Sanctuary spotlight: The Devoted Barn

Cute American pit bull terrier pup

Have you heard of The Devoted Barn? This very special animal sanctuary may be less than five years old, but it’s already made a huge impact—saving animals’ lives, helping the community and even winning a prestigious national award (read more about it below). I’m excited because this week (May 5-7) I’ll be teaching Reiki III and Animal Reiki Teacher Training at The Devoted Barn (hope to see you there!). If you’re local but can’t make the class, please join me for a special book talk, signing, meditation and Reiki healing circle this Saturday, May 6, at Crazy Wisdom bookstore in Ann Arbor.

Following are some fun facts about The Devoted Barn, which founder and director Melissa Borden started in 2013 (though she spent more than 20 years prior to that rescuing abused and neglected animals):

The healthy foodie’s guide to eating vegan/gluten-free at Disneyland

I recently came back from a very fun trip with my family to “The Happiest Place on Earth,” Disneyland in Southern California. One of my goals on this trip was to find a way to eat delicious, healthy food and stay true to my diet of vegan/gluten-free (V/GF). I have to admit, eating V/GF while at Disneyland wasn’t a walk in the park (no pun intended). There were a few times where I realized the true meaning of the slang term “hangry.” (Definition: irritable or bad-tempered as a result of being hungry.) I even thought about calling this blog, “Woman cannot live on fruit cups alone” or “Starving with Snow White and Sleeping Beauty,” but settled on a more positive choice. 🙂

The amazing ways animals help holiday travelers

Dog travel by train

Crowds, long lines, delays, lost luggage: Navigating a busy airport can be stressful in the best of circumstances—and it’s even worse during the busy holiday season. Luckily, at a number of airports nationwide, you can now find various animals on hand to reduce stress and anxiety, boost happiness—and, in some cases, even keep us safer.

At my local airport SFO, LiLou the pig greets weary travelers and calms nerves by offering snorts and selfies. She’s just one of about 300 therapy animals (including dogs, cats and rabbits) taking part in the airport’s SPCA Animal Assisted Therapy Program. But LiLou is special not just because of her adorable costumes and painted hooves, but also because she is the very first pig greeter!

Simple ways to support the adorable sloth

Have I mentioned how much I love sloths? One of my dreams, in fact, is one day to share Reiki with a sloth. (If only I could be so lucky!)

I have sloths on the mind because October 20, my dear friends, is International Sloth Day. Woo! This special day was created six years ago by the AIUNAU Foundation in Colombia, which helps sloths and other animals that are either injured or the victims of illegal wildlife trafficking—with the goal of rehabilitating the animals and then releasing them back into the wild.

6 animal charities helping to mainstream Reiki

With Reiki increasingly gaining acceptance—not just in the U.S. but across the world—I’m seeing more and more animal organizations not just accepting Reiki, but loving the holistic modality and making a concerted effort to share Reiki with their animals. This is a dream come true for me: I co-founded the nonprofit SARA (Shelter Animal Reiki Association) with the goal of rolling out animal Reiki programs into communities globally. To see animal Reiki being embraced on a wider scale is truly incredible!

Have you been wanting to pioneer an animal Reiki program in your local shelter, or expand an existing one? For inspiration, check out the following amazing SARA-affiliated animal organizations that are embracing Reiki. (Visit their websites for more information and to learn how you can help them.) The more people and organizations that follow in their footsteps, the more animals that can be helped: