“There is love in this world.”

On a bright, muddy morning in March 2020, I arrived for my animal communication and Reiki rounds at Summit Equestrian Center determined to put aside my anxieties about COVID-19. 

But there’s no hiding stuff from a horse. 

Opal, a 27-year-old Percheron, met me at the fence and came straight to the point: “Please don’t be afraid. There is love in this world.”

Did she understand the pandemic? Probably not. Had she heard conversations about a sickness going around among the humans? Probably. Did she sense their worries? Absolutely.

Opal knew about uncertainty. She and her buddy Pearl, about 30, were cast aside after years of hard work. That could easily have been the end for them. Instead, through a chain of humans who saw hope where no one else did, they found new purpose as therapy horses. 

Before they passed last fall, both of them told me their last couple of years on this plane were better than they ever could have expected. 

When it feels like there is anything but love in this world, I remember and treasure this.

Animal Wise: Faith and strength

Devoted Barn - Faith (web)

Faith at The Devoted Barn, May 2017. (Photo by Nancy Crowe)

I looked up into the eyes of the majestic black Percheron at The Devoted Barn in Newport, Michigan, where my Animal Reiki III class with Kathleen Prasad was about to wrap up. Rain had drowned out whatever had been said about Faith, her story, and what brought her to this volunteer-run animal sanctuary during our tour two days earlier. In that moment, it was just her, me, and the healing energy I offered to share.

Certainly she was tired of all these humans traipsing around, occasionally chanting, talking about and trying to practice using healing energy — something animals understand much better than humans anyway. Right? A horse with the strength that radiated from Faith might be thinking: OK, nice try, but enough already.

Instead, she cut my cynicism off at the pass, telling me I too was strong and to bring it on. We had a lovely session, after which I thanked her and asked if I could take a picture to remember her. She obligingly offered the profile you see here.

I did not know, then, that Faith was living with a brain tumor, had nearly died months earlier, and had miraculously bounced back for another go at life. She knew, as all animals do, that every day is a gift … but she knew it much more deeply than I realized. She didn’t have time for the doubt of the journalist/Reiki practitioner/animal communicator in front of her. Whatever I thought I did not have in that moment was of no consequence; she saw what I did have to offer and gladly accepted it. And I’m sure, during that last year of her life, Faith taught many other lessons.

As Faith’s tumor worsened, The Devoted Barn family a few days ago had to make the agonizing decision to let her go. Faith is off on her next adventure, but her cut-to-the-chase, show-me-what-you’ve-got strength will remain a part of my practice and life forever.