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
Remus Healing Group
Over the last year and a half, I have been lucky enough to meet other Reiki practitioners. It was through these various meetings that I decided to set up a healing group following the SARA principles. My group meets once every two months; due to some of the practitioners having to travel from a far. We are all of differing experience and backgrounds, but we all have a deep love of animals and we all want to give something back to these wonderful creatures.
As was usual we met at Remus last Saturday afternoon, armed with coats jumpers and scarves, it was very cold! We like to, meet at this time as it is just after the animals have been fed and watered. Normally they are all settled in their fields or shelters by this point. We like to have a chat before we start offering Reiki, as it is a good time to catch up on what each of us has been up to. If we are lucky and have time, we have a cup of tea and sit with Timmy the cat who likes to be stroked and loves affection. I feel this is a time for us to become grounded and to release any stresses that we may have, at this point we set off to help the animals. As Sue was on holiday this week, she had already texted me a list of the animals she would like us to work on, so I knew which animals to offer Reiki to without interrupting the staff, these are usually the animals who are most in need.
There were five of us altogether, however the total number in the group was eight. We decided that we would start with Billy a horse who was almost starved to death by his previous owners. He has food issues and is usually outside during the day, but due to stomach problems he had to rest in the stable. We decided to offer reiki as a group as we all felt he was in need of a lot of energy, and so we asked for his permission. At the start Billy 3 was very calm and watched us intently as we stood outside his stable offering Reiki. After a while he started to breath heavilly, it was almost as if he was releasing built up emotions and feelings. I felt that he did not like spending so much time in the stable, and would rather be outside eating the grass. He eventually settled and became calm, I have found that the healing time in a group is a lot less than if reiki is being offered by an individual. It is important to ask the animal for permission as group healing can be quite intense, in some cases the animal will move far away as the energy is too strong. It is so important for the animal to be in charge of their healing.
We then offered reiki to Apollo who is a beautiful grey mare. She had been kicked by a horse and had a lot of stitches to her bottom. Again we stayed as a group and offered her healing. She immediately turned her bottom to us and stood there for a while, taking in the wonderful reiki energy. She then turned to face us and started to ‘weave’ above the fence post. This surprised me as two other horses had shown stereotypical behaviours during a healing earlier. It was a little distressing to watch but we all felt that because she was having a group healing her deep rooted issues were coming to the surface quicker. To our surprise when we all turned around to leave, a group of goats in the opposite field had glazed eyes and were resting their heads against the fence, all completely chilled, obviously taking in the reiki too. It was a very funny sight to see and made us all laugh.
Our third Reiki session was with Bugs, a horse who has chronic arthritis and is in a lot of pain. I have offered her reiki many times before and was not surprised to see that as soon as we offered reiki she came over from the middle of a group of horses and moved up right against the fence to where we were standing. She soaked the reiki up like a sponge and became dreamy and chilled. During her Reiki session she drank quite a lot of water, Nicky who is a qualified crystal therapist decided to ‘charge’ the drinking water with the crystal fluorite which is good for bones. Bugs drank even more water and at one point almost put her hoof in the water tank.
During the afternoon we split into smaller groups and offered reiki to as many animals as possible which included Cocoa the cat and Bimbo, Star, Casey and Marley the horses. It was a good time to walk around in the energy of Remus to see where the horses were being put to bed and how immaculate, warm and cosy each stable was. The tireless work which never ends at Remus is amazing to see, the love and attention given to each animal is a blessing.
The thing about offering reiki in a group is that inevitably each person takes on some of the wonderful healing energy. We finished offering reiki and said our goodbyes. We were all chilled, calm and a little tired. We agreed to meet again on the 12th of December, before the Remus’s Carol Service starts, it will be a time to meet, offer reiki and to eat mince pies!
by Caroline Thomas © 2010
My shelter, the Animal Protective Foundation (APF) of Scotia, NY in cooperation with the Schenectady (NY) Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA) sponsors the Pet Guardian Program. Basically, the APF takes in pets belonging to battered, abused or otherwise compromised women who seek shelter at the YWCA. The APF provides for the care and feeding of these pets in a secure environment, accessible to the women and select APF personnel. As the Shelter Animal Reiki Association (SARA) representative at the APF, I approached APF management and proposed that Reiki be offered to these animals. The APF agreed and granted me and my wife (also a Reiki Master) access to these pets.
As we entered the room used for housing these pets, we found two dogs (one female about two years old and one male about six years of age) and a Cockatiel. Randomly my wife selected to male and I took the female, named Queenie Sue. She took one look at me, six foot and 200 pounds, and became extremely agitated, barking and running around the pen. I assumed that I resembled the abuser in some way and Queenie Sue wanted nothing to do with me. My wife had to problems offering Reiki to the male dog. Given Queenie Sue’s greeting, I thought that a distance treatment, to start, might be the best way to go.
I went outside the room, into the hallway, and offered Reiki to Queenie Sue. I sensed that the offering was being accepted but did not go back into the room. My wife completed her treatment and met me in the hallway. She indicated that Queenie Sue had relaxed and was taking a Reiki nap. I returned in a few days and repeated the distance treatment on Queenie Sue. After about three to four distance treatments I ventured into the room and was able to offer Reiki to Queenie Sue directly. In fact, I was able to get her out of the pen and into my arms.
My wife and I continued to offer Reiki to both dogs and the bird. We were subsequently told by the APF that all three were surrendered to the APF by the owner (she could no longer take care of them), put up for adoption and all three adopted.
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!
In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, a sweet, white Staffordshire Terrier puppy with a unique (and very fitting) heart-shaped spot on her nose was rescued from the ravaged region. We don’t know the story of her previous family, but luckily she found her way to Best Friends Animal Society’s sanctuary in Kanab, Utah. But five years later, she’s still there, waiting for her forever home.
We couldn’t believe it as we played and snuggled with her in our cottage on the sanctuary’s grounds. Kathleen Prasad and Leah D’Ambrosio, directors of the Shelter Animal Reiki Association, had just spent the weekend training the staff at Best Friends how to use Reiki, a Japanese holistic healing modality, to help the animals and boost adoption rates at the shelter. When we picked China up at the end of the day for our overnight, we didn’t know what to expect, as we had been told she was dog-aggressive. What we got was an angel—in fact, we all kept calling her “Angel” by accident during our brief visit together.
As expected, China was initially a little shy when we first picked her up. But on her walk she really began to open up. We strolled in the last rays of sunlight over by the potbellied pigs in Piggy Paradise and admired the beauty of the landscape around us. China, whose age is estimated at about 6 years, fit right in and had a great time smelling everything, wagging her tail, showing her sense of humor, happily obeying our commands and having lots of fun.
She even joined us for dinner in town at Rocking V Café. Despite the fact that we had probably six other dogs on the patio near us (including a precious little Australian Shepherd puppy), she obeyed Leah’s orders (she had already picked Leah as her favorite!) and rested on the ground with her back to the dogs. Sometimes she wanted to look at them, but she exhibited no signs of aggression and did not beg from the table. (China has some food allergies and must follow a careful diet.) Still, she would do best in a home without small children or another dog. The owner at Rocking V knew her well—China always goes on overnights because she has such a sweet and easygoing disposition.
She remained calm even as we discovered an enormous hairy spider on the ceiling of our cottage after dinner. Kathleen bravely placed it outside as China watched us with curious eyes and expressive, floppy pink ears that look just like pig ears. Later, as the three of us curled up in blankets and chatted about the weekend’s amazing experiences and events, she fell into a deep, contented sleep on the bed while listening to our voices.
After China snuggled at the foot of Leah’s bed all night, the inevitable happened the following morning: We had to drop her off at Dogtown. She’s been through this many times before, and we witnessed firsthand the resignation as she prepared internally to go back. The volunteers and staff at Best Friends are absolutely wonderful, but China is ready to find a real home and meet her soul mate, best friend and lifelong companion. We believe that person is out there, somewhere.
We couldn’t leave without promising her we’d do our best to find her the perfect home. Maybe our visit to Best Friends—and the serendipitous way we were placed with her for the overnight (we let the staff make the selection, as the dogs we had offered Reiki to that day were not the right fit)—was timed just right so we can now tap into our global network to help China finally take the next step in what has been a long and solitary journey. She’s survived the largest natural disaster to hit the U.S. in more than a century, but she hasn’t let it break her spirit or dampen her hope or ability to love. Finding her forever home should be easy by comparison.
If you’d like to adopt China, a home inspection will need to be scheduled. You can also meet her in person at Best Friends in Kanab, a four-hour drive from Las Vegas. More info can be found in her official bio on the Best Friends site. Please forward this article to anyone you know who might be interested, and definitely keep us posted!
For more information on China, contact:
Tamara Dormer, CPDT KA, AKC CGC, APDT
Dog Trainer, Best Friends Animal Society
5001 Angel Canyon Rd.
Kanab, UT 84741
(435) 644-2001, ext. 4489
tamarad (at) bestfriends (dot) org
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.
The 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!
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!
Macy is a beautiful brown Cocker Spaniel with a bit of white on her. She was recently brought to Animals in Distress having just had a litter of seven puppies. One of the puppies had made its transition by the time they got to AID. The other six seemed to be doing all right.
When I arrived at AID for my weekly visit two weeks ago, Lori, the kennel manager, had just left for the vet with one of Macy’s puppies. She returned just before I left for the day and asked that Reiki be offered to the pup as well as Macy and the rest of the litter. In the ensuing week, that puppy made its transition and was followed by three more. The fifth puppy was rushed to the vet shortly after I arrived last week.
I began my visit by asking for Lucy, the little Chihuahua who is one of my regulars. Lucy likes to snuggle in her towel in my arms soaking up Reiki as we make the rounds of the hospitality center and the cat wing. This time, we stopped at Macy’s enclosure and offered Reiki to her and her remaining pup from outside the enclosure.
I performed a healing attunement on the pup and on Macy, as well. Of course, I hope the pup survives, but it is now in the hands of Reiki and the universe. The cause of the pups’ illness has been identified as a herpes virus. According to information I’ve researched, pups contract this virus through the mother who is an asymptomatic carrier of the virus. Most pups who contract the virus do not survive and those who do typically become carriers, as well.
The point of this story, however, is to illustrate yet another situation where we as Reiki practitioners must detach ourselves from the outcome. Naturally, the staff at AID has taken the pups’ transitions hard. They want to save every animal that comes through their doors and it is their dedication to this mission that keeps them going day after day and on weekends and holidays when the rest of us are enjoying family time and time with our own animals.
We offer Reiki to the animals and to the staff and then we must let go and let the outcome be what it will be. This is another example of “getting out of the way” and letting Reiki do what it will do. We never know the “big picture”, so to speak, so we accept that whatever happens is the “right” thing in the eyes of the universe, our personal opinions notwithstanding.
The blessing is that as we learn to step out of our judgments and let be what will be, we are better able to serve the animals and people to whom we offer Reiki. We also find that we become more grounded and peaceful ourselves, which benefits all connected with us.
Update: the 7th and last puppy made its transition the Saturday night after I was there last. I saw Macy today and got the picture above. She’s a very sweet little girl. She’ll stay in the cat wing a short while longer, then move to the dog wing to await her forever home.
I find working with animals in a shelter environment to be extremely rewarding, as do many others. Those of us in SARA have made it our mission to bring Reiki to as many animal shelters as possible. Of course, there are more shelters than there are SARA members, so it’s very important for us to find other Reiki practitioners willing to share Reiki with shelter animals.
This is not as easy as it might seem. It’s not difficult to find a Reiki practitioner who will offer Reiki over distance to a shelter or a particular animal if requested. The difficulty arises in finding those Reiki practitioners who are willing to visit shelters and work with the animals and staff directly.
I’m sure you have encountered people who say things like “Oh, I can’t go to the animal shelter. It just breaks my heart to see those poor animals!” Many can’t bear the thought of animals in some shelters being euthanized. Still others find themselves frustrated because they “can’t take them all home.” At the heart of all the reasons people give is the fear of their own emotions.
Reiki practitioners are not immune to these fears. We as healers have as our first duty to heal ourselves. We can’t create a healing space for others if we do not have the ability to create that inner space for ourselves first. That does not mean we have to be completely healed in order to offer Reiki to others. If that were the case, virtually no one would be offering Reiki! What it does mean is that we must be able to recognize when we are out of balance and practice bringing ourselves back to a more grounded place.
The more we practice offering ourselves Reiki, the better we’re able to achieve the balance we desire. The more confidence we gain in being able to balance ourselves, the less fearful we are of our emotions running out of control. The key is to practice before putting ourselves into potentially stressful situations.
If you are considering offering Reiki to shelter animals, but have had difficulty in the past coping with the shelter environment, you will need to research the shelters in your area to find one that is a good fit for you. Not everyone can work in a euthanizing shelter. For them, a no-kill shelter is obviously a better choice. Fortunately, there are more no-kill shelters today than ever before so the chances of finding one nearby are much greater.
Once you have found a shelter that seems to be a good fit, start slowly. Visit the shelter occasionally and get to know the environment before making a commitment. Observe your reactions to different situations and evaluate them as objectively as you can to see if you’re simply reacting or if there’s something deeper going on. Often we react to things based on past history instead of seeing each experience as new and different.
Don’t expect to be devoid of emotion. We humans are emotional creatures. If something upsets you, acknowledge it and remove yourself from the situation as much as possible. Try looking at it another way. For example, many people say they feel great sadness about all the animals in the shelter. Rather than being sad for the animals in the shelter, be grateful that they are safe and cared for and have a place to sleep. Appreciating the shelter’s service toward its residents will help turn the negative view into a positive one.
If you or someone you know would like to help shelter animals, but are hesitant, I hope the above will help convince you to give it a try. The animals and shelter staff can use all the help they can get!
…posted by John Sawyer
Larry is a brindle boxer of indeterminate, but apparently advanced age. He came to Animals In Distress several months ago riding in the bed of a pickup truck along with another dog with whom he’d been wandering in a rural area nearby. An elderly woman saw them and ordered her sons to go get them before they were hit by cars or otherwise harmed.
Larry and his traveling companion had obviously been dumped out in the country and had no idea where to go or what to do. It’s fortunate for them that they were seen and brought to AID. Both were emaciated and full of sores. They were taken for veterinary care and afterward, with the love and support of the AID staff and volunteers, began their healing process.
Larry did well, putting on weight and gaining a healthy shine to his beautiful coat. Then, after a time, Larry began to limp on is right foreleg. X-rays and other tests determined that he has bone cancer which has spread to his lungs and elsewhere. He now has a pronounced bulge in his right shoulder that continues to grow. The cancer is aggressive and resistant to known treatment methods. The vets gave him a very poor prognosis and estimated he would live another three months.
I began working with Larry shortly after his diagnosis. After being introduced, we went into the introduction room to get better acquainted. Larry was interested in me for a few minutes, but then was distracted by conversations and laughter going on out in the reception area. I quickly learned that Larry is a very curious fellow and likes to know what’s going on at all times!
It’s not unusual in the beginning of my relationship with animals at the shelter for them to be interested in Reiki for a very short time. Many of them grow to enjoy it more as time goes on. Others love it from the first moment and soak it up. Still others are receptive at first, but then make it clear that they have better things to do that receive Reiki.
My first session with Larry was perhaps 5 minutes. He was becoming more agitated and clearly wanted out of the room to go see what was going on out in the reception area. So, out we went and Larry thoroughly investigated the situation.
After several sessions that played out essentially the same way, I came to the conclusion that Larry simply wasn’t receptive to Reiki. I stopped seeing him on my weekly visits and focused on other dogs and cats that were referred to me by the shelter staff. I always ask about Larry and the report iss always the same: he’s doing fine with regular pain management and is as curious as ever.
One day one of the shelter staff, a Reiki student of mine, pulled me aside and told me of an experience another of my students on the staff had had with Larry recently. She had been sitting with Larry in his run petting him and had gone into a sort of meditative state. She felt Reiki begin to flow through her and realized that Larry was drawing Reiki energy! She said she felt a wave of sadness pass over her and had the feeling that it came from Larry. He continued to draw Reiki for a few minutes, then it stopped.
Clearly, Larry had set his own criteria for his Reiki session. It was completely in his control, as it should be. My student had created a healing space and Larry chose to enter it, albeit for a brief time.
I was reminded when hearing this story of how we as practitioners must remember to simply create the healing space and let the animals choose to enter it or not. I had to admit that I had not done as good a job of that as I could have when working with Larry. I had let my expectations that he would gradually accept Reiki more readily take precedence over my primary task. Larry had been trying to tell me not that he wasn’t interested in Reiki, but that he wanted it on his own terms in his own time.
All the animals, our own and those we work with, are our teachers. It is our obligation to honor their wisdom and acknowledge their spiritual being. If we may offer them Reiki, so much the better, but that is for them to decide.