By Sharon Thomas, Executive Director, Animal Welfare League
I firmly believe that most dog lovers feel the relationship forged between canine and human contains a mystical connection. After all, doesn’t your dog sometimes know what you are thinking? When it come to caring for our furry pals, many credit the ancient Japanese technique of Reiki as an exceptionally helpful tool. Reiki comes from the terms “Rei” meaning spirit and “Ki” meaning energy. It is spiritual or life force energy healing that is performed by a trained Reiki practitioner or Reiki Master to heal many conditions – physical, mental, and emotional. But what about dogs and other animals? For healthy animals Reiki helps maintain energetic balance by unblocking imbalances in their energy fields and promoting health and well-being for animals suffering from illness or injury. Reiki is a powerful accompaniment to both conventional and alternative healing methods.
For our shelter animals, Reiki helps with both behavioral and emotional issues that were created by abandonment, neglect, and abuse before entering our shelter. The staff and volunteers at the AWL affirm that Reiki treatments are a blessing for our shelter animals, helping to eliminate stress-related behaviors and allowing the animals to regain trust in humans and therefore, become more adoptable. Reiki sessions last about 30 minutes. The frequency of the sessions depends on each individual animal’s health and needs. Some issues can be resolved in two or three sessions. Other animals may require sessions on a recurring basis.
Are you still questioning how Reiki actually works? Quantum physics shows us that everything is made up of energy and everything is connected. Therefore, everything is part of the same continuous whole. The life cycles of all living beings, in fact, are physically observable examples of Reiki. Reiki’s healing abilities are “wireless healing. We all accept that our cell phones, televisions, and even our garage door openers work in a wireless way…it is not much of a leap to accept that all energy travels that same way including the energy of healing.
Our Reiki Master at the AWL connects with the dog or cat requiring the healing practice. Once she connects to the life force energy, this hands-on (or – off depending on the animal) technique provides the animal with a deep sense of peace and relaxation. Reiki does not involve manipulation or prodding or needles. This technique complements all forms of prescribed treatment and can never be harmful. Animals respond very positively to this healing. Their energy fields are rebalanced, stress related behaviors are healed, and the animals are able to trust again which prepares them for adoption.
At the AWL we have seen the transformation of many of our hyperactive, anxious dogs. The response was almost immediate. Many of these dogs had resided at the shelter for a very long time and this healing practice made a significant difference in their lives. With their trust in humans reestablished, their true personalities blossomed and they were able to be adopted. They are now living happy lives with their human families. Two heart warming examples are the stories of Gypsy and Punkin who had both been at the shelter for over a year. Both of these dogs were beautiful, loving, gentle animals but they had developed obsessive stress behaviors such as continuously circling in their kennels and an inability to relax or calm themselves which prevented them from being adopted. It wasn’t long after they began having Reiki sessions that these obsessive behaviors were healed and both of these beautiful dogs were adopted into loving families.
I must say what a wonderful feeling it is to watch the change in their behaviors and the emergence of a peaceful look in their precious eyes….a look of assurance and the realization that they are deelpy loved and appreciated and that their lives truly matter. It is our hope at the Animal Welfare League that all shelters will recognize the value of using Reiki for their animals so that they, too, may experience the positive results and increase their chances for adoption. If you have any questions regarding animal Reiki or are interested,as a Reiki practitioner, in volunteering in a shelter near you, please contact our Reiki Master, Susie Berking, at firstname.lastname@example.org.