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Reiki Attunements For Animals

Reiki Attunements for Animals

Beth Lowell posed the question “Attuning Animals: Yes or No?” in the online publication The Reiki Digest on October 30, 2008.

I thought about answering but shelved responding for later. I was very busy, and surely others would reply.

It came back to the forefront of my mind due to a ruling by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops USCCB). In March 2009, the USCCB issued a document, “Guidelines for Evaluating Reiki as an Alternative Therapy,” prohibiting Reiki from being offered by any healthcare facility, retreat center, or persons representing the Catholic Church.

Reading the news article brought back memories of when, as a teenager, I had broken away from the Catholic Church. Until then, I had a strong love of the religion I had been raised in from birth, so strong that I had seriously considered becoming a nun.

As a teenager, I learned the true history of the Catholic Church, which historically is one of persecution. Disillusioned, I rejected both organized religion and spirituality. I never returned to organized religion, but Reiki training in 1995 restored my connection to universal energy and love and my belief in a spiritually-based world.

Reading the article about the stand of the Catholic Bishops caused me to confront the real reason I had not immediately written in response to Beth Lowell’s question, and that reason had little to do with my being so busy and everything to do with fear of persecution.

In reviewing Beth’s article, I discovered that only one person had left a comment, but that comment only focused on the benefits of Reiki sessions for animals, something very different from offering attunements to animals.

What’s the difference? When taking a beginning class in Reiki, a student receives a series of attunements by a Reiki Master Teacher that opens their energy channels, connecting them up to the universal life force energy known as Reiki. The process of attunement to the Reiki energy offers personal benefit to the student as well as the ability to facilitate Reiki energy healing for people and animals.

Experiencing the healing energy of Reiki in a session also helps to balance and calm, but the recipient does not leave with the ability to carry that energy forward and offer it to others. In my Reiki classes, students are taught how to offer Reiki not only to people but also to animals and plants. In Master Level training, I teach my students how to offer attunements for animals and people.

Why would I do this, you might ask?

When I took my Reiki Master Teacher training in 1996 in Massachusetts, there was no mention of attunements for animals, and it never occurred to me to ask about them. My Master Teacher was a nurse who worked in a local hospital, and she taught many nurses and a few doctors the art of Reiki for their patients.

In my Level 1 and 2 Reiki training with a different teacher, there was only a passing reference to the fact that Reiki could benefit pets; there was no mention of how to do sessions for animals, never mind any mention of attunements for them.

It was not a human teacher but the Reiki energy that reawakened me to my dashed youthful dreams and sense of spiritual connection. It happened during the first attunement in Reiki that I received in my Reiki Level 1 class. Suddenly I could feel energy coursing through my hands, and a new level of awareness washed through me, along with great love and joy as I connected fully with the Reiki energy. Simultaneously I reconnected with myself and knew in the core of my being that I was born to be a healer and would work with animals.

From then on, I was in love with Reiki and all its many benefits. Soon after taking Reiki 2 training in 1996, I opened my professional practice, naming it Wild Kingdom Reiki. To my knowledge, it was the first Reiki healing practice for animals on the East Coast.

Not long after finishing my Reiki Master Teacher training, I began to feel pulled toward offering Reiki attunements to the animal companions that shared my life and my practice. I did a lot of soul-searching about that desire; no one talked about it in the Reiki community, and none of the books I had read mentioned anything about it, yet the pull would not go away.

With much trepidation, I offered Reiki attunements to my animal companions; they accepted and enjoyed the process. I mentioned what I had done to no one in the community, I was afraid that people would shun me; after all, who was I, this newly trained Reiki Master, to bring something new into the tradition?

And I probably would have kept quiet indefinitely if it had not been for an elderly dog named Abbie.

My friend Joanne Wilson called me one day in tears because they had made the decision to put their canine companion of many years to sleep. She and her husband felt that Abbie’s quality of life was no longer good enough to justify their keeping her in her ailing body just because they loved her—that she had reached the point where she was suffering. She had developed hot spots all over her body, which she tried to scratch constantly, she didn’t move around much, and when she walked, she would often lose control of her bowels and hide in embarrassment. She no longer wanted to do any of the fun things she used to love to do, like going for rides in the car. In short, she had no joy in daily living.

I felt that pull again and found myself offering to come over and build Abbie a Bridge of Light and offer her some Reiki. Joanne, a fellow Reiki practitioner, told me that when she offered Reiki, the dog would walk away. I replied that I would ask her permission, and if she did not want any, I would respect her decision.

When I arrived, Abbie accepted my presence, and I asked her if she would like to receive a Reiki attunement. She was uncertain what that was, so I explained that it was an energetic process that would reconnect her to the universal life force energy and that it might help her feel better and could also assist her in getting ready to leave her body. She was willing to give it a try. I began the attunement process, and at one point, I felt a weight lift off her but had no idea what it was, and kept going with the attunement until it was complete. Abbie seemed quite content, and I left.

I received a call from Joanne the following day, fully expecting to hear her tearfully tell me that Abbie was gone. Instead, Joanne joyfully explained that they had canceled the euthanasia process because Abbie was outside playing like a puppy! She further added that Abbie had asked to go for her first car ride in two years. I was speechless and amazed.

As the days unfolded, Abbie’s hot spots healed, and she no longer had issues with her bowels. From the time of the attunement, Abbie enjoyed receiving Reiki sessions, which she never had before. Her quality of life, and joy in life, continued for another six months until her body simply wore out.

With Abbie’s response to her attunement, I acknowledged that it was time for me to come out of the Reiki closet and begin offering this to my animal clients where appropriate. It was made very clear to me by the Reiki energy that if I were not supposed to offer Reiki attunements to animals, then Abbie would have had no response. Instead, with her miraculous and positive response to the Reiki attunement, I received validation that the animals needed and wanted the attunements. They, too, were spiritual as well as physical beings.

From that point on, I began offering it to my animal clients within the context of a healing session (always asking their permission) and began teaching the process to my Reiki students (there are some adaptations to the attunement process necessary when offering it to animals).

I mentioned it in passing from time to time in the articles that I wrote over 11 years that were eventually collected into the book Tails of a Healer: Animals, Reiki and Shamanism. Animal Reiki attunements were very important to the healing process for dog AJ, in “Freedom from Fear” and to the many animals injured during a pet store burglary in “When You Care Enough.”

But I realized I had never fully stepped up and said bluntly, publicly, “Yes, I do attunements for animals.” Some part of me was still in hiding.

I have no idea how many other Reiki Masters may offer attunements for animals and may also be in hiding. I am now very aware that the needs of the animals and the world are greater than my personal fears. Perhaps others may read this and be inspired to speak up so that the world can know that animals are energetic and spiritual beings deserving of—and responsive to—Reiki attunements.

So, I now consciously and fully step forward and declare, “YES, I do attunements for animals, and they can be very healing.” And I also offer them to trees, but that is a story for another time!


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©2009 Rose De Dan. All Rights Reserved.

Rose De Dan, Wild Reiki and Shamanic Healing LLC, is an animal communicator, Reiki Master Teacher, shamanic energy healer, and author. Her classes, sessions and ceremonial work are inspired by wild and domestic animals who have issued a call to action for personal and global healing.

This Post Has 28 Comments
  1. Hi Rose,

    Thank you for this well written and thoughtful post. I know it would be of interest to Reiki Digest readers – am wondering if you will consider posting it there?


  2. Hi Beth, thanks for your suggestion. I have posted a short comment with link back from your original post on The Reiki Digest. Perhaps we can get some kind of dialogue going.


  3. I’ve posted my comment on your post back at Reiki Digest. (Now I’ll also alert my own blog readers to the conversation too!)


  4. Rose, thanks for this article. I have been apprehensive to attune any animals as I don’t pick up any definite communications from them. I feel pretty confident about my own companions but when it comes to animals I don’t know personally, I really don’t have any idea. Any suggestions?
    Thank you,

  5. Rose, thank you for writing this article! It’s a very necessary topic that isn’t spoken of too frequently. My animal attunement story begins years ago when I attended a Reiki class taught by Diane Stein. When it was time for our attunements we were lined-up, side by side. To our surprise, two of her huskies joined in the line, asking for attunements. She DID re-attune them for us that night and encouraged us to not only treat our animals with Reiki but to also attune them. Since then I’ve attuned both of my dogs– one asks to be re-attuned every now and again. I’ve attuned other dogs, as well. I’ve found that when an animal owner becomes attuned it becomes necessary to ask the animals of the house if they want to be attuned, too. Many times they want to join the path of their humans. They can always refuse…showing you they’re not interested through their body language. Thanks again!

  6. Rose, as you know, both Misty and Bowser have benefited enormously from Reiki attunement. Misty, at 14 years, healed an old injury caused her to run on only 3 legs AND she healed her kidney. The vet had tested her kidney function before the attunement and after (when she had an infection). After the attunement her kidney function was totally normal.

    Bowser healed his issues very quickly. What you might not have noticed is how he healed his emotional issues. He is calmer and more trusting and open.

    Both cats were happy to receive and use Reiki to heal themselves. I am grateful!

  7. Great post, Rose! Many years ago my cat, Sierra, asked to be attuned to Reiki. Since I am only Level 2, my friend who is a Reiki Master attuned her. Sierra practices on me daily. She also does long distance Reiki on many of my animal communication clients’ animals. So my answer to “should animals be attuned to Reiki” is a very loud YES!!!!

  8. I am posting this comment in all places where the discussion of attuning animals is taking place – on the Reiki Digest, on Rose De Dan’s blog and on my own. I’ve been thinking about this more as the comments have been rolling in and I’ve come to a conclusion of sorts. It was Rose’s clear and simple explanation of what an attunement is that so struck me about her post on this subject. I think that perhaps that there is not a backlash against animals, but I think they serve as a great catalyst in this discussion. I think the problem lies within the perception of what an attunement is.

    As I mentioned in my first comment back in October, I too, thought it was odd when I heard about animals being attuned. I was taught Reiki in very simplistic and broad terms by my first teacher, and I accepted everything she said at face value, although I was not always able to connect the dots or explain Reiki well to others. I’m not saying that she was a bad teacher; in fact I think she is highly dedicated and an extremely effective Reiki practitioner who happens to teach Reiki in the same way that she was taught. I do think, however, that as Reiki got passed down and changed over generations, that much was lost. I’ve spoken with others who have studied Reiki across the country who have shared similar experiences.

    Perhaps a discussion on what an attunement means to people will shed light on people’s attitudes about attuning animals.

  9. Hi. i absolutely love the info & pics on your blog. I am a South African & through meditation and plenty soul searching I realize that my life purpose involves healing. Please could you send me more info on reiki healing and what this entails. I have yet to be pointed in which direction my healing needs to go. im sure that it will dawn upon me sooner rather than later.

    Inspired South African

  10. Hi Lady Kimberli, aka Inspired South African!

    Thank you for your interest in Wild Reiki and Shamanic Healing, for more information on what Reiki is I refer you to my website under “Reiki Classes.”

    I do not have any basic articles on Reiki, but there are stories on my blog such as “Calling All Reiki Stories” and in my book “Tails of a Healer.”

    Since you are not in the US, I went one step further and asked someone else that I happen to know lived in SA and asked if she could recommend someone there. The following is her response.

    “If this lady is looking at someone who has a special gift with animals and has a website, then contact:

    – Carol Mulrooney – – I can vouch for Carol as she is really very genuine.

    alternatively : : – this lady would be able to give your client more
    info. that she would need with regard to other practitioner’s websites.

    We have a handfull of Reiki Masters here in South Africa but don’t all have websites.”

    Hope this is helpful, best wishes to you on your search for your path as a healer.

  11. I just “happened” across this 😉

    I am a Reiki Master too and when I was attuned, my dog insisted on being attuned at the same time. Actually my previous dog was attuned too – my RM said she had wanted it and I suspect the cat I was sending Reiki to at the time may also have taken the attunement, who knows.

    And there was I thinking that perhaps if she wanted, I would practise attuning on my dog, lol, she beat ne to it!

    What surprised me was that afterwards she did not react well to ill/infirm dogs we met who wanted Reiki, but that is actually changing now and I think she’s trying to help now.

    It was the desire to help my first dog in her old age that drew me to Reiki. I had my Reiki 1 attunement a few months before she passed and we both benefitted enormously. Without Reiki I don’t know how I would have coped with her loss.

    I use Reiki mainly for animals, mainly working distantly with my passed over dogs and a wee stray cat I used to feed as my main helpers. The wee cat is a VERY powerful healer and insists on being on the case with the more ill ones, she even meows in my ear to tell me she’s helping.

    For me, it was always about animals and the lack of info disappointed me initially, but I just found my own way with the help of Reiki and the animals of course 🙂 I love the way animals are so clear about what and where they want IF they want Reiki. The one that surprises me is the way they can refuse Reiki from their person but often accept from me or someone else distantly.

    Definitely, if they wish to be attuned, do it 🙂 They know what they want, why and from where.

    1. Thank you, Muriel, for your support and your enthusiasm for Reiki healing and attunements for animals. I am so glad to hear that there are others like yourself, your dog, and especially, the wee cat doing this work (-:

  12. Thank you for the great article and for attuning my cat Catastrophe. People need to embrace animal attunements. I was surprised Catastrophe requested it (despite her name), as she already had her own capacities for sending energy, but boy have the attunements and your long distance treatments benefited her! At 16 she was in great pain and unwilling to even chase a string. Now she is frisky again, and she wakes me each morning with gentle Reiki paws.

  13. Thank you, Leslie, for sharing, it is wonderful to hear that Catastrophe is feeling well and enjoying her Reiki (-:

    I am sure that you will have stories of your own to share since taking the class in Reiki attunements for animals, and I look forward to hearing them!

    I hope to finish the ebook for Reiki Masters on the Reiki attunement process for animals by late spring. Thanks for your help.

  14. Great posts, everyone!
    It is encouraging to read all these wonderful stories and see how many more people are doing this kind of work with animals.
    I’ve been attuning animals for years as well, and it’s always beaufiful to share the gift of Reiki with them. Being natural healers their energies are the perfect meld. I just sent distant Reiki to someone in FL (I now live in GA) and my husky foster assisted me~ she and another foster I’ve had for a year are going to be adopted togehter very soon. One was terribly shy and I”ve had her a year. We did a lot of work together and she is ready and has chosen her new family.
    My own Shunka would not be alive today were it not for Reiki. He went into full blown anaphylactic shock at 4 mos old and without Reiki he would have died. I think it was one of the most powerful experiences I have ever had as a facilitator feeling that energy coursing through me into him and circling back to Source. It was very humbling and I am truly grateful to be in service to Spirit and assisting all put in my path on the Red Road~

  15. Hello,
    Wonderful blog you have written.
    I am a Reiki Master in Baltimore, ON. Canada.
    I work with animals with Reiki and attune them to Reiki as well. It is such a gift to be able to do this. Animals are so open to Reiki energy. I volunteer at a donkey sanctuary and am going to start to attune any animal at the sanctuary that wants it.
    The more we spread Reiki to our animal friends the better!
    Reiki Blessings, Susan

  16. I stumbled upon your site, there are no coincidences. I have been offering to attune my Reiki student’s animals for years and we have had some very interesting stories. A dear friend of mine disagrees with the whole idea, she feels we are placing a tremendous burden upon the animals. I told her the attunement was to assist them since the animals were going to continue to help man anyway. We agreed to disagree. Like you, i have had so many positive results, i cannot not at least offer the gift of an attunement to the animal and let the animal decide.

    1. Just reading along here, Linda…so if I may interject… How could offering to attune an animal be a burden to them? Also, how could having been attuned be any kind of burden? In neither case would the animal be under any obligation. The furry person is under no obligation to accept an attunement (and frankly, I think most of us wait for the animal to ask for it anyway), and it would be impossible to attune any being against its will, if for no other reason than simple physics. Nor is an attuned animal under any obligation to use the attunement in the service of others because all sacrifice is voluntary; sacrifice is never required, from creatures any more than from us human healers. (Of course, even if they never use the attunement for more than boosting their own well-being, that too serves others, for we literally are all one being. If they feel better, we all feel better.) In what sense, then, can one think of an attunement as a burden? Ironically, the closest translation of the Japanese word we’ve always termed “attunement” is actually “blessing,” according to Rev. Hyakuten Inamoto, a lay monk and Reiki Master Teacher of Japan.

    2. I can understand your friend’s concern, Linda – the intention of the offering is important. The guidance that I have received tells me that the animals are spiritual beings capable of making their own decisions, and that the attunement is a reconnection to Source – something we all are in need of.

  17. I too have had a client ask to help them with their dog who was very ill. I offered the dog a Reiki treatment. I have never felt such a strong connection before. The client called me several days later to say the dog was up and swimming and running again – a miraculous feat from such a illness.

    My personal viewpoint of Reiki and attunements is this, and I do not in any way undermine the theory of attunements:
    I understand that Reiki is spiritual energy, all is spiritual energy. We are to get to that place of enlightenment (hopefully), of non-duality. We are shedding our fears, judgements, angers and the story of our lives to live freer and happier. I give every treatment, every self-healing, meditation and every attunement (spiritual blessing) the same sacred space of non-duality – that same respect whether it is a treatment or attunement – why should one get more respect than another if we are coming from a place of non-duality? If I offer reiki from that same place wouldn’t a client or animal get the same benefit had I intended from an attunement perspective or the treatment perspective? If all is one, why treat it differently?

  18. If you attune your animal, does that mean the animal will then be able to send reiki to you, in what ever way it understands it. So you both could do reiki on one another. That would be something really amazing and a real way to bond with an animal.

  19. Thank you so much for sharing your experience! Do you think a bird could heal himself after being attuned? I mean as birds don’t put their feet onto themselves normally? Would you have to teach them distance healing or would they know it intuitively?

  20. When you give an attunement to an animal, do you mean a healing attunement or initiatory attunement? Or do you give something altogether different for an animal?



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