Thursday, January 13, 2011

Helping and healing hands

I have been stuck at home for 4 days now due to a pretty messy snow/ice storm that hit Atlanta Sunday night. Thankfully there were no power outages, and I was able to get stocked up on groceries and other essentials over the weekend before the storm hit. I also had nowhere I *really* had to be, so I was able to stay at home, safe, warm and dry.

The down time has given me an opportunity to refocus on where I want to go with my pet sitting business. I am adding on a couple new services- one now- animal Reiki treatments, and one soon- administering subcutaneous fluids to cats. I would like to get some more hands on experience with the fluids before adding it.

Since last August I have been a Reiki practitioner. Reiki is an energy healing technique developed in Japan in the 1900's by Usui Mikao. More info here Everyone can benefit from Reiki, humans, pets, plants, foods, any living thing.

I practice a daily self-treatment and have given treatments (with their owner’s permission of course) to some of my pet sitting clients. I have had some amazing experiences when treating these animals. Which is why I really want to add this to my pet sitting business. It has helped me to heal and I wish to help bring this healing to others, animals and people alike.

The first time I gave an animal treatment was to a 13 yr. old Dalmatian named Michael. Michael shares a home with 5 other dogs, and 2 wonderful owners. He has some arthritis in his hips and back and has trouble walking at times. He gets around as best as he can, trying to keep up with his very energetic housemates. During his first treatment he was laying down on the rug in his living room. I sat down beside him and respectfully asked his permission to administer Reiki to him. If an animal is open to Reiki they will give you a sign of some sort. Usually either relaxing or making a sound and rubbing against your hand. Michael sighed and closed his eyes.

I started the treatment, which involved me placing my hands on and above various areas of his body. He continued to relax and soon was sleeping soundly. I felt lots of heat in my hands while over his lower back and hip areas, a sign that meant this was where he needed treatment the most. I lingered there for several minutes. Michael continued to sleep, at times his legs would twitch, but as the treatment went on this lessened. The whole session lasted approximately 30 minutes. Afterward I gave treatments to a couple more of Michael's housemates, with varying reactions. Roonie, whom I am in love with-he's an adorable Corgi mix, who steals my socks and loves to snuggle- just laid on my lap and snored, totally at peace. Gabe, a handsome Border collie mix, seemed a little nervous, but relaxed towards the end.

Over the course of the week I was there, I gave Michael a few more treatments. One night he seemed very restless, pacing around, going outside and barking, just not able to settle down. Finally at 2:30 am I gave him a treatment. He slept soundly the rest of the night.

I have also been giving treatments to many of the cats at Furkids- a local no-kill shelter for cats. I volunteer there a couple days week- cleaning rooms, socializing, and giving medicines to some of the cats.

Most of the cats, especially the sicker ones, are very receptive to Reiki. They usually start purring and rub their heads against my palms. The first time I gave a treatment was to Dinah who had bad eye and ear infections. She moved her head against my hands, pushing her ears against my palms to make sure the Reiki got where it needed to go. She purred the whole time.

The most heartwarming experience I've had was with China, an older cat with some facial deformities and I believe some arthritis in her legs and hips. She had some eye infections and had also gotten dehydrated and wasn't eating very well. I picked her up to get her out of her cage, and she snuggled against me. I asked her if I could give her some Reiki to help with her healing. She meowed and started purring. I held her against my chest as I began the treatment. She snuggled in just as close as she could get and purred even louder. I felt her body relaxing more and more as the treatment went on. My own body was relaxing too.

I am looking forward to seeing where these new additions to my repertoire bring me, and looking forward to meeting my new clients in 2011!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

I can't believe it!

I get paid to do something I love. And to give love, to animals and peace of mind to their owners.

Recently I have been a little discouraged because business hasn't been so well. Has anyone's? Yesterday I came to realize this doesn't mean I should give up. No, it just means it's time to get creative and rethink how I'm doing things. And to refocus on why I do pet sitting for a living.

Actually, a couple of the animals I care for reminded me of what really matters. Playing with a very loving 6 month old kitten and laughing more than I had in a long time, as well as having a soft furball of a Chow/Golden Retriever mix meet me at the door every day for a week, ready for his walk, made me realize why I do this. Because I love animals!

I have always had animals in my life. As a child we always had at least 1 pet around, usually a cat and a dog, sometimes a couple cats and a dog. In many of my childhood pictures I have a pet of some sort around me. I recall bringing a few strays home and saying "Mom, can we keep him?" Sometimes Mom and Dad even said "Yes" ! One cat adopted us- Taffy, a beautiful Siamese/Himalayan mix who wandered onto our front porch one night, and stayed for a few years.

My favorite childhood pet will always be Rex. He was the German Shepherd we had when we lived in West Monroe,NY. He was very protective of us kids, and was very tolerant of us dressing him in clothes, tying a rope harness around him to pull our wagon around the yard, riding him, taking naps on him, and many other things. He went everywhere with us, camping, sledding, walking up to our grandparents house up the road. He was our best friend, our confidant, our protector. We had a foster child who had epilepsy and this was the greatest proof of his protection. He rarely left her side. She liked to wander out of the yard, or try to. Rex was always there to guide her back, or if needed, grab her by the seat of her pants and drag her back to safety. More proof is the time when my brother,Mike, and my dad were play wrestling, and Mike's hand got stepped on. He let out a yelp, and Rex sped down the hall, grabbed my dad's wrist in his mouth- did not bite- but did put enough pressure on it to let him know that whatever he was doing to "his" kid he had better stop right now. Sadly, Rex was killed protecting us, or at least his territory. One of our neighbors dogs wandered into our yard one morning. Rex chased him around, and across the road. A dump truck came by as they were crossing. The neighbor's dog made it, but Rex didn't. I still remember standing there looking at his lifeless body and crying.

I have had one pet of my own, Tigger, an orange tabby cat. He shared my life for 10 years. I got him from a friend who had a farm and too many cats. He ended up being the only one of his litter to survive to adulthood. He was a big beautiful cat- 17 pounds of fur and love. He loved to play fetch- I did not teach him this, he taught me. His favorite toy was my terry cloth ponytail holders. He would bring one to me, I would throw it, and the game would begin. He also had a catnip filled yellow bird that he wore out. The funniest thing he did was play with his food. Sometimes he would use his paw to pick up pieces of his food and put them in his water dish. He would then play with them and watch them float around. Then he would scoop them up in his paw and eat them. He was always making me laugh,or was ready to be picked up and snuggled. He would put his head against mine and purr softly. Tigger ran away 4 years ago when I moved here to Georgia and I was not able to find him. I hope he found a loving home with a window for him to sit in and watch the birds and squirrels.

Over the past 10 or so years, I have cared for many pets, either those of friends or customers.Including one 2 week stint at farm sitting- caring for 15 head of cattle, a horse, 3 Great Pyrenees,2 cats and several chickens and ducks. That was FUN!

Pets are an important part of many people's lives. Some consider them to be their children, or their best friend. They are always ready with a warm heart and body, purrs or tail wags. And all they ask in return is some of our time and for us to feed them.

Today one of my customers called me to thank me for what I do, caring for his cat in his home. He had taken her to her vet and while he was there checked out their cat boarding facilities. He said it amounted to basically a large closet with a light and some cages. While most vets and boarding facilities are better than this, sadly, it is still a stressful environment for your pet. Strange smells and sounds, other animals, some of whom may be ill, none of the comforts of home. And, they may be left alone for up to 15 hours, maybe more on weekends or holidays.

By contrast, if you hire a pet sitter, your pet can stay in its home, with all their "stuff"- toys,bed, smells, sounds, food. Less stress. And, someone will come by as often as you'd like to spend time with them. Exercise, play, treats, petting and companionship. You can rest easy too, knowing your pet is being cared for, as well as someone watching out for any problems at your home.

Someone who loves animals as much as you.