It’s no big surprise that compassion fatigue in the veterinary industry is rife. Our vets and vet nurses see and have to deal with everything to do with humans and animals… the sadness of euthanising well loved family pets as well as dealing with the fallout from human cruelty and neglect of animals.
This year I was honoured to have Saskia Auf dem Brinke, a very experienced vet from the Netherlands, join my online entry level group Reiki class. Designed for dog lovers, this group class covers everything I would usually cover in a regular class, but we take more time and our focus is on ourselves and our relationships with our dogs.
Saskia, already a skilled Dog Listener and who tells of having suffered from burn out a couple of times in her long veterinary career, absolutely took Reiki to her heart! It was a lovely experience hearing from her via Zoom every week because of course within her veterinary practice she always had opportunities to practice her new breathing, meditation and visualisation practices which were building and growing each week.
“In the practice I have been doing more and more ‘silent reiki’ or as I experienced it…’no expectations’ and see how far I can come with the dogs. And it helps soooo much! Last week I had a lady (she was hyper) and told me her French bulldog female had to be restraint with 3 people for something. It only took 20 minutes (and a lot of talking to her to keep her calm and disregarding her dog) and only a few calm actions towards the dog (after ignoring her too) for me to vaccinate her standing loose on the floor eating a big bowl of meat….. doing this in such a calm an relaxed way, the reiki way…being empty, makes it happen! And I love that so much!”
Isn’t it just so wonderful to hear that this traditional Japanese practice is useful in this very practical way. It helps Saskia with her balanced state of mind, which inevitably influences the animals she treats and of course their human guardians. Much of Reiki is about practicing tools to quieten our state of mind in the moment so that we can more easily deal with whatever the day brings to us, as opposed to reacting strongly because we are already at the end of our tethers!
Hmm sounds like the effect of dog listening on the dogs doesn’t it! And in fact, Saskia also says:
“The combination of Reiki and Dog Listening is amazing. Again yesterday a lady brought in a very traumatized dog (she only has him 4 years and he is 8, with aggression directed straight forward), for vaccination. And she is really open to all kind of things, I asked her if she was ok that I did Reiki. And I did, standing up, she joined me meditating. Within 5 minutes the nervous dog lay down, head resting sideways on his right leg and eyes closed. It was amazing as he had not been able to achieve this relaxation before. Afterwards when I called him over he accepted a snack and had soft eyes. He was still a little reactive on the table so he needed a muzzle. But he was relatively ok and better than other times. The owner was very grateful.”
It really shows that our animals struggle with the speed of our lives doesn’t it? And how beautiful it is when we and our care givers are able to take a little bit more time when the animals are at their most vulnerable and stressed.
And Reiki goes that extra bit. The tools we learn and practice are used for us for our own personal development and spiritual cultivation in order that we can share this with others, whether human or animal. When we can hold a space of peace and balance for ourselves and our animals the healing effects of this can be extraordinary…
“Today I had a client with a cat, who I operated on yesterday. A penis amputation. He had severe trouble in peeing after the operation. Scared and painful. I asked the owners if they were familiar with Reiki and she was, also level one. And she was excited that I brought that up. I gave the pain medication and she did the Reiki and….voila…happy cat who pees later at home and happy and grateful owners!! Tadaaaaaa, love this love this!”
You can tell I think that Saskia and I have similar levels of enthusiasm 😀 I’m sure you’ll acknowledge too that it makes me very happy to receive updates from all of my students and clients, and Saskia’s experiences are particularly fascinating and joyful because of the job she does. In her practice on a daily level, Saskia is always sent the more challenging cases because her colleagues see the resulting effect of how she uses all her skills to create the most peaceful, helpful environment for the animals. Her Reiki practice is helping to bring incremental peace to the clients she works with and also to herself.
I want to thank Saskia for her permission to write this blog. I remain in admiration for her and all other representatives of this incredibly difficult and stressful job.