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 you finished your holiday shopping yet? Me either! In case you’re still searching for that perfect gift for the cat or dog lover in your life, check out my 2016 holiday gift guide. Stay tuned next week for part II, which will feature even more fun and creative gifts for animal lovers!
1. A sweet doggie pillow cover that supports the ASPCA at the same time ($39.50).
Animals make the best meditation partners. It’s true! Their natural, calming presence helps to anchor us “in the now,” and they approach life with unconditional love, a real challenge for us humans. Next time your cat rests with its eyes closed, or your dog takes a snooze on your lap, don’t just think about how cute they are (because, of course, they are), but think, too, about what we can learn from them to improve our own meditation practice. Animals are natural meditators, with peaceful, nonjudgmental minds and open hearts. They remind us what we should all strive for whenever we meditate.
The Louisiana flood of 2016—the most catastrophic natural disaster in the U.S. since Hurricane Sandy—displaced thousands of people from their homes. But people weren’t the only ones affected—animals were, too: More than 3,300 were rescued from the rising waters.
Thankfully, we have countless heroes risking their lives to save the animals stranded by the flood waters—such as shelter workers and volunteers, volunteer pilots (who fly animal victims out of the area), and these two men in a boat who rescued this frightened pit bull in need:
One of the best things about Reiki is how deeply it relaxes animals, even those that are incredibly anxious, depressed or sick. Witnessing firsthand so many happy, calm and blissed-out animals following my Reiki sessions keeps me motivated every single day.
Below are a few of my favorite photos and videos of animals loving Reiki. Most of these were taken at BrightHaven, a holistic hospice for animals in Santa Rosa, California, where I’ve had the honor to teach monthly Reiki courses for more than 12 years: