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
In September 2007, my dog, Blackie, was constantly licking his left forearm, so I took a closer look and there was a three inch cut. I had a flashback that he had the exact same cut on the same arm the previous year, and we had taken him to a vet because it was infected, and they gave me an orange ointment to apply. I remember him shrieking when we put it on, and I was really reluctant to continue but the cut did heal.
I also remembered the vet saying that it was good for him to continue to lick his arm, because their saliva had healing properties. So, for this cut I allowed him to lick, and prayed for it to heal.
The next day, I noticed the area was red and puffy and he continued to lick his arm. The following day, he was losing his hair around it, and his skin was turning black. I figured that I would apply a natural ointment on, and he was very quiet about it.
Late night, I noticed that the black skin was getting crusty. I sadly went to bed thinking “I need to call the vet tomorrow because it’s just getting worse.”
Then, a celestial 2X4 hit me between my eyes and screamed “Do Reiki!” Oops! I totally forgot about that because I had just learned Reiki a month before. I was extremely tired, so I figured that I would do it for a short time.
Blackie’s eyes were very sad when I approached him. I asked for his permission and he wagged his tail ever so slightly. When I placed my hands above his cut, he pulled his arm back. When I placed my hands on his paw below his cut, he pulled his arm back. I took a deep breath, and placed my hands on his elbow that was above his cut. He laid his head down, closed his eyes, and took a deep sigh.
I asked for Reiki to flow for the highest good, and really tried to stay awake because I was sooo tired myself! After 10 minutes, I kissed Blackie while thanking him for accepting the Reiki, and also apologized for not thinking to do this sooner. I also told him that I will check on him in the morning, and continue to do Reiki for him as well as to call his vet.
The next morning, I remembered to check his forearm, and noticed that his eyes were very bright and shining. I literally fell to my knees because his cut had totally disappeared! Yes, his hair was still gone, but his skin had zero trace of that ugly red, puffy, black and crusty appearance! WOW!! Bless the Reiki energy!
I have never since forgotten the power of Reiki, and to absolutely trust that it will work for the highest good each and every time!
Animal Reiki Practitioner and Teacher
Animal Reiki Divine, LLC
After several unsuccessful attempts to introduce reiki into my local animal shelter I was frustrated. I so wanted to offer the healing benefits of Reiki to the shelter pets – what to do? Divine intervention took over.
In my local food store was a flyer for Homeward Bound, a local dog rescue organization that “showed” their pets on the sidewalk in front of the local PetsMart. I decided to give it a whirl, went to the next showing, approached the registration table, introduced myself to Tamara (the manager) and asked – Can I offer Reiki to these dogs? There will be no charge. I want to help these dogs get adopted.
“What is Reiki?”, she asked, “and what can it do for these dogs?”
I gave the explanation and the manager was all for it. “I don’t know anything about Reiki but if it can help these dogs, go for it.”
So, my wife (also a Reiki Master) and I proceeded to do the work. As we worked we gathered small crowds of potential adopters, Homeward Bound personnel, PetsMart customers and onlookers. What we did not know right away was all the dogs were fostered and their foster “parents” were in the crowd.
After several of the dogs were treated the foster parents introduced themselves and said they were amazed at the behavior and other positive changes that were taking place right before their eyes. In addition, Tamara also observed the changes in the dogs and asked if we could come next week.
Reiki proved itself. We were in!
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!
It was late December 2009, a few days before Christmas and the weather forecast was for heavy snow with over two feet of snow expected to fall. This was very unusual for Virginia to receive such significant amounts of snow, so my husband thought it best to gather quite a bit of firewood in case we lost power. The snow was already accumulating and beginning to fall quite heavily.
Our three dogs loved to play in the snow especially our Alaskan Malamute mix, Montana. So I let him outside along with his brother, our Beagle mix, Mr. Bojangles. I kept the youngest, our six month old Pit Bull mix, Tony inside with me because I still needed to watch him closely if he was not inside our fence. Since the gentle snowfall had turned to blizzard conditions and our street was impassable to traffic, I felt the other two dogs would be alright outside of the fenced area playing in the snow as my husband was bringing in firewood.
The dogs were having a wonderful time running and chasing one another and I began to do other things in the house and quit watching them. After awhile I looked out and our dogs were no where in sight. They had left our property and my husband and I became quite frantic. After calling them for quite some time they came strolling back licking their chops as if they had just found the most wonderful delicacy. I thought to myself, I hope they had not eaten anything that would make them sick. I quickly dried them off and brought them inside and they settled down and curled up in front of the fire as the storm outside intensified.
The snow was falling at a rate of several inches per hour and my husband was having to shovel a path from the door every twenty minutes just so the dogs would be able to go out to do their business. I kept thinking how beautiful the snowfall was especially with the lights on the Christmas tree and all of us curled up by the fire enjoying this winter wonderland. This was going to be like a fairy tale Christmas.
Mr. Bojangles had been sleeping rather soundly and began to stir around a bit and came over to me and began whimpering. I was a little concerned with his behavior and then he began to get very sick and was sick on his stomach several times. I knew then he had gotten into something when they were on their snow adventure. I stayed by his side and he continued to be sick. I began to offer him Reiki and he slowly began to feel better and his stomach calmed.
During the time I was working on him Montana came to me and began acting very strange. He has always let me know when he feels bad and always goes outside so he won’t be sick in the house. Not this time. He looked at me as if to say, “Mommy please help me, I am really sick” and immediately he became violently ill. He continued to be sick and was not able to stand up. This was very frightening because it had all the indications of poisoning and my husband and I both had dogs that had been poisoned and died and we knew this was a very serious situation.
Montana became more and more sick on his stomach and finally was not able to stand up at all. By this time the winter storm had paralyzed everything. The interstate was closed because of all the wrecks and travel was at a standstill. We knew there was no way we could get out and try to get help. The emergency vet clinic was closed because of the blizzard and we knew we were on our own. So began a very long night of trying to keep Montana from succumbing to the fate of being poisoned.
Through tears and prayer I began an all night vigil of Reiki on Montana. I stayed by his side all night offering Reiki and holding him in my arms. My husband also began to offer Reiki, his first time working on anyone, since I had just attuned him to Level 1 and 2 a few nights before. What a blessing this was for my husband to be able to do this work for the first time on our dog who was so ill and could die. My husband truly believed that Montana would not make it through the night, yet we never gave up and continued with the Reiki.
Montana would try to hold his head up and stand, but would fall back down on his bed. He became so disoriented that at times he acted as if he wasn’t really with us at all. I wonder if maybe he wasn’t. Yet I knew deep inside my being it was not his time to die. I kept talking to him and telling him to fight hard to come out of this. I told him how much I loved him and that I was not going to leave his side. This dog was my soul mate. He had been with me through some of the most trying times of my life and I was determined he was not going to leave me, not this way. The hours of the night passed so slowly and Montana would just lay there motionless, yet my husband and I continued with the Reiki.
As daylight was breaking Montana held his head up briefly and just looked at me as if to say “what happened Mommy and why am I so weak”. Within the hour he tried to stand, very weak and unstable, yet he stood. He slowly walked down the hall and wanted to go outside. My husband steadied him as he took him out in the still raging blizzard. Montana came back in and ate a few bites of food and then took his place by the fire and went back to sleep for several hours.
As I sat by his side he lifted his head and looked at me and at that moment I could see a change in his spirit. He was letting me know that he was going to be OK now. As the day went on he began to get a little stronger and finally could stand without any help. We kept a very close eye on him all day and through the night again and the next morning he was up early and running out the door to play in the snow with his brothers acting as if nothing had ever happened.
My husband and I know that Montana had ingested poison and should never had made it through the night. We believe that Mr. Bojangles probably did not get enough to really hurt him and had become sick so quickly that he got it out of his system before causing real problems, but Montana probably ingested almost all of it. I am convinced that Reiki cleared the poison from both dogs and brought about their recovery. I know that this was nothing short of a miracle, Montana’s Christmas Miracle.
It brings me such joy as I write this article one year later as Montana sits by my feet enjoying the fire with his brothers– all three boys excited about Christmas and relaxing in the space of Reiki that is such a part of their life everyday now. Our family had been truly blessed by the miraculous power of Reiki!
Felecia Calaman Childress
Sometimes I wonder if we miss what our animal teachers are saying amidst the rush to complete a class or finish a task. Maybe we take their participation for granted. This is a lesson Chewy, a 6 year old rescued pug, taught me.
I had just finished teaching a two day animal Reiki for Reiki practitioners class in Pennsylvania and began gathering up my books and teaching props, one of which included the picture of Chewy enjoying her Reiki treatment with her person. I reflected on what a great illustration this picture was for demonstrating a simple and comfortable way to offer Reiki to an animal.
An e-mail arrived when I returned home informing me that Chewy had died. She had been hit and run over in her own driveway by someone who sped off and left her.
I thought of the time I met Chewy at an animal Reiki class I taught in her home. Chewy was an amazingly bouncy and joyful dog. However, it was down to the wire whether or not she could stay in the room for the remainder of the class. I loved her energy but… We noticed that Chewy calmed down during meditations, so I decided to let her stay for the attunements of the two class participants, Lenea and Mary Ellen.
When the two women sat side by side, Chewy jumped up and stretched out across their laps. When I said, “Let’s place our hands in Gassho,” Chewy totally relaxed, remaining that way for the entire attunement. Chewy became a Reiki teacher for subsequent classes, the personal greeter of students and all around friend. Always exuberant, there were times she had to be escorted out of the area so the class could continue. Yet she remained in our hearts, thoughts and the energy of the class.
Remembering this, for the first time in a while, I heard Chewy. I realized that I hadn’t talked with her for ages. “You don’t get how important the connection is between us.” she said. “Between animals and people. You don’t really get it yet.”
Had I let Chewy become just a prop, a teaching tool? “Think about it. Don’t let my reminder go to waste”.
At the Reiki Share that week, we held a special ceremony in honor of Chewy. The other animals, cats, llama, alpaca, goats and sheep were especially connected with us that evening. Chewy’s presence surrounded us. She told us that even though she was gone she still wanted her Reiki.
It has been two months since Chewy died. I do hear her telling me that I really haven’t gotten it yet, that I’m getting closer. I tell her that I’m working on it and not to worry: I won’t waste your lesson.
Mary C. Gillen
Sessan is a lovely 12 year old border collie. Her companion, Kinna, asked me to work with her this past summer for several reasons. For most of her life, Sessan suffered from skin allergies and, like many of her breed, fear of loud or unexpected noises such as thunder and gunfire. In addition, she had parasites in her throat when she was younger. Kinna has kept her on a special diet to ease her allergy symptoms, but needed help with Sessan’s fear of noises. When Sessan was startled, she would bark, escalating to a point where it appeared she could not stop herself. When a thunderstorm was brewing Kinna would have to sit in the hallway, away from windows and hold Sessan. Often, Sessan would seek refuge in the tub.
Our first session together was interesting. When I arrived Sessan came right up to me and looked me in the eyes as though she knew I was there for her. We had already discussed Kinna’s concerns about Sessan over the phone, so we got right to work.
I settled in to create the healing space by offering Reiki to Sessan, letting her know she was in charge. I then set the intention and began breathing into my hara. Kinna sat quietly in the room with us, guarding the gate she put up so Laddy, the other border collie, stayed out. After a couple of minutes, Sessan put her paw on the gate to get out. Then, she went and lay down in the other room where I couldn’t see her. Laddy, however, stretched out on the other side of the gate with his head on his paws. Of course, when Sessan left, my ego tried to move in. I started to worry about what Kinna would think now that Sessan had walked out. Keeping the precepts in mind, I returned to breathing deeply, bringing in the first symbol and reminding myself that everything was just as it should be. After all, the session was about Sessan, not me. This has happened before in my practice with animals and has taught me to let go of the outcome and trust Reiki.
During the session, a chipmunk distracted Sessan and she demonstrated the frantic barking Kinna told me about. Finally, Kinna got her settled down and we continued working. She remained quiet for the rest of the session. I felt the energy shift after about 30 minutes and closed the session. Sessan immediately came into the room and sat in front of me. I thanked her and Reiki. I also thanked Laddy, who sat fascinated at the gate the whole time. His occasional long yawn and rapt attention let me know he was also receiving.
We set up a schedule for Sessan of four consecutive sessions. Each time I came to work with her she spent less time in the other room. During our second session the sound of a gunshot came from a farm nearby. Sessan lifted her head but did not bark. The chipmunks no longer tormented her. She offered her throat for Reiki during one session. All of our sessions were approximately thirty minutes.
Our fourth and final session together held a surprise for me. Sessan spent the majority of the time in the room with me. As I sat quietly offering Reiki to this lovely dog I had an image of a vast snowy field. When we finished I mentioned this to Kinna. She told me that winter was Sessan’s favorite time of year. She found relief from her skin allergies and there were no thunderstorms!
A couple of weeks after our last session I received a call from Kinna. A severe thunderstorm had passed through the night before. Sessan had remained calm throughout the entire storm!
“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.
Killian is an eleven-year-old Rotweiller. Her health had declined sharply during the past year. She was in constant pain despite medication. Walking was a huge effort and putting any weight on her front left leg was close to impossible.
Her family is my niece, Ginny, her eight year old son, Logan, her 4 year old daughter, Maria and an adorable pug named. Chewy.
Ginny asked me to offer Reiki to Killian the day before she was to be euthanized. Both Logan and Maria wanted to participate.
Killian was also depressed over the unexpected death two months earlier of her twin sister, Amber. In addition, Ginny was going through a divorce and the family was in turmoil.
When I arrived at their house, I was shocked at Killian’s appearance. She looked so small and caved in. She hadn’t been able to stand and relieve herself for almost 24 hours. She surprised us when she pulled herself up, followed me outside for 15 excruciating minutes to relieve herself then returned inside.
The real point of this story, for me, is the effect the two children’s offering of Reiki had on Killian. Logan needed a minimum of coaching. Maria’s approach was to brush and hug Killian. We worked together for forty minutes. I felt that I was witnessing something special. Before I left, Killian was giving Maria kisses. When I checked that evening, Killian was wiggling her rear end like a puppy. She even climbed the stairs that night to join the kids in their bedrooms.
That was a year ago this past June. As of today, August 30, 2010, Killian still wiggles like a puppy, climbs stairs and takes special care of the children and of course, Chewy.