Monday, August 30, 2010

Summer - Fall 2010 Newsletter

Animal Paradise Newsletter Articles - Summer-Fall 2010

Below are the wonderful articles and stories that are in the Summer 2010 Animal Paradise Newsletter. As soon as the new Animal paradise website is up and running the stories will be moved there. Please enjoy.


The Spiritual Lives of Animals
By Nancy Windheart

I believe that being on a path of spiritual growth is essential to being a good animal communicator. My own journey has been profoundly guided by the animals, in particular the many animals I have loved who have come into my life through rescue situations. In learning to listen to animals telepathically, we learn to still the mind, to listen with deep presence, and to become open to the realms of magic and the unseen. This can become the foundation of a spiritual practice that can change our perceptions and our lives.

Animals vary in their spiritual awareness, understanding, experience, and evolution, as do humans. It is just as inaccurate to perceive all animals as spiritual masters as it is to perceive them as spiritually inferior, without souls, or spiritually insignificant. Animals will vary in their understanding of past lives, life after death, their soul purpose and tasks for this lifetime, or any other spiritual matter. Sometimes, animalsʼ spiritual awareness will match that of the people they are with, and animals can also be great master teachers for humans on the
spiritual path.

Like people, animals have their own spiritual lives, and can evolve and grow spiritually over time. Especially when working with rescued animals who may have experienced neglect or abuse, it can be very helpful to recognize that animalsʼ perspectives about their lives can go far beyond their experiences in their physical bodies. Dialogue with animals about their spiritual understanding can help people to more deeply understand them. I have found that many animals do have a conscious awareness of why they are in particular situations,
and what their purpose is in even the most difficult experiences. After communicating with many animals and spiritually aware humans, I have learned that we may not have an understanding of the meaning or reason for our own or animalsʼ suffering until many years or lifetimes down the road.

Many years ago, I loved a beautiful dog, Trixie, who taught me profound lessons about the “bigger picture” with regard to suffering. I share her story here as an example of the miracles of awareness that can happen when we really begin to understand the depth of each animalʼs spiritual journey, and our own.


Trixie was a Boxer who had spent at least seven years in a research laboratory. When she came to me, she had lived her entire life on concrete, and was frightened of grass, trees, and most everything else in the outside world. She was physically broken and mentally and emotionally impaired, and I loved her with every cell of my being. I hoped that my love would transform her, heal her past, and give her a sweet, joy-filled “retirement” in the last years of her life. Instead, Trixie quickly developed a brain tumor, possibly caused by the experiments she had been exposed to in the lab, and she died within a few months of her adoption into my home.

I was heartbroken and angry, and I could not understand what possible purpose Trixieʼs suffering could have had. I responded to my feelings by becoming an activist for a time, fighting for the rights of animals in laboratories, zoos, and factory farms. I channeled my own unhandled pain, which I later realized was mirrored to me by the animals, into frantic and desperate attempts to prevent the suffering of others.

Many years later, as I was re-discovering my telepathic abilities, Trixie, who had been in Spirit for a long time, came to me unexpectedly during an exercise in a course. She shared many things with me about our life together. She showed me that although she could not express love like a “normal” dog during her time with me, she had felt my love for her, and that it had deeply touched and healed her. She also showed me that her time in the lab was a necessary part of her soulʼs journey, and that it was what had allowed us to come together for a few short months at the end of her life for both of us to grow and expand into deeper love. The communication was tremendously healing for me, and helped me to release the anger, pain, and sadness I had felt after her passing.

It was several more years before Trixie got in touch with me again. When she did, she showed me that she had reincarnated as a young, healthy dog, and was living with a family who had a disabled child. She was the primary companion for this child, and wanted me to know what a wonderful life she was having. She shared with me that her experiences in her last lifetime, both in the laboratory and with me, were what allowed her to deeply understand this boy and his experience of life, and that she was so proud of the friendship and service that she was able to give him as he made his way through a very confusing world. She thanked me for loving her, and wanted me to know that she was now able to express love and be of service in a whole new way because of her experiences in her previous lifetime. It was then that I realized that often we may not be able to understand the reasons for an animalʼs suffering in a particular situation or lifetime, and that it can take a lot of time for these reasons to be revealed, if at all. My experience with Trixie taught me to not make assumptions about any animal or situation, but simply to remain present to what is, to help the animal in whatever way seems appropriate at the time, and to allow the meaning or understanding to unfold over time.

I have since communicated with many, many animals who have experienced pain and trauma in their lives. While most animals (and people) who survive trauma can be greatly helped through communication, counseling, and healing, I have learned that each individual varies greatly in their ability to heal, integrate, and grow from their experiences. I have also learned that many animals are able to move through the healing process relatively quickly, with a profound awareness of the meaning and purpose in their experiences.

As people working with sheltered and rescued animals, we can support their spiritual journeys in a variety of ways. I believe that the most important thing that we can do is to recognize each animal as an individual, with his or her own spiritual life and path, which may or may not be understandable by us. Secondly, it is important to develop an ability to be deeply present with animals, to take them as they are in each moment, and to not make any assumptions about them or their experiences until we have fully understood them. Third, we can support animals by recognizing that they evolve and grow over time, and by not holding them hostage to a role of “victim” or keeping them frozen in their past experiences. We can support them by giving them the freedom to grow, develop, and teach us according to their purpose.

Listening to and learning from the animals has propelled me forward on my spiritual journey in ways I could not have imagined. Practicing telepathy with an open heart and mindful presence, and being willing to release my judgments, fears, and old beliefs, has made me a better human. Iʼm kinder, more tolerant, less judgmental, and more forgiving of myself and others than I was before I started this journey. I continue to seek the guidance of spiritual masters, many of whom are in animal form, to help me to deepen my understanding and my spiritual practice.


About Nancy Windheart:

Nancy lives in Prescott, AZ with her 3 dogs, 3 cats and several wonderful chickens and two horses. Nancy is a professional animal communicator and Reiki Master as well as a yoga instructor. She is a staff writer for Species Link, the only magazine for and about animal communication. For more information about Nancy and her wonderful work please visit:


Rudy’s Will to Live!
by Janet Shettle

Rudy is a 14yr old warm blood, gelding. He is not part of the horse rescue where I work and volunteer but is the companion to the barn manager. In 2008 Rudy was kicked in his left hock which resulted in a very bad infection. The vet was called and Rudy was treated with antibiotics, receiving injections directly into the hock. Rudy would seem to start to improve but then falter. The barn manager was told that this was a life threatening injury, and that even if Rudy survived, he might be lame.

I was new to the barn but when I became aware of the situation I asked if I could offer Rudy Reiki. The manager was open to the idea. I got a few sessions in before a snow storm kept me away for about a week. When I returned, Rudy was in such a bad state, the vet said that if he didn't improve with in a few days, it might be time put him down. I was very worried about Rudy's physical state but more concerned about his emotional state. Everyone kept saying it might be time to put Rudy down. I sensed that he was giving up.

I now had four consecutive days free to work with Rudy. I offered him Reiki, which he loved, and now incorporated flower essence and encouragement through communication. The flower essences that I offered were pre mixed.......I used one for anxiety, immune support, recovery and animal emergency. He accepted with ease. Following my intuition, I also used the mixture on my hands when offering Reiki.

Over the next four days I started telling Rudy that his recovery was up to him. Reminding him that he had the ability to heal himself. I was there to offer support and that no matter what he heard, his recovery was up to him. If that's what he wanted. It was very difficult for me to let go of my expectations of "healing Rudy". It was NOT up to me. I was reminded of this while speaking to one of my teachers. We started to see improvement in Rudy's condition but the vet warned us that Rudy was not out of the woods. He might continue to improve but then falter again and if so, it might be best to put him down. I sensed that Rudy was determined to prove them wrong and he did. We continued Reiki and flower essence over the next couple of weeks.

Rudy has made a full recovery and is enjoying life. We learned a lot from each other through this ordeal and have developed a special bond.

A few weeks after Rudy was finally turned out with the herd, it was time to add a young, “full of himself”, gelding to the herd. The barn manager was worried that Will Star would receive rough treatment by a few of the older horses. So, I asked Rudy to take Will Star under his wing and protect him. When I returned to the farm the following week, I asked, "how's Will Star"? Forgetting my request of Rudy, the barn manager said, "you should see Rudy, he's really protecting Will. He won't allow anyone to get near him!" OMGosh! What an amazing guy! Now, two more young geldings have joined the herd and Rudy takes great care of them all. He is teaching them all how to be good men.

Rudy was the first horse I worked with and he has taught me so much. We too are animals and have the ability to heal ourselves. We’ve just forgotten our connection with nature and the universe.

Rudy received great veterinarian care during his illness and would not have survived without it. I believe the therapies I offered were just as important to his recovery but not more. We all offered him support and Rudy chose to live.

I have studied Animal Reiki and Communication with Janet Dobbs and am so grateful for her teachings!
Janet Shettle

Reiki Master Practitioner

Janet began her Reiki practice in 2008 when she completed Reiki I and later that year Reiki II. Along with a group of volunteers, Janet started offering Reiki at Upper Chesapeake Hospital’s Cancer LifeNet Center. The program became so popular and successful; it was awarded a grant from the Susan G. Komen Foundation. Wanting to continue studying Reiki and deepen her understanding and practice, Janet completed the Master Level, Reiki III in early 2009.

As a dedicated animal lover, Janet studied Animal Reiki and communication with Reiki Master Janet Dobbs, a pioneer in that field.

Wanting to deepen her understanding and connection to Reiki, Janet studied with Frans Stiene. Frans and his wife Bronwen are authors of the internationally acclaimed “The Reiki Source Book” and founders of the International House of Reiki. The Stiene’s are dedicated to the original Japanese form of Reiki. A spiritual, healing practice.

Janet lives in Monkton, Maryland, an area rich in horse traditions. Animal Reiki is now a significant part of Janet’s practice, specializing in Equine Reiki.

Janet Shettle


Animals and Reiki “Attunements”

By Janet Dobbs
Reiki Teacher/Practitioner

Sammy was my heart and soul and encouraged me in most everything that I did. He loved working with Reiki and actually taught the first Reiki level one class that I held at our home. It all began the night before the class when I was practicing Reiki attunements.

Reiju, translates to mean ‘spiritual blessing’. In level one Reiki, students receive 4 reiju (also called attunements) throughout the course. The purpose is to strengthen the students’ connection with spiritual energy and to raise their personal energy levels, giving a sense of reconnection with one’s true self. Reiju also helps clear the body’s meridians allowing students to conduct more energy through the body. (*1)

I had heard that you are not to perform Reiju on an animal. That didn’t make sense to me. What harm would it do, if Reiki does no harm? What would it matter? What was going to happen if I was to do that? Why would someone be afraid that an animal would be “attuned” to spiritual energy?

I was taught by my first Reiki teacher, to practice giving an attunement using an empty chair if there was no human to practice with. So there I was, walking around an empty chair when my amazing kitty Sammy came in the room and hopped up on it and sat perfectly still, announcing to me, “Go ahead now. Please continue. I am here to help you. I am here to help you get this right!” I continued working my way around the chair as he sat almost motionless. “Again!” he suggested. So I offered Reiju to him again, practicing until I felt confident. The moment that I felt complete he thanked me and then hopped off the chair to go out to his screened porch for a bit of chilly February air. I thanked him for being my teacher and allowing me to practice with him.

The following day he greeted the students when they arrived and then disappeared somewhere else in the house. The time came for the first reiju/ attunement. The students were sitting in their chairs. Soothing music was playing in the background and everyone had their eyes closed and were relaxing. Just after I began the process Sammy quietly arrived in the room. He surveyed the situation and then silently walked from person to person, lightly brushing their leg and offered each student a blessing and healing. I could not believe that he actually took part in the event. He told us that it was very important to him and that he liked helping. He wanted to make sure that everyone was receiving exactly what they needed at that point in time as he worked his magic, opening their hearts.

After lunch we regrouped in the room that had a Reiki table set up. In level one Reiki, students learn how to do a self-healing Reiki treatment as well as how to give and receive a hands-on Reiki healing session on a Reiki table. I was sitting in a chair just a bit away from the head of the Reiki table and the students were sitting on the left side of the table facing the students. I was telling them about the next steps when suddenly Sam ran into the room and jumped up on the Reiki table, faced the students and began talking. “Meow, meow, meow, meow. Mah, mah, mah, mah, mah, MAAHH! ....... MA! ...... MAH! Meow, meow, meow.” He looked at each student in the eye. I stopped talking and asked, “What are you doing Sam?” I then realized that HE was teaching the class!

Sam had such a presence. His essence would always fill the whole room or space that he was in. As the students sat captivated by him, he continued his ‘talk’. He said to each student, “Pay attention. ‘This’ is important work. Open yourself. Take this in. Learn how to heal yourself so you can bring this to your animal friends and others. Remember that your animal friends are you greatest teachers. We will help you to remember to always stay grounded as you do your healing work. We are here to work with you side by side. Be open to the possibilities. Embrace this and embrace life. Find joy and bliss in everything that you do. All is well.” I can still see him sitting on the table holding ‘court’.

Then as fast as he arrived, he turned, jumped down off the table and disappeared upstairs and did not return again.

I often would have Reiki shares at the house and Sammy would get up on the table with me as I was receiving my Reiki session and “help” with the session. It always amazes and humbles me just how much the animals know about healing.

I have been teaching my workshops at Traveller’s Rest Equine Elders Sanctuary since April 2007. The first class that I taught was a Reiki I course. The group was in a circle as I was offering them their first attunement when we all heard, baaaaaarrrrrrrrow! Baaaaaaarrrrow!!!! It was Hannah the longhaired orange kitty announcing herself. I telepathically said to her that I wanted to acknowledge her, but that I was in the middle of the Reiju and needed her to be quiet as the students were easily distracted. She didn’t understand so she went around to each person and looked up at them saying, baaaarrrow? (Keep in mind that the students all had their eyes closed and were supposed to be in their “quiet space)”. Hannah then walked around the outside of the circle and then she walked around the inside of the circle. When her human mom, Chris, was receiving her Reiju, Hannah rubbed her leg and then she went around behind the table that we had food on and proceeded to sit on top of a paper bag under the table, which made lots of noise just as we were finishing up the Reiju process. Everyone laughed! We did another meditation and Hannah stayed right with us. I said to the class, let’s just stay in the energy that we are in and offer Hannah Reiki. Hannah laid down. She took a nap. She got up. She then walked around the circle going to each person as if to thank them individually and then went back to the bag and went completely out.

Hanna has been present at almost every Reiki class that we have had at TREES. She especially likes Reiki II where students learn the 3 level two Reiki symbols and mantras. Hannah has her favorite symbol and will sit in it and look at each of the students, telling them to pay very close attention and really work with the energy, as it will help them in many ways.

Does it matter if we practice an attunement with an animal? No. The animals know so much more than we do. They are the ones teaching and healing us. We need to open and allow the healing that we offer them to return to us in the same way that they send unconditional love to us. I never know what the animals are going to do, say or teach me. I am grateful that they are in my life and that they are willing to teach me as well as others. I thank them all for their help, support and guidance.

*1 - (p. 164 A-Z Reiki Pocketbook by Bronwen & Frans Stiene)

For more information about Traveller's Rest Equine Elders Sanctuary please visit: