Permission is key in animal communication, Reiki

Photo by Unlaw on Pixabay

Respect for animals and their people is the foundation of my work as an animal communicator and Let Animals Lead® animal Reiki practitioner. This means an animal is free, at any time, to choose not to communicate with me or participate in a Reiki session. We can try again another day or I can issue a refund. Either way, the animal’s “no” is honored.

It also means that regardless of who pays, I must have permission of the animal’s owner for an animal communication or Reiki session. By owner (or guardian) I mean the person who is legally responsible for the animal, whether that is an individual or an organization such as a shelter or rescue.

That permission is required is stated on my website, but it’s still come up a couple of times recently. So this is to let you know where I’m coming from and how you might handle potentially problematic situations.

Why permission is needed

Having permission from the person who is legally responsible for the animal:

  • Keeps everything above board, which naturally brings better outcomes for the animal communication or Reiki session.
  • Protects the animal and respects the boundaries and relationships of all humans involved. (Put another way: Say you have a child, or an adult for whom you are legally responsible. Barring some kind of emergency, you would not want a friend or relative to arrange a counseling session or alternative treatment for that person without your permission. Anyone who tried to do so, however well intentioned, would probably lose your trust. You wouldn’t think much of the practitioner involved, either.)
  • Is in keeping with the codes of ethics I follow for animal communicators and animal Reiki practitioners.

But what if …

There’s an animal you love and want to support with animal communication or Reiki, who isn’t technically yours. How do you handle that?

Here are some examples:

  • A rescued horse has been returned — again — to the sanctuary where you volunteer. The vet has ruled out injury or illness as a cause for his behavior issues. The director, barn supervisor, and other volunteers are all at a loss as to where or even whether to try to place him next. Asking the horse could yield information about the behavior and what kind of home he wants, and you are willing to pay for the session out of your own resources.
  • You are fostering a cat from your local animal shelter. The cat has been over-grooming to the extent that raw, bald patches are showing up on her legs and belly. The cat was thoroughly checked out by the shelter vet before coming to your home, and there is no medical cause. You know from experience that this is a common sign of stress, and the bald patches could put off prospective adopters. That is, if you don’t adopt this sweet kitty yourself. You’re happy to pay for a Reiki session to help her feel more relaxed and secure.
  • Your sister is struggling with decisions regarding the care of her dog, who is severely ill. Her veterinarian has placed a couple of choices before her, and she is overwhelmed. You love this dog, too, and you’d do anything to help your sister. Should you just go ahead and book the session, see what the animal has to say, and then tell your sister?

In the above scenarios, I need the permission of the sanctuary director, the shelter director/adoption supervisor, and your sister, respectively. Talk with the animal’s owner, share a link to my website, and offer an animal communication session as a gift to support the animal — and them. They’re also welcome to contact me with questions. If the answer is yes, I am honored to help. If the answer is no, that is absolutely fine.

If you are interested in an animal Reiki or communication session but are not sure about potential permission issues, contact me. Some situations are confusing, and I will do my best to help you sort it out and find the best way forward.

Giving animals a voice is a responsibility, and part of that responsibility is maintaining the trust and respecting the boundaries of the people and animals involved.

It lets us all speak, and more importantly listen, freely.

Three benefits of working with an animal communicator

Are you listening to your animal friend
Are you listening? Working with an animal communicator lets your animal friend know that you are. (Image by Päivi Nietosvaara from Pixabay

You want to solve a puzzling behavioral problem with your dog. You want to help your cat through your upcoming move or divorce. You want to know what your horse needs from you as the end of his life approaches. Any of these situations, and countless others, may have you wondering if an animal communicator could help you sort it out.

Maybe you have doubts about animal communication. That’s OK. Maybe you’re not sure where to start — also OK. For now, consider three ways working with an animal communicator could help you and your animal friend find peace of mind.

1. Animals love that you’re listening.

In most if not all of the animal communication sessions I do, the animal appreciates being heard. This is especially true of rescued animals who have had little or no say in what happens to them. If they’ve experienced trauma, the notion that they have a choice about anything (including whether to communicate with me) may be new. Animal communication can therefore open new avenues of trust and partnership.

Working with an animal communicator can also help your animal hear you. Anyone who has ever had a human child, or been one, knows that what you hear from someone besides your primary caregiver sometimes sinks in more readily.

Of course you have been trying to listen to and help your animal. You’re probably doing better than you think. But there are so many of us humans on this planet, and we all have different skills and perspectives. We’ll all do better if we help each other out.

2. You get another set of eyes.

Years ago, I tied myself in knots trying to help my cat Idgie with a variety of health problems and changes. Even though I’d begun studying and working in animal communication myself, I knew I needed another perspective.

So I booked a session with my animal communication teacher, who helped me see aspects of the situation I had not. She also suggested action steps to help both Idgie and myself. That, along with continued veterinary care, helped get us on the right track.

An animal communicator brings a fresh perspective to your situation. Even if I’ve worked with an animal and/or family before, every session brings something new.

An animal communicator can be part of your pet’s team: you, your family, your pet sitter, your vet, your trainer, the folks at the specialty pet food store, the farrier, the groomer, the bodyworker, and more. I’m blessed to know a number of animal professionals in northeast Indiana to whom I can refer clients and ask questions.

3. Your relationships will improve.

Listening opens doors to a closer and happier relationship between you and your animal friend, but the benefit doesn’t stop there.

That’s because whatever you and your animal are facing almost certainly affects others, from your spouse to your horse’s trainer to the neighbor who mentioned your cat crying while you’re at work. As disconnected and polarized as we humans are, we live in a connected universe. Peace of mind in one arena translates to another. Who couldn’t use a little more of that these days?

To learn more about how animal communication and Reiki can help your animal friend — and you — visit me at

Scientific studies on Reiki and animal communication

white kitten with scratching post
Several scientific studies support animal communication, animal sentience, and animal Reiki. (Image by Daga Roszkowska from Pixabay)

What does science say about whether and how animal Reiki and animal communication work?

What we know (or hypothesize) about anything today may only scratch the surface of what we’ll figure out tomorrow — but there’s more scientific knowledge out there than you might think.

Animal Reiki benefits

There are a few studies about Reiki, but not many about animal Reiki specifically. Here’s what I found in late 2021:

• The American Kennel Club recently published a story on the benefits of Reiki for pets, also citing a study you can find on the National Center for Biotechnology Information website. That 2017 (human) study, published in the Journal of Evidence-Based Complementary & Alternative Medicine, indicates Reiki is better than a placebo. In particular, it “activates the parasympathetic nervous system to heal body and mind. It has potential for broader use in management of chronic health conditions, and possibly in postoperative recovery. Research is needed to optimize the delivery of Reiki.”

• An Innovative Veterinary Care Journal article also touts the benefits of Reiki to animals, especially in clinical settings. This one cites an animal-specific 2008 study, “Reiki Improves Heart Rate Homeostasis in Laboratory Rats,” from the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. It showed Reiki reduced heart rate and blood pressure in noise-stressed rats.

• Kathleen Lester’s 2019 article in the Journal of the American Holistic Veterinary Association, “Reiki as Complementary Care in Veterinary Medicine,” cites numerous scholarly sources to discuss how Reiki can benefit not only animals but the veterinary staff caring for them. (With a shortage of veterinarians exacerbating an already stressful job, I think this will be increasingly important.)

Animal communication: dog brains, cat names and more

I found a bit more research on human-animal communication:

Dogs have some understanding of what we say and how we say it, Hungarian scientists found. They trained a group of family dogs to enter an MRI machine and scanned the way their brains responded to not only words but their tone. The study appeared in the journal Current Biology in 2014.

Two books reviewed in the Christian Science Monitor further delve into research on how attuned our canine companions are to our emotions, speech, and behavior. Alexandra Horowitz, cognitive scientist and author of Inside of a Dog, followed that bestseller up with Our Dogs, Ourselves: The Story of a Singular Bond. Clive D.L. Wynne, a dog behavioral scientist examines that bond in Dog Is Love: The Science of Why and How Your Dog Loves You.

Cats react to the sound of their names, according to a group of Japanese scientists whose study appeared in the journal Scientific Reports. Monique Udell, an animal behaviorist at Oregon State University, told the Associated Press the study shows “cats are paying attention to you, what you say and what you do, and they’re learning from it.”

Goats prefer positive human facial expressions, says a UK-based study published by The Royal Society. “These findings suggest that the ability of animals to perceive human facial cues is not limited to those with a long history of domestication as companions, and therefore may be far more widespread than previously believed,” the authors concluded.

• Norwegian researchers taught 23 horses to express their needs using symbol boards — for example, to request a blanket on a cold day. “When horses realized that they were able to communicate with the trainers, i.e. to signal their wishes regarding blanketing, many became very eager in the training or testing situation,” the authors wrote in their study, which appeared in Applied Animal Behaviour Science. “Some even tried to attract the attention of the trainers prior to the test situation, by vocalizing and running towards the trainers, and follow their movements.”

When you look at any study, pay attention to who conducted the research, who paid for it, and whether any conflicts of interest are disclosed.

Also keep in mind that many factors influence what we believe about the legitimacy of animal communication, Reiki, or anything else.

Scientific inquiry, by nature, is ongoing, so please send or post a link to any animal Reiki or animal communication study you find that I didn’t!

And, as they used to say on television: Stay tuned.