Article by Kathleen Prasad

Trooper’s body was low to the ground, slinking rather than walking. It was clear that he’d been abused or traumatized in the past. As I approached the dog outside the shelter, the volunteer who was walking him that day explained, “He’s really timid, but a sweet guy.” She gently stroked his fur, which seemed to give him some comfort.

“Have a great walk,” I encouraged as I entered the shelter for my weekly Reiki treatment of the dogs. Shelter dogs respond very well to the hands-on love and attention they receive from the staff and volunteers who care for them. Reiki is a healing method that can increase and deepen the healing that results naturally from touch. In the stressful environment of a shelter situation, Reiki is an ideal way to bring stress relief and healing to animals in a gentle, noninvasive yet powerful way.

As I made my way around the shelter, I looked for the dogs that needed Reiki the most that day. I checked on the female pit bull whom I had treated with Reiki the previous week. Reiki can accelerate healing of physical injuries and illnesses, and the previous treatment had been helpful. The stitches on her face were out and nicely healed, and the bites and scratches that covered her body were almost completely gone. I asked one of the staff if she had any recommendations of who needed Reiki the most that day.

“Trooper could use it, he’s so frightened of everything,” I was told. At that moment, the volunteer walking Trooper returned with him. I swiftly turned him around and brought him to an inside office where I often gave treatments. The whole way to the office, his body crouched no more than an inch or two off the ground. Every few steps he would stop suddenly in fear, as if he wasn’t going to survive the short trip.

Giving a Reiki treatment involves the practitioner putting his or her hands lightly on or near the dog’s body. Different hand positions are used, depending on the condition being treated. Often the dog will enter a state of deep relaxation or sleep. Dogs love Reiki; they seem intuitively to understand its power to heal. In Trooper’s case, Reiki could promote relaxation, stress-relief, energetic harmony and emotional well-being in a gentle and noninvasive way.

I began the treatment by introducing myself to Trooper and letting him know that I was there to offer him Reiki, which would help him heal. I let him know that receiving the treatment was his choice. He need accept only whatever energy he was open to. At first, he nervously wandered around the office. But after a few moments, he began to relax, choosing to lay down right under my hands, taking a deep sigh, resting his head on the floor. One of Amelia’s dogs, Conan, a blind and deaf miniature poodle, came and pushed himself into my lap to absorb some of the Reiki I was giving to Trooper. The whole atmosphere of the office became quiet, relaxed, and incredibly peaceful.

After about an hour treatment, Trooper woke up, turned around to face me, and gave me the familiar look that many of the dogs I treat give: “Thanks for the Reiki. I’m done now.” I thanked Trooper for his openness to healing and took him back to his kennel. Incredibly, he was walking normally, his body no longer slinking along the ground. He was also more responsive and less frightened of the world around him.

His transformation was even noticed by one of the staff, who exclaimed, “He looks so much calmer than before!” This almost immediate response is very common for the dogs that are treated with Reiki. No matter how stressed out or hyperactive they may initially be, Reiki can help them become calm and relaxed. It is a wonderful feeling to watch the change in their behavior, the emergence of a peaceful look in their eyes.

All dogs, whether shelter dogs or dogs in happy homes, can benefit from the healing aspects of Reiki. For healthy dogs, Reiki can help maintain energetic balance and promote health and well-being. For dogs suffering from illness or injury, either physical or mental, Reiki is a powerful complement to both conventional and alternative healing methods. For dying animals, Reiki gives them gentle, loving support in this process. For a person who has a dog, works with dogs, or volunteers at a shelter, Reiki is a wonderful healing tool to be able to offer to your animal friends. To learn more about Reiki with animals, find a Reiki Master near you. Your canine companions will greatly benefit from your healing hands and will thank you!