As pet sitters, we often encounter animals who are afraid, timid, confused or stressed because they are alone with a stranger in their home. We face emergencies with sick or injured animals when their people are away. We sometimes care for animals who are transitioning while their family is gone. These things are stressful for the animal and for us as pet sitters. There is an amazing balm for these situations: Animal Reiki – specifically the Let Animals Lead® method developed by Kathleen Prasad. This practice has made my job as a pet sitter easier and has decreased stress and anxiety in my animal clients.
What is the Let Animals Lead® method of Animal Reiki? It is based on Japanese Reiki practices and uses flexible meditation techniques to create a space of love, peace, harmony and balance for the practitioner and the animal. It is hands off, unless the animal initiates touch, based on respect for the animal and can be done from a distance. It is perfect for helping frightened, stressed, timid or excited animals find comfort and accept us as caregivers. Another component of the system is a daily personal practice of meditation and self-healing. This helps me stay grounded, balanced and mindful. Animals are extremely sensitive to our energy and are more responsive when we are in the present moment, calm and approach them with an “all is well” mentality. Reiki helps me remember this.
One story that stands out as a big “Reiki Win” for me is a newly rescued chihuahua whose family was going away for a week. She was afraid of people and a fear biter. The initial “meet and greet” went well – she sat in my lap and seemed ok. But, when I returned and opened her crate for the first time, she barked, growled and made it clear I better not try to touch her. I tried the usual tricks. Nothing worked. I put the crate in a room and closed the door, hoping she would come out if I left her for a little while. She did but would not allow me to approach her. She was terrified.
I began a Reiki meditation. She quieted but would not allow me to come close. I talked to her person and we decided to leave her loose in the room. Cleaning up messes is better than being bitten! I began sharing Reiki with her before I arrived each time and just sat in mediation with her. By midweek, she would allow me to slip the leash around her neck from a distance to go for a walk. I shared Reiki with her the rest of the week, meditating while we walked, and did the same during the next few visits. I am honored to say, this little girl is now my best friend, greeting me at the door and following me around, begging for snuggles! I don’t think we would have gotten to this point without Reiki. I am the only person she likes outside of the family.
My very first pet sitting client told me their Miniature Pinscher liked only three people in the whole world, them and the former pet sitter. I quickly found this to be true. Her dog brothers loved me, she hated me. If I even looked her way, she barked aggressively and snapped. For midday potty breaks, I opened the door, gave a wide berth and listened to her bark and growl the entire time. The usual tricks had no effect. I played with the other dogs and mediated, inviting her into the space. Over time, she would come and sit quietly beside me, but if I even looked her way, she would snap and bark furiously. And then, one day as I was meditating, she climbed into my lap. We have been best buddies since!
Reiki works for other animals as well. For an unruly horse who is difficult to lead to and from the pasture, I share Reiki on the way to the farm. If I am “being Reiki” when I approach her, she leads quietly and calmly. When I forget, it’s chaos. Horses are especially sensitive to energy and I find when I am “being Reiki”, they are much calmer, easier to handle and more responsive to me.
If I know an animal is nervous, anxious, fearful or stressed, I share Reiki with them before I arrive and spend a few minutes in Reiki meditation with them when I arrive. This has a calming effect and comforts them, making them more accepting of me and our time together less stressful for them. I can’t ask for more than that – thank you, Reiki!
Unfortunately, sometimes animals begin transitioning when their family is away. This has happened several times and before I knew Reiki, the feeling of helplessness was overpowering. Now, I can sit and share Reiki with the animal for healing and a peaceful transition and with the family for peace and comfort. It is the hardest thing I encounter as a pet sitter, but I know sharing Reiki makes a difference, healing all on some level.
Reiki can also help ease physical discomfort in injured or sick animals. While waiting for the vet, I have shared Reiki with dogs, cats and horses. It lowers their stress level and gives them physical comfort, allowing the body to start its own healing process. It also helps me remain calm and centered. This way, I can support the animal and his or her person and be a source of comfort for both.
And lastly, in those situations where we as pet sitters feel helpless and frustrated when an animal is not being treated as we feel they should be or where they are stressed because of something happening in the household, we can send Reiki for the highest good of all involved. Our client animals are family to us and it is frustrating when we see them in certain situations. Sharing Reiki with the situation eases our frustration, knowing we have done what we can because Reiki always heals on some level. The outcome might not be what we want, but rest assured, it is the best for all involved. I am reminded of this again and again.
I could go on and on with stories of how Reiki has helped my pet sitting animal clients. I can’t imagine doing what I do without it or an easier way to help animals. To quote my teacher, Kathleen Prasad, “By simply relaxing, being quiet, breathing and having a heartfelt intention to help another being, you create a sacred space. In this space, all things are possible.” I have witnessed the benefits of Reiki to hundreds of animals in the most amazing ways. Often, the simplest things have the greatest impact in what we do.
My personal daily Reiki practice keeps me grounded, balanced and heart centered so animals are attracted to and comforted by my presence. “Being Reiki” helps me be the calming influence for animals and allows me walk through my day peacefully and with grace, no matter what happens. If my day starts to go awry, I simply practice my Reiki breaths and recite the precepts: For today only, do not anger, do not worry, be humble, be honest, be compassionate and kind. And, suddenly, all is well again. Animals appreciate the “all is well in this moment” approach. It makes my job as a pet sitter unbelievably rewarding when animals in my care are happy, less stressed and at ease with me. I attribute much of my success as a pet sitter to my Animal Reiki practice. Thank you, Reiki!
For more information on the Let Animals Lead® method, visit www.animalreikisource.com
Animal Reiki Teacher, SARA