Tuesday, October 6, 2009

We've Moved!


We've moved!
Follow us on over to Wild Reiki and Shamanic Healing Blog at Wordpress. We've got lots of new articles and photos!

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Think Outside the Cage
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Rose De Dan, Wild Reiki and Shamanic Healing LLC, is a mesa carrier in the Peruvian Andean Medicine Tradition. In addition she is also a Reiki Master Teacher, animal communicator, author of the acclaimed book Tails of a Healer: Animals, Reiki and Shamanism, and creator of Animal and Reiki Art. As an animal shaman, she views her role as a healer as one of building bridges between people and animals, and of empowering them to reconnect with Pachamama, Mother Earth.

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Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Purrs and Catcalls in Interview with Rose De Dan on A Life on Fire

This Wednesday, June 3, 2009, my interview with the Sisters of Sizzle, Elise Kloter and Jill Pagano on A Life on Fire, airs on ContactTalk Radio at 3pm PST.

Elise and Jill's mission is to search out people who are living their passion and and get them to share it with others. Their excitement is contagious, this was the most fun I have had so far doing an interview. You won't want to miss our purring contest, or our standup comedy routine on cat calling. And yes, we do cover serious issues such as my dream of bringing the benefits of energy healing and animal communication to zoo animals.

You can listen online around the World and in Seattle on 106.9 HD Channel 3 this Wednesday at 3PM Pacific Time, and if you can't listen at that time the show will be archived for your convenience!

Rose De Dan
Wild Reiki and Shamanic Healing LLC
Blog: www.wildreiki.wordpress.com
Website: www.reikishamanic.com
Animal and Reiki Art: www.cafepress.com/reikishamanic

Monday, May 4, 2009

Gun Shy, Murder Mystery that's Dog-gone Good

When the intensity of the type of work that I do gets to be a bit much, and I'm feeling like I need a break, I take a mental vacation. My favorite form of doing that is to dive into a good book like Gun Shy (Raine Stockton Dog Mysteries, Book 3), by author Donna Ball.

While the book has well-developed characters, including the dogs, the best part of reading it was arguing mentally with the main character. This supplied an unexpected pinch of zest to my usual reading style which is more passive. Raine Stockton is quite dog savvy, yet finds it difficult to wrap her mind around the concept that animals and people might be able to communicate telepathically.

However, when the only witness to a murder is a golden retriever, Raine finds herself seeking the help of Sonny Brightwell, an attorney with an uncanny knack for animal communication. What did Hero really see? Will he overcome the trauma?

Now I found myself mentally taking stock on the type of energy healing approach I would have taken to help Hero (I do the same thing sometimes when I watch Cesar Millan work with some dogs that I feel could transform more quickly if energy healing was included with the rehabilitation process). At this point I realize that I may be working rather than taking a break from work, but I am too caught up in the story to stop.

Add a dash of the dysfunctional relationship that Raine has with her sort-of ex-husband (it's complicated does not even cover it), and you've got the makings of a great soap opera as well! Now I find myself mentally cataloguing the many shamanic ways to clear out relationship baggage. I resolve to stop armchair coaching, and read on to the end of the book.

Gun Shy is a murder mystery with dogs, dog training, and animal communication all blended together into an enjoyable page-turner of a book. Now, after all that mental activity over fiction, perhaps I should take a break from reading, and escape by watching some reality TV?

Rose De Dan
Wild Reiki and Shamanic Healing LLC
Blog: www.wildreiki.wordpress.com
Website: www.reikishamanic.com
Animal and Reiki Art: www.cafepress.com/reikishamanic.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Answering the Call of the Wild


I am in the process of writing a series piece on the nature of our relationship with animals. This series was inspired by an encounter with a wolf in the local zoo in Seattle, and details a shamanic journey into deepening awareness of our connection to the Other Nations, our animal brethren.

Entitled Answering the Call of the Wild you can follow the series as it is filed under the Articles section of my website or sign-up for our newsletter.

Rose De Dan
Wild Reiki and Shamanic Healing LLC
Blog: www.wildreiki.wordpress.com
Website: www.reikishamanic.com
Animal and Reiki Art: www.cafepress.com/reikishamanic.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Reiki Attunements for Animals


Beth Lowell posed the question Attuning Animals: Yes or no? in the online publication The Reiki Digest on October 30, 2008.

I thought about answering but shelved responding for later. I was very busy, and surely others would reply.

It came back to the forefront of my mind today in relationship to a recent ruling by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops committee on doctrine where their group denounces Reiki.

Reading that brought back memories of when, as a teenager, I had broken away from the Catholic Church. Up until that point I had a strong love of the religion I had been raised in from birth, so strong that I had seriously considered becoming a nun.

As a teenager I learned the true history of the Catholic Church, which historically is one of persecution. Disillusioned I rejected both organized religion and spirituality. I never returned to organized religion, but taking training in Reiki in 1996 restored my connection to universal energy and love, and my belief in a spiritually based world.

Reading the article about the stand of the Catholic Bishops confronted me with the real reason I had not immediately written in response to Beth Lowell’s question, and that reason had little to do with my being so busy, and everything to do with fear of persecution.

In checking back to Beth’s article I discovered that only one person had left a comment but that comment only focused on the benefits of Reiki sessions for animals, something very different from offering attunements to animals.

What’s the difference? When taking a beginning class in Reiki, a student receives a series of attunements by a Reiki Master Teacher that opens their energy channels, connecting them up to the universal life force energy known as Reiki. The process of attunement to the Reiki energy offers personal benefit to the student as well as the ability to facilitate the healing Reiki energy for people and animals.

Experiencing the healing energy of Reiki in a session also helps to balance and calm, but the recipient does not leave with the ability to carry that energy forward and offer it to others. In my Reiki classes students are taught how to offer Reiki not only to people, but also to animals and plants. And in Master Level training I teach my students how to do attunements for animals as well as people.

Why would I do this, you might ask?

When I took my Reiki Master Teacher training in 1996 in Massachusetts there was no mention of attunements for animals, and it never occurred to me to ask about them. My Master Teacher was a nurse who worked in a local hospital and she taught many nurses and a few doctors the art of Reiki for their patients.

In my Level I and II Reiki training with a different teacher there was only a passing reference to the fact that Reiki could benefit pets, there was no mention of how to do sessions for animals, never mind any mention of attunements for them.

It was not a human teacher but the Reiki energy itself that reawakened me to my dashed youthful dreams and sense of spiritual connection. It happened during the first attunement in Reiki that I received in my Reiki Level I class. Suddenly I could feel energy coursing through my hands, and a new level of awareness washed through me along with great love and joy as I connected fully with the Reiki energy. Simultaneously I reconnected with myself and knew in the core of my being that I was born to be a healer and that I would work with animals.

From that moment on I was in love with Reiki and all its many benefits. It transformed my life in a very positive fashion and, when I opened a practice in 1996 immediately after my Level I class, that of many of my clients and students, human and animal. I named it Wild Kingdom Reiki and to the best of my knowledge, it was the first Reiki healing practice for animals on the East coast.

Not long after finishing my Reiki Master Teacher training I began to feel pulled toward offering Reiki attunements to the animal companions that shared my life and my practice. I did a lot of soul searching about that desire, no one talked about it in the Reiki community, none of the books I had read mentioned anything about it, yet the pull would not go away.

With a great deal of trepidation I offered it to my animals and they accepted, and they enjoyed the process. I mentioned what I had done to no one in the community, I was afraid that people would shun me, after all, who was I, this newly trained Reiki Master to bring something new into the tradition?

And I probably would have kept quiet indefinitely if it had not been for an elderly dog named Abbie.

My friend Joanne Wilson called me one day, in tears, because they had made the decision to put their canine companion of many years to sleep. She and her husband felt that Abbie’s quality of life was no longer good enough to justify their keeping her in her ailing body just because they loved her -- that she had reached the point where she was suffering. She had developed hot spots all over her body which she tried to scratch constantly, she didn’t move around much, and when she walked she would often lose control of her bowels, and would hide in embarrassment. She no longer wanted to do any of the fun things she used to love to do, like going for rides in the car. In short, she had no joy in daily living.

I felt that pull again, and found myself offering to come over and build Abbie a Bridge of Light and offer her some Reiki. Joanne, a fellow Reiki practitioner, told me that when she offered Reiki the dog would walk away. I replied that I would ask her permission and if she did not want any I would respect her decision.

When I arrived Abbie was accepting of my presence, and I asked her if she would like to receive a Reiki attunement. She was uncertain what that was so I explained that it was an energetic process that would reconnect her to the universal life force energy, and that it might help her feel better and could assist her in getting ready to leave her body or in healing. She was willing to give it a try and so I began the attunement process. During it I suddenly felt a weight lift off her, but had no idea what it was, and kept going with the attunement until it was complete. Abbie seemed quite content, and I left.

I received a call from Joanne the following day, and fully expected to hear her tearfully tell me that Abbie was gone. Instead Joanne joyfully explained that they had cancelled the euthanasia process because Abbie was outside playing like a puppy! She further added that Abbie had asked to go for her first car ride in two years. I was speechless, and amazed.

As the days unfolded Abbie’s hot spots healed up and she no longer had issues with her bowels. And from the time of the attunement on Abbie enjoyed receiving Reiki sessions, which she never had before. Her quality of life, and joy in life, continued for another six months until her body simply wore out.

With Abbie’s response to her attunement I acknowledged that it was time for me to come out of the Reiki closet and begin offering this to my animal clients where appropriate. It was made very clear to me by the Reiki energy that if I was not supposed to offer Reiki attunements to animals then Abbie would have had no response. Instead, with her miraculous and positive response to the Reiki attunement, I received validation that the animals needed and wanted the attunements. They, too, were spiritual as well as physical beings.

From that point on I began offering it to my animal clients within the context of a healing session (always asking their permission), and began teaching the process to my Reiki students (there are some adaptations to the attunement process necessary when offering it to animals).

And I mentioned it in passing from time to time in the articles that I wrote over 11 years that were eventually collected into the book Tails of a Healer: Animals, Reiki and Shamanism. Animal Reiki attunements were very important to the healing process for the dog, AJ, in “Freedom from Fear,” and to the many animals injured during a pet store burglary in “When You Care Enough.”

But I realized that I had never fully stepped out and said bluntly, publicly, yes, I do attunements for animals. Some part of me was still in hiding.

I do not know how many other Reiki Masters there may be out there that do attunements for animals that may also be in hiding, but with the latest article I am writing, Answering the Call of the Wild, I am now very aware that the needs of the animals and the world are greater than my personal fears. Perhaps there are other Reiki Masters who may read this, and who may be inspired to speak up so that the world can know that animals are spiritual beings deserving of, and responsive to, Reiki attunements.

So, I now consciously and fully step forward and declare, “YES, I do attunements for animals, and they can be very healing.” And I also offer them to trees, but that is a story for another time!

Rose De Dan
Wild Reiki and Shamanic Healing LLC
Blog: www.wildreiki.wordpress.com
Website: www.reikishamanic.com
Animal and Reiki Art: www.cafepress.com/reikishamanic

Monday, April 6, 2009

Dogs Speak On Peace for Dogs


An amazing and beautiful video Peace for Dogs has been released as a Public Service Announcement (PSA) in the campaign against dog fighting. Rather than appeal to the public by presenting the usual truthful and horrifying images of dogs that have been wounded or killed in dog fights, the creators were inspired to tell the story from a different point of view, that of the dogs.

I was moved to tears by the simple, yet poignant tales that each dog told of what a fighting dog endures when the loyalty and love that dogs naturally have for people is subverted into the unnatural world of dog fighting. And some of the dogs that appear in this video know the experience first hand, having been rescued from dog fighting rings and breeding operations.

As an animal communicator I know first hand the abuse that some rescue dogs have suffered because they share their stories with me, and I feel that the creators of this moving video have accurately depicted the perspective of the dogs. You don't have to be a professional animal communicator to do that, you simply have to open your heart and be open to shifting your viewpoint to that of a different species. Compassion will do the rest.

The idea for the video originated from the director, Michael Killan, the man responsible for animating the California Cheese cows. Driving to work one morning, listening to the story unfolding regarding Michael Vick's involvement in dog fighting, he thought of his nine year-old daughter Erin and her love for animals, and how hard this story would be for her to hear. And from that thought the video was born, and support gathered.

If you want more information about the making of this video, you can visit their site, Peace for Dogs and read a full account and see behind-the-scenes photos of Erin and the dogs.

Spread the word, the dogs are counting on us, one person can make a difference!

Rose De Dan
Wild Reiki and Shamanic Healing LLC
Website: www.reikishamanic.com
Animal and Reiki Art: www.cafepress.com/reikishamanic

Monday, March 30, 2009

Rescued Greyhound Jasmine Pays Love Forward

Normally I don't post forwarded stories I receive by email, but this one was just too good to pass up. The photos are as beautiful and heartwarming as the story. Jasmine, the rescued greyhound, is an example to all of passing the kindness we have received on to others — paying love forward.

I could not find an original source for the copy, I apologize to the author. If you contact me I would be happy to include well deserved credit and congratulations for having gone viral!

"In 2003, police in Warwickshire, England, opened a garden shed and found a whimpering, cowering dog. It had been locked in the shed and abandoned. It was dirty and malnourished, and had clearly been abused. In an act of kindness, the police took the dog, which was a greyhound female, to the nearby Nuneaton and Warwickshire Wildlife Sanctuary, run by a man named Geoff Grewcock and known as a willing haven for animals abandoned, orphaned or otherwise in need. Geoff Grewcock and the other sanctuary staff went to work with two aims: to restore the dog to full health, and to win her trust. It took several weeks, but eventually both goals were achieved. They named her Jasmine, and they started to think about finding her an adoptive home. The dog had other ideas.

"No-one remembers now how it began, but Jasmine started welcoming all animal arrivals at the sanctuary. It wouldn't matter if it was a puppy, a fox cub, a rabbit or, probably, a rhinoceros, Jasmine would peer into the box or cage and, where possible, deliver a welcoming lick.

"Geoff Grewcock relates one of the early incidents. 'We had two puppies that had been abandoned by a nearby railway line. One was a Lakeland Terrier cross and another was a Jack Russell Doberman cross. They were tiny when they arrived at the centre and Jasmine approached them and grabbed one by the scruff of the neck in her mouth and put him on the settee. Then she fetched the other one and sat down with them, cuddling them.'



"'But she is like that with all of our animals, even the rabbits. She takes all the stress out of them and it helps them to not only feel close to her but to settle into their new surroundings.'

"'She has done the same with the fox and badger cubs, she licks the rabbits and guinea pigs and even lets the birds perch on the bridge of her nose.'

"Jasmine, the timid, abused, deserted waif, became the animal sanctuary's resident surrogate mother, a role for which she might have been born. The list of orphaned and abandoned youngsters she has cared for comprises five fox cubs, four badger cubs, 15 chicks, eight guinea pigs, two stray puppies and 15 rabbits.

"And one roe deer fawn. Tiny Bramble, 11 weeks old, was found semi-conscious in a field. Upon arrival at the sanctuary, Jasmine cuddled up to her to keep her warm, and then went into the full foster mum role. Jasmine the greyhound showers Bramble the roe deer with affection and makes sure nothing is matted in her fur.

"'They are inseparable,' says Geoff Grewcock. 'Bramble walks between her legs and they keep kissing each other. They walk together round the sanctuary. It's a real treat to see them.'
"Jasmine will continue to care for Bramble until she is old enough to be returned to woodland life. When that happens, Jasmine will not be lonely. She will be too busy showering love and affection on the next orphan or victim of abuse."

Photo below: from left, Toby, a stray Lakeland dog; Bramble, an orphaned roe deer; Buster,a stray Jack Russell; a dumped rabbit; Sky, an injured barn owl; and Jasmine.


Monday, March 16, 2009

12 Steps to A Shining Spirit


Feeling dragged down, held back?
Having trouble staying grounded, focused, and centered?
Want to communicate better with animals?


In December of 2008 Wild Reiki and Shamanic Healing released the first ever shamanic calendar/workbook created as a 12-step healing process for people and the earth. And we created matching Journals to enable you to deepen your experiences and chart your progress.

Now we've paired the theme of each month's photo and energy healing exercise with a single, powerful crystal/flower essence mist from Vi Miere to increase the shift possibilities. Each mist was chosen shamanically by Rose De Dan, WRSH, to support the particular theme of that month.

In the Calendar, January's theme is how to keep your energy, your family's, and that of your companion animals, clear. Daily practices for staying clean in a dirty world help clear hucha, or heavy energy, before it has a chance to settle in to the physical body, thereby creating the potential for physical illness and emotional stress. Clear mist is the paired Vi Miere essence for this purpose. Check out our shamanic gifts for other ways to clear heavy energy.

February's theme is the ability to stay focused in the present moment, to be fully connected to the Earth. Lack of such connection can result in feeling unfocused, scattered, emotionally overwhelmed, spacey, etc. Ground mist is the paired Vi Miere essence for February. Check out our energy jewelry for other stone allies for staying grounded.

March's theme is about developing our abilities to connect and communicate with our wild animal and bird neighbors. This ability furthers our connection to ourselves and to the Earth, and can result in powerful shifts in perception and a sense of well-being and reason for being. Communicate mist is the paired Vi Miere essence for March.

The remaining months and their paired mists are listed below. In the coming months we will explore the themes for each in greater depth.

April - Gratitude
May
- Environmental Oneness
June
- Wisdom
July
- Sky
August
- Serene
September
- Create
October
- Manifest
November
- Transformation
December - Shining Spirit

Vi Miere mists were created to raise our vibration; removing blocks and old, self-defeating patterns that no longer serve us. You don't have to purchase the Calendar to benefit from any of the Vi Miere mists, compact, affordable, and easy to use, they make great travel companions as we walk through the world each day.

To order or to see the rest of the Vi Miere mists click here. If you have questions or need help with choosing the right mist for you call 206-933-7877, or send an email for a consultation.

COMING SOON! An ebook version of the shamanic workbook/calendar so that you can practice year-round.

Rose De Dan
Wild Reiki and Shamanic Healing LLC
Website: www.reikishamanic.com
Blog: www.wildreiki.wordpress.com
Animal and Reiki Art: www.cafepress.com/reikishamanic

Thursday, February 26, 2009

15 Year-Old Cat, Roger, Looking for Love



It is my great honor to know some truly wonderful people and organizations that I come across in the day-to-day operation of my alternative healing practice, but Kindred Souls Foundation based in Steilacoom, WA stands out.

I first met Kelly Nelson, founder of Kindred Souls, at a Psychic Fair, of all places. Somehow I felt drawn to her booth that offered information on her totally volunteer organization, and we struck up a conversation. In the course of that conversation she told me about a street dog that they were trying to rescue, that they called Hobo, and that no one seemed able to catch. I volunteered my services as a "dog whisperer" and animal shaman, and became part of the team, which included both human and canine rescue members.

I was very impressed by the dedication of Kindred Souls Foundation to rescue and foster work combined with alternative healing and training methods, all without benefit of an actual physical facility.

I just received an email from them regarding a senior cat, "Roger," who needs a foster home/forever home, and was astonished to read that their adoption policy matching senior humans with senior cats includes lifetime veterinary services and transport, and donations of food and cat litter! What a wonderful program!

Here is more information from them, do you know how to help Roger find his new home?

“Roger was found abandoned with no food or shelter. We do not know his history, but do know that he needs a family! Weighing in at a mere 5 lbs when found, he is now a hulking 6 lbs. since being on the Chambers Body Building Circuit! Doctors estimate him to be 15 years old, neutered, FeLV and FIV NEG, and having remarkably normal lab work results.

Roger is currently boarding at CCVH and needs to be moved in to a foster or adoptive home. If you cannot care for him, please help us network to find him a home.

If you know of a senior person who would like the company of a cat, Roger would be a great fit! We do have a senior program open to anyone 72+ where we match senior humans with senior cats. This program is limited to those living locally* as we provide transport to CCVH for medical services throughout the lifetime of the cat. In addition to the medical services and transport, we also provide donations of food and cat litter for the remainder of the cat’s life. Contact us to learn more about this new program.

*Steilacoom/Lakewood/University Place/Dupont, or other local cities in which we have a volunteer who can help with transport.

Contact Kindred Souls Foundation or call 253-226-3135.

Click here for other Animal Shelters and Rescue Groups listed in our Resources section on our website.

Rose De Dan
Wild Reiki and Shamanic Healing LLC
Website: www.reikishamanic.com
Blog: www.wildreiki.wordpress.com
Animal and Reiki Art: www.cafepress.com/reikishamanic

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Dare to Care, the life you save may be someone's future pet


February 24 is officially Spay Day USA 2009, an annual campaign of The Humane Society of the United States to inspire people to save animals lives by spaying or neutering pets and feral cats.

Originally I thought that I might republish one of the very first articles I had ever written as a way to inspire people. In rereading it I realized that not only was it dated and too regionalized, having been published in The Laramie Sunday Boomerang, December 19, 1982, but that after all these years I finally wanted to follow the advice of a teacher, and write it differently. I guess with my increase in age and experience his wisdom finally had a chance to sink in!

At the time I was living in Laramie, Wyoming, and decided to take a class on how to get published. The teacher was Donald Murray, a Pulitzer-prize winning journalist. I was not really certain why I was taking the class other than the opportunity to be guided by someone who could write well enough to win such a prestigious award. In retrospect I think it was my writing blood yearning for an outlet.

My assignment for the class was to choose two topics on which to write, write them up as a query to a publisher, and submit the final for publication. Having no idea what to write about, I decided to write about what I did know, animals. Topic Number One was a story about my pet rats (which ultimately resulted in a cooking column for the University of WA student paper, a story for another time). For Topic Number Two, I approached the local animal shelter and asked if I could research an article about the shelter and the animals they tried to save. They agreed, and I spent a week tracking the animal residents, looking for the angle that would result in a good story. And I got it, but like so many stories there is always more under the surface to be unearthed.

But before the final choice of story was made there were others that did not get told. The Laramie Animal Shelter is a city shelter like so many others across the United States, small and underfunded. Staffed by dedicated and hardworking men and women who did their best to make the right choices and care lovingly for the many animals that came their way—an overwhelming tide of animals. At that time over 10 million animals were euthanized in shelters every year due to a lack of enough homes. The Laramie Animal Shelter was no exception, as of 1982 an average of 25 percent of its dogs and 12 percent of its cats had to be euthanized.

Most of the 24 cages and 35 kennels at the shelter are usually filled. The animals are well taken care of, but they lack one thing — a loving owner. Everywhere you go the paws reach out for you, and the eyes of the animals are filled with the hope that you might be the one they are looking for.

As I cruised the aisles, face after furry face stared back at me. The dogs would lunge joyfully toward me in hopes that I was the answer to their canine prayers. Number 4717, an eight-month old puppy, was no different. For every visitor she put on a tail-wagging exhibition guaranteed to soften the hardest heart.

My attention was caught by one large black dog who did not greet me eagerly, he huddled in the back of his cage, and his gaze spoke volumes to my heart, he wanted to trust but was no longer sure that he could.

I took notes of the numbers on each cage, and the occupant, and asked the shelter workers for what background stories they had. Most of the dogs had been found wandering, numbers increase dramatically during the summer. Tourists frequently left Fido behind by the side of the highway, apparently a dog was too much trouble to take care of while having fun on vacation. One story that stood out for its special lack of humanity was the dog surrendered because the owners had redecorated, and he did not match the new d├ęcor.

The cats were less effusive in their greetings, but nonetheless hopeful. My gaze was caught by one way up top who peered down at me and meowed. The size of his big apple head belied the information on the cage that he was female, and when I questioned a shelter worker his sex was double-checked, and it was discovered that she was a he. My question bought him another week of life, and the possibility that he might find a good, loving home.

I spent a great deal of time interviewing the shelter workers, asking about their lives and how they handled the difficult task they had chosen to do. Every week there are animals that have to be euthanized to make room for more, an unending cycle. One worker said, “You get used to it, but you never get to the point where you can accept it.” Another stated, “Sometimes I almost cry if I have too put an animal to sleep by myself. I look at it this way, I would rather put an animal to sleep than have it be pregnant or be a puppy out in the cold, be hit by a car, come down with disease, or be neglected.”

Much as I dreaded the thought, I finally asked the workers if I could be present when the next group of animals was euthanized. I felt as though I would be letting the animals down if I was too much of an emotional coward to witness the reality of what happens when lack of spaying, neutering and proper education results in overpopulation. The workers were concerned as to how I might respond, and were reluctant at first to agree to my presence. Ultimately they made me promise that I would not cry, a promise that I sincerely hoped that I could keep.

When I arrived that day I was understandably nervous, and as it turned out, I was about to get my story.

The cats were first, a paw was pulled out of the cage, and the injection was administered quickly. Next were five dogs, and Number 4717 was among them. Four dogs in turn were placed on the examination table, and given an injection to the heart. Each dropped instantly. It was all so quick, and so business-like, that I was able to hold strong emotionally as I had promised, although I imagined that I would pay for my current emotional distance later, in private.

And then it was Number 4717’s turn. And the injection missed the heart as sometimes happens. She did not drop instantly, it would take more time for the injection to take effect. So, they put her down on the floor so she could wander around freely, and everyone continued on with their morning chores.

The puppy was thrilled to be out, and ran from person to person, tail wagging happily. Her movements got slower and slower. Finally she went to the man who was washing up the food bowls, and with a quiet sigh she laid her head upon his foot, and died.

At that point I lost it, in order to honor my promise I had to go cry in the bathroom. Even now as I write this I am crying, even after all these years. I will never forget that moment as long as I live, a moment that spoke so eloquently of all the years of devotion and love that those shelter animals had to offer, lifetimes that now would never be.

When I emerged from the bathroom, somewhat under control, the bodies of all the dogs and cats euthanized had been laid out in neat rows in the garage in preparation for transport to the city dump. There their bodies would be tossed into an earthen pit, alongside any road-killed animals, and some dirt would be bulldozed over them.

Lest you think this heartless, the city did what they could with what budget they had. There was not enough money to cremate the animals, this method of disposal was quite common in rural areas. It was tough to stay, but I hung in there, feeling as though my presence at least bore witness to the lives of these animals, victims in a quiet war on overpopulation, and gave them some honor in their passing. They did not go unmourned, I cried for them, and for the countless others who had gone before, and the untold numbers yet to come.

Here is the original beginning to “The Animals Are Waiting At the Shelter,” and the epitaph that I wrote for the puppy:

“Number 4714 waited for her owner for five days.

“No one came.

“She waited another five days for someone to adopt her. Again, no one came. She was given a shot of Sleepaway, and at the age of eight months the black and white puppy went permanently to sleep with her head resting on the feet of the only person who cared, an officer of the Laramie Animal Shelter.”

At the time that article was submitted to my professor, Donald Murray, he thought it well written but suggested that there could be more emotional appeal in it. I disagreed, wanting to reach people with logic. In retrospect I realize that deep down I was scared to expose myself emotionally, I just was not brave enough.

Now, years later, I realize that someone else besides the shelter workers did care; I did, and I still do. I now have both the emotional chops and the courage as a writer to dare to share how I felt. This new article was written in hopes that my words will inspire others to care, and to take action.

In checking up on Professor Donald Murray I discovered that he passed away in 2006 at the age of 82, immersed in an internet project to mentor aspiring writers. Wherever you are now, Prof. Murray, I hope you are pleased that I finally took your advice to heart, and put mine out there in hopes of making a difference.

We have made progress in the intervening years, now only 4 million animals are euthanized each year, due in part to aggressive spaying and neutering programs, but that is still 4 million too many. The bad guys are not the shelters, but people who add animals to an already taxed population. The choice you make when you adopt a pet could take a home away from a shelter animal in need.

Here are some suggestions on how you can help.

Don’t buy from backyard breeders. Check with purebred rescue organizations before buying a puppy, there are many adults needing homes.

Encourage your neighbors to spay and neuter; while they may dearly love Fluffy, want kittens like her, and promise to find them good homes, the birth of those kittens means less homes for animals on death row.

Pass this article along to as many people you can think of, whether they have pets or not. They may be in a position to help educate someone else.

Got feral cats in your neighborhood? There are organizations that can help you get them spayed or neutered. Check out the Animal Shelters and Rescue Groups in the Resources section on my website for some suggestions.

Dare to care, and to show that you care—the life you save could be someone’s future pet.

Postscript: After he ran out of time for the second time, I adopted the male cat mistakenly identified as a female. He was a big, loving mush-bucket of a tiger cat, and we named him O’Malley. Goes to show you the power of a single glance!

Rose De Dan©2008

An early pioneer in the field of alternative healing for animals since 1996, Rose De Dan, Wild Reiki and Shamanic Healing LLC, offers a unique perspective on animals and the natural world through her writing, art, sessions and classes. As an animal shaman, voice of the animals, and author of “Tails of a Healer: Animals, Reiki and Shamanism,” she views her role as a healer as one of building bridges between people and animals, and of empowering them to reconnect with Pachamama, Mother Earth.

Website: www.reikishamanic.com
Blog: www.wildreiki.wordpress.com
Animal and Reiki Art: www.cafepress.com/reikishamanic