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!
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.
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:
Today I want to share with you the story of a very special dog named Bailey, who found his way from the mean streets of Taiwan to the world’s leading holistic sanctuary for special needs animals. Bailey has inspired me and so many countless others with his courage and gratitude.
It was a heartwrenching diagnosis: “He’s paralyzed and incontinent. We might as well put him down.” The words of the vet filled the hearts of Bailey’s rescuers with sadness.
The abandoned Keeshond mix with fur as soft as a rabbit looked up at his rescuers with loving eyes. Could it be possible that this puppy, who somehow survived courageously on his own—even though severely injured—would now, although finally rescued, be euthanized in a vet clinic?
I’m so excited for tomorrow: The inaugural World Animal Reiki Day will finally be here! This special day, organized by me and the volunteer members of my Shelter Animal Reiki Association (SARA), is a wonderful opportunity for all of us to help make a better future for the animals in our world. The day is celebrated on February 5 to honor Dakota Prasad, the special puppy (pictured above) I rescued from animal control. Dakota was my best friend, my first animal Reiki teacher and the inspiration behind SARA—and February 5 was his birthday.
Let’s celebrate together! You are invited to join me at BrightHaven animal sanctuary and hospice in California on February 5 for a special World Animal Reiki Day event. I will also be on Google+ for a live message of healing and light for the global Reiki community. I truly hope to see you there!