Sunday, September 29, 2013
Sarah Hauser, Meet Sarah Hauser (and her friend Aladdin too!): Several Gentle Approaches Help two Kittens go from Terrified to Confident
Above: Sarah Hauser with Sarah Hauser the kitten!
Some weeks ago, a terrified little kitten was dumped at the vet's office next door to BARC Shelter. The vet techs thought I would be able to help her to feel more at ease, and so I had the great honor of the kitten being named after me!!
I could see right away that she was not aggressive in the least, just afraid. In the beginning, she would cling to the cage if you tried to pick her up. A gentle approach can take a while to take effect, but I have found that in the end, it results in an animal who is truly comfortable from the inside, not simply tolerating you touching it or picking it up because you have decided you are going to force them to let you do it.
After a while of TTouch with her in the cage, I was able to pick her up and have her sit on my lap for a moment. I didn't force her to stay there, just gently contained her for a few TTouches, then if she wanted to go back in the cage, that was fine. After a while of doing this, she started to be more comfortable on my lap, even purring there sometimes.
A while after Sarah arrived, another single scaredy kitten arrived at the shelter and was named Aladdin. He was put in with her, and they became the best of friends, but the two were still hanging at the back of the cage. They both had similar behavior in that neither one was aggressive in the least, simply scared. They would run to the back of the cage when people opened the door. Even though both of them grew comfortable with me, they would still usually do this as an initial reaction.
A great tool for teaching scaredy kittens and cats that being touched can be pleasurable is to use baby food (all meat baby food with no onions, such as Gerber's or Beech Nut, I usually use Turkey in Turkey Gravy). You can start out by putting some in a spoon or something else with a handle, so they can lick it off from a distance at first. Then slowly you lure them to the front of the cage. Eventually you can have them lick it off of a finger. I tried this just a couple of times with both of them and it ended up making a HUGE difference.
After two sessions of using the baby food and doing some TTouches with Sarah and Aladdin, I opened the cage and Sarah started rubbing her face against my finger, really pushing into it. This was new! I went with the feeling of it and started to bring my finger towards the front of the cage little by little. She followed me as I did this. She and I started making a game of this each time I worked with her. I would still pick her up at some point to lay down on my lap as well, doing TTouches and Reiki with her. Aladdin was not doing this little game, but he was becoming more and more comfortable being TTouched in or out of the cage and being picked up to lay on my lap, and was purring and relaxed once he got there as I did TTouches and Reiki with him, instead of running right back in his cage.
Below is a video of Sarah doing her little game with me :)
Last Saturday, I opened the cage to start to do the little game with Sarah, and she came out on my lap all by herself. It was so spontaneous and natural, it really brought a smile to my face. It actually looked as though she was smiling too. She settled for quite a long time once she got on my lap. And then when she got off my lap, she started making a little game of coming back onto my lap, staying there for a few minutes, then going back in the cage, then coming right back out again. So sweet to see this lovely creature actually seeking contact, instead of running away from it!
Aladdin is doing really great too. Now when I pick him up, he doesn't struggle at all, just relaxes into my hands and then settles right onto my lap, purring.
So glad to see these two cats doing so well now, they are really ready to go home - an adopter would still have to be very patient and give them the time they need, but they have come a looong way! xoxo
Monday, September 23, 2013
Last Friday, I said goodbye to my dear Reiki kitty friend, Monk.
I shared many Reiki sessions with Monk since early July, as he had Chronic Renal Failure. I had worked with him prior to this diagnosis as well. He always enjoyed Reiki, and anticipated it more and more as he got to know me. When he saw me, he would go jump on the bed to get ready to settle in for his session, often sitting on his person Suzanne's lap for the session.
Late May, Suzanne had called me to cat sit for Monk and his cat girlfriend Jade, and when I saw Monk, I felt so strongly that I wanted to help. I could see that due to the kidney disease, Monk’s appetite and life force were rapidly diminishing. I had such a strong sense that Reiki would be of help to him, not to mention that I already had a very strong bond with Monk. So I began to do Reiki sessions with him very often - every day at times, but at least three to four times a week.
I felt the sessions needed to be often, to continually reinforce the balance, peacefulness and sense of well-being that Reiki can bring.
We quickly saw his appetite improve from nearly zero to nearly normal, he began clearly enjoying his food again, and his energy level and general vitality improved a lot as well. I always offer Reiki energy for the highest good, but one can never know exactly how that will play itself out.
I was so happy to see him feeling better for what seemed to be extra time, time which we had not anticipated him having, time which I know that we all cherished him having, especially his beloved owner Suzanne. It was such a delight to see the light back in his eyes, to see him prance along with a spring in his step, to see him comfortable and to see him with an appetite.
Monk adored his owner Suzanne, and I felt him wanting to hang on to life as long as he could. And I am glad that until last week sometime, he really was hanging in there strongly, as strongly as he could, Even though his body was frail, I felt such a strength of spirit, of love, of determination.
I treasured the sessions I spent with him. I will never forget them. The lovely summer days with him on my lap as I sat on the terrace with the breeze blowing, and later with him curled up on my lapas we sat on the couch. I knew that I was walking with him on the last part of his road in this life, and it was an honor to be able to spend this time with this very special creature, to feel the very deep connection that happens with Reiki energy with him, to share the light with him. He had such a pure heart, such pure sweetness about him. Most often, it felt like my heart was merging with his heart, that our breathing became as one creature, that we were together in the emanating light. And this emanating light felt like emanating, healing love, like the most pure, beautiful feeling of love that one could have for another creature.
After we began doing more of the sessions inside, sometimes Jade would curl up right next to Monk, and they would take in the energy together.
Last Wednesday, when I arrived, I felt from Monk such a strong feeling. It was a lovely day with the sun streaming in through the window, a fall day that gives you that rather melancholy feeling of the summer ending and fall beginning.
It was as if he were laying outside in the sun, temperature just warm and so perfect that he didn't want to move. That he knew he would have to go soon, but he wanted to stay a little longer, a little longer. A little longer to feel this beautiful time on earth. That he knew his time to go was soon, but he wasn't just quite ready, that he so wanted to enjoy it a while longer. To feel the connection with the earth, with me in the moment as my hands emanated warmth and energy, with his kitty friend Jade nearby, and most of all with his person Suzanne, who, though she was not present in body during the session, she was and is always with him.
I felt so sad knowing that his time was near, that our time together on the earthly plane would not be much longer.
When I left, I made sure he was comfortable, curled up on this lovely shaggy pillow, as though it were a soft form of grass that was all around him.
Thursday he settled into my lap, and it took him a while to get comfortable but then he got so comfortable there, connected with the flow of the energy. After the session ended, I very gently placed him in one of his cozy places.
Friday I arrived at Suzanne's place a couple of hours before the vet and his assistant were to come. As sad as this was, this was a special and powerful time of connection with both Monk and Suzanne. She held him gently on her lap for most of the time, while I kept the Reiki energy flowing. I felt him become more at ease as we sat there. So much love and light surrounded him.
I kept imagining him resting in a field of grass, and then running in a field of grass, with sunlight around him.
A very unexpected thing happened then. The first four or five lines of the 23rd psalm came to me, in bits and pieces. I think it was because I was see the green pastures, then the still waters, then "he restoreth my soul". I grew up Episcopalian, but do not really follow any particular organized religion - I am a spiritual person and keep myself open to whatever rings true to me. But at this moment, the bits and pieces of these lines and the images especially, the feeling of being out in the grass with Monk, the feeling of the soul being restored, it all felt very healing. I let the images and lines flow through my mind, which eventually led to the image of light all around the three of us, a calm, healing, heavenly light. We had very quiet music playing, and the door was open to the terrace, with fresh air coming in.
At the end, he was surrounded by such loving energy, it felt like the most gentle, peaceful exit that he could have. Much gratitude to the kind and respectful vet and his assistant who were present and helped make this transition so gentle. And the utmost gratitude to Suzanne, for taking Monk in as a kitten and for giving him such love and care for his whole life. Much, much love to Monk, to Suzanne, and to Jade. And all my sympathy. It is such an honor to know you all and to have been a part of your lives.
There is something that I often say to an animal when I am working with him or her, and I usually say it silently. This is something I said often to Monk (and still say in my mind), "I love you so much, and I always will." With those words I feel that the feeling travels over time and space, a love that exists eternally. Animals help remind us of the feeling of that love with no boundaries, that we can be connected forever no matter whether on the earthly plane or not.
xoxoxo with love and gratitude to Monk, Suzanne, and Jade
Sunday, September 8, 2013
I have been working with Deuce for some months now. He has arthritis which is progressing, but Reiki and TTouch helps to put him more at ease, and can help his body to be in better balance.
Today he was laying in one of his favorite spots, an easy chair in the living room. I had recommended that his person, Alice, put something of intermediate height near this chair and other places he likes to go that may be a bit of a challenge for him to jump to now. So now there is a lovely step stool by the chair - perfect, as it is very stable and the surface is rough so he can get traction and not slip.
Most of the time, he was laying on his right side so that the left side was exposed to me, which makes sense, as it is the front left leg which is giving him trouble at this point. He is now generally not using that leg when going up stairs.
I started out with my hands a foot or so away from his body, with my arms sort of forming a circle around him. I pictured a sphere of light encompassing him and soothing him. One hand was near his neck, the other near his back end. I told him he need only take as much or as little energy as he wanted.
The first part of the session, I did what in Reiki is called a healing attunement. In my Reiki master training, I was taught how to do this process for people, and I have recently been adjusting this process so that it will work well with animals. It is different when I do it with an animal than it is with a person, as a lot of it I accomplish through visualization and intention, rather than the version for humans which involves more physical contact. It brings in high frequency healing energy that is more intense than a regular Reiki treatment, and can be a very good addition to a Reiki treatment to assist in very deep healing.
As the session progressed, he shifted his body every so often so that my hands would be in a different place. Each time my hands changed place, I would imagine any blockages disappearing, a feeling of opening. I felt more and more energy and heat from my hands as time went on.
I think it is very important to be open and receptive to whatever you might hear from or feel from the animal, to open your heart, let go of your own expectations and let these feelings in. The animals very often will show me where they need my hands to be by shifting and changing position until you are where the energy is most beneficial for them. It is possible to feel this, it feels as if you are plugging into a socket, and the energy flow can become very strong when you arrive at these places on their body where they want your hands to be the most.
During a Reiki session, I often feel the animal and I traveling together into a very dreamlike state, where I feel like we are inside of a bubble of energy and light, which is warm and very soft. And this is where we went today for much of the session, though at times we would come up more to the surface and feel present in the room and in the apartment.
In the earlier parts of the session, I often had one hand around his shoulder area, sending him energy there, which will help to ease whatever pain or discomfort may be happening in that area. The other hand was near the base of his spine. I kept feeling the connection from his upper spine to the lower spine, feeling the energy going from the upper back down to the base of the spine. I was feeling a lot of energy particularly in the upper back at this point, especially as that is the area where he is having difficulty.
Towards the end of the session, Deuce put both of his back paws on one of my hands, as if he was asking for the energy there. This makes sense, as it will help him to really feel his feet, and he will need his back legs more now that the front ones are starting to be more compromised. His front paws do need the energy even more, of course, but at this point he had them kind of curled up - so I will have to focus on that next session!
At any rate, at this point in the session he moved into a position which helped to really focus on the connection and power in his back legs. My left hand had both back paws touching it, and at times I would do little TTouches on one paw and then the other, and put my hand around one paw (about an inch away) and then the other. My other hand was on his pelvic area. So I really felt the energy going all the way down from his hips to his feet, making that connection there. My right hand felt nearly as though it was inside body on his lower back, and I felt the energy coming down to his paws.
After we finished, I watched him walk and he was walking quite well on a flat surface. The stairs are more of a challenge, but hopefully all of this connecting energy will help him to be at his best, given his situation.
Near the end of the session, his "brother" Gruffy settled down a ways away, as he often does, taking in some of the energy.
Look forward to seeing you soon, Deuce and of course you too, Gruffy!!