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
…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.
…………….………… By Caroline Thomas
I am writing this blog from my sick bed. Unfortunately I have had to have an operation recently so I am feeling a little sorry for myself. I have had lots of lovely Reiki sent to me, which has really helped me to feel better and inspired me to write this blog as best I can. Whilst in hospital I received some beautiful texts from Sue at Remus, they really showed that she cared about my well being. I started to think about the relationship and bond I have formed with Sue over the last three years. It has been a wonderful adventure which has only got better since Remus and myself became members of SARA, my professional relationship has grown enormously.
A relationship can be termed as a association or connection, I definitely feel connected to all those at Remus. It has been a journey of respect and honesty in every sense. It is so important to have a good relationship with the staff at the Sanctuary you volunteer at, making sure there is no tension or misunderstanding; good communication is the key to a successful relationship. Sue had not heard of Reiki when I first met her, I explained to her that it was a ‘spiritual energy’ which when an animal is sick or stressed can bring about healing. I think she found the concept of energy work very difficult to understand and I think she thought me a bit wacky.
Sue told me of past experiences she had had with holistic Practitioners and how controlling they had been at the Sanctuary, telling her what she could and could not do. Their ego’s too big to get through the stable door, this had put Sue off holistic Practitioners for a long time. I had agreed with Sue that I could commit 3-4 hours each week, Sunday being the best day for me. Sue noticed changes in the animals that I worked with, so bit by bit I earned her respect. Each week we always meet together in her office and discuss the animals who need Reiki. During these meetings we would often talk about things that have happened in our own lives, things happening in my family and my very boring job. Sometimes the stories would be funny and we would both laugh but as is the purpose of a Sanctuary they would often be sad as they would be about animals that have been mistreated. I am always in awe of the passion and love Sue has for animals who are in need. I love going to offer Reiki to the beautiful animals but also feel blessed to be part of the team, Sue is so knowledgeable and interesting, I always appreciate the time Sue has for me.
My relationship with the Staff at Remus has grown too, from the early days of me sitting in the middle of a field, the staff wondered what I could be doing, it was completely new to them. Creating a calm space in a busy Sanctuary can be sometimes difficult, filling of water buckets, movement of horses, cleaning of stables can and have distracted me in the past. I have noticed the staff now are very careful not to make any noise when I am working with an animal. I have never asked them to be quiet, yet some how over time they just knew. I feel respect is such an important part of this relationship.
On the upside, the relationship I have with Remus has helped the start of my Reiki bussiness. I will be running SARA workshops from Remus soon where I will donate 50% of my profits back to them. It benefits both of us as I am helping the Sanctuary and also helping to get SARA on the map. Giving my time and skills for free, has come round in full circle as now I will be earning money!
In December I went to visit my good friend in Montana that recently moved her horse sanctuary to a 1,200 acre ranch. I was excited for our visit and especially excited to meet Roxanne. Roxanne, a four month old filly arrived a week before my visit. She came to the sanctuary from a neglectful situation and her mother had already weaned her, as she was not able to feed and care for her.
During my stay the temperatures dropped to 25-40 below zero for 5 days. A small corral was constructed inside one of the barns for Roxanne. Her adopted Aunt Madison, a retired broodmare that found a home at the sanctuary last year was in the corral outside the barn. They could still be close to each other and nuzzle through the panel that replaced the door.
One of the many things I wanted to do during my visit was to offer Reiki to Roxanne. Roxanne was very shy and stayed her distance when I was in the corral helping with the chores. She would look at me out of the corner of one eye. We felt Roxanne would benefit from a Reiki session. I did not have all of my “winter gear”, but I was determined to sit with Roxanne. My friend gave me a horse blanket to wrap myself in stating it would be warmer than any human blanket she could give me.
It was a cloudless blue sky, beautiful, sunny and 25 below zero day. It was my last day at the ranch. I walked out to the barn, turned a bucket upside down, wrapped myself in the horse blanket and sat about six inches from the corral panel. The sun warmed my back as it shone in the opening of the barn. Roxanne stayed in the far corner quietly looking at me and most likely wondering what the heck I was doing. A human in a horse blanket sitting on a bucket outside of her new home.
I created my Reiki space and set my intentions to offer her Reiki and for her to take the amount of Reiki that was appropriate for her. As with the SARA technique, I allowed Roxanne to participate in her own healing and I remained outside of her corral. Allowing her the freedom to move around and feel safe in her space. I began to feel the Reiki flowing through my hands, I could hear Roxanne moving around. I opened my eyes to see her place her tiny hips and tail a few inches from the panel in front of me. As she swayed in a gentle motion back and forth. She let out a baby sigh and began to eat the hay in front of me. I felt a wave of happiness and excitement that she was willing to come to my side of the corral and showed signs of receiving the Reiki.
The time with her was very magical and peaceful. She ate for about 20 minutes and then stood in the middle of the corral doing the “involuntary head bob” and letting out deep sighs. A couple of times she came over and placed her head in front of me and our faces almost touched. I could feel her warm breath on my face. As I gazed into those soulful eyes I resisted the urge to reach out and touch the baby soft tiny nuzzle. I really wanted to climb in there and just hug her, but I did not. This was about her needs and not my desires. She had to learn how to trust humans and in the process trust life. In her four short months on this planet she had already experienced much saddness, betrayal and loss. I was offering her healing and allowing her to take the Reiki energy to heal herself.
I looked at my cell phone to check the time and realized almost an hour had gone past. I quietly told Roxanne I was preparing to end the Reiki. I heard a soft, quiet voice say “not yet”, I could feel my eyes full of tears and a wave of tingles through my body. I stayed. I could no longer feel my toes, but surprisingly enough they were the only body part that was cold. I continued to offer her Reiki and hoped some of the heat I was generating would travel to my toes.
Shortly after the hour I could feel the Reiki flow subside and I knew Roxanne had received all she needed for now. She looked at me and began to yawn many times and then she stuck out her cute pink tongue and was stretching it in all directions. I laughed at the antics and the faces she was making. I knew she was releasing so much. I asked her what she was releasing and heard “pent up emotions”. I was happy to see her finally relax enough to release all she was holding in her little body.
I looked up to see Madison standing in the sun with her head against the barn sleeping next to the opening. It was such a peaceful moment. I did not want to leave. I thanked Roxanne, Aunt Madison and Reiki for allowing us to unite in this incredible space.
I shared the information about Roxanne sticking out her tongue with my friend. She felt this information made sense with what she had noticed of Roxanne in the few days she had been there. Before we left the ranch we stopped by to check on the horses. Roxanne and Madison were standing in the sun half asleep. We could see the soft nature in their eyes and bodies in total relaxation. They were enjoying the warmth from the sun, the bond they created with each other and a knowing they are in a safe, nuturing space.
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.
…….. By Caroline Thomas
This is my first ever ‘blog’, first ever Workshop.Being part of SARA has truly changed my life! As I write this blog, I am still on a high from the wonderful day and adventure we all had.
It was the 31st of October, on a cool Autum day, that I arrived at Remus Horse Sanctuary full of excitement and fear. Today was the day, that I was going to run a SARA level 1 Workshop with, my lovely friend Brenda Oakley-Carter. Both of us being SARA teachers, we are very lucky to live quite close to each other. I often feel that the ‘Universe’ brought us together!
The SARA experience started a few weeks before, when I was busy printing out the Manual, reading and absorbing all of the wonderful teachings that it held. Some of the information it contained was completely new to me and it required me to think about my own Reiki journey and path. As I read the Manual, everything made complete sense. I was amazed to see techniques I had never seen before. To be honest, it felt completly right, everything just fell into place. I knew we would have no problems teaching the SARA way.
The students arrived at the beautiful Remus Horse Sanctuary, ready to begin on their own Reiki journeys. ( In a future blog, I will write more about the wonderful Sanctuary called Remus, I feel so blessed to be able to offer Reiki there and to be a part of their team). Six students attended this Workshop, One being the founder of Remus, three volunteers and two people from the public. All with different back grounds. We spent the morning learning about Reiki, coupled with attunements and techniques. It was amazing to see how everyone embraced the new energy and were so keen to learn more. The energy at the workshop was beautiful. In the afternoon we spent time working with the animals. As a group we left the class and went to offer Reiki to the donkeys. We set our intentions for the animals highest good and allowed the energy to flow. The donkeys moved around in between us before settling. Marigold who is a very old donkey and suffers with laminitis, finds it very difficult to walk. She found a space amongst us and lay down in the middle of the group. It was easy to see that she was taking in the energy, at one point, she gently laid her head on the floor and gave out one large sigh. The students were amazed to see the effects that Reiki had on the animals. We moved on to a group of four stables, containing three horses on their own and a stable which contained two very young donkeys and a miniture horse, it had only been a couple of months before that they had been rescued from terrible cirumstances. At this point we broke off into smaller groups and offerred Reiki as before. What was so amazing was that each stable containing an animal had a different reaction to the energy. One horse carried on eating, showing no interest. The miniture horse called Stix stood quietly as one of the students offered Reiki, and another horse called Malibu just couldn’t get enough Reiki and stood with his eyes half closed competely in a Reiki trance. Each reaction helped the students to see that it truly was the choice of the animal to accept Reiki or to decide not to.
My biggest lesson from this Workshop was that it taught me to believe in myself and to have faith. The animals were the teachers, showing each student the true meaning of Reiki.
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.
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.