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.