Just like Fievel the mouse in An American Tale, Fievel the horse had a big adventure in the Wild West. At only a few weeks old he wandered into a cattle roundup without his Momma. Knowing he wouldn’t make it on his own he was taken in and eventually made his way to Luv Shack Horse Rescue. Despite being small, thin, and malnourished he has a strong spirit and is curious about the world around him.
Upon arriving at Luv Shack he is estimated to be only 3 – 4 weeks old. After settling Fievel into his new penthouse suite at the Luv Shack Hilton, and a thorough exam by the vet, I went over that evening to work with him.
Due to the unique circumstances of his age and condition I was reminded of several things as I worked with him. Special considerations should be kept in mind when sharing Reiki with animals who’ve recently experienced trauma, young or old. While this is no means a complete list of things to consider it is a start:
- Remember you’re there to work with the animal, not DO anything to them. It’s human nature to rush in to aid a helpless being. If the animal is safe, stop for a moment and consider whether your actions are based on doing something to the animal (picking it up, hugging it, petting it, etc.) or based on working with the animal in a manner that is comfortable and acceptable to them. Are your actions going to be more of a comfort for you than the animal?
- Respect the animal’s physical space. As much as we would love to scoop them up and cuddle them this often creates more fear than comfort. Be careful not to corner them. Always leave the animal room to move around, including moving away from you.
- Check your emotions at the door. No, I don’t mean to become unfeeling. Rather put your personal feelings and emotions aside and bring only positive, healthy, supportive energy into the animal’s space. And to a lesser degree keep your positive emotions in check. We can smother and overwhelm an animal easily with our emotions, both positive and negative.
- Be mindful of the length of time an animal is comfortable in receiving Reiki. Not all animals, are going to be open to receiving Reiki, despite our best intentions. If the animal moves away from you, refuses to connect, or lashes out in some way (snarl, nip/bite, kicking, stomping feet, etc.) stop immediately. These may be signs they do not wish to receive Reiki at that moment, or you may also consider changing your approach. Consider offering Reiki from several feet away. Or maybe a distant session would be more acceptable if you’re a Reiki II practitioner or higher. Lastly, this may not be what the animal wants. Thank them and leave them alone.
- As is often the case in a rescue facility, the newest arrival gets a lot of attention from attending to his physical needs to volunteers eager to great and comfort them. If there is a lot going on in the animal’s space consider waiting until a quiet time to offer Reiki. Your Reiki session will have a much greater impact when the animal is not overwhelmed with a lot of activity around them. And, you are less likely to become frustrated due to interruptions and distractions.
When I first arrived to work with Fievel there were just a couple of us and I was able to share some Reiki with him. He preferred short treatments, then we’d take a break and start a gain in a few minutes. Later as he needed to eat and volunteers came to greet and comfort him there was a lot more activity going on around him, sometimes with 4 – 5 people in his stall. I decided to stop offering Reiki and come back the next day when things would be quieter. Another option would have been to step back and offer Reiki to the situation as a whole.
The next day there were only the two of us, me and Fievel. I sat in his stall and let him come near me and move away as he desired. Like the night before he took the Reiki in small sessions and moved freely around his stall. Several times he moved and positioned his body near my hands where he wanted Reiki. The reward at the end of our time together was a soft nuzzle on the cheek. While the few moments of Reiki we shared the first night were good, going back at a quieter time was much more productive and rewarding for both of us.