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A Wild Way to Heal

Cougar face close horizweb

While my 2010 and 2011 encounters with Earthfire Institute’s Animal Ambassadors during A Walk on the Wild Side: Answering the Call of the Wild were very powerful, the proof that they were more than very cool experiences came afterward.

I live with a half-bobcat named Cougar, result of an illegal breeding operation. When I first met him, he was living unhappily with people who had good intentions but no understanding of his special needs, and was slated for euthanasia due to behavioral issues.

After a series of physical/emotional traumas, Cougar was an emotional wreck, fearful of everyone. When I was called in professionally to see what could be done it was clear that he needed healing, and that it would need to be done in my home. I had no idea if I could turn him around, but was willing to try. He quickly made friends with my domestic cats, but it was clear that it was going to take a long time for him to trust people again.

Cougar strut Rose crop

Progress was slow. After one year I was finally able to touch him, the result of allowing him to make overtures to me.

Over the years I tried out various energy healing techniques, and Cougar had the opportunity to meet a great variety of students/clients. Gradually he became more approachable, and would say “hello” to frequent visitors with vocalizations. The truly fortunate would have their hand sniffed and might be able to offer a head scratch, but only while he was on the cat post, never at floor level.

Meanwhile Cougar offered me trusting forehead-to-forehead face presses (evidence of trust because it leaves the face vulnerable), but for the longest time I was the only witness—he would never do it when someone else was around.

Then I facilitated last year’s event at Earthfire Institute and when I returned not only had I changed, but Cougar had, too. For the first time he offered face presses and head butts to others. He walked through the middle of my classes without fear, and could be approached by most people when not on his cat post.

Cougar enjoys a face scratch Photo: Rhonda Hanley ©2009

Cougar enjoys a face scratch Photo: Rhonda Hanley ©2009

This year when I returned home from our 2011 event there was another shift—a major one. In all our years together Cougar had never slept on the bed while I was in it. Imagine my surprise and delight when I returned from the workshop to discover that he wanted to snuggle up against me just like the rest of my cats!

What made this possible?

A Walk on the Wild Side was created so people and animals could meet in ceremony with the intention of rebuilding the bridge between species. Personal change has a ripple affect; what we heal in ourselves helps create shifts worldwide.

During this year’s event all of the animals (and Master Teacher Windwalker the cougar in particular) took us on a powerful journey of personal transformation. When I returned home my heart felt like it had been cracked wide open. I was a different person, and Cougar agreed.

Cougar Rose Face press crop

Thank you, Earthfire Institute Animal Ambassadors for the trust and guidance you offered us, and thank you, Susan Eirich and Jean Simpson. Without the love and support you offer the animals and the vision that you hold, none of this would be possible.

Cougar and I look forward to next year, but in the meantime I’ll practice what I have learned from my wild teachers. Who knows, maybe he’ll be sitting in my lap next!


To hear more about the messages from the animals and Master Teacher Windwalker the cougar at A Walk on the Wild Side, you can listen to my recent interview with Janet Roper for Talk2theAnimals.  The segment begins at 28:00. To learn more about our 2012 event click here.


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©2011 Rose De Dan. All Rights Reserved.

Think Outside the Cage

About Wild Reiki and Shamanic Healing:

Rose De Dan, Wild Reiki and Shamanic Healing LLC, is a mesa carrier in the Peruvian shamanic tradition. In addition she is also a Reiki Master Teacher, animal communicator, author of the acclaimed book Tails of a Healer: Animals, Reiki and Shamanism, and creator of Animal and Reiki Art. As an animal shaman, she views her role as a healer as one of building bridges between people and animals, and of empowering them to reconnect with Pachamama, Mother Earth.

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  1. great story Rose, it’s amazing what patience and unconditional love and acceptance will do. Hope to hear more about him, I’ll bet that he’s a great teacher

  2. What a beautiful cat 🙂 and a beautiful story. It really touched me. You can really se the “wild” in him, and he has a lot of that. What a face…. what eyes…. He is lucky to have you :-)))

  3. Such a heartwarming story Rose, it’s wonderful you were able to make a connection with Cougar and had the patience to give him time to trust you – I love happy endings! That animals are willing to give us two-leggeds a second chance and forgive us in spite of what we do to them is something we can all be inspired by and maybe learn to do ourselves.
    Wishing you and your family a joyful Thanksgiving!

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