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Animal Reiki for End-of-Life Support

Updated: Jan 8



an old husky mix with one blue eye lays on the floor as his owner offers animal reiki in his life's final chapter

As our animals face their final chapter in this physical life, our role as Animal Reiki practitioners has never been more precious or important and we can help them transition by offering Animal Reiki as end-of-life support. The Animal Reiki space that we can hold for them, using our Let Animals Lead® method pillars of practice, can create a peaceful, harmonious gateway for our beloved animals to walk through as they transition to the next realm.


Offering Animal Reiki at End of Life for our Beloved Animals


As always, even in this final chapter, when our beloved animals are physically at their most fragile, they will still lead and guide this process, because their spiritual power will be expanding and strengthening, even as their bodies fail. Sharing space with them fearlessly and without reservation at this crucial time in their journey is not only a way for us to support them in transition, but also their pure presence will shower gifts of healing, wisdom and compassion upon us.


In this article about offering Animal Reiki while our beloved animals are passing, I’m going to illuminate this twilight journey our animals take through the 6 pillars and how Animal Reiki can help us to walk hand in paw (claw or fin) with the animals all the way through to the end of the physical life, and even beyond.


a young kathleen prasad animal reiki expert offers reiki to her dog dakota as he prepares to transition

The Let Animals Lead® Pillars that will help you hold an Animal Reiki space while your beloved animal transitions.


Pillar 1: Making Use of our Japanese Techniques and Pillar 4: Being Able to Meditate Sitting, Standing or Walking


Reiki practice is founded upon some very simple, yet profound, Japanese techniques. These techniques, while very balancing and healing in life, are also extremely supportive in the dying process. Here are two examples of Japanese techniques we can use, but there are so many! Our 4th Pillar of Practice reminds us that these techniques can be used naturally in the environment where we are helping our animals. In other words, we might be sitting on the floor in our home, standing in a barn or pasture, or even walking with our animals in nature. Being able to join our animals naturally in their environment helps us remember this special time is a time to live with them each day and each moment. As we meditate with them, it’s not our physical body position that matters, it’s our state of mind that matters, and this is where these Japanese techniques come into focus:


Example 1: The Reiki Precept: For Today Only…


Often regarded as an “introduction” of sorts to the “real” precepts of the system of Reiki (do not anger, do not worry, be grateful, work diligently and be kind to others), I’d like to focus on these three words as key in helping us to support our animals in their final days, weeks or months. Often, when the animals we care for are sick or when we know they are approaching their transition, we may begin worrying about what’s going to happen. We may focus on their approaching death, rather than focus on each moment of their present life. This is natural because things are so uncertain and changeable at this time and we may not know how long we have with them. However, in reality, when we are worrying about what’s going to happen “next,” we are not present in this moment.


In other words, we are losing this moment with our animals that we DO have. Especially when an animal is at its end-of-life, each moment is so precious, because there are so few of them left, so being present with our animals and living with them is perhaps the biggest gift we can give them before they pass.


So to be able to really be present, we have to let go of our fears about tomorrow and just be here today, in this moment. So for me, this part of the Reiki precepts is reminding us about letting go of our worries and our fears so that we can actually show up for our animals.


Remembering to be present with our animals here and now, “for today,” leads us to the 2nd Japanese technique that is very useful at this twilight stage of our animal’s life:


Example 2: The Reiki Space Meditation


The Reiki Space Meditation is built upon the traditional Japanese technique Joshin Kokyu Ho. Joshin means “pure mind,” as in the Buddhist ideal of being awakened to the truth of Oneness. Kokyu Ho means “breathing method.” And so, in a nutshell, this Reiki practice is all about using breath and visualization as a way to bring ourselves back to our essence of Oneness. In the Let Animals Lead® method, we begin practicing this breath for a bit, and eventually let go of it and just sit in the space of light and peace that we have created. In that space is the opportunity to invite our animals to join us, always giving them the agency and choice to connect only when, how and indeed, if they want to connect with us.


This meditation shifts our energy into a space of grounding and tranquility. Through the breath it brings us back into this present moment (for today only…) and reminds us that we are not separate or disconnected from one another, but in truth, we are One with all. Especially in the final stages of life, when we know our animal is going to be leaving their physical body behind, it is a beautiful way to bring awareness and understanding to the reality that our animal’s energy continues on, and indeed will always be connected to us. When we open our hearts and minds to this possibility, through our meditation practice, it brings so much comfort to us because we can realize that love never dies and our animals will always be with us in our hearts.


The importance of shifting our own energy into a space of this kind of larger wisdom and understanding is really important as we support our animals through transition. When we can show up with an energy of peace and calm, our animals can lean on us as they make their way through to the next realm. Our animals no longer need to worry about us, they can sense that we are going to be okay; our energy tells them All is Well. This gives them the space they need to focus on their own spiritual path.


As we shift ourselves through our meditation into this higher level of presence and understanding, we are able to bring our full presence, heart and essential being to this moment and offer it as a gift to our animals. It is as if our energy says to them,


“I see you.

I am here.

All is well.”


What a wonderful way to help our animals live happily and peacefully as they wind down!


Pillar 2: Using Touch as a Compassionate Support to Our Animals and Pillar 5: Animal Reiki as a Mindfulness Practice, Not Something We “Do” To Our Animals


Traditional Reiki practice for humans uses touch as a way to share energy. In my first human Reiki courses I learned, “Hands on, Reiki on; Hands off, Reiki off.” It sounded very simple to me, and I began to practice on myself and soon enough, the dogs that I walked at a local shelter. Although for me, placing my hands on myself was very healing (for example, if I felt anxious I would place my hands on my heart, and feel immediate comfort), I noticed that for many animals, the touch was unwanted or uncomfortable, even though many animals would tolerate it. I wondered about this for a long time, and finally began to realize that if I could find a way to support animals more sensitively and respectfully, I would get a lot better responses from them!


In a nutshell, what I have learned over 25 years of practicing with animals of all types and of all backgrounds is this: don’t beam energy at animals through your hands, they don’t like it. Animals are more sensitive to energy than we are, and often prefer connecting without touch.

When we are speaking about animals who are in their final chapter of life, this rule becomes even more important, because as animals get closer to their end of life, they become even more sensitive to our energy, our thoughts, our emotions and our intentions. So it’s vital that we stay mindful of how we are showing up for our animals when we offer Animal Reiki.


We can sit near animals, perhaps next to them and share Animal Reiki; we don’t have to touch them. In fact, they may not want to be touched.


a redheaded white boy with freckles meditates next to his dog as it transitions from this life

But even when our animals crawl into our laps we can keep our mind open and calm. Rather than intending to beam energy through our hands to them as we touch them, instead visualize your hands as a compassionate comfort, but see the Animal Reiki you share as radiating gently from your heart, creating a peaceful space they can step into if they wish (or not.) Keeping your physical touch intended as a comfort or support, rather than a method of energy “pushing” of Reiki, creates trust and safety energetically for them. It also keeps the idea of giving them choice and preference at all times. You are always “offering” and they can always say yes or no.


This kind of sensitivity we are cultivating requires a great deal of mindfulness of our energy: what are we projecting, intending and emoting. Keeping mindfulness with our animals as we share our Animal Reiki sessions will ensure we are always promoting freedom of choice for them.


Pillar 3: Using Positivity to Support Our Animals and Pillar 6: Our Animals Teach and Heal Us


Especially when our animal’s time in this life is short, we can find it very difficult to stay positive. The uncertainty of their health as well as the knowledge that they can’t live forever can feel very heavy. Sometimes the gravity and severity of a diagnosis can cause us to begin to see our animals through the lens of what is “wrong” with them.


When my dear doggie Dakota was diagnosed with cancer and given only a few months to live, it was very difficult for me to focus on anything but that diagnosis for a while. But when my mind and emotions would get overwhelmed, he would get upset and whine. When I would meditate and quiet my mind and heart, he would also quiet down and rest. I began to see that he was directly reflecting my own distress, and so I worked very hard through my Animal Reiki practice on finding things to be grateful for, even in these difficult moments.


The best way for us to support our animals, even as their physical journey may be coming to an end, is for us to see more than just their physical challenges; we must learn to look deeper into their heart and their essence of being. We must learn to see their inner light. This light is always perfect, and no illness, no diagnosis, and even death cannot dim the light of their spirit which always shines bright, even into the next realm. Through our meditation, we can practice seeing them as their spiritual light and looking at them through this lens. In this way, as we walk with them through death, we will see that the light does not go out, and perhaps we will even sense that it becomes stronger as it leaves the confines of their physical body.


I remember I had an amazing experience when Dakota, my soul dog, passed away. I was sitting at his head, forehead to forehead, and telling him I loved him as I cried. I asked the angels to carry him over the bridge, that he would be relieved of his physical suffering. In the moment of his transition, I felt a great surge of energy pass through my heart. It enveloped me with a deep feeling of solace, and more than that, of joy. I realized that as he left his body, he was able to come fully into his spirit – and oh what a loving, huge spirit he was! He was telling me, truly, All is Well!

To be able to practice, as our animals are still living, seeing them as the light – as more than just their physical bodies – this will help us to stay connected to them even as they pass, and perhaps even sense as their energy changes form!


What a gift Dakota gave me as he left his body: Helping me to sense the continuity of Spirit, even beyond death, and also giving me that gift of solace and joy in my moment of deep sadness. In life, and even in death, our animals teach us.


animal reiki creator kathleen prasad shares end of life reiki with her dear old husky mix dakota

In conclusion, as we walk this graceful final chapter of our animal’s journey through the end of their life, if we can keep the 6 Pillars of the Let Animals Lead® method in our mind, we’ll be able to more fully support them with our practice.


the 6 pillars of the let animals lead method of animal reiki help us help our animals at end of life

Energy connections through Animal Reiki will help us experience a profound harmonization of energy, compassion and spiritual understanding. By deepening our ability to be fully present with an open heart, we can gently walk hand in paw (claw or fin) with our animals happily in their twilight days, all the way to their moment of death, and even beyond. Because we will realize that we are all One, and even life and death are simply varied expressions of this Oneness. The veil is not so thick, when we look through the eyes of our Animal Reiki practice.


To be able to support and uplift our cherished animals in their time of need, and have them amazingly uplift and support us back in profound ways, perhaps this is the biggest gift of our Animal Reiki practice.


If you're interested, join us to learn more about the Let Animals Lead® Method and how it can help you connect with your animals near end of life and help them to peacefully transition.

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