
A little black and white dog who had been in a road traffic accident and left with paralysis of her hind legs.
Many of the permanent residents are dogs with paralysis or amputees and I would ask anyone questioning the quality of life for these dogs to just spend some time watching them play and interact with the people and other dogs at the shelter. Of course there are some health issues connected with their conditions but veterinary care is on hand 24/7 and their health is carefully monitored. I watched one little dog speed across the compound on balancing her weight on her front legs to meet her friend, who also only had two good legs, the pure joy as they played was a pleasure to watch.
Back to the little black and white dog. She was very unhappy and although receiving the medical care she needed, didn’t seem to be improving and would warn people off when approached and avoided human contact at all costs. Rachel explained she had the same type of injury as some of the other shelter dogs who coped well and felt there was no physical reason for her to be so depressed. She lived in the puppy yard a secure walled space with sheltering tree where the puppies and younger dogs can move around freely.
As soon as I went into meditation and offered her Reiki she began to move towards me, over to where I sat on a concrete platform passing by my feet then settled directly in front of me a little way off where she made direct eye contact and accepted Reiki for a while (I took the photo when I felt she had enough) but then she came towards me again and tried to climb up on to the concrete platform – at this point one of the staff members reminded me not to touch this dog as she was ‘dangerous’, kind of breaking our connection!
I felt we had made progress so that evening back at the hotel I offered Reiki again distantly and felt an instant connection. I picked up a strong feeling of ‘regret’ and she showed me how her life had changed in an instant, and she just didn’t see the point without her legs. This was really hard to hear and I was determined to help her see that she was now in a safe place where she would be taken care of and loved. We continued with a very strong connection for some time.
Next morning I started my day in the office making up remedies and essential oil blends while Rachel and the veterinary staff made their rounds, then I thought I could go and spend some extra time with the little black and white dog. But it was not to be, she had passed away while I had been in the office, my first thought was why didn’t I go straight to her?, why couldn’t I help her?
Had I really listened to what she was saying I would have realised this was her choice, we have no influence on the outcome and by holding the Reiki space help them to pass in peace and move on if that is their choice. So we sat together in a Reiki space for a while.
Remember – No Expectations, Detach From The Outcome
H9 or Harry is a beautiful soul. He has mange and infected wounds when he was brought in to TOLFA. The mange dogs have suffered twofold, the condition itself is debilitating and leaves them open to secondary disease and complications and emotionally they can be very depressed. As a result of their appearance they are unwanted by the community and often chased away from their homes. It is a common sight to see people throwing stones at such unfortunates, they become pariahs.
Harry is a severe case possessing only a few tufts of hair on his head, the colour reminding me of Prince Harry’s hence his name, I’m sure he’ll be very handsome when it all grows back!
Harry was on my Reiki list and we soon became friends, he is a lovely gentle boy always ready with a wag of his tail. Towards the end of October the weather turned unexpectedly cold at night, earlier than usual, catching everyone off guard (normally shutters are drawn and blankets dispensed to help the more vulnerable dogs cope with the cold. Rajasthan is a desert state and temperatures can drop to minus 0 in the winter months. On checking Harry one morning found him cold to the touch, we moved him out in to the sun and he was given emergency fluids and treatment. He didn’t seem to be responding and other signs meant that things weren’t looking so good for him, my heart sank as I prepared myself for the worst. As I sat with him I felt drawn to chant the mantra for the master symbol, the power of the vibration merging with the sounds of the dogs around us, I would be with him holding the Reiki space while he passed – Harry had other ideas, imagine my delight when he sat up looked up into my face and wagged his tail! Reiki can provide that spark that a soul needs to heal when they are just not ready to go – it is their choice we just consciously bring the energy within their reach.
He continues to improve and before I left found a lovely thick fleecy blanket in the market for his bed. He is still receiving Reiki and his Spirulina milk shakes, which from the photo you can tell he loves.
UPDATE FROM RACHEL AT TOLFA: “Today was funny…I was doing Reiki with another little mange guy in H7 but kneeling in the gallery and your man, promptly got out of his bed (which he hardly ever wants to leave) and pressed himself against the kennel gate trying to get in on the action…he was lapping it up!!”
Remember To See With Your Heart
Mouse my Little Reiki Helper!
I would feel a constant presence at my side while working – even when I was sure I had closed gates – I would turn and this little dog would be standing at my leg. I gave up trying to contain him, he could squeeze through any hole, gap, drain and he was just there – while I walked the other dogs, gave treatments, and offered Reiki. Mouse was a new addition the group of Shelter dogs who live permanently at Tolfa and Rachel explained he had come in as a suspected rabies case and had been rescued from a not so nice area of a nearby town, with an unusual canine tooth/jaw arrangement going on, he looks as though he is about to bite and this had led to him being neglected and abused.
I started to look forward to his quiet calm deep thinking presence during my day, I’m sure he was joining in with my Reiki sessions. So with a little patience and the kindness shown to him by people who could see beyond his appearance, he is settling in well at Tolfa.
UPDATE FROM JEMMA AT TOLFA: “I came in the other morning and was trying to work out who he lively, happy little dog was instigating play with Ginger and Honey… really, it took me a while to realise it was Mouse! He was jumping and leaping about without a care in the world!”
Our class was held in a lovely room in the education centre overlooking part of the shelter compound on one side and fields on the other, a beautiful healing space. We were joined in the morning by seven orphans – five newborn puppies whose mother had just been brought in to Tolfa, but had passed away while giving birth during the night, another poorly 2 week old puppy and a feisty newborn kitten.
By the end of our day all of the puppies had passed away to join their mum, a big lesson for any practitioner is that healing doesn’t always mean the restoration of physical health and can be purely spiritual, and I am so proud of my students, although sad, we all recognised what had taken place, we had helped them on their journey in peace and with love. The kitten continues to thrive.
This reminds me of another essential part of our practice, self healing, the work we do is so emotional and can be draining, we really need to include ourselves in the healing process so that we can continue to give our best. Please read Kathleen’s brilliant workshop/article on Self-Healing for Animal Caregivers.
I thank all of the wonderful people doing this difficult but rewarding job at TOLFA and all of the animals I met they made my visit very special.
Now that TOLFA is a SARA Shelter all animals passing through its gates will be offered Reiki and will be available to support the staff and caregivers.
Left to Right: Jemma Sadler, Cristal, Maria Jose Sanchez, Rachel Wright.
Written by: SARA Teacher Alison McKinnon
In January of 2013 my two sons and I adopted a beautiful little Blue Merle Sheltie named Gerry. The day we picked him up from the shelter he was so timid that he ran and hid under the desk when he saw us. It took a while, but finally we managed to coax him into the kennel with some treats. My oldest son took him to the car and he headed home with us, his new forever family.
The first night at our house was stressful for all of us. He seemed calm and relaxed in the car ride home so when we got him to the room where he would be sleeping, we opened the kennel door. Unfortunately Gerry was so terrified and stressed that he ran out and messed all over the carpet. We managed to coax him back into the kennel and gave him an hour or so of quiet time before taking him for his first walk. Gerry was so frightened that when he got out on the front step he bolted and slipped his collar. Fortunately he turned to the right when he got to the end of the driveway and thankfully ended up in our neighbor’s backyard. It took a while but we eventually managed to catch him. By the time we put him to bed that night we were wondering if we had made the right decision adopting a timid dog like Gerry, especially when we had never owned a dog in the city and we were quite inexperienced.
Fortunately things began to improve after that, we became more comfortable with Gerry and Gerry became more comfortable with us. He was still extremely timid and often cowered when you made a move towards him.
5 weeks went by and Gerry was slowly coming around, he knew the morning routine and would actually venture up the stairs on his own to await his walk. He had improved to the point that I felt it was time to switch from a harness to a collar so that I could teach him how to walk beside me versus walking in front or behind me. The night I purchased the collar I took Gerry for a walk and I was so proud of the way he minded with the new collar, he seemed proud of himself as well. It was the perfect end to a perfect day, it felt like things were finally turning around.
The next morning he came up and waited in the porch for me to get ready. I checked his new collar and noticed that it was extremely tight so I decided to loosen it a notch. When we got out on the front step something startled him and he slipped the collar, I watched him run down the street as fast as his little legs could carry him and by the time I got to the end of the block he was already halfway up the next one. I was mad at myself for switching to a collar, how could I have made the same mistake twice? I was also terrified that we may never see him again.
Gerry was spotted numerous times in the first week, both in our subdivision as well as in acreages 2 miles south of us, then suddenly he disappeared for a week. I was worried sick about him being out there all alone and I felt responsible. The 2nd week he was missing my Reiki teacher and practitioner Hazel Butterworth sent Gerry’s picture to Kristy Mcgale who specializes in Animal Reiki. Kristy connected with Gerry, she said she saw train tracks and popcorn. Asked him if he was okay. Got a yes and no answer, she said he seemed to be missing his foster family. She also sent him Reiki. Hazel suggested that I too send Gerry distance Reiki. I had taken my level 1 & 2 in the fall of 2011 and for some reason had stopped practicing daily. I decided it was time to get back to it. I had a stuffed dog that has a mane similar to Gerry so I decided to use this dog whenever I connected with Gerry and sent him distance Reiki. Hazel suggested that while he was away I should contemplate what I was learning from this experience.
I had been seriously contemplating the lessons I was learning and the one that stood out the most was “acceptance”, we were so hung up on his Gerry’s timid nature and wishing he was more friendly and cuddly. But the day he left I could feel the absence of his loving and peaceful energy and I realized in that moment just how much he brought to our household just with his presence. It seemed Gerry had an impact on everyone who met him. He had the most beautiful mane and it is shaped like a heart. He really is a miraculous, magical dog.
Hazel suggested that I surrender the outcome, he knows you are there and he is wanting to return on his terms. Letting go and surrendering the outcome was proving to be difficult indeed, especially since Gerry had been missing for almost a week, but the Reiki helped lift me up and renewed my faith. Each morning and night I would connect and send Reiki to Gerry, and during these times I could feel the energy exploding through my heart, there was definitely a connection between us.
A few days later Gerry appeared one morning sunning himself under a tree in the park just beyond our back fence. He had eaten the food we continued to leave out for him on the front porch. As soon as I went out to the backyard with his kennel he ran away to the woods behind our house. I left the kennel in the backyard with food thinking he may come back, but he didn’t return that night.
The next night he appeared in the backyard looking for food. I snuck out quietly and closed the gate, as soon as he heard me he started to pace back and forth along the fence line. I decided I would let him settle for a few minutes before I went out to catch him, but by the time I got outside he must have figured out how to jump the fence and was long gone. I started to receive messages that Gerry was not coming home until I surrendered. We tried 2 more times that week to trap him in the backyard but each time he jumped the fence. On the third night he waited until we were in bed to return and eat the food we left for him, then he vanished.
The days passed and no sign of Gerry and no calls either. It suddenly became apparent to me that we were not “getting” the lesson that Gerry was here to teach. A week after he vanished Kristy McGale stopped by with her dog Logan. She wanted to take a walk around the area where he had last been spotted to see if she could connect to Gerry. She also visited with my son Cody and I and offered some suggestions on how we could connect with Gerry. She suggested visualizing a bridge, one on which he could meet us half way. I am so grateful to her for sharing this information as I found it enabled me to connect with Gerry in a different way. My focus now became acceptance of who he is (timid or not) and suggesting that we both release our fears about this situation and meet in the middle.
Hazel and Kristy’s recommendations enabled me to surrender the fear of him never coming back and to instead focus on love and acceptance. On March 24th over a month after Gerry had run away I connected with Gerry at bedtime. I asked him if he wanted to come home and he said YES. I asked him if I had his permission to trap him, if that’s what it would take to bring him home, he said YES. I then let him know that in order for him to be found he would have to let someone see him so that they could contact us. This session moved me deeply and gave me a sense of peace that I had not felt in a very long time.
The evening of March 27th a gentleman named Ben called to say that he thinks he has our dog. He works at a Landscaping company about 28 km southwest of us. He said that this little dog started appearing about 3 days ago. The reason he had not called right away is because it took him a couple of days to find my lost dog ad on Kijiji. He said Gerry was staying in one of their storage sheds so they started to feed him. They had attempted to get near him but he would run up into the back of the property and stay there until they went home at night. They started to close all doors to the shed except one and hoped that the following morning when they came in they would manage to trap him in the shed.
I connected with Gerry that night and let him know that these people wanted to help him come home and that it was okay to trust them. The next morning Ben called to say that he was not in the shed but when they went looking around the property they found him caught in the fence. They brought him into Ben’s office and made him a comfortable little spot where he felt safe and secure. It’s hard to explain the happiness I felt inside when I saw our Gerry lying there on the floor in Ben’s office. He looked smaller than I remembered… I sat with him for a bit then put his harness and leash on and coaxed him into his kennel. I thanked them with all my heart for reuniting us with Gerry.
I must make mention that railroad tracks run very near the place where Gerry was found and the movie theaters (popcorn) are also nearby. Thanks Kristy!
It’s impossible to express in words how grateful I am to all who assisted us in bringing Gerry home. I also feel such gratitude for this little dog Gerry who sacrificed himself so that we may learn the importance of letting go of judgement and surrendering the outcome of our lives to God and the Universe. Gerry truly is a Magic Dog and we are extremely blessed that he chose us to be his forever family.
NOTE FROM SARA: Brenda Tompkins is not a SARA member but her story came to us from SARA Teacher Kristy McGale who thought our members might find it interesting. If you know of a story that would fit our blog, please feel free to submit it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
I wasn’t looking for a dog. I was quite happy and content with seven unique cats. (Yes, you could say I live in a cathouse). I certainly didn’t anticipate a little dog to come into my life, teaching me to look at my Reiki practice and The Precepts in ever new ways. But let me back up a bit.
I had been volunteering Reiki at a wildlife refuge, for almost two years when Beth, the founder, came up to me and said, “I was at the shelter and one of the people said he was trying to use more natural and holistic ways of calming the dogs down and I told him about you and Reiki. Give him a call”. So I did.
Mike had two particular dogs in mind to work with; Serafina, a very sweet, incredibly shy lab mix, and Frosty, a Jack Russell Terrier/Chihuahua mix, who would nip at people and would circle her kennel endlessly.
After working with Serafina for two visits, she was less shy and was adopted by a nice family. Frosty, who had been in shelter/foster environments for almost two years, was still there. I was warned when I went to work with her” “Don’t pet her, even if she jumps in your lap, she’ll bite”. Volunteers were afraid of her. At one point, one person mentioned that someone recommended having all of her teeth pulled so she would be more adoptable. As it was, she could not be in a home with children or other dogs. For a couple of sessions I worked with her right outside of her kennel. Then we moved into a room, away from the barking and distractions of all the other dogs. She would circle the room and then settle in my lap, sigh and fall asleep. She would put her head under my hand and stay very still.
As the weeks went by, I offered Reiki to all the animals and watched as many were adopted. I wasn’t tempted to adopt any of them because, 1) the shelter was very careful about who adopted, so I knew they would be okay and 2) it is a No-Kill shelter, so there not a deadline, so to speak. Still, it is hard on animals to be a shelter, no matter how kind the people are.
Frosty started to be more affectionate to me and I started to have a nagging thought to maybe adopt her. (I’d have to make sure my landlord wouldn’t mind, that she and the cats would get along, etc.). Then Frosty went into a foster home. I asked how it was going and it sounded like he was going to adopt her. He had one cat and a bird and I thought it would be great for Frosty. And I didn’t have to disrupt my calm little life.
Then, after a month in the foster home, I came to the shelter and Frosty was back in the kennel. For personal reasons, her foster dad was unable to keep her. She looked heartbroken. I was heartbroken for her.
I kept working with her and learned that she didn’t just bite or snap out of the blue, she gave very clear warnings, if you were paying attention. I began to think about adoption becoming a reality.
I checked with my landlord (he said okay) and we had several home visits to see how Frosty would be with the cats and vice versa. So far, so good.
I adopted Frosty at the end of November.
So this 5-7 year old dog, who had been a stray, then in a kill shelter, rescued to a no-kill shelter and had been in two foster homes, with back and knee problems, was now my dog. I had not had a dog before.
Thank God for The Precepts! For Today Only is the only way to live when everyone is learning to adjust to changes in household! I learned that I have to get up a bit earlier so that Frosty can have her morning walk and take care of bathroom issues. (I recently saw a cartoon with a dog talking about its person saying: “She seems nice enough, but when we go on a walk, she steals my poop!”) The cats learned they had a new housemate, and tried to graciously welcome her. Sometimes Frosty was equally gracious, sometimes, not so much. A couple of times she chased a cat into another room and then I’d hear a hiss, followed by a yelp and Frosty running back with a scratch across her nose. Another time, Frosty was trotting thru the house, leash trailing behind her, when she came to an abrupt stop. I investigated and there were seven cats all sitting on her leash. Frosty doesn’t hold a grudge, doesn’t plot to get those evil kitties. In fact, she will sometimes give them a big, sloppy kiss. And I will often find them all curled up on the bed together.
Frosty, with all of her past pain, lives each day without worrying or fear. There is only today. What happened a month ago is over. How she ended up in the streets doesn’t matter. And there is not the slightest sign that she is concerned about the next minute, let alone the next day. She savors each moment, with a look of “Isn’t this the most amazing day ever– don’t you see it”?! She is a very happy dog; she will come in after a walk and roll around on the floor in sheer joy!
One day, coming home from a walk in the neighborhood, I heard a low growl and looked up to see a very big dog loose, with no owner to be seen. The dog looked at Frosty and charged. I got Frosty up onto my trash can, opened my door and got her inside while holding off the big dog. (The dog was not the least bit interested in me, I was in no danger, Frosty was). The dog took off and I went inside to a concerned Frosty. I sat down and started crying from the stress, and Frosty came over and started licking my face and sat in my lap. She showed me such compassion and simply was present with me and let me be, as she simply was herself, fully present to me and fully present with me.
Frosty shows me The Precepts in being fully present in the moment. I realized I was more rigid than I had thought, attached to a particular way of doing things (or to sleeping an extra hour). She teaches me to let go, to breathe, to dive into the now. I look at the snow falling in a different way; I always thought it was beautiful, but to see Frosty dive into the snow and tunnel her way out makes me laugh out loud. There is newness in everything when you see with fresh eyes. The Precepts tell us that, that’s why “For Today Only” is so important, it is the only time, the only moment, so it is ever new. Frosty lives this, without pretense, in an utterly free way; no worries about if it is correct or if she is correct. She simply is; no worries, no apologies, no angst. And I am learning and feeling lighter and freer as I continue to learn from Frosty, Reiki Dog and Teacher.
Kris Azzarello – Shelter Animal Reiki Association Teacher
Reiki has taken centre stage at Remus this month, as Kathleen teaches her first ever UK Animal Reiki Class. She has taught over 30 students, over 5 days, with people travelling from literally all over the world; Portugal, USA and a vet from Japan. Kathleen has transformed people’s lives and left us all with a true feeling of optimism and hope.
Kathleen’s visit to Remus had firstly been a dream, a thought, a vision and then finally it became a reality. I had spent the last two years, talking to Sue and my students about how brilliant Kathleen was. At each of my Reiki SARA group meetings at Remus, I would day dream about actually meeting her and drift off into my dreamy world. Now that the day had truly arrived, I could hardly contain my excitement and was so nervous. Meeting Kathleen, I was also blessed to meet Leah too and yes! they looked exactly like their photo and how I expected them to be. ‘Just lovely’. We shared some precious girlie moments and had a good giggle. Below, I have shared some of my highlights from Kathleen’s visit although there were, many, many more.
Arriving at Remus, they too could see what I have always seen. This beautiful Animal Sanctuary, at that very moment I was so proud of Remus and felt a deep wave of emotion pass over me. Sue showed us around Remus, where we were able to meet all of the animals. The sun was shining and the animals opened up their hearts to Kathleen. It was almost as if they too had been waiting for her to come, so they could help her to teach.
Kathleen taught Level 1 Animal Reiki on the first day, she took the lesson in the big Remus field. I have worked with the horses there often offering Reiki to them and I watched intently as Kathleen taught her students. One of the Remus horses Sally made straight for one of the students and started to push her around in circles. This is something she has never done before and it was not aggressive, it was just a definite push. Kathleen, spoke to the student and said “It is OK to have boundaries and to say no” with that Sally trotted off, as her message had been understood and the effect on the student was life changing as this was an issue she had been dealing with all her life.
The next day on the Equine class, again we were standing in the field and there were 18 students standing in a line. It was so funny to watch, as Stanley, one of the horses came to stand with the students to listen to what Kathleen was going to say. Then Thomas another horse walked up to Kathleen, placed himself next to her and allowed her to show us Reiki Hand positions, if an animal so chooses. I have to say, watching Kathleen with the animals, was so special. She lived up to everything I thought she would be and much more. She was able to put up with my ‘ditsyness’ as on one day I actually managed to lose all of the Shinpiden students, yes! that is true.
Kathleen finished with her 3 day Animal Reiki Teacher workshop and it was here that Apollo the head of the herd came to teach the students. As they meditated in the middle of the field, she came over to be part of the Reiki energy and to show that she was definitely the Matriarch . She taught many of the students about what Animal Reiki truly is, it is not about placing hands on the animals but it is about the animal having the choice. For me this class was by far, the most life changing for me, as a student and a SARA teacher. I have still, so much to practice on a daily basis and cannot wait for her return next year. The Remus animals will be ready and waiting to help Kathleen to teach, they so enjoyed teaching us so many lessons, if we would just listen.
For anyone wishing to do Animal Shinpiden Level 3 Reiki, my advice would be to start saving now, as Kathleen is light years ahead of truly understanding how to offer Reiki to animals. I myself, have been so inspired to take my SARA group to the next level and have lots of wonderful ideas for for supporting SARA/Kathleen’s students here in the UK.
A lovely, beautiful tanned coloured American Pit Bull had just been delivered to the shelter where I volunteered. She had been found wandering the streets, and the person who found her, delivered her to us. She was named Chloe and it was obvious “Chloe” had recently had pups but she was in excellent condition.
Unfortunately that week I was too busy to have a Reiki session with her but I worked with her the following week and during this Reiki session I discovered she hated the name Chloe and was, in fact, refusing all attempts at interacting with the shelter staff due to this. I picked up that her name started with the letter “R” and said this to a lovely New Zealand vet who worked at the shelter then. She renamed Chloe “Riri”, which was a New Zealand name. Riri loved her new name and began to interact with the shelter staff.
I had also picked up that Riri had been used as a breeding dog and had continually had her pups taken from her. The last litter was taken away at birth and disposed of due to the bad publicity American Pit Bulls were receiving in Australia (the breed was being illegally imported into Australia for dog fighting and also a number of children had been badly savaged by them). Riri was devastated by the loss of her puppies and had been looking for them when found and delivered to the shelter.
I continued to work with Riri and found her to be a beautiful, intelligent dog but she could not stop looking for her puppies. There was also another, horrible problem. Riri did not get on with any of the other shelter dogs, in fact, whenever Riri was walked passed the dogs, the other dogs would lunge and bark profusely at her and of course Riri would retaliate. This was not a good sign and it continued to get worse. Riri began to lose weight and would sometimes be aggressive to some shelter staff but Riri was always the perfect lady with me as well as the New Zealand vet.
After a couple of months of working with Riri, unfortunately due to her aggressiveness with other dogs/shelter staff and because of her breed, it was decided Riri had to be PTS (Put To Sleep). This decision is not taken lightly as we try very hard to rehabilitate all animals that come to us.
I was asked to assist in putting Riri to sleep and this I did readily. Riri was brought from her pen into the clinic and she behaved in such a lady-like manner. As the injection was prepared, I held Riri and told her what a beautiful girl she was and what a privilege it was to know her as I gave her Reiki one last time. Very gently she fell asleep while receiving her Reiki, which she loved, and then I “saw” a small, darkish, male puppy come to her. He was the same colour as her ears and I knew it was one of the puppies she had so longingly looked for. At last Riri was reunited with at least one of her pups, which is all she ever wanted. I knew she was finally at peace. Although Reiki was unable to rehabilitate Riri into a new home, it gave Riri the most important thing to her, her beloved puppy.
For ten days I have been hired to be the lead dog. The other dogs in question are two big, black labs named Auggie and Oslo. They are in my care whilst their people are basking in the sunshine on the sunny beaches of Florida. In the course of our time together I am engaging in an un-scientific experiment to see what changes ten days of Reiki might bring to two goofy dogs. I have the blessing of their people with the suggestion that Auggie may be beyond help.
Being a cat person, I am observing very interesting canine behavior. They love to play fetch, for instance. Even when my cats want to play, “fetch” is not in their repertoire. Neither is “come here” for that matter. Basically, I do the fetching (food, treats and such). I also have to go to them if I want to give them attention. Dogs are just the opposite.
Anyway, I embarked on my experiment with evening sessions of Reiki and little short sessions when appropriate. One can never have too much Reiki and, in my estimation, these guys can certainly benefit. No judgment here, just observation.
On the first night I sat in a chair near their beds and set my intention. I let them know they could have as much Reiki as they would like. I told them they didn’t have to have it if they didn’t want to. Then, I began my Joshin Kokyu Ho breathing.
Oslo, the older dog, was curious right away while Auggie, the bigger dog moved farther away. As the energy flowed, Oslo came over and checked out my hands. Then, he went to his bed and rolled over, showing his belly and wagging his tail. Auggie stayed away.
Auggie won’t let Oslo near me, though he comes over and smells my hands and abdomen. He engages Oslo in wrestling and the session ends so they can go outside before they break something.
While I am throwing the ball (outside) endlessly for Auggie, Oslo sits at my feet. I crouch down and put my hands on his shoulders and feel the heat right away. I stay with him like that for a while, tossing the ball for Auggie. Eventually, Oslo runs off to join his buddy.
That night I sat in the chair again and Oslo was immediately asleep. Auggie kept trying to get him to play but he wasn’t having it. Auggie roamed around then came over to me. He sniffed at my hands and then began to snap at the air in front of me. He swung his big old head like a polar bear, back and forth, back and forth. Clearly he was noticing something. Then he left the room.
A repeat of day 3.
Days 5 through 10
I begin my breathing and Auggie immediately drops to the floor and is out like a light. Finally!!
Each evening from then on both Auggie and Oslo settle down right away for their Reiki session. Auggie gets up in the middle of it to have a big dose of water, then lays right down again. They are so quiet!
When I see my friend a couple of days after his return he asks, “What did you do to my dogs???!” He tells me Auggie was perfectly calm when they came home. No jumping. Completely out of character!
Auggie and Oslo post-Reiki
My bestie, Laurie, had posted on Facebook that her friend, Greg, had been in an accident and flipped his SUV. His Husky puppy, Argus who was with him in the vehicle, had bolted out of a broken window and ran away from the scene. Greg was taken to the hospital to make sure he was okay and had no idea where Argus had gone.
When I received Laurie’s message, I assumed she was saying the accident had just happened or at least not too long before her call. Later I found that it had been hours. Since the accident supposedly happened near an intersection behind my neighborhood, Laurie was alerting me in case I happened to run across Argus on the loose while I was out and about. After hearing from her though, I felt compelled to go looking for Argus. The accident occurred on a highway that is very busy and would be extremely dangerous for any animal on the loose.
As I started driving towards that intersection, I felt like I really needed to have the point of origin where the accident happened; there were so many possible places to start looking. Laurie texted me back: “fence road.” Well, I thought she was telling me the accident was near a fenced road. So I thought maybe the airport — there is a lot of fencing around there.
I told my neighbor and fellow animal lover about the situation. She also began looking and alerting others too. As we were both driving around searching, we started to think this is like looking for a needle in a haystack…lots of potential ways he could have gone…lots of wooded areas.
Although I was out there searching and desired that he be found by someone, anyone, I really had no expectations or even hope of finding him myself. I didn’t even do all the things mentally I know to do like visualizing finding Argus, surrounding him in light or anything like that, but because my life IS my Reiki practice, the “heat” was automatically on. Something I did do once I began driving around was say aloud, “Argus, where are you?” Right after I said that, I felt a sensation across my chest – like a sensation of what it would feel like to wear a harness. I do not to this day know what that meant — if anything. I told the Universe *if* I was going to be of service and find Argus, I was going to need A LOT of help because I do not have much skill at hearing and understanding intuition and the unseen helpers /guidance. My mind takes over and I usually do the exact opposite of any intuitive hits I may get, or I don’t understand the messages at all. I really thought the only way I was going to find Argus was if he just walked out in front of me. Everyone following the story hoped he would be found of course, but it seemed like a shot in the dark. I felt that way too.
I drove out to the airport area – farther and farther from the intersection behind my neighborhood. At that point I was feeling like I would need to give up and go on to a pet sit I was scheduled to do. I proceeded to drive behind the airport and circle back around to the highway. As I got back on the highway, I saw “Fence Road!” This was nowhere near the area behind my neighborhood incidentally. I thought that would be too odd to be a coincidence and then I also saw some debris from an accident. I thought: THIS IS IT!! I found the point of origin! For some reason that seemed very important.
I got Laurie on the phone as I stopped and got out of my car. I felt the strong compulsion to yell: “Argus!!!” So I did, though I felt silly. No, nothing happened. Laurie said she felt Argus would be no where near the accident since he is a Husky and would be miles from there by then. She also felt if he was nearby he would be stuck in the woods somewhere wrapped up around a tree because he had a retractable leash on. I continued to drive around anyway. I found a dog park nearby. I stopped there twice and asked a few people about seeing Argus. I found out later that is where Greg and Argus had just come from before the accident.
I had been driving around up and down Fence Road when I saw a cemetery and thought I would drive through there before REALLY giving up. Laurie kept telling me to give up and go on pet sitting. As I was driving to the cemetery, I missed my turn and had to cross the highway to turn around and come back. My neighbor and I both ruled out looking in the direction across the highway for some reason. Fence Road ends at the highway and across from that intersection behind some woods was a driveway that led to an office building of some sort – not a public road. Argus would have had to survive crossing four fast moving lanes of highway traffic to get there. That seemed unlikely.
I decided I still needed to look in that area. Well, I couldn’t believe my eyes!! There he was in the driveway as I pulled in!!! Right in front of me! It turns out the “needle” was on TOP of the haystack after all!! He was directly across from where the accident happened but could not be seen from the highway. Argus started to shy away from my calls so I knelt down and called him over. He dropped his head, wagged his tail, and hopped in my car! I was told later that he doesn’t get in vehicles on his own. He usually has to be lifted into them. Argus must have been SO ready to go home! It was truly amazing!!! And that’s SUCH an understatement! I was SO happy and grateful not to mention completely surprised! I kept saying to the Universe: thankyouthankyouthankyouthankyou!!!
After that, it was a little anti-climatic for a bit because I could get a hold of NO ONE to tell! Argus’ people were not my personal friends, so I didn’t have a way to contact them and didn’t know exactly where they lived. As it turned out they had left the hospital at about the time I found Argus, but their cell phones were dead, and no one could reach them to tell them their boy was found and safe. They immediately went looking for Argus upon leaving the hospital. Laurie disappeared from contact for about an hour. So here I am with the prize and no one to give him to! I finally reached Laurie and ended up taking Argus to her house until his people could be reached. It seemed as though Argus knew Laurie was the catalyst to his being found. He very warmly greeted her with lots of high fives. Really – high fives! So cute!!! Argus’ people got home after giving up the search to hear Laurie’s message on their answering machine that Argus had been found and was safe at her house getting a nice Reiki treatment. Tears of joy!!!
Though it was “me” that found Argus, I totally felt like I was merely being moved into play from unseen forces. At no time did I ever feel like this was my will, actions, or choice. It was the oddest experience of my life. I wish I could convey the exact feeling more accurately… Everyone wanted to thank me over and over, but it was me that felt like *I* needed to be the one thanking the Universe or whatever / whomever for being a part in this story. And I did – and do. THANK YOU!!!
I’ve recently had to witness a slew of hard, very hard, animal tragedies. I will not share those stories here as they would be too hard to hear for any animal lover. Being an animal lover and Reiki practitioner, when thrown into these kinds of “dark” experiences, I want the suffering to immediately come to a stop. Reiki usually does such a good job of doing just that. It’s usually very obvious that Reiki provides peace, comfort, or relief of some kind, and if they are close to passing, they go more quickly. But for these animals I could see none of that with my human eyes. It’s always possible that more goes on than any of us can see, but suffering is hard to bear witness to. These experiences left me reeling and doing A LOT of soul searching and questioning because there were so many of these tragedies – one after the other.
Getting to participate in Argus’ journey helped ME in so many healing ways. It was just what I needed for my tattered and broken heart. Contrasting and comparing the two kinds of experiences (light and dark; happy and sad) shows me that really NONE of it is up to me. Honestly, I don’t know for sure what IS really up to any of us – even our own experiences. Sometimes we’re part of the story, puzzle, or experiences of others. Sometimes maybe we are just the witness – no participation or action allowed or required, not just from the animals or ourselves, but from the Universe.
Laurie also tells me that the many people that followed the story on Facebook (with their breath held) were uplifted in many different ways. Argus being found in such a seemingly miraculous way was like an elixir for their souls too. Healing took place far and wide. Many people have told me different things that they personally have gotten out of this story. Some say it’s about never giving up hope. For some it’s about asking for guidance, or it’s about listening to intuition. Others say it’s about prayers being answered and Divine intervention. It is about all of these things. True. But for me personally it was being able to experience the light and dark, the happy and sad experiences of life realizing though we have every right to be happy or sad with those experiences, we may not have as much say in the outcomes or the process as we tend to think and hope. We have to let go of our preconceived notions of what we think ought to happen, keeping always in mind that Reiki helps bring about the highest good – whatever that may be. “Letting go” being the operative phrase.
Humans always want to know the “whys” and like to feel that we have some control over our world. These experiences tell me that it’s ALL really still a big mystery. Maybe the answers are like finding a needle in a haystack, or maybe the answers are right out in the open, right on top of the haystack, like Argus was, waiting for us when we get there. “Let go,” as Kathleen Prasad says, “even if we have to do it over and over again.” Thank you, Argus, for shining the light on all of our hearts. Animals are the best healers and teachers. This I DO know for certain!
She finds humour in the stresses of humans and believes, If only you would meditate more!
I would like to share with you this amazing picture that captured Logan my animal companion in one of her many meditation states. Yes, Logan meditates. It is true, she almost makes it look effortless, propped up on the bow of the boat her eyes are closed and there is a stillness in her. Questions within me start to arise when I studied this photo. What is it that she mediates about? Is there something I can learn from her?
I am blessed with the gift of an Animal teacher that whispers the words “you are loved” in my ear as we walked this path together.
At the time I wasn’t even aware that I had been meditating. You see Logan and I use to spend our spring and summers planting tree’s all over Alberta and British Columbia. Basically I was given boxes of seedlings (small trees) and was in charge of planting an area that had recently been logged. After you planted 10,000 trees the job becomes a little monotonous, muscle memory kicks in and your mind is free to wonder. And my mind did wonder! At one point I started to realise my mind was wondering a little too much and it was affecting the quality of the tree’s I had planted. So I started to focus more in the present moment and I would count in my head the steps I was taking before I planted a tree. 1..(step) 2 (step) 3 ( tree) 1..2…3 tree, 1…2..3..tree, 1 …2..3..tree. Looking back now I realise this was a form of mediation. Nine hours a day sometimes 6 months out of the year the tree’s would go in the ground.. 1..2..3..tree, 1…2…3..tree… Gradually I connected to a place of expanded awareness where I was still counting, still focused in the present moment but also able to expand my awareness in a much wider scale.
“I was there with you as you counted 1..2..3.. tree, 1..2..3..tree. I heard every step you took, I felt the focus and the expanded awareness and our connection to it all. It was like home for me and I continue to wait in that space for you to rejoin me. When you notice me sucking that special teddy bear and pushing my paws forward, I am counting ….1..2..3..( paw) 1…2…3..paw.. I am holding that expanded space. Remember? Meditate with me today and everyday”
Mediation is one of the 5 elements in the system of Reiki. Would you like to connect on a deeper level with your Animal companion? How about learning a few wonderful mediations that you and your animal can share together?
Sign up for an Animal Reiki workshop well supporting your local Shelter for more information on classes near you visit. www.shelteranimalreikiassociation.org
Animal Reiki Practitioner Teacher
If you’ve been to a farm recently chances are you have encountered a fly. In my work with Joy, a young Morgan horse, I certainly did! I observed Joy in the pasture swishing her tail and stomping her hooves to shake them off. I saw myself: impatient with the fly, irritated by the never ending buzz in my ear, swatting at it, just trying to get a little peace. I could insert many different words for “fly”, of course.
Actually, I began thinking about the fly factor one day while sitting outside with Abe, a little terrier, new to Rutland County Humane Society. As I was holding the Reiki space for Abe I was being dive bombed by a fly. Abe didn’t seem to notice, but I was getting more and more irritated as the fly buzzed around my head. I found it difficult to concentrate and to refrain from swatting at the intruder.
Something I stress when teaching a class is the importance of focus. When we are focused, the energy flows freely and we are completely present for our client, be it person or animal. We become the energy and move with it. Irritation and constant movement (i.e. swatting) disturbs the session and creates a less than ideal situation. We are not honoring the animal when we are distracted.
When I was with Abe I began using the precepts to bring myself back into the space…
- Do not anger-the fly is simply being a fly.
- Do not worry-the fly won’t hurt you.
- Be humble-honoring all creatures includes the fly.
- Be compassionate to yourself and others-use this opportunity to deepen your focus, include the fly in the session and remember: the fly is just being a fly.
Approaching the situation with the precepts freed me to allow the fly into the space. Following that with Joshin Kokyu Ho breathing calmed me and removed my irritation. Abe was provided with a much better treatment.
Coming next: At One With The Mosquito.
Just kidding. That’s impossible.
I had been asked to reduce my work hours by one day each week and the following week I received a letter in the mail from my local RSPCA advising I had been accepted for volunteer work and could I start next week. The Universe was telling me something. My “real” work was just beginning, volunteering one day a week at the RSPCA.
My first day volunteering at the RSPCA was very busy cleaning cat and rabbit cages, offering Reiki as I went. And then Kim, the dog trainer/behaviourist person asked could I go and see the dog quarantine area to offer Reiki as there were some problem dogs. As I entered the dog quarantine, I wondered where should I start as there were so many needy animals, it was difficult to choose. So I stood in the middle, grounded myself and offered Reiki to all the dogs at the same time to see who would accept it. Within minutes, all dogs had stopped barking. The messages of “What have I done to be put here?” just flooded towards me. These poor animals were all carrying so much guilt thinking they had done something wrong to be put in prison. This is so common amongst shelter animals, even those that have been formerly mistreated.
Then there was Rusty, a four year old red healer cross who was just quivering from fright with his tail between his legs. He was extremely underweight and had a “Caution, Dangerous Dog – Do Not Enter” sign on his cage. Rusty, together with his house mate, Chloe, a three year old German Shepherd cross, had been rescued from an extremely abusive home where affection, respect and enough food were unknown. Rusty tried to look at me with his orange eyes but was too frightened. However, he did tell me he was misunderstood.
After finishing the Reiki treatment I went and saw Kim, who mentioned that Rusty was on the Put To Sleep list due to his behaviour problems. I told Kim that I received the message he was misunderstood, and as so often happens when you think a Reiki session has finished, Rusty was continuing to send me more information: he was a truly gentle dog but was very misunderstood and carried so much guilt as to why he was in prison. I conveyed this to Kim, stressing he was really gentle if given the chance and that I was not frightened of him at all. Rusty would not look at you directly, but put his head down and looked at you indirectly with his orange eyes. This was Rusty’s way of protecting himself from physical abuse.
Kim was amazed that I could “pick up” such information and agreed to give Rusty one more chance.
The next week I gave Rusty more Reiki and this time, he no longer had his Dangerous Dog sign on his cage. The RSPCA staff were amazed at the difference in Rusty as Reiki had never before been given to the shelter animals.
By my third week of volunteering, Rusty had graduated from Dog Quarantine to the normal, healthy dog section! Rusty was definitely NOT on the Put To Sleep list now! The difference in Rusty was a joy to behold. Rusty was running, barking and playing with the other dogs and had put on some weight. Rusty was up for adoption!
Unfortunately the weeks passed without anyone showing Rusty any interest in adopting him. He had grown into a beautiful, strong boy with very wide shoulders but he could look somewhat threatening to people who were not familiar with his breed. When I visited the shelter, Rusty would look at me with such a happy face and his happiness was payment enough for me, but he needed a permanent home.
Then one week Rusty was not there. I was devastated! What had happened to him? As I can only volunteer one day a week, I tried to find Kim, hoping she would know. When I asked where was Rusty, Kim had the biggest smile on her face. Rusty had been adopted! A lady who owned a mango farm in far away New South Wales, approximately 2,500km including two States and Bass Straight away (one of the roughest stretches of water in the world!) from Tasmania, Australia, had seen Rusty’s profile on the RSPCA adoption website and fallen in love with his eyes – those little, squinty, orange eyes!
She had travelled all that distance, but needed to know that Rusty was indeed the dog for her. This was a woman who needed to receive a sign that Rusty was her dog, that Rusty would choose HER, not that she chose Rusty. Apparently Rusty did choose her, he walked slowly up to this lovely woman, sniffed her, walked away again and came up to her three times before he placed himself against her legs for a cuddle. The woman was thrilled, Rusty was indeed HER dog. But, because she lived in another State of Australia and we could not physically do a property inspection, it was doubtful the adoption would go ahead. Thankfully Kim pleaded Rusty’s case and explained no other person had shown any interest in adopting Rusty and Rusty had obviously chosen this woman as his forever person, the adoption went ahead. Rusty is now running free on a mango farm in New South Wales, over 2,500km away from Hobart, Tasmania, being the true gentle dog I always knew he was.
There is also a happy ending for Rusty’s housemate, Chloe. My daughter, Tracey, and her paraplegic partner, Darren, adopted Chloe after a name change to Charli-Chloe, as my daughter has a cat called Chloe. The three of them took to one another straight away, and now Charli-Chloe, Tracey, Darren and Chloe the cat, are one very happy family. Even though Darren is in a wheelchair, not once has Charli-Chloe tried to escape from the car, as it can take Darren some time to arrange his wheelchair and get out of the car. Charli-Chloe even helps to open up the gate to let Darren in the yard. After an abusive life, Charli-Chloe knows she has a loving home and is no hurry to leave.
The RSPCA in Australia has a policy of only putting to sleep those animals that show extremely bad behavioural problems with no prospects of rehabilitation or if it is kinder to put the animal to sleep due to severe illness. Because Rusty was declared a dangerous dog and could not be rehabilitated, he was going to be placed on the Put To Sleep list. Reiki prevented this.
and RSPCA Volunteer