In 2012, I twice had the honor of sharing Reiki with a sweet 10 year old Shetland pony named Pete. Through a beautiful two-way connection each time, Pete gave me a gift; he taught me the power of the “circle of healing” through Reiki.
Pete lives at a barn near Green Bay, WI, with a wonderful family, about 10 horses and a couple of mini horses, a place where he receives a lot of love and attention. Pete’s life has not always been so idyllic. Pete came to live with Diane from a place where he was most likely abused and not well-cared for. It seems that Pete received little attention; he was kept in his stall most of the time; and his stall was rarely cleaned. These people really did not want Pete, and luckily for him, Diane was willing to give him a loving home. As a result of his past, Pete had lost trust in humans and responded very cautiously and fearfully when people came near him or tried to ride or interact with him.
I offered Reiki to Pete in the pasture he shares with the two mini horses. At first, Pete was very shy and guarded around me. As I created the Reiki space and invited him to join me, he moved away from me towards the edge of the bubble, his tail swishing. But, Pete stayed; as we shared this beautiful space of Reiki energy, I could feel Pete become more and more relaxed and mellow. At one point he did move away for a minute, but he soon came back and stood next to me. His head dropped, he began chewing and his eyes closed. Then, he gently leaned his body against mine. Pete was totally relaxed and part of the energy; he was no longer concerned about what was happening around him. There was just a beautiful energetic connection between us, which we shared for a few minutes.
As I was talking with Diane after the treatment, Pete came over to stand by me and to nuzzle his face against me. Diane commented, “He really likes you!” A couple days later, Diane reported that she was playing with Pete in the arena with all of the horse toys. For the first time, Pete was not scared and thoroughly enjoyed himself. I was honored to have this opportunity to connect with Pete and assist him on his journey to overcome the fears of his past.
But the story does not end here……
About six months later, Alan and I were asked by a friend to come to the same barn to offer her horse a Raindrop treatment. On that particular day, I was not in a good state of mind; I was stressed and overwhelmed; I was definitely not following the five precepts. I even forgot to bring my barn boots and didn’t have shoes appropriate for the barn. I told myself that I should have stayed home. Our friend suggested that she would bring her horse outside for the treatment since it was a nice day; I asked Alan to apply the Raindrop treatment since I was not prepared. We happened to be right next to the pasture that Pete shares with the mini horses.
When Pete saw me, he quickly came over to the fence, looking very intently at me. I didn’t go over to him right away, but he stayed there grazing. After a few minutes, I realized that Pete was calling me to come over to him, so I approached the fence to say “hi”. As I stood there with him rubbing his nose and muzzle, I felt this warm energy surrounding me; I felt my demeanor shift; I felt the stress melt away; I felt calmer; and I felt this strong connection with Pete. We stood there sharing the Reiki space for about 10-15 minutes. It was so peaceful!
Pete gave me a beautiful gift that sunny fall day, a gift that definitely was not expected. Pete created a Reiki connection with me, he offered me that space of balance and harmony that I so needed. He helped me to feel better and happy that I did not stay at home (and happy that I forgot my boots!).
Reiki really is a gift, a two-way gift. When we truly connect with animals and open our hearts, we have the opportunity to experience the “circle of healing”, either in the same treatment or over multiple treatments. We not only help the animals through Reiki, but they in turn help us. I want to thank Pete for trusting me, for connecting with me and for giving me this beautiful gift.
Ann Noyce, Animal Reiki Teacher
An Awakening to the True Essence of Reiki
Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.
— Anatole France
The animals at the C.A.R.E. Foundation in Apopka,Florida opened my eyes to a deeper meaning of this quote by AnatoleFrance. These sweet animals offered me the opportunity to experience a true connection with them, a heart-to-heart connection that was very powerful. When we truly connect or bond with an animal, we open or awaken our hearts and minds to the many teachings and lessons about life that the animals have for us. I have read this and heard this many times from my Animal Reiki teacher, Kathleen Prasad, but it was the animals at C.A.R.E. that offered me the opportunity to experience the power of this deep connection with the animals. I will be forever grateful to these animals (and to Kathleen) for helping me to understand the true essence of Reiki.
My Reiki journey has taken me down a path of growth which began in 2002 when I had my first Reiki treatment. This path has been like building a puzzle. After I completed my Reiki Master Teacher training in 2005, I lacked confidence and felt that I was missing some important pieces to this puzzle called Reiki. Many of these missing pieces became clearer to me when I began studying Animal Reiki with Kathleen in 2007, and again when I completed my Karuna Reiki© Master training in 2009. The puzzle began to fill in even more when I joined the Shelter Animal Reiki Association (SARA) in 2010, and learned the Japanese energy system and traditional Japanese Reiki meditations. But, I still felt that there were some missing pieces of the puzzle that I needed to be a more effective practitioner and teacher of Reiki for Animals.
One day, I received an email from Kathleen introducing her Shinpiden and Animal Reiki Teacher class at the C.A.R.E. Foundation. After some consideration, I was inspired that this class would be important for me to advance my Reiki journey. Not only would I have first-hand experience learning the traditional Japanese approach to Reiki, I would also have the opportunity to experience offering Reiki to wild animals. And my intention was that I would learn to be a better Animal Reiki teacher. I did experience all of these things as expected. But I gained so much more from this experience than I could ever have imagined; I finally understand Reiki. The animals at the C.A.R.E. Foundation taught me valuable lessons just by allowing me to share Reiki with them.
Lesson 1: Reiki is about creating a “connection” with the animal(s)
So often, I hear people ask “My animal has this or that issue going on; will you give him or her some Reiki?” I also hear many practitioners talk about “doing Reiki” on an animal (or a human). When I speak to a group about Animal Reiki, I am often asked if I will demonstrate Reiki on an animal. And for our Reiki Shares, we often talk about “Reiki trades”, where I give you some Reiki and then you give me some Reiki.
The lesson I experienced with the animals is that Reiki is so much more than these things. I have learned over the years that Reiki is not about “give” (practitioner) and “take” (client), and that we are not “doing Reiki” on an animal or human. Instead, we want to “Be Reiki” with the animal. As we sit with the animal, we are sharing a space of Reiki energy, a space of balance and harmony. This is not something we can demonstrate; it is something we must experience. It is like a two-way partnership. The more we invite animals in and connect with them, the more we can assist our animals and the more we can learn from them.
Amos is a fun and amusing Spider Monkey whose role is to provide entertainment at the sanctuary and at various shows. He shares an enclosure with another monkey named Rosie. Our exercise was to sit with the animals while doing one of the traditional Japanese meditations. So, I sat facing the enclosure with my chair at a slight angle. I invited both Amos and Rosie to join me in the space of Reiki energy. While Rosie did everything she could to disrupt what was happening, Amos expressed an intense curiosity in me and in the energy.
Amos started by coming to the front of the enclosure near where I sat, pushing himself into the fence and reaching out as if he was trying to touch me. After a few minutes he moved towards the back of the enclosure, and then moved forward again playing with his toys and showing off. He then moved back to the fence, leaning out and chattering at me. This ebb and flow of movement continued for 10 or 15 minutes. Towards the end of our time together, as I was sitting in meditation with my hands over my Hara, I suddenly felt a shift in the energy and looked up. There was Amos sitting on top of one of his toys with his legs crossed and his hands over his Hara staring intently at me. He was mirroring what I was doing. I looked at him, and felt this intense sense of warmth come over me, as we shared a space of harmony, of oneness, of Reiki. Amos created for me an amazing experience in connecting with an animal through Reiki. Thank you Amos!
Macaws and Cockatoos
Before C.A.R.E., I had not yet had an opportunity to share Reiki with birds. A grouping of macaws and cockatoos were most happy to provide me with this experience. I sat next to their enclosure with my chair pointed away at a slight angle, and then invited all of them to join me in a space of Reiki energy. My intention was to clear my mind, remove all expectations and just “Be Reiki” with these lovely macaws and cockatoos for 20-30 minutes. A couple of the cockatoos came forward right away and sat on the perch nearest me for the entire time while the other cockatoos moved forward and then flew back taking turns connecting with me and the energy.
At the same time, the green macaw Zazoo was climbing up and down the fence right beside me. Each time he was at about eye level with me, he would quietly say “hello” to get my attention. As I sat there “Being Reiki” with these sweet birds, the ebb and flow of their movement in the Reiki space was so peaceful; it felt like a well-choreographed dance. Their movements were so smooth and balanced; they were in perfect harmony. As we came to the end of our time together, I realized that all of the birds had settled into their chosen spot in the dance formation. We were all “Being Reiki” together, sharing a space of harmony and tranquility.
Lesson 2: Always invite the animals to join us in Reiki
When we experience Reiki I, we learn about the importance of self-treatments, and we learn to offer Reiki treatments to other humans. And those of us who experience Animal Reiki learn to offer Reiki treatments to animals. Self, humans, and animals – each treatment is distinct.
The lesson I experienced with the animals at C.A.R.E is that our daily meditations and practice and our treatments with other humans will be so much more powerful if we invite the animals to join us in Reiki. The animals are so much more deeply connected to the energy than we are, and they are so open to connecting with us and helping us. All we need to do is invite them in. If we sit with an animal and connect with an animal during our daily meditations, self-treatments and treatments with other people, the animals will help us to more deeply connect with the energy. When we regularly connect with animals by inviting them to join us in Reiki, we are not only assisting ourselves and/or another human, we are also supporting the animals in whatever they need. And to bring this full circle, the animals are helping us and teaching us valuable lessons. This really is a win-win-win!
One of our assignments was to pair up with another class member, sit with an animal and offer each other a head and shoulder Reiki treatment. My partner and I sat with Lola, a sweet North American Black Bear. As I began to offer Reiki to my partner, I invited Lola to join us in the energy. At first Lola sat back against a wood box in the middle of her enclosure checking us out and deciding if she wanted to be a part of what we were doing. Over the course of the treatment, as Lola slowly inched forward, I could feel her beginning to connect, the energy becoming warmer and warmer as the connection deepened. Lola eventually moved up closer and sat on a metal tube that was next to the fence in the corner. At some point, my partner and I traded places. As we continued, we could feel the energy becoming stronger and more intense. By the end of our time, Lola had climbed on the fence while sitting on the edge of her pool to get as close to us as possible. She was sprawled out almost as wide she could get and moving her head back and forth in delight. She had truly relaxed and let go; she was very content and at peace.
Thank you to Lola for this beautiful experience. By connecting with my classmate and me as we offered Reiki to each other, Lola helped us create a more open space of healing, of harmony, of balance that we were all sharing together. As our connection with Lola deepened so did our connection with the energy and with each other. By inviting Lola to join us in Reiki, we not only enhanced our human-human treatments, we also assisted Lola in whatever healing she needed at that moment.
I had so many similar experiences over the three days at C.A.R.E.; there were the tigers Pumpkin and Tigger, Sheene the cougar, Quinn the black bear, the red foxes Butch and Sundance, the tufted capuchins Andy and Dolly, the barnyard animals, the alligators, the pigeons, the tortoises and many others. My heart is filled with gratitude to all of these sweet creatures for being so open to connecting with me, and for teaching me the power of connection through Reiki. My heart and mind have awakened to the true essence of Reiki, and to the many ways that animals are our partners in our Reiki journeys.
Ann Noyce, Animal Reiki Teacher
Level I Reiki and Animal Reiki Class at Happily Ever After Animal Sanctuary
I had the privilege of teaching a Level 1 Reiki and Animal Reiki class with eight volunteers and staff at Happily Ever After Animal Sanctuary’s Green Bay Adoption Center near historic Lambeau Field, home of the Green Bay Packers. After creatively planning around the NFL playoff schedule and other sanctuary events, the final class session was held on February 5, 2011, the day before the Packers won Super Bowl XLV. Even with the excitement and anticipation of the Super Bowl the next day, we successfully completed the class and received a valuable, basic lesson from five beautiful cats.
The lesson taught by the five cats is that we want to allow each animal to choose how they wish to receive Reiki energy at that time. For a guided treatment, the cats were brought into the small room where the class met. The class sat in a circle, and we created our Reiki space to include the area inside the circle. Each cat responded to the Reiki energy differently.
Two of the cats almost immediately chose to jump up on the laps of the four people sitting on a futon couch, with one lying directly on the heart center of one of the class members offering Reiki back to her. The other three cats wandered around the room for a few minutes, with one of them eventually joining the two on the futon. Another cat continued to walk around the edge of the Reiki space, and finally lay down under the futon where we could not see him. The other one jumped up on a cat tree that was just outside the Reiki space curiously watching everyone in the circle – he was experiencing the energy, but not yet ready to fully join the circle. Each cat was accepting of the energy, but chose to receive from a different place or from a different person.
I want to thank these five cats for helping me teach my class this basic lesson in offering Reiki to animals – allow each animal to choose and each will likely choose differently.
Following are a couple of comments received from the class:
“I just really thought the way you taught the class was wonderful. You were so organized and structured, but at the same time, the class was actually relaxing to attend! I just really feel confident that I can DO this – now I just need to make more time. I have no suggestions – other than to keep doing what you’re doing.”
“I thought the class was fantastic…..You made the class fun, fast paced enough but not too fast. Loved the stories that helped me relate to what you were teaching.”
I only knew Charlie a short time, but he reinforced for me an important Reiki lesson. Charlie’s lesson is that consistency is important when offering Reiki to animals (and people); multiple and frequent sessions may be needed to achieve or maintain whatever result is optimal for the animal at that time.
I met Charlie, a very sweet Chesapeake Bay Retriever/Labrador Retriever mix, in mid-November at Happily Ever After Animal Sanctuary. Charlie was suffering from bone cancer that was affecting his hips and hind legs, and the desire was to keep him comfortable and improve his quality of life as long as possible. Even though he was suffering physically, he was always happy to see me and was in good spirits.
Charlie and I shared Reiki during six or seven sessions over 4 weeks, some distance and some in-person. Charlie was very accepting and open; he even enjoyed receiving Reiki hands-on when we were together in his suite. The sanctuary staff reported that after each session, they noticed improvement in the swelling in his legs and in his spirits. Reiki also helped with his overall comfort level.
Each time I connected with Charlie, I felt that the improvement from the last session had weakened, as might be expected given his condition. Charlie was ready for more Reiki, and may have asked for a treatment a day or two sooner if he could have asked for it. Two days after my last session with Charlie, I learned that Charlie had suddenly gone downhill and was asked to work with him again. Charlie unfortunately passed away before I was able to connect with him.
My experience with Charlie reinforced for me that one Reiki treatment will often not be enough to achieve and maintain balance and harmony. We should consider offering frequent and consistent treatments for many conditions, especially for end of life comfort. Charlie also reminded me that while Reiki cannot save someone from dying if their time has come, Reiki can offer comfort and dignity during the final days and weeks and ease the transition.
Charlie’s lesson also highlights a key benefit of SARA for animal shelters and sanctuaries. The more volunteers and staff we teach as Animal Reiki practitioners, the more consistent we will be in offering the benefits Reiki to the animals in their care.
I am honored to have had the opportunity to offer Reiki as a source of comfort to this sweet guy named Charlie!
“Lots of people talk to animals…Not very many listen, though…That’s the problem.” ~ Benjamin Hoff, The Tao of Pooh
One of my best Reiki teachers is my husband’s buddy, Annie Oakley, a 9-year old black Labrador Retriever, who taught me the value of listening to animals through Reiki. Annie & I first experienced Reiki together after she ruptured the ACL in her left knee in the summer of 2007. This was a rough time for Annie. Physically, she experienced pain and limping. And during her 3-month recovery from surgery, she became sad and discouraged from not being able to go for a walk and run and play.
I offered Reiki to Annie as we prepared for her surgery and continued regularly throughout her recovery. I initially used a hands-on approach with her, and after only a few minutes, she got up and walked away into another room. The next time, I sat a few feet away from her and created a bubble of Reiki energy filling the entire room. After moving around the room for a few minutes, Annie eventually positioned herself in front of me, sighed deeply and fell asleep. Annie now just lies down somewhere in the Reiki bubble depending on the amount of energy she wants at the time. And she is often joined in the Reiki bubble by her three furry sisters, a dog and two cats, who are just as eager to receive Reiki. Listening to Annie taught me the value of allowing animals to choose how and when they want to receive Reiki.
Listening to Annie has also taught me to let go of my expectations when working with Reiki energy. She taught me the importance of opening my intention to facilitate healing on whatever level she needs at that time, rather than focusing solely on what I think she needs. My initial intention with Annie was for the Reiki energy to help her leg heal. I did sometimes feel the energy focusing on her physical injury. But more often, I felt the energy helping her deal emotionally with her situation. Annie’s knee has now healed and she is back to her happy, playful self.
Practicing Reiki with Annie and listening to her has deepened my relationship with her. She and I are now much closer, we better understand each other, and she often comes by to hug me just when I need a good hug. I want say “Thank You” to Annie for teaching me how to listen to the wisdom of our animal friends.
A series of treatments with a cat at the Fox Valley Humane Association taught me the value of allowing the animal to determine how they wish to receive Reiki energy. This cat is a sweet 8 year old black and white tuxedo kitty named Boots. Boots came to the shelter because her family had too many animals and could no longer take care of her. She had been at the shelter for quite awhile when I met her and her suite-mate Smudge. After one session with Boots and Smudge, both soon left for their forever homes.
Unfortunately, at my weekly visit a couple of months later, I learned that Boots had returned because she wasn’t fitting in well with the other animals at her new home. Boots was sad and felt rejected, and had been screaming in her cage for a couple of days. For our first solo session, I took Boots into a small sunny room where she could roam around and offered Reiki energy to her. At first, she was a bit nervous wandering around the room, sometimes sitting in the corner and at times brushing my legs. She eventually jumped on the table a couple feet from me and sat in the sun looking out the window. Her eyes then closed as she sat there peacefully, and by the end of the treatment, she had lied down and fallen into a deep, snoring sleep. As I approached Boots to thank her, she licked my hands and arms saying “thank you for helping me.” She was so calm and grateful – it was beautiful.
Our second session was similar to the first. By our third session, Boots was much more confident with Reiki and with me, and came right over to my feet, looked up at me with those loving kitty eyes and began meowing. I invited her to sit in my lap if she wished, an offer she immediately accepted. She at first licked my hands and arms, and then lied down with her body cradled in my hands. She remained in my lap for the entire treatment, purring and then sleeping. We spent a wonderful hour together offering each other a space of calm and harmony.
It is now my turn to express my gratitude to Boots for teaching me that it may take multiple sessions before an animal is comfortable enough with the energy and with me to ask me to touch her. And animals appreciate that we allow them to decide how they wish to receive the Reiki energy. We need to remember that they truly do experience and benefit from the energy even though we may be sitting a few feet apart. Thank you, Boots, for teaching me this important lesson!
My interest in Reiki has truly been a journey – my Reiki Journey. Reiki and the idea of working with energy did not come naturally for me, but I was drawn to learn more. My husband, Alan, and I began studying Reiki in 2003 and, with the encouragement of our Reiki teacher Susan Cossette, completed our Reiki Master Teacher training in 2005. At this point, I still did not fully trust my capabilities, even though others did. I had not yet found my purpose with Reiki.
When we opened our pet treat bakery store, Two Paws Up Bakery LLC, Susan suggested the idea of offering and teaching Reiki for animals, but I procrastinated. One day a couple of years later, I opened a magazine directly to an ad for Animal Reiki Source. I felt inspired to call Kathleen and then register for her next Animal Reiki Workshop followed by many other classes. Kathleen’s Earth and Sky meditations helped me to ground and center myself, and offering Reiki to my own animals and others helped me open up and start feeling the power of Reiki. The animals guided me to a new phase with Reiki and helped me to realize that my purpose with Reiki is with animals!
Through this, I have also learned that my best teachers have been my animals – they have taught me some key lessons in life; they have taught me how to share Reiki with animals; and they have taught me to trust Reiki. My animal friends have guided me along an important path on my Reiki Journey and will continue to do so. As a member of SARA, my journey is expanding to new paths, and shelter animals and their caregivers will become my teachers too.
So as my journey continues with SARA, I will share a series of stories about the many animals in my life and the role they play in leading me on this wonderful journey of life and Reiki. And I hope that the Reiki we offer to the animals can serve as a gift of thanks for the many lessons that they teach us!