Reiki and Hair Loss in Cats

There are two cat rooms at Rutland County Humane Society where I volunteer every week. Each room has ten or more cats in it. They have all kinds of climbing places and hiding spots and a window to a nice little screened in porch. When I go into the cat room, I take a seat and announce to all the little lovelies that it is Reiki time and that they are welcome to receive as much or as little as they want. I then set the intention that the session is for the highest good of all of us and that whoever needs Reiki gets what they need. I breathe deeply into my hara and imagine the energy expanding out into every corner of the room.

Daisy was a funny little tortoiseshell kitty. When she arrived at RCHS she was missing fur from her lower body due to a severe flea infestation. It was unclear whether Daisy’s fur would grow back.
Every time I sat in the one of the cat rooms offering Reiki, Daisy would come over. She would just hover around my feet, looking up at me. After three sessions like this she got in my lap. While I gave her Reiki she rolled over so her bare back was in my hands. When she was done with her session she would give me a little nip on my hand. The next two times I came to the room Daisy was waiting for me. She got in my lap immediately and settled in for Reiki. I noticed her fur was coming back.

On subsequent visits she would come by, but she stopped getting in my lap. I continued to see a change in her fur. It was interesting that she seemed to be done with her hands-on treatments, although she continued to get better. Daisy took complete charge of her treatment! Not long after, she found her forever home.

I have seen the effects of Reiki on my own cat, Murphy, and his excessive grooming. When we met him, stress had caused him to lick and chew the fur off his lower belly and the inside of his back legs. We hoped he would stop now that he was in his forever home. He did stop licking his legs, but his lower belly stayed bare and sometimes had red spots on it.

About four years after we adopted Murphy I learned Reiki. He took an interest in it right away, always coming in the room when I was practicing. When I started working with him directly his fur eventually started to fill back in a little at a time. After some time, he was down to a little patch on his lower belly. Now, his belly and legs are completely covered with fur and have been for a couple of years. I believe Reiki relieved Murphy of the stress that was causing his excessive grooming behavior.

Kelly McDermott-Burns

Some Reiki Maintenance For Oliver

OliverOliver is a very handsome, loving, orange tabby cat that I have known for about 9 years. He is the animal companion of one of my best friends and her family. When Oliver first joined the family there was just two human children. Now there are four and they are all boys. The two oldest boys are 12 and 14 and the youngest are 2 and 3.

About 2 years ago my friend called me to ask if I could offer some Reiki for Oliver. She said he had started having some significant behavior changes. He was going to the bathroom in the house outside of his litter box. Specifically, he was doing this in the bedroom shared by the two youngest boys. Oliver had also become very grouchy and would bat at the little ones (luckily without his claws), and would bite and claw at the parents and two older boys.

I started with an in-person Reiki session and followed up with a distant Reiki session a few days later. During the distant session I got an image of one of the little boys’ faces right in Oliver’s face being very boisterous. It was very clear that Oliver was very distressed by this. While offering Reiki I focused my thoughts on peace and harmony.

For about a month Oliver stopped these unwanted behaviors and became very loving with the whole family. After that month though, Oliver reverted back to being grouchy and going to the bathroom in the little boys’ bedroom again. I went over and offered another in-person session followed by a distant session. This time he went two months without a bathroom incident and he actually became so loving that my friend jokingly asked if I could possibly back it off a little.

When my friend called again after the two months it became very clear that since we could not get rid of the root cause of Oliver’s stress (the two boisterous little boys :), that Oliver would just need regular Reiki maintenance. So about every 3 to 4 weeks I offer Reiki to Oliver. I am happy to say that the unwanted bathroom behavior has stopped and he just tends to get a little grouchy now and then.

Oliver has been a wonderful teacher. One of the lessons I learned from him was about being heard and not giving up until you get what you need. Once Oliver got what he needed, he was able to transform how he interacts with his family. I am so grateful to be a part of his process.

Liza Beer

Jared – How Reiki Helped A Rescued Cat

One day in early spring, I walked into RCHS and noticed a cage on a table with a towel over it. Jess, the manager, told me there was a cat under the towel. He had been trapped and brought to the shelter. He was traumatized by the event and the towel was to help him feel secure. He was a long-haired orange boy whose fur was all matted and dirty.

My first session with Jared took place before I even got a look at him. I sat outside the cage wanting to lift the towel a bit and take a peek. I resisted and began offering him Reiki sitting quietly in meditation and focusing on the flow of the energy. I found it a little difficult at first, not being able to see him, but I felt the Reiki moving through my hands and relaxed into the session.

JaredThe next time I came in, the towel was lifted on the front end and I got a look at Jared. Because of the condition of his fur he had been shaved and he looked like a little lion! He huddled in the back corner of the cage. The staff thought he was a little embarrassed by his new do. I settled down for the session, careful not to face him directly. I offered him Reiki, letting him know he was in charge of how much he would receive, set the intention and began. I checked in with him periodically, taking quick sidelong peeks. He never took his eyes off of me and seemed to relax a bit.

I was looking forward to working with him again and checked on him first when I arrived at the shelter. To my surprise, he was dressed in little blue sweater. The staff was concerned that without all his fur he might be cold and they put him in a cat sweater. He was adorable! I began the session as before, only this time I sat facing him. He was very receptive to the Reiki and seemed to be coming out of his shell. He came forward, curious about the energy.

We worked together every week, continuing after he had been integrated into the cat room. Naturally, the introduction caused him some stress and he continued to be shy with the other cats. He enjoyed Reiki when I offered it for a few weeks, although unlike other cats, Jared wasn’t likely to get in my lap in those sessions. His hair was growing back nicely and he seemed to be gaining confidence. Then one day he declined my offer of Reiki.

The next week I was told he had been moved next door to the office where he was free to roam the building with another cat. This suited his loner personality, I think. Shortly thereafter Jared was adopted and found his forever home!

Kelly McDermott-Burns

Faith: A Tribute To A Great Teacher

I came to know Faith, a mammoth donkey, in the fall of 2007. Crystal Montgomery, the owner of Storybook Farm Equine Rescue (,) called me one evening to ask if I could do Reiki with Faith. Crystal was desperate to find something that could give Faith relief from pain and symptoms…and maybe more!

Crystal had rescued Faith the prior year in the spring of 2006. She came from a local sale barn where she was about to be put down. She was lying in a pen, not willing to stand up. She was delivered to Storybook Farm where treatment began immediately. They started trimming her feet properly which were long and contracted from a lifetime of neglect. They resembled soup cans. Her hoof x-rays showed severe chronic founder. Her coffin bone, the bone inside the hoof, was badly rotated. Faith responded very well to frequent trims, taking a small amount off each time. Her x-rays 6 months later showed huge improvements; she was walking much better and more freely.

A year or so later Faith was having a period where she wasn’t responding to any therapies or treatments. She wasn’t getting up or eating very well. Bedsores were becoming a problem. That is when Crystal first contacted me. I was not close enough that I could come out in person right away, so we set up a series of remote Reiki sessions, which Crystal was amazingly open to trying. After the first treatment began, Faith immediately got up, sneezed a couple of times, and began eating! She was on the mend and continued to do well for some time.

She would have setbacks over the years as her hoof angles changed and her legs had to adjust. Her body was used to standing on feet that were growing at bad angles, and it had to re-adjust as they were corrected. Massage therapy, chiropractic adjustments, and of course Reiki helped with this. There were times where it seemed Faith’s life on earth was coming to an end; then she would get Reiki treatments and all would be well again. We were always so amazed and delighted that she did so much with her treatments.

I came out to Storybook Farm periodically to offer Reiki treatments to Faith and other donkeys and horses over the next several years. I also have gotten the opportunity to teach Reiki classes at the farm. I have always loved horses and donkeys but never really had much exposure to them prior to my work at Storybook Farm. This was a dream come true for me! Working with Faith gave me confidence in myself as a fledgling Reiki practitioner – teacher. She was so open and responsive to her treatments that Faith was teaching me how to be a better more confident animal Reiki practitioner. I understood early on that Faith was giving me “faith” in myself.

This past spring, for whatever reason, Faith just stopped improving or rebounding from any of her setbacks. It was her time to go even though she was only 8 or 9 years old. As Faith crossed the Rainbow Bridge, she had a grasshopper on her legs and we thought how appropriate and fitting that was since she had so many issues with her own legs.

I often think that Faith was put on this earth just to teach me about Reiki. I am honored beyond words that I was a small part of her journey. She touched and changed my life forever. I am forever grateful. Thank you Faith. Thank you Crystal.

Kay Robinson

Larry’s Legacy

…posted by John Sawyer

Last month, I introduced Larry, a senior boxer dog with advanced cancer. Not unexpectedly, Larry has since made his transition leaving behind more lessons for those of us privileged to offer him Reiki.

A week or so after my previous post, I was visiting AID as usual. I noticed Larry going outside with another volunteer. Larry loved to go outside in the courtyard between the dog and cat wings. He would “investigate” the area, soak up the sun, and of course, make sure that those coming after him were aware that they were on his territory!

The volunteer took a blanket with her for Larry to lay on. I tended to my “regulars” while she and Larry were outside. After a half hour or so, they came back into the building. I was holding little Lucy, the long-haired Chihuahua, at the time, so couldn’t go over and greet Larry, but he looked directly at me and I got the sense he wanted to spend some time together with me. I resolved to do so on my next visit.

The following week, I asked to see Larry. We had a nice walk around the courtyard after which we sat in the hospitality area and “helped” Lori go through old medications to discard those that were out of date or for animals that were no longer at AID. Larry watched Lori intently while occasionally backing into my hands and soaking up Reiki. His curiosity about Lori’s activities was typical Larry while his acceptance of and even request for Reiki was not. I wasn’t surprised given his “message” to me the previous week. It was interesting how much energy he drew during our session, especially compared to our previous meetings.

Lori and I both knew Larry’s time was coming sooner rather than later and Larry was evidently preparing himself for his transition. As always, he was accepting Reiki on his terms and in his own way. The decision was made to call the vet and have her come out the following week to assist Larry’s journey home.

When I arrived that Thursday afternoon, Lori told me Larry had gone home that morning. It was a beautiful day so they were able to take him out to the courtyard he loved so much and free him from his broken down physical body.

Lori and another staff person reported that Larry was very peaceful and obviously ready to go, demonstrating his awareness of his eternal nature. He knows he will have many more rides on this merry-go-round so he easily accepted the end of this journey.

Offering Reiki to Bracken

…………….By Caroline Thomas

Beautiful Bracken

The hardest thing about volunteering at a Rescue Centre, is to see  the new animals who come in; having been rescued from the worst situations imaginable.  Sue at Remus is amazing,  saving these animals, giving them a forever home, where they can feel safe and loved.  Recently at Remus four beautiful ponies were rescued, each one having experienced a terrible past.  Of these four, the pony who captured my heart was Bracken, a beautiful dun mare whose body was ravaged by starvation and neglect.  She was so emaciated, having being rescued from a field with hardly any food, water or shelter.  All of the other ponies were in a similar situation,  it is so sad, that these amazing animals had suffered so much.

The first part of my journey, was when Sue e-mailed photographs of the ponies to me. This was  so I could concentrate on sending them Reiki, after seeing the photographs of the ponies, I felt very drawn to making a crystal grid out of Rose Quartz. When making a crystal grid it is important to cleanse the crystals first, then lovingly place them around the photograph in a symmetrical order, imagining each crystal connecting to eachother giving off a healing energy. Rose Quartz is the crystal used to heal a broken heart. Offering distant Reiki to Bracken was a very rewarding way of connecting to her,  as I  work in the week and I am only able to get to Remus at the weekends.

The first time I saw Bracken, I was shocked and upset by how emaciated and weak she looked.  As is best practice at Remus, Bracken was in a quarantine stable. She was with Abbey, a young horse who had been rescued at the same time.  Both horses had a large stack of hay each, I watched them for a while, waiting for them to finish eating. It quickly became apparent that these horses were never going to stop; both had their heads down just focusing on eating as much hay as possible. For them it could be their last meal, or so they  must have thought. These horses had been almost starved to death before being rescued by Remus.  I decided to stay quietly in the back ground and allow the reiki to flow. The thing about animal Reiki is that not all Reiki sessions go as you think they should. It’s important to have faith that Reiki will go to wherever it is needed;  always being for the greater good.

It was very sad to hear a couple of days later that Bracken had taken a turn for the worse and had and lost around 30kg in weight. This is a lot to lose, considering she was so emaciated to start with. It is often the case that animals survive in the most difficult of circumstances, only for their bodies to shut down when they feel safe and warm. Over the next week Bracken became weaker, sometimes falling over in her stable. To make sure she did not hurt herself she was never left alone, Bracken was cared for by a rota of volunteers and staff, each having their own special way of making her feel safe and cared for.

I have a healing group at Remus that meets once every two months using the SARA principles. On 6th of February 2010, I was lucky to be able to offer Reiki to Bracken with another wonderful Reiki Practitioner. Sue had asked us to spend as much time as possible with Bracken as she had now stopped eating. On entering the stable, I felt a pang of sadness for this beautiful pony, she looked very weak, having had a difficult night the previous evening falling in her stable. She had hurt her eye and her walking was very unstable. Myself and the other Reiki Practitioner offered her Reiki for over an hour, during which time she started to eat, becoming more interested in her surroundings. As other animals at Remus also needed Reiki we continued to offer it to them, coming Back to see Bracken later. Bracken was a pony whose spirit wanted to live, but her body was letting her down.

On arriving at Remus the next day, Bracken looked even weaker. I offered her Reiki, usually I would stand back and let the energy flow but I could see that she needed her weight supported. She was very tired, her eyes closed as she received the energy. I asked my Angel guides for a miracle, I just could not understand  why this beautiful pony was getting weaker and weaker and  could possibly die. She was safe, and was very loved by everyone at Remus having the best care possible. Surely this was enough?

Life is not always as you hope. I received a text from Sue later that evening saying; ” I am so sorry to tell you, but Bracken has been put to sleep tonight, eating carrots, apples and biscuits. She was with our vet and ten other people”.  I would like to say, that I knew it would be my last Reiki session with her and that I had known that she was  ready to die. I didn’t sense any of that I am afraid. From this wonderful pony, I learnt s0 much about dignity and forgiveness. This gentle, knowing pony had opened up her heart to all at Remus.  Left to starve in a field for much of her life, at Remus  it was clear to see that she loved human company and was able to trust them once more.

When the post mortem results came back it showed that every organ inside was dying and that her intestines were shrivelled up – she stood no chance, her past had caught up with her. How can mankind treat animals like this and get away with it? 

Offering Reiki to sheep

Offering Reiki to a sheep.

Offering Reiki to a sheep.

……….. By Caroline Thomas

I woke up to rain falling against my window, the wind was blowing and it was a very cold day. Wrapping up warm I drove to Remus. It is so important to wear warm clothes when treating animals outside. It is easy to become cold very quickly focusing on how you feel rather than the Reiki. The road on my approach was flooded where the river had burst its banks. As I drove I couldn’t help wondering which animals I was going to be lucky enough to work with. There are so many wonderful animals at Remus including horses, goats, sheep, cats and pigs.

As I walked with Sue, she pointed out the new stableing that had been built and the new fencing that had been put up, benefiting the animals at the Sanctuary. Remus had started to look amazing in every way. Holistic therapies are welcomed, especially Reiki.  I have been able to offer Reiki to the animals at the Sanctuary or Sue will send me a text asking me to send Reiki to an animal or situation. This means Reiki can help even when I am not there.

As I chatted to Sue about the week just gone, I asked if any animals were in need of Reiki, it became clear that three of the sheep were feeling quite poorly, suffering from chronic arthritris. Their names were Guinness, Mum Sheep and Peep, all three of them were quite old and frail. As sheep are deemed to be farm animals and part of the food chain, they don’t often reach old age as they are not financially viable. Remus had given a home to these sheep, thereby helping them to arrive at old age with dignity. People think sheep are all the same and cannot think for themselves. I can assure you that they are all individuals with big or small characters. It is such a misconception that a herd of sheep are all the same.

I have offered Reiki to the sheep many times before, they are very clear about accepting it or not.  Entering the sheeps shed, I was met by gazing eyes. Around twenty sheep watched as I walked through the middle of them. The sheep I would be working with today lay in a circle in the middle of the sheep shed. I am not sure if they knew I was going to be offering Reiki, or whether this was sheep behaviour to huddle together when not well. Sheep are prey animals, so laying down is quite a vulnerable position to be in. Closing my eyes I quietly asked for their permission to offer Reiki. My intuition came back with a resounding yes, these three sheep were definately in need of Reiki.  I centered myself and offered healing support to the animals, allowing them to take what ever energy they needed. It was amazing to see how many other sheep entered this healing circle, only choosing to stay for a short time or for longer depending on their needs. Guinness, Peep and Mum Sheep, lay peacefully in the energy whilst it ebbed and flowed. At one point Mum Sheep lay her head gently on the floor sighing as she lay. The Reiki session went on for about 40 minutes. Naturally each sheep got up one by one and moved away from the energy. It is important to remember that it is the animal who is in charge of their healing and not to force the Reiki onto the animal even though you have best intentions. Observing the animals body language and behaviour are also a key part of having a successful Reiki session.

Each time I have attended Remus, I have continued to offer Reiki to the above sheep. Hopefully the Reiki will support the individual healing of each sheep. I have observed that whilst offering Reiki the other sheep have become more inquisitive of the energy and are quite happy to bask in the Reiki. They seem less fearful of my presence in their company and more accepting of the lovely Reiki energy.

Reiki at AID: Button

…posted by John Sawyer

ButtonI met Button a few days after she arrived at Animals in Distress. Button is a Jack Russell Terrier who at the age of 8 weeks suffered a broken back when she was dropped. Knowing Button as I do now, I’m sure she surprised the person holding her by wriggling, thereby causing her own injury.

Button was taken to the family’s vet who diagnosed her broken back and recommended that Button be put down. The family was in the middle of their own personal difficulties, but was not ready to give up on Button. They contacted AID.

AID often works with special needs animals, many considered “hopeless”. Button certainly fit that description! She was relinquished to AID and crated temporarily in the cat wing under the watchful eye of Spook, another of AID’s “hopeless” residents. Spook, too, has a broken back and has no use of his hindquarters.

I first saw Button during my usual weekly visit. She was huddled in the back of her crate. After a few minutes, she was able to get up and hobble to her food dish. Her rear legs held her upright, but were otherwise nearly useless. I offered her Reiki for a few minutes then continued to see my other “regulars”.

Button was seen by a veterinary neurologist and got some good news. The doctor said she would likely recover at least limited use of her legs! She was to have cage rest for two months to be sure she didn’t re-injure herself. Aside from that, we were advised to hope for the best.

Button became one of my regulars. I saw her every week for the next several months. At first, I held her throughout our sessions. She readily accepted Reiki and always seemed happy to see me.

She steadily improved to where she was allowed to walk on lead for brief periods. She was unsteady, as you’d expect, but became more active and more agile each week. She progressed from being held to spending our sessions on lead in the courtyard investigating the grass, leaves, sticks, insects and whatever else she could find within the limited area she was allowed to roam.

By the time her cage rest prescription was finished, Button was more than ready to be turned loose! For several weeks she’d been making it very clear that she was ready to boogie and we were putting a major damper on her enthusiasm! I told her to be patient, that I knew she was ready, but she had to humor the humans who were concerned about her.

The neurologist saw Button again and verified her considerable progress, but advised further caution just to be sure. Button begged to differ and looked for every opportunity to show us she was just fine, thank you very much! As you can see from the video below, she had gone from the sad little puppy I’d first met to the happy, energetic little ball of fire that typifies her breed. She had places to go, people to see and things to do!

I continued to see Button for several weeks after she had clearly recovered from her injury. She was much less interested in Reiki, being busy catching up on the time she’d lost, so I told Lori, the kennel manager, that it was time for me to focus on other animals in greater need. As much as I loved seeing Button, she no longer needed me.

I’m happy to report that Button was eventually adopted by an AID volunteer who was chosen from several applications. I’ll always remember Button, the “miracle” puppy, with appreciation and a smile!

Reiki for Tigers and an Ocelot

I received the most wonderful story from a Reiki colleague Martha Wewer, who volunteers regularly at Carolina Tiger Rescue in North Carolina. I am so pleased to present this story to all of you. It is an amazing lesson in animal awareness of the energy, and the connections and trust that can be created, even with wild animals. A big key to Martha’s success here, is her respectful approach, which all animals appreciate. Working with these incredible animals, Martha is also learning the important lesson in letting go of our expectations and learning to trust in the energy. Enjoy reading this heartwarming story!

With Animal Reiki Blessings,

Kathleen Prasad, SARA President

You Do Reiki on WHAT?!?
By Martha K. Wewer

I started volunteering at Carolina Tiger Rescue in Pittsboro, NC because my husband, Tim, took a position as an intern animal keeper at the facility.  This wonderful non-profit sanctuary is dedicated to saving big and small cats while educating the public of the natural history and plight of these amazing animals.  During his orientation the animal curator, Kathryn, had mentioned to my husband that there was a volunteer who did Reiki on the some of the cats.  Tim was thrilled and told Kathryn, “my wife does Reiki and loves animals!  Maybe she could help!”  Of course I was beyond thrilled, I mean, who wouldn’t be?  I would be spending time with tigers!  Then nervousness, anxiousness and doubt set in.  How would I approach this situation?  (Carolina Tiger Rescue has a strict “hands-off” policy with the animals; even the ones who have been reared at the facility are not to be touched out of respect for the animal and the safety of the volunteer).  What if I wasn’t good enough?  What if I didn’t help the animals enough?  What if it had been too long?  What if I was too emotionally drained to be of any use?

About a year and a half ago, a personal tragedy in mine and my husband’s lives caused me to be angry, sad, anxious, and depressed.  I lost faith in myself and the universe around me.  I had even walked away from Reiki.  Every new opportunity in my life now was colored by my intense grief.  But I was so excited to spend even a minute at the Rescue that I swallowed my fears and trusted in myself and the Reiki.

Tim decided that the two animals who would benefit most from twice weekly Reiki sessions were Nitro Tiger and Reagandale Ocelot.  Nitro Tiger (and his enclosure mate, Apache Tiger) came to the Rescue in April of this year from a junkyard in Kansas.  Upon arriving at the Rescue, it became obvious to the keepers that Nitro was blind.  Despite his rough start in life and his disability, he would “chuffle” (a tigers way of saying “hello” – sort of a low, quick purring noise) at the keepers.  Nitro seemed to know he was safe but he was still fearful and anxious at times, particularly when the pickup trucks used to deliver the food would drive past his enclosure.  He would begin to pace frantically and turn in circles, clearly in distress.  The goal was to provide healing to Nitro in hopes that he would become more and more comfortable in his surroundings.

Nitro the Tiger

Nitro the Tiger

My second “client” was Reagandale Ocelot, who was born at the Rescue.  She suffered an injury as a kitten that damaged her left front leg, causing her to limp and stumble while running, climbing and jumping – all things that ocelots do a lot of.  The goal with Reagandale was to provide some relief to her arthritic leg and increase her quality of life.



I had read through The Animal Reiki Handbook and practiced on myself, Tim and our dogs but let me tell you, when the day came to head out to the Rescue, I was still nervous.  As we approached Reagandale’s enclosure, I took a deep breath, placed my towel on the ground in front of her, sat down, and asked her permission to begin.  I recited the 5 Reiki principles, placed my hands palms up on my knees and began the session.  In a matter of a minute or so, my hands got so warm!  I was tempted to open my eyes and see how Reagandale was reacting but I resisted.  One of the most wonderful things about Reagandale is she purrs…loudly…and intensely.  I could practically track her by the noise she was making and boy, she was active!  She would sit in front of me at the fence, run up her ramp to her perch, climb onto her den box…

Martha offers Reiki to Reagandale

Martha offers Reiki to Reagandale

After 15 minutes or so, I didn’t hear her purring anymore so I opened my eyes.  She had retreated to the back of the enclosure so I took that as a sign from her that she was done with her Reiki treatment.  I thanked her and got up.  Tim had been observing us and he was amazed.  He had never seen Reagandale so active!  In subsequent sessions, keepers and staff would observe my Reiki treatments with Reagandale and they would say the same thing, she was definitely livelier and more energetic then they had ever seen her.

Regandale Relaxing

Reagandale Relaxing

We headed over to Nitro’s enclosure.  I sat cross-legged on my towel in front of the enclosure and asked his permission begin.  I could hear Nitro pacing back and forth in front of me.  Like with Reagandale, I could track him with my ears.  I was concentrating on his fear and anxiety and hoping that by sending him waves of love, he would settle down.  I heard Nitro continue to pace and then he stopped.  Nothing.  No noise.  I opened one eye and there he was, all 400 pounds, right in front of me, pawing at the ground.  There was no aggression, just curiousness…I knew he couldn’t see me but he knew I was there (for the record, tigers don’t rely heavily on their sense of smell and I had been instructed not to wear anything scented so he wasn’t just smelling me).  We continued that way for the rest of the session – Nitro would move in and out of my direct line of “sight,” stopping to paw at me occasionally.  Finally, after about 20 minutes, he moved to the back of the enclosure and lay down.  I took that as a sign that he was done and thanked him and got up.  Tim looked at me in wonder and said he had never seen Nitro paw at the fence like that.  I left the Rescue that day, just ecstatic.

Martha offers Reiki to Nitro

Martha offers Reiki to Nitro

Over the course of the past 3 months, I have been volunteering with Nitro and Reagandale twice a week.  I would love to say that Nitro is no longer fearful of the trucks or that he has stopped pacing but that is not the case.  There are days when Nitro wants nothing to do with me and the sessions are short.  Other days, he will lie down in front of me during the session and it will last 25-30 minutes.  I can report that an unexpected benefit of my sessions with Nitro is that shy and protective Apache, Nitro’s enclosure mate, has become more and more present in our sessions.  He had been rarely seen outside of his den box with the exception of meal time, but during my sessions with Nitro he will often lie down several feet from us and watch me.  Only 2 weeks ago, I sat down to begin work with Nitro and Apache stood up in his den box, looked directly at me and walked straight to where I sat, put his face right in front of mine, and began to “chuffle.”  It was the most unbelievable experience to have a 400 pound tiger walk directly at you, staring you in the eyes.

Martha offers Reiki to Apache

Martha offers Reiki to Apache

My experiences have been the same with Reagandale as with Nitro.  Some days my hands are so warm from the energy she is taking and other days, while she’s friendly and purring, she doesn’t seem to need the energy as much.  My ego wants to “cure” them, to “fix” them both and I get frustrated that there is not some more obvious break though that I can point to and say, “I did that!”  However, I’m trusting in myself again and trusting in the Reiki.  I know both animals are taking from our sessions what they need, when they need it and using in whatever way they need to.  While I struggle with my desire to make everything “perfect” for these cats, I remain unbelievably grateful to have the opportunity to try.

Reiki At AID: Allie


I volunteer weekly at Animals In Distress in Coopersburg, Pennsylvania, offering Reiki to the animals and teaching Reiki to the staff and volunteers who wish to become Reiki practitioners. I have been involved with AID since late 2004 when my wife and I adopted from them a beautiful Great Pyrenees. At the time I was quite impressed with the facility and the philosophy with which it is run.

Some time after we brought Sugar Bear home, I spoke with the director and offered to bring Reiki to the shelter. She agreed and I have been doing so on a weekly basis since then.

Typically, I have worked regularly with two or three animals chosen by the shelter staff. Some have been long term cases and others have only had a session or two. AID houses both dogs and cats as well as the occasional goat, duck or other critter that has found its way there. At the moment, there are two guinea pigs residing in the cat wing!

My current focus is a beautiful little Pomeranian named Allie. Allie is approximately 1 to 2 years of age. She has some neurological issues due apparently to brain trauma. No one really knows what happened to her, but the neurologist who examined her said that it could have been encephalitis or some similar swelling of the brain that has caused her to lose her sight and her hearing as well as a good deal of motor control.

Allie has a difficult time walking and eating and needs help with both. It is difficult to tell how she is dealing with her loss of vision and hearing impairment because her reactions to things are not typical and may very well be random movements not connected with visual or auditory stimuli at all.

When I first began working with Allie a few months ago, I followed the protocol that we use as SARA practitioners: allowing Allie to roam freely in the room while offering Reiki and letting her make physical contact if she chose to. She would generally walk around a bit, then eventually lay down with her head up.

She would begin to nod off to sleep, rolling very slowly toward one side or the other. She would get perhaps one-third of the way down, then jerk back upright as though startled by something. This would repeat over and over with her getting further toward the floor each time, but each time coming back up with a start.

It was apparent to me that she wanted to relax and go to sleep, but she seemed to be afraid to go to sleep. The more I worked with her, the more I got the strong feeling she needed to sleep as much as she could, but for whatever reason, was unable to get into a good sound sleep.

At about the fourth or fifth session, Allie actually lay all the way down and slept for perhaps 30 seconds before starting awake again. The next session, she slept for a few minutes. It seemed we were making progress!

The next session, she would not even lay down. After 15 minutes or so, she was still standing and seemed agitated. I had the impulse to pick her up in my arms despite knowing that she had historically struggled and protested when picked up and held, especially since her trip to the neurologist.

Sleeping beauty!

Sleeping beauty!

Much to my surprise, within a minute or two, Allie fell asleep in my arms! She slept that way for about 30 minutes until I had to get back to work.

Since then, the kennel staff has reported that Allie is much more willing to be held and now falls asleep almost immediately whenever someone picks her up. Our weekly sessions now consist of me holding her in my arms for an hour while she sleeps and draws Reiki energy. By the time we’re done each week, she is positively glowing with energy and the staff person who takes her from me always remarks on how warm she feels.

This is a wonderful example of an animal communicating her needs and the way she wishes to receive Reiki. The neurologist has said that he believes Allie’s condition will not worsen, but will likely stay as it is for the balance of her life. Reiki may very well have something to say about that! So far, there have not been any major neurological changes, but her acceptance of being held and of Reiki is a positive change.