Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Quinn, R,I.P.

(Above:  the green plastic you see on the right is a back scratcher.  Sometimes I would initiate contact with the back of the hand of the back scratcher, and, if he was comfortable, I would then transition to using my hand.)

I feel honored to work with animals every day, and each one has so much to teach me.  But it is a particularly special honor when an animal who is generally too frightened of humans to connect with them feels comfortable enough to let me into their world.

Quinn was a beautiful cat at BARC Shelter.  He was dumped at the shelter some time ago.  Like many of the animals at the shelter, we didn't know exactly what his past was, but he was extremely frightened of people.  I worked with him very gradually, just a little bit at a time.  Most often I used tools such as paintbrushes, feathers, back scratchers and the like in order to connect with him, but there were times when he was comfortable with me touching him directly. 
I found that underneath his often gruff exterior (most often he would meow and swat at an approaching hand) was a gentle, very sensitive soul.  When we connected in our very quiet way, I felt so honored that he trusted me enough to make that connection. 
I would feel the connection even if we weren't literally making contact.  If he did not seem in the mood to be touched, I would often sit outside his cage and send him Reiki energy from there, and I would feel him respond, relaxing and curling up to take a Reiki nap. 
Below, you see me TTouching him using the back of my hand, which is more gentle and less threatening than the front surface of the hand.
I showed some of the other regular volunteers how they could touch him gently with tools, so that he could feel safe, but could have contact. 
As time went on, when I would sit down next to his cage (I would put a chair sideways to his cage, as the sideways orientation is much less intense than straight-on), he would come right up to the front of the cage to greet me.  A few times I thought he was almost considering stepping onto my lap!
I grew to have a very special bond with this cat, who to me seemed like his heart had been wounded. We were able to enter a very quiet, peaceful space together, and I appreciate every moment we spent together.  He taught me so much about being patient and truly in the moment, and always being respectful of what felt safe and comfortable for him in that moment.
The BARC staff and volunteers were very kind to and respectful of him, as they are to all the animals there, and I send them so many thanks for that.  
Sadly, recently Quinn's health suddenly declined sharply, and too soon came his time to cross the rainbow bridge.  I'm sorry I did not have an opportunity to say goodbye to him in person, but I have spoken to him and said goodbye to him in my mind.  He will always live in a very special, quiet place in my heart.  Quinn, I have so much to thank you for and send so much love to you.  I picture you in a beautiful place in the spirit world, curling up on a cozy pillow in the sun for a pleasant nap.  xo

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