My Personal Assistants: Healing Help from Animals

This article appeared in the October 2000 issue of  Unity Center of Peace Newsletter.

As many of you know, I have taught Reiki and given individual healing sessions part-time for the past six years, and am now moving into this exciting work full-time. As I make this major transition, I honor the help that is coming to me from the animal kingdom through my own two beloved cats, Claude and Cotton. Claude is an eleven-pound domestic short hair who comes to a whistle and delights in giving head-butts (i.e. greetings comprised of bumping foreheads) to my students, clients, and friends.

Before I got Claude, I had a beautiful Blue Maltese, Bear, who died from uremia. Bear had an amazing ability to heal, so I asked his spirit to help me find my next companion cat. Shortly thereafter, I dreamed that something would be unusual about my next cat’s claw. I went to the Animal Protection Society a few days later to look for what I thought would be a kitten. As I wandered around the cages and talked and played with the cats, I saw Claude. He does indeed have one claw missing.

While the other shelter cats were straining against the bars and meowing loudly, Claude was serene, curled up in his cage, looking intently at me. When I put my hands on him to give him some Reiki healing energy, he immediately began to purr. I knew this was a Reiki cat!

To this day, during the healing classes I teach, Claude comes and positions himself in the center of the circle, the best point where he can bask in the loving energy. He is also usually my guinea pig—I mean cat—when I demonstrate how people can use Reiki to treat animals. What amazes me is that before a class, I will tell Claude the approximate time when I will do this demonstration, and he will usually come to my chair at the appointed hour like, “Okay, Barnsley, it’s time!”

Once instead of Claude, my other cat, Cotton, who is rather reticent and likes to spend his days in my closet coating clothes with white hair, showed up for the demonstration. Evidently, he and Claude had made this arrangement for Claude was nowhere to be found. Cotton came and stretched his 18-pound muscular frame right in front of my chair so I could show students the hand positions to use on animals. He was my willing and wonderful assistant..

In effect, I know that both Claude and Cotton came to me for healing purposes. Both have an intuitive understanding of energy, and if I am ever upset, will offer their assistance. A few months ago when my significant other and I were about to break up, I was very distraught. In the middle of the night, Cotton came and positioned himself on most of the major energy centers or chakras of my body. His large body extended from my root chakra to my heart chakra, and he even placed a paw on my throat chakra.

Ordinarily, Cotton is far from a cuddly cat. Perhaps this is because of his history—His previous owner found him, abandoned in a New York City trash can, his tiny eyes still closed. He was only a few days old, and Bill brought him to North Carolina, feeding him the entire way with an eye dropper.

Months later, Cotton was bitten by a poisonous snake, but he also managed to make it through that. Cotton knows what it is to be a survivor, and that night when I was so upset, he grounded my energy, shared his strength, and let me know that I was not alone.

We are all so blessed by the animals that grace our lives. The lessons they teach us about living in the moment (have you ever seen a cat make a “To Do” list?) and the love and affection that they give us even if we forget to fill up the water bowl are incredible.

Every morning when I do my Reiki treatment on myself, Claude sprawls to my left and Cotton to my right. We share the energy, and I tell them how much I love them. Then I do a little Reiki directly on them. As I cup Claude’s head in my hands, his eyes roll back, and he purrs in a slow blissful drone. Cotton waits for me to put my hands on his back, and turns around to give me a quick lick or two. We start the day peacefully, affirming the deep connection we share as creations of the Divine, as kindred spirits moving in and through the infinite flow of God’s love.

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