Here are some sobering statistics for you: In companion animals, about 50 percent of all disease-related deaths are attributed to cancer. One in four dogs will develop cancer. And cancer strikes about 30 to 40 percent of all cats.
Some of you may be struggling with this issue right now. Know that you are not alone. In fact, May is Pet Cancer Awareness Month, a time dedicated to raising awareness and funds in hopes of one day curing this terrible disease.
My dog Dakota suffered from cancer in the last months of his life. Though it was a painful time for our family, I learned something invaluable: that my daily Reiki meditations gave me the strength to cope even when I started believing I had no strength left. (My meditation practice also helped me on my personal cancer journey, which I’ve written about here.) Now that I’ve had time to reflect, I’ve realized that it’s because:
1. Reiki creates relaxation and a feeling of well-being for the animal. This, in turn, allows for better conditions for us to navigate this journey. It reduces the suffering of both the animals and us—which gives us the fortitude to be able to help them. In this article, veterinarian Carolina Kliass of Sao Paulo, Brazil, discusses how Reiki extended and improved the quality of the life of one of her clients with cancer. (Don’t forget: Reiki helps people suffering from cancer, too!)
2. Reiki relieves the caregiver’s feelings of compassion fatigue. As many of us know (some of us even firsthand), compassion fatigue is an occupational hazard for those working with sick or traumatized animals. But we must remember: Animals are extremely sensitive to our inner state. If we aren’t feeling well, if we fall apart because of their cancer diagnosis and treatments, it will bother them—adding to their distress. If their caregiver feels supported, on the other hand, they can breathe a sigh of relief and focus on getting well.
3. Reiki can create peacefulness for transitioning animals and also relieve grief for caregivers. As difficult as it is for us to grasp, death is a natural part of life. Thus, there will always be a time for Reiki. Whether the animal recovers, or whether it is their time to pass on, Reiki can embrace each moment with the compassion and gentle peace of true and lasting healing.
The best part is, animals love Reiki. You can see in the following video the positive healing responses that occur during a Reiki treatment. Here, Nattie, a horse with advanced cancer who recently passed away at BrightHaven holistic animal sanctuary, responds with peace and relaxation to the Reiki being offered:
Tapping into all that Reiki has to offer starts with slowing down, connecting and rediscovering your center. Here’s a good breathing practice to try.
I hope one day we can cure cancer forever. But until that time, cancer will continue to be an unpleasant reality for many of us and our furry friends. Always keep up with wellness checks, watch out for troublesome symptoms and follow these five tips for cancer prevention.
How has Reiki helped your companion animals cope with illness?