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Friday, January 28, 2011

Animal Reiki Friday: Reiki and the Wilbourn Way

Dylan at the veterinary hospital

Dylan at home with Joe
                                                                     Photos by L.G.

Reiki has been a wonderful addition to my cat therapy practice and works wonderfully to treat the total cat. Because of Reiki’s ability to balance the mind, the body and the spirit, it seems only natural that it would aid healing.

As with my cat therapy, Reiki is not a substitute for veterinary medicine but is indeed a complement to support healing before and after surgery, and can ease the side effects of medication, radiation and chemotherapy. Reiki aids in the prevention and treatment of agitation, aggression and grief and can be particularly comforting in end-of-life compassionate care.

As I was making my behavioral rounds one day at a veterinary hospital in Manhattan, I spotted Dylan, a geriatric cat whose torso was wrapped in an enormous bandage. One of the nurses explained that he’d had major surgery the day before. As we conversed, his guardian, Linda, came to visit.

Although Dylan was alert, his expression was forlorn.

“Gee, I wish I could make him feel better,” Linda said.

I introduced myself. When I mentioned Reiki, Linda smiled. “Oh, maybe Reiki would help my Dylan?” and added, “Tell me more.”

After I explained a little bit about Reiki’s healing qualities, Linda agreed to give it a try.

As I treated Dylan, and he felt more comfortable, I felt his comfort echoed in my being. After the treatment, Dylan’s demeanor had changed - so much so that he tried to follow Linda from the room when her visit was over.

Here’s what Linda had to say about the experience:

“My seventeen-years-old cat, Dylan, had a cancerous tumor along with part of his lung removed. It was a major operation especially on such a geriatric cat. He was in the hospital recovering – his torso wrapped in an enormous bandage, not moving or eating much. Carole gave him a Reiki treatment. I noticed a difference in Dylan right away. He began a happy purr, his face lightened, and he was more alert. When I started to leave, after visiting him, he got up and tried to follow me - with three tubes and a large amount of pain medicine in him. The next day the vet called me to say that he got out of his cage, walked across the room and ate breakfast. The vet thought it was wonderful—me too.”

Dylan was able to go home from the veterinary clinic, but his recovery was still taking some time and it was not going as easily as Linda had hoped. She called me and I agreed to offer Dylan a distant Reiki treatment. While I worked from home with Linda on the phone, she began to notice a change in Dylan, who rose out of his lethargic state and began to purr.

Linda’s notes from the treatment follow:

When Dylan came home a few days later, he was lethargic, not purring, not eating much and my other cat would not go near him. Carole did a Reiki treatment for Dylan over the phone. While Carole was on the phone Dylan started to purr. Immediately after I hung up the phone, he got up, walked across the room, and my other cat, Joey, went over and licked him. If I didn't see it - I wouldn't have believed it. Carole was amazing! Thanks Carole, for helping Dylan with his healing.”

Through diligent practice since I first learned Reiki, I was able to improve to the point where I could offer assistance to Dylan and other veterinary hospital patients. Together, my hands and my mind work to chip away at their pain and anxiety.

I embrace Reiki as it resonates so well with my work, once referred to by National Geographic magazine as my "dual-species family therapy” practice. Reiki fills me with gratitude--just for today.

With over three decades of experience behind her, cat columnist Carole Wilbourn, known also as the feline Freud, is founder of the Wilbourn Way, her method of resolving behavioral issues in cats. She now incorporates Reiki into her international cat therapy practice.


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