I can’t think of a change in my life where my pets haven’t been transitioning with me, be it directly or indirectly. We’ve moved — including across the continent, twice — formed new relationships, ended relationships, welcomed new family members, lost beloved family members, travelled, navigated illness and injury — mine and theirs — and well, lived. Rarely is there a life that’s static! Change, both planned and unexpected is inevitable.
What I’ve learned through all of these experiences is that each animal has his own capacity for change, and that my ability to help each pet through it, to ease the process and speed up the integration, is paramount. I’ve also learned that while I plan and prepare for things like moving to a new home or introducing a new family member, these changes are likely going to take my animals by surprise. This means that I have to factor their well-being into my plans too. I never want to see my animals distressed and it’s important to me that the support provided is effective; I want to see immediate results!
Fortunately, there are many tools we can use to make these transitions more seamless for our pets and help reduce any stress along the way. These may include the use of aromatherapy and essential oils, all forms of body work including T-Touch and massage, even acupuncture and acupressure.
My absolute favourite though is energy work — any therapy that manipulates the bioenergy of the animal with the intention of removing blockages and restoring harmony. Energy works helps to reduce stress and anxiety, minimize or eliminate the physical and behavioural manifestations that can accompany change, facilitate relationship building, ease grief and loss and promote curiosity, which is a key component in creating new habits.
With energy work, it doesn’t matter if the transitions are planned or not. When I moved across the continent, with three cats as company, I used energy work on all three of them so they were calm before the trip and so they would settle in the car (seriously, not a single meow the entire time). We had to make three different pit stops too, which were added stressors because it meant the cats were exposed to multiple new environments in rapid succession. But, thanks to the energy work, I had cats who snuggled and purred each night and who didn’t hide or resist when I pulled out the carrier to load them back up.
I used energy work on my cats when I brought my new puppy home, to help them feel safe and secure and happy with a new addition in the house. I used energy work on the puppy to help her with the grief of losing her litter-mates and to feel at ease in her new environment. Energy work is a phenomenal tool for personal transitions too; births, deaths, change in mobility and ability, adjusting to illness/injury, all of it. This last winter I had to put my cat down so I utilized energy work to help everyone with their grief and to help him as he transitioned to the other side. It eased his pain, minimized his discomfort and added to his quality of life in his final days.
Seeing instantaneous results with energy work is another reason why it’s one of my favourite transitioning tools. Jack for instance, is the definition of a “fraidy cat.” He’s a rescue kitty and he does not like any interruption in his routine. He needs a lot of support for even the smallest change. What’s great about him is that I can see immediately that the energy work is effective because he settles right into sleep, and none of his typical stress behaviours — licking, pacing, meowing, missing the litter box, destroying the furniture, etc. — which happened before I started using energy work. Energy work keeps him in perfect health and balance throughout any of the changes life has demanded of him.
The absolute best part of energy work is that it is easy to learn and anyone can use it to support their pet(s) through any transition. Energy work is an easy to employ tool, can be applied in any situation where we are asking our pets to adjust to changes and it works with all animals of all ages, all species and breeds.
—Rebecca Stares owns Spirited Connections Counselling, which offers energy healing services for both animals and their people. She is also a clinical social worker specializing in animal assisted therapy and equine assisted therapy. Visit www.spiritedconnections.ca for more info.