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):
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.
What could be more merry than shopping for holiday presents for the kids in our lives? While it’s super fun to make their holidays magical, don’t forget to balance out all that consumerism with some charitable giving—specifically, teaching children about the spirit of giving and helping those less fortunate during the holidays. With that in mind, here are five easy ways kids can help animals this holiday season:
1. Focus on their favorite animal. Does she love horses or dolphins? Does he love K-9 dogs? This is a perfect time of year to foster that love and show them how they can help the animals they love most in this world. Find a relevant sanctuary sure to interest them, then find ways to make it real and really bring the issue home. You can sponsor an animal in their name (which usually comes with photos and updates on the animal’s progress) and even plan a visit to a local rescue where they can see these animals being helped.
I typically don’t care much about celebrities; I don’t follow the gossip mags or obsess over who’s wearing what or who won which award. But when people (famous or otherwise) do wonderful things to help animals, I take notice. Here are five creative and inspiring celebrities helping animals in need—and using their fortunes, connections and popularity to make our world a better place:
Pamela Anderson: For those of us who have sworn off UGGs forever, look at these beautiful and warm “shearling”-style boots that are vegan, water-resistant and washable—and designed by model and actress Anderson. According to her new site, PAMMIES, “Our message is … Compassion is sexy.” Orders start shipping this month, with free U.S. shipping until December 31.
When I started my animal Reiki business out of my living room 11 years ago, one of my biggest challenges to building my new business was finding shelters willing to allow me in so I could bring Reiki to the animals. Back then, no one had even heard of Reiki! So imagine how difficult it was to open those doors and make those connections. But with a lot of perseverance, one by one I found people with open hearts and minds willing to take a chance on me.
Since then, I’ve been able to work with animals and bring Reiki programs to BrightHaven Sanctuary, Guide Dogs for the Blind and the San Francisco SPCA in California; Best Friends Animal Society in Utah; Animal Haven in New York City; Chenoa Manor Farm Sanctuary in Pennsylvania; The CARE Foundation in Florida; and even to sanctuaries worldwide—like Remus Memorial Horse Sanctuary in the UK. Today my nonprofit SARA, which I co-founded with Leah D’Ambrosio to bring Reiki programs to shelters around the world, has more than 400 members worldwide and Reiki programs in shelters and sanctuaries across the U.S., Canada, England and Australia.