As soon as I got the call, I got in my truck and started on the two-hour trip across Michigan. My first client, and a horse dear to my heart, was sick and not going to make it. He'd tangled in wire fencing a few years ago and, despite his owner's efforts, had never completely recovered. He had an infection in his lower leg that could not be healed, even after rounds of antibiotics, special treatments, and my own efforts, which helped to ease his discomfort. I was on my way to say good bye.
Daufer was a Thoroughbred ex-race horse. At 18 hands, his shoulders stood taller than my head. He was the definition of a gentle giant. Daufer knew his role; he took responsibility for his riders, and took his job seriously. I cried a little on my way to his stable as I remembered my first riding lesson on Daufer. Fate could not have sent me a more patient, understanding mount.
When I got to the barn, I sensed the desperation of those who are about to lose a good friend. When I saw Daufer he nuzzled me and told me he had much to show me and we'd better get started. In my practice, I know all too well the effects of touch. I immediately began massaging Daufer easing his muscle spasms and increasing circulation to his injured leg. This helped to lessen the swelling in it. He nuzzled my hands, enjoying the warmth of the Reiki I was doing, and thanked me.
While I worked, I noticed a dapple-gray mare standing across the arena from us. The survivor of a tumor on her shoulder, she was understandably shy to humans poking and prodding at her. After all, she had undergone months and months of cleaning of the open wound as it healed. She was always wary of new people and during the time that I had been visiting the barn I had watched the area where her tumor had been removed heal and close up. I had always wanted to put my hands on her and share some healing and love with her, but she would always nip at those who would try to approach. She had been through a lot and she found comfort in her equine companions, not from humans.
I observed her and noticed that the longer I worked on Daufer the closer she got to us. She hung her head and started yawning and licking, common effects of energy release in animals receiving Reiki. She came closer, standing next to Daufer. As I reached out to let her sniff me, her eyes got big and she laid her ears back; her distress was obvious. I knew she was picking up on Daufer's treatment but being the person that I am, I wanted to help her more. I reached out anyway and gently touched her shoulder; she flinched and snapped her teeth at me, so I retreated. I continued working on Daufer, letting her stand in our energy and soak up the warmth and love.
In my usual manner, I was vocalizing my thoughts to Daufer as I worked and was telling him how I wished that she could trust me. I received a clear message from Daufer that he was about to show me something that would be a very important lesson. He walked closer to the mare, putting himself between her and me. She visibly relaxed as he put his muzzle on her neck, just above her healing sore. Taking his cue, I put my hands on his shoulder in the exact same place. The mare took in a deep breath and let it out as her whole body relaxed. With her energy releasing and her guard going down, she was totally into the treatment. He would move his muzzle and then I would mirror his movements, moving my hands to the indicated area on his body. We progressed together into a full Reiki treatment on her, with him indicating on her and me treating on him. It was impossible not to feel the energy going through him into her. It was so thick you could almost see it.
We worked for over an hour. Then, the mare, deciding she was done, raised her head and shook her whole body. She then retreated to her own area of the arena. Daufer looked over to me and I saw in his eyes the message, "You learn well." I leaned against him, hugging him, knowing that I had just received an incredible gift from the universe. Sad to see my teacher leave me, I started to cry, and the mare walked over to me and put her head on my shoulder. We stood there for several minutes and then she looked me in the eye, and walked away. Not only was I able to work on her through Daufer, but he had shown me how to do it, and he had selflessly given of himself to help her.
As I stood there, I realized Daufer was not afraid of what was to come. He was sorry for the pain we felt, but as is common with animals, he was comfortable with the cycles of nature, including life and death. He was relieved to have shared his lesson with me, and as we said our good- byes, I asked him what he hoped for in the next life. He told me he wanted to be a Monarch butterfly, so that he could soar and dip and gracefully perch. He had enough of being limited in his current physical form, with a leg that limited his mobility. To this day, when I see a Monarch butterfly gracefully flittering through the air, it warms my heart and reminds me of the beauty and intelligence of the animals in our world that we so often overlook. It makes me stop and think and appreciate the cycles of nature, and the beauty of all that is around us.
About the author:
Nicole Dingwell owns Petrissage, in Charlotte, Michigan. She practices Equine and Canine Massage, incorporating Reiki, Aromatherapy, Flower Essences and other energetic modalities. Nicole is a Reiki Master/Teacher. You can view her website at www.petrissagetherapy.com.