Healing Touch for Animals – Shelter Animals
By George and Joanne Belev, Healing Touch for AnimalsTM Practitioners, Scotia, NY
Published in the Healing Springs Journal, Issue #16, October-November 2004
Homeward Bound Dog Rescue and Healing Touch for Animals – Helping Your Friend for Life
Homeward Bound Dog Rescue of New York is a nonprofit dog rescue organization located in and around the Capital District of New York. They rescue dogs that have been turned over to shelters, surrendered to them through their surrender program and rescued from puppy mills. Homeward Bound dogs live in a foster home until they are ready to move into a permanent home. The dogs eat, sleep and live with Homeward Bound foster parents and that way Homeward Bound has a better understanding of the dogs. This foster arrangement allows the dogs to learn to live in a home, which gives Homeward Bound the opportunity to match families to the foster dogs so a home really is forever!
We contacted Homeward Bound and were invited to demonstrate Healing Touch for AnimalsTM during a recent adoption clinic at a local PetsMART. We gladly accepted and performed several Healing Touch for AnimalsTM interventions. We received intake from the Homeward Bound foster parents and designed a treatment plan accordingly. Some of the dogs had survived disease such as parvovirus and heartworm and had recently undergone drastic veterinary treatment. Some were abused and/or abandoned; others were fearful of people. The foster parents were amazed at the changes they observed in the dogs after only one session! We were enthusiastically invited back to future adoption clinics. Homeward Bound graciously allowed us to display the Healing Touch for AnimalsTM brochures and local workshop information. We offered to perform a free Healing Touch for AnimalsTM treatment session on all dogs adopted, once theyíve settled in with their new parents. They thought this was a very generous thing to offer and they would make sure the word got out.
We intend to keep in contact with Homeward Bound and support their adoption clinics with Healing Touch for AnimalsTM. There can be as many as thirty dogs available for adoption at one clinic. For a large number of dogs we plan to contact our local Healing Touch for AnimalsTM Practice Group for additional volunteers.
Life with Bess
In December of 2003, I attended the Christmas party for MHRHS, and happened to sit at the table with most of the Out of the Pits volunteers. Over dinner, they were discussing a certain dog in need of placement, but they hadn't had any luck finding a place for her, and were starting to think she'd have to be put down. I asked about her. Her name was Bessie, and she was found wandering in circles in a roadway, a very overweight, very elderly pit bull. It appeared that her previous owners had just dumped her to fend for herself after they couldn't get any more puppies out of her. From all appearances she'd been bred time and time again - the vet that examined her had never seen a uterus so stretched out. She had severe arthritis, a mouth full of rotten teeth, and it was also discovered that she was heartworm positive. I remember her being described as "no beauty queen", but everyone who had met her remarked on her unusual "presence". There was just something about her - despite all her physical difficulties she still had an incredible zest for life, demanded to live. She deserved a home and a chance to live out the rest of her days, no matter how limited, surrounded with love. I told them I'd be interested in taking her in.
Mary from OOTP was ecstatic and immediately sent me the contact information for her current caretakers, and a couple pictures via email. She was brown and white with one small brown spot right on top of her head, which later became known as "the kissy spot" (because we planted so many kisses there). I had quite a large "pack" of dogs of my own already, and fostered for the humane society, so before agreeing to take her I connected Bessie and my dogs using telepathy (animal communication). Happily, all my dogs were ok with her joining us, and that was that - the decision was made. I contacted Alex & Rob, her caretakers, and made the arrangements to meet her and take her home the day after Christmas. Even when Bessie was dumped in the road that cold November night, an angel must've been looking over her shoulders. For she was found by friends of Alex & Rob, who were on the way to a party at their house. Alex is a veterinarian, so who better to be able to know exactly what Bess needed? Alex & Rob so generously sponsored all the veterinary costs for Bess, and they continued to be incredibly supportive throughout Bess' entire life. They sent regular shipments of supplements and medications to keep Bess' arthritis in check, homeopathically treat the heartworm, vitamins, and even organic fish oil to help with her dry flaky skin. I would not have been able to afford all the medications & supplements they maintained Bessie on, and Bess & I were SO thankful that they were there for us. All these products substantially improved Bess' comfort level and quality of life.
Alex & Rob would have kept Bess themselves if she had worked out in their home. They had a young daughter who would climb on Bess, but Bess considered her a puppy and didn't mind a bit, so that was not a problem. But there were two issues. First, they had cats, and whenever Bess would see a cat, her arthritis would miraculously vanish! I heard the story of how they discovered this, when their cat wandered downstairs for the first time, and Bess went flying towards him, sending chairs & other items careening in her wake. Luckily for the cat, Bess' wide girth caused her to become wedged inside a dining room chair, effectively halting her pursuit. The other issue was that Bess LOVED other dogs, and wanted to be in their company. But she would not back down to their alpha dog, a large german shepherd. She would ignore his warning growls. Alex & Rob knew it would be just a matter of time until tensions took a toll in that department, so while Bess lived there they made concessions to keep the dogs separate. And Bess was so sad, whining for them and trying to visit them in the garage. It just wasn't the right home for her.
When I got her home, I introduced her through the fence very carefully to our own dogs. I watched very carefully for signs of tension for weeks, crating certain dogs for times and having certain other dogs out at other times until I was completely sure that I could trust everyone out together. We never had any problems with Bess in our pack. She was so passive, and relished the company of all the other dogs. She instantly bonded with the smallest of them, Tinker, a male schipperke. He at the time was a foster, but seeing the interaction with him & Bess (and our other schipperke, Talia), we knew he was meant to be with us. He would share Bess' bed and crate, curling up next to her and sleeping. He would help her up when she had difficulty, actually pushing his nose into her armpits to assist her. It was one of the sweetest things I've ever seen. He followed her around, indoors and out, watching over her and caring for her, helping her groom the places she couldn't reach. (He also helped her eat her food sometimes, but Bess never minded a bit.) There was such love between them. But what a sight, our largest dog, and our smallest dog, attached at the hip (well, hip to elbow!).
And what a character Bess was. Alex & Rob remarked, after seeing some updated pictures of her that she looked like she was "full of mischief." And I think that is the best way to describe her. Bess was very headstrong. When she wanted something, she demanded it. It started out with little things, like wanting to be out of her crate more and more, or wanting to spend the entire day out in the fresh spring air while I was at work. She'd refuse to come in, and she knew I couldn't lift her up! Many a day I would be late for work in the springtime, trying to get her back in the house out of the bugs, but to no avail. Another trick was sneaking food from the other dogs bowls' if she didn't get her dinner fast enough (our other dogs are free fed, but Bess was on special diet food). And could she eat! Often, by the time I realized she was in the bowl it was already gone, and there she'd lay next to the empty bowl, grinning at me. But how could I be mad at her for it?
She loved to "chase" our horses, and got a lot of exercise trying to keep up with them. If I had a horse out, it was an Automatic Bess Treadmill. She would try so hard to keep up with that horse, who knew to stay *just* out of her reach. And poor Bess would walk and pant and walk and pant and walk and pant and think nothing of it but the thrill of the chase, until she finally had to quit from exhaustion. I think that's how we managed to work off all the extra bowls of food.
Bess would periodically wake me up in the middle of the night barking. I would stumble out to the living room, turn on the light and stare at her blankly, half asleep. What do you want?! It was either that she was thirsty and wanted a drink of water, or she had an itch that she couldn't reach. This got old real fast. I started leaving a fresh bowl of water outside her crate door, and happily that cut the wake up calls in half. But when she had an itch, of course she had to wake me up to scratch it. What can you do? She would NOT STOP BARKING until someone itched it.
She loved to watch the other dogs play. She would watch and smile her big pit bull grin, and bark along for the fun of it. Bess loved her new life, and tried to enjoy every moment to the fullest. And if that meant being sneaky or stubborn or annoying, then that is just what she made sure to do.
We had a few ups and downs along our time together. One time it was still cold & snowy outside. I got up in the morning to let everyone out and one of Bess' back legs would not move. She managed to get up and limp outside, dragging it behind her in the snow. She never soiled in the house - that was a quality of life issue she insisted upon. She made sure she got outside to go, even though she was exhausted and had to stop every few feet to rest. At the time I asked her if she thought she was ready to leave us and she insisted it was not her time yet. She did not give up, and had fully recovered to her normal state within a week. She was just amazing.
At another time, I witnessed what looked to be a seizure or a stroke. She was walking into her crate, and fell down, and shook for about 20 seconds. Luckily I was right there or I would never have known it had even happened. She moaned for a while, and I did some Reiki / Healing Touch for Animals work with her. She was very thirsty and drank about two bowls of water. Again I had asked her, do you think this is your time? And she insisted, no. By the next morning it was as though nothing had happened. She had this uncanny ability to bounce back and overcome her physical ailments.
But on August 29th, just over eight months from the day she came to live with us, I came out in the morning to let her out. She was in her crate, but she couldn't get up. She had lost weight, but this was still about a 90 lb dog. She was upset, because she knew she had to get outside to go potty. She would try and try and try to get up, but just had no control in her back legs, and couldn't get them under her to stand up. Her one hind leg was very swollen. I did some Healing Touch on it while I thought of a way to get her out. I went and got a sheet, and made a sling. I had to do most of the lifting, but at least it was easier than trying to pick her up completely, while bent over inside her crate with her. We stumbled and rested and got up again and stumbled and rested, and she was so exhausted & out of breath before we even got out of the house. But just like Bess she didn't give up, and we made it a few feet out into the grass. I had to hold her up with the sling so she could go potty. We walked a couple steps away and then sat on the grass to rest. She looked at me and told me it was time. This was too much for her. She said she was exhausted and didn't want to live this way and that it wasn't going to get better this time. I was in shock, hoping I had heard her wrong. I sat with her unable to move for a while and then went in to call the shelter. I will always be so grateful that Cydney (President of Out of the Pits) happened to be there that day, and stayed with us. Cydney told me that by all appearances, Bess had gone into congestive heart failure. Bessie went with love and dignity, completely of her own decision, surrounded by Cydney, my daughter & I, and her buddy Tinker. On the way home from the shelter, I had a vision of her running, uninhibited by her body, healthy and in shape, smiling at me, so happy to be free.
Life with Bess was an adventure. It was at once happy and sad, depressing and inspirational. It was challenging, yet easy. She taught us to persevere, to continue on when others may think you can't or shouldn't. To live every moment of life to the fullest, even if it has to include pain. To love your friends unconditionally, and always enjoy their company. To enjoy the feeling of the warm sun in the springtime, and the sweet smell of grass. And if there is something you want, demand it! If you bark long enough and loud enough, someone is bound to start seeing things your way.
I am honored that you entrusted Bess to me to live out the last eight months of her life.
(Mara Swankey, email@example.com)
Bess and Healing Touch for Animals – a Love Story
By George Belev, CHTP, HTACP, RMT
Published in Healing Springs Journal, Issue 31, April-May 2007
In 1996, Carol Komitor, CMT, CHTP/I, CHBMT founded Healing Touch for Animals/Komitor Healing Methods, Inc., which teaches energy medicine techniques for animals. These techniques for animals complement traditional veterinary medicine. They bring about pain relief, accelerated wound healing, improved immune system function and changes in inappropriate behavior. Carol pioneered the use of tuning fork vibrational therapy as an animal healing intervention.
A colleague requested that I assess her dog Bess. Bess is a 14+ year old female pit bull, stray. She suffers from old age, chronic arthritis in hind quarters, obesity, terminal heartworm, tumors and growths. She appeared to be used as a “puppy factory” (caregiver's opinion). The veterinarian stated that to treat her at this point for heartworm would dramatically reduce her quality of life. Bess is a hospice dog now, living out her life on the farm. Bess was resting on the ground as I drove up. As I got out of the car she struggled to get up and stand, which she finally did. Bess dragged her hindquarters as she rushed (as best she could) to greet me. Her tail wagged furiously.
I was filled with sadness and compassion as I initially interacted with Bess. It was obvious to me that this dog was used in an abusive manner for breeding. She was extremely friendly coming to me without fear or apprehension. Her breathing was quite labored due in part to her obesity and the ravages of heartworm. As we got to know each other I developed a great respect for this old girl. She tried to hold and herself with as much dignity as her physical conditions would allow. She was alert, looked at you with big, wide-open eyes that belied her physical and emotional pain.
I observed Bess in obvious pain. She had difficulty walking and based on her gait, I sensed that her pain was in her hind quarters/hip region. My energetic assessment indicated that her hind quarters/hip region was compromised. The assessment combined with her physical problem (i.e., chronic arthritis) confirmed that the culprit chakra was the root chakra. The root chakra governs, among other areas, the back, hips, feet and legs. The treatment plan focused on the root chakra and the use of tuning fork vibrational therapy.
Tuning fork vibrational therapy is a way to use the tuning forks to create vibration within the physical body through bone conduction or by using the soft tissue and is an excellent application for any physical issue. This technique is facilitated by placing the tuning fork directly on the physical body. The vibrational frequency of the tuning fork creates deep relaxation, through bone conduction, and stimulates the relaxation response to nerve endings which carries the response throughout the entire body. By helping to provide the correct physiological response to the body, homeostasis is activated and healing can begin.
I initiated the treatment by giving Bess the awareness of the forks, hearing the gentle vibration, thus taking away any apprehension of having the forks around the head. The “fight or flight” response is calmed allowing the animal to receive the treatment without creating stress. Then I applied the fork behind her withers, directly on the spine. This is the secondary heart chakra point and it will introduce the sound therapy easily into Bess’ energy system by brining their awareness to the tuning forks without creating fear.
Bess became very relaxed during treatment, her breathing became regular. She seemed to enjoy the tuning fork balance, sound therapy, turning her head toward the vibration. She moved her body into the tuning forks, welcoming the vibration into her hip joints. Her panting slowed so she could feel the vibration. Bess began to grin, which turned into a big doggie smile! She got up and appeared to be walking better, reciprocating movement with her rear legs.
Bess gazed lovingly at me as she got up. She appeared to rise more easily and walked using all four legs. Her rear legs were stiff but moving. While the session seemed to help Bess’ mobility and walk with less pain, I was humbled by the experience. Her eyes expressed her gratitude and her gaze invited me to return. I felt that Bess is a healer dog for her animal friends and human companions. While we worked together she looked deeply into my eyes and I into hers. The eyes are the mirrors of the soul and hers was beautiful. This experience taught me how pain and physical disability can be borne with strength and grace. As she walked across the yard to greet her dog friends, her tail never stopped wagging. She did not look back but we both knew that I'd return soon.
For further information about Healing Touch for AnimalsTM visit their website: www.healingtouchforanimals.com. George is an energy medicine practitioner, a Healing Touch for Animals Certified Practitioner and Reiki Master/Teacher. He can be reached at 518-399-7056.
Puddin the Cat
By Jackie Segers, Reiki Master Teacher
Published in Reflexology for Cats – And Other Natural Therapies for your Feline Companion, 2007, David Bateman
Puddin’ is a five year old male Calico cat adopted from a local animal shelter. The first time I met Puddiní he was having a tough day. He had recently injured both front paws in an unexplained accident, losing several claws and bleeding intermittently He had become skittish, would not allow anyone to touch his paws and had become unresponsive to his care personís commands. Puddin also had issues with veterinarians. When he sensed thatís where he was headed he growled, hissed, fussed and could not (and would not) be handled. In addition, his care person indicated that she was going through a very stressful time in her life, having recently moved into the house, agreed to foster a therapy dog candidate and changed jobs. She explained that Puddinís behavior was adding to the already high level of stress she was experiencing. I gave Puddiní a Reiki treatment immediately to boost his immune system and help with the healing of his front paws. Over the next couple of weeks I visited Puddiní and gave him regular treatments. He took Reiki from a distance but gradually moved closer to me. However, Puddin moved around the room from hiding place to hiding place, although I could tell he was accepting the flow of energy. When he came out from these places, and looked me in the eye, I could tell the treatment was over. A few weeks later his care person asked me to give Puddin a treatment so she could bring him to the veterinarian for necessary shots and examinations. She was very apprehensive. During that visit Puddin took quite a lot of Reiki energy for his highest good. He became quiet and relaxed during the treatment. His person reported that Puddin was a perfect gentleman at the veterinarian, allowing him to be examined without fuss.
Sound Healing – Let Sleeping Dogs Lie
By George Belev, CHTP, HTACP, RMT
Published in Healing Springs Journal, June-July 2008
Ancient cultural traditions and healing practices all over the world have utilized music, voice and sound to heal. In ancient Hellenic culture, the flute was played to ease the pain of gout; in the Christian Bible, David played the harp to ease King Saul’s depression; and in spiritual traditions around the globe, chanting and prayer have been used for thousands of years to align body, mind and spirit. Ancient Oriental medicine physicians discovered a system of cyclic energy that flows along specific pathways, or points, in the body. Each pathway is associated with a particular physiological system and internal organ. Disease arises when there is imbalance, or disharmony, along the body’s energetic pathways. These pathways (meridians) of energy can be accessed therapeutically through touch and sound to relieve chronic conditions.
Sound therapy is a form of vibrational medicine, providing energetic and harmonic healing. Our bodies function best when there is harmony, resonance and balance. As our hearts beat and our lungs regulate breath, our organs work in mutual support and resonance with each other.
Today, many health-care practitioners are integrating sound-healing tools into the therapeutic environment with profound results. These tools include the voice, harp, Tibetan bowls and bells, tuning forks, drums, rattles and gongs. There is a growing body of research that supports what people have known intuitively throughout time: Sound therapy works.
But, have we thought of using animals as sound healing tools – no as sound therapists in reducing our stress? Stress, if left unchecked, can lead to a variety of health problems, including headaches, insomnia, back pain, depression and substance abuse. Animal sound therapy can downshift your attention from the worries of the day to the moment at hand.
Resonating with the Core Essence
I made the animal-sound connection during a stressful period several years ago. I was sitting on a small sofa, stressed and depressed when our two dogs got up on the sofa, pushed their way in and entwined their bodies with mine. They then proceeded to take a doggie nap, complete with heavy breathing, snoring, whimpering, running in place and passing gas. All normal doggie behavior, experienced before. Then it began - animal music; I became aware of a calming sensation overcoming my being. In fact, their entwined bodies brought in the sounds like placing a tuning fork on a chakra! The power of a healing presence was undeniable.
And why not; everything around us is in a stare of constant vibratory motion, generating sounds both audible and inaudible that can be harnessed to assist the healing process. These dogs offered unconditional love, complete trust and complete vulnerability. The therapeutic benefits of sound therapy and the importance of a healthy mind-body connection in promoting general well being and providing relief from a range of ailments are well known. The source of the sound is not as relevant as its benefits. Relax and feel the joyful noise!
George Belev is a Certified Healing Touch for Animals Practitioner, Certified Healing Touch Practitioner and a Reiki Master/Teacher. For more information check www.wellnessandhealing.org. He can be reached at 518-399-7056.
Healing Touch for Animals - Pets Affected by Domestic Violence
By George Belev, CHTP, HTACP, RMT
Published in Healing Springs Journal, March-April 2009
Every day, victims of domestic violence suffer at the hands of their abusers. They realize they should escape and seek refuge for themselves, their families and their pets; however most domestic violence shelters don’t accept dogs or cats. Many women opt to remain in abusive environments because they are afraid of what might happen to their animals if they leave.
Domestic violence shelters have long recognized that abused families, often kept so isolated that pets are their only friends, won't leave the abuser because they know animals left behind may be harmed as a power play or in retaliation. These victims too often stay in a dangerous situation to protect their pets. According to Staci Columbo, Founder of Noah's Animal House "We've known of women who lived in their cars so they could keep their pets with them and women who stayed in a shelter but kept their pet in the car parked on the street, and of course women who wouldn't leave their abuser because of concern for the safety of their animals. Each situation like this tore your heart out." Noah’s Animal House is built into The Shade Tree Shelter, Las Vegas, NV. Shade Tree Shelter provides safe haven for women and children. Noah’s Animal House provides temporary boarding for the cats and dogs of the clients of Shade Tree, so that the women and children can turn to the warmth and love of their pet while staying at Shade Tree. (USA TODAY, Tuesday, March 18, 2008)
Since domestic violence shelters generally cannot accept animals, some shelters have developed partnerships with animal welfare groups to provide temporary pet care to ensure that everyone can leave the abusive situation. "Pet Guardian" is the Animal Protective Foundation's (APF, Scotia, NY) partnership with the YWCA of Schenectady (NY) to address this issue. Created in 2003, this program allows women and children to leave abusive environments by providing shelter for them and their families with safe haven for their pets. Veterinary care is administered as needed at no cost to the victims. The women can visit their pets in safety, enjoying their love and affection if only for a short period of time, and not have to worry about them. When a person is in the midst of displacement from all that is familiar, the comfort a pet can provide is enormous. These pets have seen them through the awful times; they are family. Visits with pets can be a bright ray of hope during a very dark time.
While these pets are provided loving care and safety during their stay at the APF, it’s important to realize they, too, have been traumatized by the domestic abuse, the separation from their caretaker, and their displacement to the unfamiliar shelter environment. Healing Touch for Animals protocols can address the trauma and improve the quality of life for these beloved pets during their stay at the APF.
In 1996, Komitor, CMT, CHTP/I, CHBMT founded Healing Touch for Animals/Komitor Healing Methods, Inc., which teaches energy medicine techniques for animals. These techniques complement traditional veterinary medicine. They bring about pain relief, accelerated wound healing, improved immune system function, and changes in inappropriate behavior. There are four levels of instruction for both canine and equine, each level offering more advanced assessment and healing techniques. Joanne and I are graduates of the very first Level 4 class! We wanted to apply our skills and training to animals that would not ordinarily receive these treatments but could benefit greatly from them.
After discussion with the APF staff, Joanne and I developed a treatment plan to address trauma and behavior issues for two Pet Guardian dogs. The APF staff obtained permission from their owner for us to do the work. Once we entered the kennel area, we were selected by our clients. Joanne was selected by Morton; I was selected by Samantha, a black female Pit Bull mix. Samantha was very concerned for Morton’s well being. Although we were drawn to each other, she responded very negatively to me at the first introduction. My assumption was that I looked like the abuser - a tall male. I left the room so Joanne could continue working. Out of sight in the hallway I imaged and performed the HTA protocols from a distance. As I worked, I sensed a shift to balance in. We returned in a few days and while my reception was better, I still worked outside of the kennel. After several more distance treatments, I was able to enter the kennel and work on Samantha face to face, with her outside the cage. She allowed me to pet her and put my hands in her energy field. HTA can facilitate release of deeply held emotions and memories and blocked energy from affected cells, without needing to know the specifics. This level of trust was critical Samantha’s ongoing treatments. She needed to feel safe and receptive in order to benefit from the work.
We continued our work on Morton and Samantha over the next few weeks. While both dogs exhibited improvement and began to welcome our visits, it was obvious to us that a change in venue (i.e., return to their forever home) was necessary. While their owner dearly loved them, she was not able to continue to care for them. We're happy to report that both were adopted by a loving family. This experience was beneficial and healing for these animals and Joanne and I were encouraged, knowing we were doing good things for animals that had experienced emotional and physical traumas. Joanne and I continue to work with pets at the APF, to help get them ready for adoption to their forever home.
For further information about Healing Touch for AnimalsTM visit their website – www.healingtouchforanimals.com. For further information about the Animal Protective Foundation Pet Guardian Program visit their website – www.animalprotective.org.
George and Joanne Belev are energy medicine Practioners and Reiki Master/Teachers. They can be reached at 1-888-462-3066 or visit their website – www.wellnessandhealing.org
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