This year’s A Walk on the Wild Side: Answering the Call of the Wild was more epic than ever, and I hope to share stories in future.
For now, some of you might be wondering why you have not heard from me in a while, and I want to take a moment to apologize for the lapse. There were many reasons—events, clients, classes, new website in progress, and more—but the most personal involves my own cat, Manitou.
In being very real—removing the curtain from behind the scenes of my professional practice—I hope to offer some insight in what it is like to try to balance the physical and emotional needs of your animal companion with what is available from Western medicine and an alternative/complementary/energetic approach—a challenge that many of you may also have had to face.
Upon my return from the event, and a road trip with some amazing students (who are now also friends), I was immediately greeted by Manitou.
I was horrified to see that he looked like a walking skeleton. He was so skinny I could actually feel all the bones in his tail. It was a surreal moment, and I was both concerned and furious. Apparently the new pet sitter did not follow my feeding instructions, and Manitou did not get enough to eat.
But I felt like there was something more going on. On the basis of my energetic assessment, and an insight based on a past cat who was diagnosed as hyperthyroid, I took Manitou to the vet. And here I have to add that it is a big deal to take Manitou to the vet since it stresses him out so much that he hyperventilates and pees in the carrier despite my using methods that have successfully worked with clients. The universe finds ways to keep you humble, but since I love Manitou I sometimes wish they would choose another moment instead…
And it turned out my hunch was correct. Manitou was diagnosed as being majorly hyperthyroid. Oh, and they thought he might be older than originally thought. On the heels of saying good-bye to my senior cat Sand (two weeks before leaving for A Walk on the Wild Side, see Saying Good-bye to Sand) I was now being asked to contemplate the possibility of losing Manitou sooner than ever anticipated. That hit home like a ton of bricks.
After discussion of the options, I chose to try putting Manitou on medication since my research did not turn up any alternative methods that would “cure” him. In this case medication was the least invasive answer, especially since radiation therapy would mean Manitou would have to be quarantined at a special facility for days, if not a full week. Thankfully, Manitou is a master pill taker (the offering of a reward afterward of highly prized Gerber Stage 2 all-meat baby food helps—the cat version of a spoonful of sugar), so giving him pills is easy.
With medication, Reiki energy healing, and a flower essence, Manitou’s rapid heart rate, restlessness, insatiable appetite, weight loss and night crying began to decline.
However, something was still not right. Energetically I could feel that his thyroid was calming down, but Manitou seemed to lose personality and became somewhat lethargic. He was also literally glued to me each night for long rounds of Reiki and shamanic energy. I took him back in for more blood work, and received the results today.
From an emotional standpoint the test results were devastating. Yes, his thyroid levels had decreased significantly, however his liver values had more than tripled. The vet said that she could understand why I was noting a change in him, and a dded his levels were so high that she would expect that he would be vomiting (which he wasn’t).
Part of me was freaking out over what I could feel that she was not saying, while the other part was noting that Manitou’s coping level in the face of off-the-charts liver values was most likely due to his daily energy work. The vet did not say that Manitou could go into liver failure really easily, but I could tell by the tone in her voice that she was concerned about that possibility when she said we had to stop the pills immediately, and Manitou had to go on liver supplements.
My ability to “feel” the energy and the meaning behind it brought up unresolved guilt and grief over two former cat companions who had died of similar issues.
My first cat Lepus (the other half of my logo, and my best friend in the world) was diagnosed as hyperthyroid. Sadly, he was too old, and his condition too advanced, for the pills to be able to turn things around in time (radiation therapy was not available in those days). He died in my arms of a stroke. The other cat was Houdini, who tragically died due to liver failure induced by a medication that did not agree with him.
After saying good-bye to the vet, and hanging up the phone, I dissolved into tears. It was definitely time to do my own clearing work before trying to make ANY decisions with respect to Manitou.
After my clearing work I was calmer, and felt able to take it one step at a time. Moving forward, I will have a conversation with Manitou and see what his wishes are. I will do whatever I have to financially (treatment is not cheap) and otherwise, so that he will have the best opportunities for a quality life. That does means my accepting that days spent in confinement may be more than Manitou is able, or willing, to handle. I will do whatever he wants, for as long as he wants. And isn’t that what really matters?
And that brings me to the rest of this article and marketing—which I dislike—but how else can I let folks know what is going on?
Yes, I have personal drama and responsibilities in my own life. But I also have responsibilities in my professional life. And one of those is my pledge to the animals to bring the people to them in ceremony so that together we can create a better world for all.
During our last Evening Walk on the Wild Side at the Woodland Park Zoo (last because the zoo has currently discontinued the evening program), lioness Adia (who had never spoken to me previously) addressed me directly. Referring to the work that I do in teaching folks how to meet with the Zoo Animal Ambassadors, she forcefully said, “Don’t stop.” Tearfully I promised I wouldn’t—no matter what.
So, I would love to have as many folks as possible join me in what the animals consider a very important mission. Please join me for Listening to Zoo Animal Ambassadors and help the Animal Ambassadors realize their dreams and wishes.
Rose De Dan, Manitou and Night Sky
Wild Reiki and Shamanic Healing
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A WILD WAY TO HEAL
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.
Her book Tails of a Healer: Animals, Reiki and Shamanism features heartwarming stories about animals and their role in her evolution as an energy worker and shamanic healer.