MY ANIMAL REIKI EXPERIENCE
I would like to end by sharing one more story. It is about an animal Reiki experience. About five years ago I heard about an animal Reiki teacher, Kathleen Prasad, who lives near San Francisco. She is internationally recognized as one of the pioneers and leading educators in animal Reiki.
She not only teaches animal Reiki but also created the Shelter Animal Reiki Association whose mission is to promote the use of Reiki in animal shelters, sanctuaries and rescue facilities worldwide through education and training. I encourage you to look at her website which gives you information on all the SARA teachers who are volunteering to make this a reality with the location of the shelters around the world where they are volunteering.
During a six month internship with Kathleen, which I did from my home in New Jersey , I was able to engage in 50 Reiki sessions with animals in different settings – in a person’s home or a distant session from my own home, as well as at shelters or foster homes.
Things I learned were:
- When you offer Reiki to animals you absolutely do not need physical contact. That is why it is so effective for sick, traumatized or abused animals. Reiki can address all these issues from a gentle and non-invasive space.
- I learned that Reiki is more a meditation that we do with our animals rather than an active treatment like we might do with humans.
I would like to give you an example of this:
The Story of Benz
One day when I went into a shelter, I met a volunteer who was fostering a recently rescue dog, named Benz, who came from one of the southern states and was quite a challenge.
He had a lot of aggressive behavior towards the male gender which made it difficult for him to be adopted. I worked together for several months with the volunteer both in the shelter and at her home where she brought him for brief periods of time.
When I first went outside his cage at the shelter he was very aggressive and as I sat quietly in my meditation and offered Reiki, he would slowly back off and stretch out on his mat and go into a restful place.
When I first went to her home and sat in meditation to offer him Reiki, he would pace around the room. The first two times he would go up to the second floor and lay down. After a few sessions he would just go to a nearby couch and go into these deep Reiki slumbers during the session.
We were optimistic but he continued to be quite aggressive towards her husband and after some scary incidents he was brought back to the shelter and it was determined he was not adoptable and needed to be put down.
I asked if I could give him some private Reiki sessions before this happened. The person in charge found a supply closet which would give us some privacy and said she wanted to be with me and would bring some work with her to do while I was offering Reiki.
I offered Reiki to him the last two days before he was euthanized. They were two of the most powerful experiences I had with him. He was just so receptive. At one point in the session, he came over to me as I sat on my cushion and stretched out in front of me and stayed there for a long period of time in a deep Reiki slumber. I placed my hands on him for the first time in our Reiki sessions. It was the first time he had ever allowed that. The person in charge never did any work. She was just totally mesmerized by what was happening.
Bill Stevens is a Christian Brother who taught in their schools for 25 years before working for 10 years in three different hospitals as a Chaplain. This led him to work with the HIV/AIDS community for the next 12 years during which time he created a non-profit organization called Chrysalis Ministry to reach out to those affected by this epidemic. He learned Reiki at this time which started him on his 20 year journey with Reiki. He presently is a Reiki Master and has taught Reiki for the past ten years and studied with seven Reiki Masters. He presently works with the VNA Hospice in Central Jersey as a Reiki practitioner and was recognized by the NJHPCO in 2010 as Hospice Reiki Practitioner of the Year.
Bill is a Shinpiden Reiki III graduate of the International House of Reiki and is a Reiki teacher and practitioner for the Shelter Animal Reiki Association which was founded to bring Reiki to animal shelters across the country.
I inadvertently sent an incorrect version of the Story of Benz to Frans. Frans suggested I use the comment to correct this and for those of you who would like to read it, here it is:
The Story of Benz
One day when I went into a local shelter, I met a volunteer, I will call Mary, who was fostering a dog,
named Benz, who had been rescued from a high kill shelter in the south. Benz had already been returned once to the shelter by an adoptive family due to her aggressive behavior. She usually had great loyalty to one person yet could be aggressive to another. Mary worked with the shelter for several months with the goal of behavior change.
I was privileged to work with her for a couple of those months both at the shelter and in her home where she brought Benz for periods of time. When I first met Benz outside her cage at the shelter she was very aggressive and as I sat quietly in my meditation and offered Reiki, she would slowly back off and stretch out on her mat and go into a restful place.
When I first went to Mary’s home and sat in meditation to offer her Reiki, she paced around the room and found it difficult to settle and ended up laying down on the second floor. But after a couple of sessions, she would pace a little and then just go to a nearby couch and go into these deep Reiki slumbers.
We were optimistic but Benz continued to be quite aggressive towards Mary’s husband and after some scary incidents Benz was brought back to the shelter and it was determined she was not adoptable and needed to be put down.
I asked if I could give her some private Reiki sessions before this happened. The person in charge, I will call her Joan, found a supply closet which would give us some privacy and said she wanted to be with us and would bring some paper work with her. Joan brought Benz into the room and Benz took a period of time to settle down in the new room. For the first 20 minutes she was restless, breathing anxiously. But at times came over to me and sat with her back pressed against me and I placed my hand on her back.This was something new. She did this at least six times during the session. She went back and forth between myself and Joanwho never did any paper work but was totally present.
Eventually Benz came over to me and just laid down in front of me, with a couple of deep sighs, as I sat on my cushionand placed her head on the floor and went into a deep sleep and stayed there for the remainder of the hour. I was aware of tears streaming down my face, placing my hands on her for the first time during a Reiki session – the first time she had given me this permission. I felt so connected to the universe, to Benz, to Mary, to Joan. I just knew all would be well
A couple of days later, with the Mary holding Benz, and Joan feeding her a juicy hamburger, in the words of Mary: This 3 year old female, Shepherd/Collie, faithful, loyal, fearful, aggressive dog was mercifully put to sleep.
In my work with animals, I found Kathleen’s suggestions were as the Irish say, “Spot On.”
Thank you Bill,
Always love reading your writings.