Our animal companions are beloved to us. They love unconditionally, with a degree of devotion that nourishes and provides us with joy. Reiki can be a way to say thank you to the beloved dogs, cats, horses, and others whose love knows no restrictions and who, with absolute generosity, enhance our day-to-day world.
Reiki, of course, can be offered as nothing more than a thank you—a way to nourish your animal as he or she has so often nourished you. However, it can also be employed for the correction of behavioral problems and as a complementary healing method, in conjunction with veterinary care.
Of course, serious problems often call for the attention of a professional vet, but Reiki has been found to ease and enhance traditional methods, accelerating the process and making it harmonious. Many stories exist that speak to the limitations of conventional modalities, and the almost miraculous recoveries of supposedly “doomed” animals.
Ellen Sokolow, a Reiki Master who has worked to bring Reiki to conflict situations in Israel and Palestine, found a young cat abandoned in a Jerusalem street, with both its foot and tail cut almost totally off. The vet to which she took him pronounced that, as the cat’s spinal cord had been damaged, its tail could not recover and would have to be removed. Sokolow, however, convinced him to bandage the cat’s wounds and allow her to take him home, where she performed Reiki on him for the following two weeks. Rather than developing the complications that the doctor had foreseen, the cat made a complete recovery, with both foot and tail functioning normally.
Upon discovering with concern that her beloved dog was sick, a woman from Andover, Massachusetts, took him to the vet, who put him on a strong medication. The dog’s owner hid the pills in his food so that he would eat them, but also chose to offer him copious amounts of Reiki. The dog made a total turnaround, and his vet took complete responsibility for it. However, when the dog’s owner moved months later, she found the food containing the medication concealed behind the couch, untouched, and concluded that the healing touch of Reiki had brought about the dog’s recovery.
These stories are numerous and uniformly powerful. Not only has Reiki been found to work on animals, but anecdote after anecdote exists that shows just how responsive to Reiki they are. Mary Gordon, an equine massage therapist, observes that “it really is something to see how the horses respond… When I first offer it to new horses, they often turn their heads right around and look at me as if to say, ‘You know about this too?’ I have no doubt that they recognize this energy as something wonderful. During a Reiki session, they will often let out these huge sighs of relief and release… When they accept the energy, they start licking and chewing, their heads drop and their eyes get soft and sleepy. It’s really amazing to see…” She adds that “the horses are so physically responsive when they are receiving the energy, people often stop and ask what I’m doing to the horse!” Dawn LaPointe, who also works with horses, reported that, as she performed Reiki on one horse, it obviously “wanted to get closer and started gently wrapping his neck [and] body around me like a horse hug…”
Behavioral problems can also be worked on with Reiki. A dog who, normally horrifically nervous during thunderstorms, could cope calmly after a Reiki session—avoiding the Valium prescription a vet might recommend. LaPointe recalls that, after performing Reiki on a bulldog, Molly, who was anxious around and avoided people and had some problems with aggression, “Molly is such a happy, confident girl now… [During the session] she was crawling onto me to give me kisses (not her normal behavior; I think we have a special connection now) and she even rolled onto her back a couple times during the session which shows she’s trusting and not fearful…”
Although a dog or cat can’t tell you about its problems in words, the practitioner’s intuition plays a part during a session, and some animals have been known to rotate their bodies according to their needs, moving so that the troubled area can receive Reiki more comfortably. Offering Reiki in an environment in which the animal is comfortable can put it at ease. If an animal—a cat, for example—doesn’t want to sit still, the practitioner can accommodate it. When they have had enough many animals will move away or otherwise communicate that the session is over. This acute awareness of their own needs can be astonishing. “The horses themselves really work with me to understand their needs,” Mary Gordon observes. Dawn LaPointe noticed that a horse she was working on would “gently turn her head and neck toward me and put her nose near my hand each time I placed them on a joint I had assessed as being compromised. I smiled at her and acknowledged that there was indeed a compromise there, and thanked her for her help. The animals are so sensitive and appreciative of their sessions. It’s very sweet.”