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Posted: December 2007

REIKI FOR ANIMALS....A Mission of Love
by Kathleen Hourican

When I first started my Reiki path in 1998, it was from a decision that I came to after being in the veterinary industry for many years and from the frustration of feeling that there must be something more that we can do for our furry friends.

Animal Reiki or Pet Reiki is an up and coming part of what we can do with our skills as Reiki practitioners. Many classes are being taught, schools are being formed for the main purpose of helping our companions and wild life friends. When I first started, there was not a class to be had. Even Reiki classes were hard to come by. So when I was ready to start practicing on animals, I basically had to trust my inner knowings.

As my first client came to me, two things always stuck in my mind:

Reiki never does any harm

Reiki goes where it is needed the most

This got me through my initial uncertainties; so, I rolled up my sleeves and began my first session. I approached my first client with so much love in my heart and so much compassion as to the pain the dog was in that facilitating Reiki seemed natural. He was suffering from acute pancreatitis. The owners were giving him 24 hours to turn around or he would be euthanized. The Reiki session lasted for 5 hours and by the next morning the dog was pretty much pain free, energetic and ready to start eating. A miracle, yes. A happy ending, yes. But this is Reiki after all.

Through the years, I have come to understand that Reiki always honors the will of the animal. As we approach an animal with love, we are in alignment with the Reiki way of being. Through that love stems compassion: two of the most important tools we have besides Reiki to be successful in treating animals.
When approaching the treatment of an animal, keep in mind these tips:
• for the most part, conversations are always short, and quite one sided
• if you work with an aggressive animal, facilitate it as a remote or distant session
• Reiki assists the animal in what they need, not always what we want

Working with animals can be challenging as no verbal feedback from the client is spoken. It is hard also from the aspect that though the owners have told us their pet's symptoms, we quite often do not know the underlying cause of the disease process and whether or not we are helping the animal to get well or to help the animal through his or her transition process. It can also be very difficult to accept when an animal does decide, through the help of Reiki, to make the final transition. As sad as our perception of death may be, these cases still have happy endings. Their suffering has ended and through Reiki they reach a place of peace.
From love and compassion, grows the instinctive understanding of what the animal wants and needs, honoring that animal, and giving honor and integrity to the animal through the disease process and the client/practitioner relationship.

Many of my students have stated that they would never think of practicing on animals due to the fact that they have no knowledge of animal anatomy and diseases that can plague our furry friends. This brings the big question to mind, do you need to have knowledge of veterinary medicine in order to practice Reiki on animals? My answer is always the same to this question. No, it is not important or necessary. It is all about perception. How many of us have the medical knowledge of a nurse or doctor when we start to practice on people? The only knowledge we have is what we ourselves have read or experienced. We have no specialized training in the medical field, yet we perform Reiki on people soon after our first attunement. Given similar knowledge of animals, a practitioner should be able to start practicing Reiki on animals easily. If the animal is willing, then giving Reiki to animals is as simple as giving our pets hugs, kisses, and of course petting.

The symbols are the same be it for people or animals, if you are using symbols in your practice. Hand positions vary from client to client, so there are no restrictions there and nothing new to learn. Just as we adjust our hands with human clients, we allow the pets to tell us what they prefer through their body positioning. Some animals love to be cuddled as they receive Reiki, some animals prefer the practitioner's hands to lay gently on their bodies. For very small wildlife, birds and bunnies for instance, they enjoy being cupped in the practitioner's hands. Again, we also must remember that when performing Reiki, though we set our intention, Universal energy will go where it is needed the most in both animal and people.

Animals serve as our teachers as well. Granted, I was taught Reiki traditionally, in the classroom like everyone else. Animals have taught me much that I do not think I would have learned in a classroom or if I solely worked on people. I have learned what unconditional love is, as that is how animals love. I have learned to love my clients unconditionally, no strings, no expectations. As a practitioner, one develops a unique bond with one's client. Animals give us a friendship based on innocence, gratitude and love that we quite often do not see with our human clients. I have learned that ego has no place in what we do. That, though we intend to help this animal heal, we have no control as to how they receive. I have learned that to approach a client, one must be totally open in intention and expectation. I have learned that the true payment we receive for what we do is not placed in dollar value. Granted it's a nice benefit to receive after a session. But what we receive in exchange for a session is that unconditional love and gratitude for being there for them. It is also the feeling of unconditional love and gratitude that we have for the animals in allowing us to be part of their lives during this critical time. As we channel the energy to the animal, we receive a great sense of peace and love that Source has for these furry children, reflecting a gentle state of being.

Working with wildlife has been a very unique and wonderful experience for me, one that increased in leaps and bounds as I walked my Lightarian Reiki path. My list of clients has been truly interesting: skunks, raccoons, squirrels, deer, hawks, owls, hummingbirds and even a dragon fly. Every day, I have guests appear in my backyard or on my back porch, waiting for me to come out and begin my sessions. The squirrels seem to be the first to show up, and they announce their presence by peering into my windows, gently tapping on them. My day ends with deer congregating in my back yard in the afternoon and early evening, waiting patiently for their turn. I provide a safe haven for all who come and share in the experience. They honor me with their presence, their trust, and their gratitude. Granted some days are busier than others, but what truly amazes me is the dynamics they create as they all congregate, as they trust one another and respect each other. Though wary, the squirrels come and go while the hawk is making his presence known and that he is ready to receive, perching on my banister. A respectful distance is always kept, but what would normally send these critters into a state of nervousness, they just calmly accept until their sessions are done and they are on their way.

I have been truly blessed through Reiki by experiencing the opportunity to share the lives of so many, to learn to love in that special way. In working with animals, I've learned what ego truly is. Surely we do receive benefits from that aspect of ourselves; it gives us confidence. But it also can be the greatest source of our stress in our lives. It can hinder our progress on our spiritual paths by interfering. I have learned that through unconditional love, I allow myself to be open to the possibilities of what living has to offer, making some pretty interesting friendships along the way.

Kathleen Hourican is a Usui Reiki Master, and a Lightarian™ Reiki Master and Teacher.

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