By your side, we look out together
When I first started my career treating animals, I would greet them and say, “I want to take away your pain and suffering. I will pull it out of your body and then you will be free of it.” I remember towards the beginning of my career I met a dog, who was boarding at the clinic, who couldn’t walk and was very painful. It was a slow day and so I decided to do about an hour of energy work. After that hour to the amazement of the technician, who jumped up like she had seen a ghost and shouted,” Fred’s walking,” he stood up and walked out the door. However he only continued to walk for about two days and when I worked with him again he only ended up with about a day of relief. I remember being so frustrated that I had tried so hard only to have him get worse again. But I was just removing pain, not helping him to work with it himself. I don’t know, if I had know what I know now, if I would have been able to help him get better or not, but the approach I was using then did not work. The relief I gave him clearly did not last. In addition it took a large toll on my body to work this way and I would physically hurt and weaken myself to take the pain away. I would also have animals who would get upset and not let me work with them; anytime I would try they would pull away. Their pain was part of them and I was acting like that part of them was bad and that they were not whole. They wanted to learn how to live with their pain and work with it, not for me to magically remove it. I was also invading their personal space without their permission.
I have since realized that what animals want is compassion and acceptance. Isn’t this what we all want after all? They want help but also they want to be involved in the process of healing their illness. They have their own wisdom that needs to be respected and listened to. I have learned to approach animals I am working with and say,” I will sit with you and be here for you; together we will look out from the same place (and not me staring at you like there is something wrong). From this place of togetherness, we will explore how I can help you work with your illness/pain and see if there is a way that I can help you to heal yourself.” Not only have I found that this works best in the long run and I don’t hurt my own health but animals are much more open to working with me.
Like us all, animals have an amazing ability to heal themselves and to deny them the opportunity is stealing from them an amazing experience for growth. Through their own path of healing they grow stronger. Through this strength they are able to show us what it means to fully live with illness and heal from illness.