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Relaxing with reiki

Master calms dogs at Brookfield animal rescue organization

Staff photo / Bob Coupland Savannah, a pitbull mix at the Healthy Hearts and Paws Project in Brookfield, receives animal reiki therapy during a recent program led by Nicole Shrestha of the Little Lotus. The reiki therapy is a noninvasive energy healing therapy to help calm and relax animals.

BROOKFIELD — Just as people have experienced more stress and anxiety during the coronavirus pandemic, dogs also experience that anxiety, but demonstrate it in different ways.

Nicole Shrestha, a reiki master / teacher and founder of Little Lotus in Clintonville, often spends her weekends traveling to help dogs and other animal species to relax.

Shrestha spent six hours recently at the Healthy Hearts and Paws Project in Brookfield, offering the healing method of reiki to the shelter dogs. The facility has 22 dogs of various breeds ready to be adopted.

Jason Cooke, president of the Healthy Hearts and Paws Project, said Shrestha donated her time to do reiki for the shelter dogs.

“It is amazing to see how the dogs who may be a little anxious are able to be calmed down and relaxed. We had never heard of this before and wanted to see what it was like. It was very beneficial to the dogs,” Cook said.

He said each of the 22 dogs at the Healthy Hearts and Paws Project has their own personality with some more anxious than others. He said calming and relaxing them will increase their adoptability.

Shrestha, who also is director of animal services for another organization in Columbus, works individually with each dog and uses pressure points and other techniques of reiki to calm the animal.

“We call this acupuncture without the needles. When we are in a state of relaxation and are truly relaxed, it allows the body to heal naturally. I have worked with animals dealing with anxiety to aggressiveness. I have worked with everything from cats to lions,” Shrestha said.

Shrestha said she spends her weekends traveling to different events and locations to share her skills.

“Just like people during this crazy time, dogs can feel that stress, uneasiness and pain when they sense things are different. We want the dogs to feel calm. They deserve to feel like that. Too often people don’t realize that animals can feel that way,” she said.

Shrestha said animal reiki is an energy healing technique developed thousands of years ago and is gentle, can be done hands-on (in person) or from any distances with the same effect and outcome.

She said animal healing is a noninvasive complementary therapy, suitable for a wide range of physical and emotional conditions. Shresta said reiki also can work well alongside manual therapies (for example, physiotherapy) and in conjunction with ongoing veterinary treatment.

“It is an interesting technique; it is applicable to many different types of animals,” Cooke said.

Shrestha has worked with many sanctuaries and rescues in Ohio and animals including baby squirrels, raccoons and pigs. Soon, she said, she will travel to Thailand and use her techniques on elephants.

Shrestha said when she first meets animals, she observes their personalitIies to see if they are aggressive and often sits outside the cage to see if they calm down.

Cooke said he noticed that during the past two months when people were inside their homes, more dogs were adopted.

“I have never seen anything like this before with more animals being adopted,” he said, noting people had more time to care for pets.

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