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Tails of a Healer: Animals, Reiki and Shamanism

Where love heals and animals speak—a journey of connection, compassion, and transformation.

Eleven years in the making, Tails of a Healer: Animals, Reiki and Shamanism features 45 true and heartwarming stories about animals and their role in the life and evolution of a gifted energy worker and shamanic healer. A compelling blend of personal narrative, spiritual insight, and practical perspective for anyone interested in the healing power of animals and energy work, this inspiring collection of tales featuring dozens of black and white photographs by the author is brought together here in one place for the first time.

In Tails of a Healer, readers will share in Rose’s journeys filled with touching encounters, humorous anecdotes, and gentle reflections on life, death, and the healing journey. Whether it’s the tender moments of fostering abandoned animals, the unexpected miracles of energy healing, or the amusing escapades of cats and spiders, Rose’s stories resonate with authenticity and wisdom, reminding us of the profound bond between humans and the animal kingdom.

Inside Tails of a Healer readers will find:
• Heartwarming stories chronicling the author’s transformative journey from graphic designer to Reiki healer and shamanic practitioner
• Insights into the author’s experiences with animal communication, fostering kittens, and helping fearful dogs find peace through energy work
• A perspective on holistic approaches to healing, including Reiki, shamanism, and compassionate animal care
• Humorous anecdotes and heartfelt moments that celebrate the wisdom and resilience of animals
• Essays on topics such as spirituality, the pet food industry, and building stronger bonds with animal companions
• And more…

Tails of a Healer: Animals, Reiki and Shamanism brings readers into a world where the extraordinary is woven into the fabric of everyday life.

What I do for a profession may seem exotic, but the emotions and perceptions portrayed in these stories are universal. I share my experiences because I think people are hungry for validation of what they already know at a deep level, namely, that there is more to this world than meets the eye. It is my hope that this book will help people regain the sense of wonder and awareness they enjoyed as children—and the belief that they, too, can connect with animals and the world in magical ways.—Rose De Dan

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Free Excerpt from Book
Table of Contents
My First Book Reading as an Author

Reviewers say:

“A Collection of Love Stories”

Overall, readers will feel the deep connection Rose has for all the animals she encounters. Tails of a Healer is really a collection of love stories.”
Phylameana lila Desy, The Everything Guide to Reiki

“A Gem!”

Tails of a Healer: Animals, Reiki and Shamanism is jam-packed with animal stories that delight the senses, tickle the imagination, and transcend the mundane into the realm of mystery. Author Rose De Dan is not only a gifted healer, shamanic practitioner, and Reiki Master; she is also a master storyteller. The true-life tales in her book will make you laugh and sometimes cry. They’ll make you think and they’ll fill you with wonder. Most of all, De Dan’s stories will teach you about the fine art of bridging worlds—between animals and humans, between heart and mind, between body and soul, and between consensus reality and the deeper levels of reality that nurture and sustain us all. Tails of Healer is a gem!
Cat Saunders, Ph.D., Dr. Cat’s Helping Handbook: A Compassionate Guide for Being Human

“Wonderful Healing Journey!”

Tails of a Healer: Animals, Reiki and Shamanism beautifully chronicles Rose’s wonderful healing journey with the animals! She has a wonderful way of weaving her personal healing journey into the journeys of the animals that cross her path. Stories of Reiki for animals intertwine with stories of Shamanic ceremonies and traditions.
Kathleen Prasad, Co-Author Animal Reiki: Using Energy to Heal the Animals in Your Life

“Healing and Enlightening!”

Tails of a Healer takes you deeply into the world of telepathic animal communication and shamanism. It is a rich mix of intimate animal stories that are both healing and enlightening. Rose De Dan has packed this book with wisdom and heart. Prepare to be opened.
Mary J. Getten, Communicating With Orcas: The Whales’ Perspective, winner of 2007 Nautilus Book Awards Animals/Nature

“Touchingly Told!”

“During my first attunement, I felt the energy coursing through my hands so strongly that I was completely cured of any skepticism I might have harbored…”

Working as a freelance graphic designer has not kept Rose De Dan from traveling many unique paths on her journey through the modalities of chiropractic, acupuncture, Reiki, Qi Gong, Tai Chi, and eventually to her practice at Wild Reiki and Shamanic Healing. Tails of a Healer: Animals, Reiki and Shamanism explains not only De Dan’s path to fulfillment, but relates stories of those who have come in need of her powerful hands and loving heart. Each ‘tail’ is touchingly told with enough insight and soul to transcend the boundaries between man and animal.

The cast of characters begins at home with four disarming cats, a large Irish Wolfhound mix, and a hooded rat, who share quarters with Rose. However, the book itself shows concern for all animals and is broad-sweeping in its scope. Some of the chapters discuss the plight of “factory farm” animals, the best commercially produced food available, handling feral cats, and helping a beloved, dying animal make a peaceful transition. Often the book reads like a gripping dialogue between man, animal, and the universe, reminding us that there is more than routine and mechanics that makes us truly function in the world and that there is indeed a connectivity between all things.

At the core of this book is De Dan’s special skill for communicating with the other living creatures on the planet. She is a Reiki Master and a mesa carrier trained in the Peruvian shamanic tradition, equipped for treating ailing and distressed animals ranging from family pets to the zoo. Incident by incident, De Dan reveals how they establish effective and enriching levels of communication, if only we would listen.

De Dan explains that her “profession may seem exotic, but the emotions and perceptions portrayed in these stories are universal. I share my experiences because I think people are hungry for validation of what they already know at a deep level…”

Her approach is one of service to the animal community—a liaison for those of us who cannot speak the language. As a shamanic initiate, she attended a workshop led by Don Manuel Quispe, a renowned shamanic teacher from Peru. She found his words especially meaningful, bringing great shifts in perception: “Personal power has to be of service to your people and yourself. Share, otherwise it will isolate you.”

Tails of a Healer is a memoir of sharing and healing.

The U.S. Review of Books

Readers say:

“Uplifting and refreshing”

I was delighted to find that Tails of a Healer is even more than I was expecting based on the outside cover, which in itself made obvious that the book was something I’d not only enjoy but also learn from. It works on several levels: Most obviously, it’s a fascinating linear biographical account of a most interesting woman who’s had some even more interesting (to say the least!) experiences, most with animals as the “cat’alyst.”

That said, each short chapter stands alone brilliantly, and you can flip through the book at random to find inspirational material for your meditation practice (for that matter, you’ll be inspired even if you don’t meditate). Through Rose’s eyes, I feel like I have a better sense than ever about the inner lives of our critter friends. Finally, time and time again, it’s an uplifting and refreshing look at the timeless cycles of birth and death.

The writing is self-aware but not self-absorbed, wry and engaging while unflinchingly direct, and always grounded in wisdom and compassion. Whether or not you’ve had experiences parallel to De Dan’s (and few people have), you’ll find the lessons she’s learned from hers useful as you continue on your own journey through this wild ride called life.—David A. Young, Seattle, WA


Tails of a Healer: Animals, Reiki and Shamanism has been the most amazing read – the passionate stories about animals brought tears to my eyes. I recently doubted whether I could be an Animal Energy Healer, and reading this book gave me clarity and confidence in myself. It inspired me to read that the author had experienced troubles of letting go or had self doubt. I have read a lot of books where the practitioner does not show such honesty or talk about these situations they may have gone through. Tails of a Healer keeps it real and helped me realise that it is only natural to feel these things at times.—Amanda Raccani, Ocean Shores NSW, Australia

“Too good to put down!”

I just finished your book, and had to tell you what a beautiful and wonderful read it was, and how glad I am that I stumbled across it. Although my day job is in the corporate world, my passion is animal rescue work, specifically working with the feral cats in Tucson. Your stories really rang true for some of our experiences. I shared your book with my best friend and cat rescue partner and she was up all night reading last night, said she couldn’t put it down either. Thank you!—Carol Porta, feral cat rescuer, Arizona

“Warmth and compassion for animals”

All of my family have said that I have a bond with both wild and domestic animals. My niece has turned my love for animals towards obtaining second degree Reiki. She sent me your book and I am devouring it. You practice such warmth, understanding and compassion towards animals that I have cried at the energy that you use so lovingly. I must tell you that your energy comes through the book. My 18 year old cat, Mort, has taken to resting on it. Thank you for your energy for the animals. They are such blessings in our lives.—Donna Safley, Reiki practitioner, Zion, IL


Rose brings us on along on her journey of growing as a healer. This glimpse into reconnection with animals and the world around us brings tears of laughter, sadness and understanding. She reminds us to go back to childhood basics where anything is possible and we can appreciate all of the life that continues around us, no matter how busy we may be.

This book is not just for those interested in reiki or healing, or even just animal lovers, although if you fall into one of those categories then it is a must read. I congratulate Rose on this, her first, and guaranteed successful book! Her stories and photos are awesome!—Christiane A. Mikles, CVA, RMT, future veterinarian

“Tails of a Healer is a book that you can keep coming back to.”

This book has a special energy!

I am reading (and very much enjoying) Tails of a Healer for the second time around. It has been a few years since I first turned the pages of this magical little book and I am pleased to say that this time around is just as good—or even better!

It is amazing to feel the amount of heart and soul that Rose puts in to her narratives. She easily manages to make me laugh out loud at something witty or humorous regarding her experiences with all creatures great and small, or has me bowing my head with tears running down my face from one of her stories that tugs at the heart strings.

Tails of a Healer is a book that you can keep coming back to and keep learning from over and over.—Jan Thompson, Seattle, WA

“A must-read”

Rose De Dan has created a masterpiece of observation and insight into the mysterious world of shamanism. In prose so lyrical that it could be considered poetry, the reader lives each moment as if it were her own. Tails of a Healer: Animals, Reiki and Shamanism is a must-read for the trained shaman and well as for the reader who simply wants to be entertained.—Pat D.

“Writing with warmth & integrity”

I started reading Tails of a Healer while on breaks from the Reiki 1 class I took with Rose De Dan this past May. I had the chance to read an article or two and decided that I needed to finish the entire book, prompting me to order it from Amazon for my Kindle. Rose writes how she teaches; honestly, warmly, respectfully and with integrity. Many of the insights and stories Rose chooses to share in this book will seem familiar, mostly because all of us, whether we’re into Reiki or not, have experienced joy, love and ultimately, loss. However, as a complement to beginning the journey as a Reiki practitioner, it is without compare.—R. Boilek

“A small treasure”

Tails of a Healer is a wonderful collection of anecdotes from the heart. Rose De Dan’s vivid descriptions and easy way with words make you think you could sit down for lunch with her. There are many lessons in this book, and some of the chapters I’ll read over and over and keep learning something new. We don’t just meet dogs and cats, there is an orangutan, and even a dragonfly introduced. She explains things well, so if you know little or nothing about shamanism you will still enjoy the read, but you’ll probably end up wanting to learn more. This book is a small treasure.—Katherine L. Dunn


Every so often, a book comes our way that we want desperately to share with everyone, to make sure that everyone reads it. This is just such a book. These tales are evocative, joyful, sad, a full range of the emotions we – and our animal friends – experience. A must-read for all shamans, healers, and animal lovers! De Dan, with her beautiful prose, takes into the heart of what she does as a healer, and shows us how we too may be healers.

My own quick story to share – my puppy will chew pretty much anything in sight. I had left the book on the end table near the couch, and rather than chew it all up, the puppy gently took it in his mouth, and once he’d brought it down to the floor, proceeded to lick it. It’s as though he knew that inside were wonderful tales of creatures just like him, creatures who needed love and healing. If you don’t buy another book, be sure to check this one out. You won’t regret it!—Liana Carbon, San Diego, CA

“This book inspired me”

I just wanted to say “Thank you.” I have just read your book, Tails of a Healer. I have learnt a lot from this book and it has inspired me. My mum bought this book for me as I had just started an Animal Healing course, I am really enjoying it and I will only hope that I have some of the great experiences that you had!—Kathryn Turnock

Free Excerpt from Tails of a Healer: Animals, Reiki and Shamanism

The Wheel

As the wheel of the year cycles and the season turns from summer into fall and from fall into winter, the sky turns darker and the pattering sound of leaves falling heralds the death of one season and the advent of another. It is a time of transition and I find myself experiencing and assisting, in a shamanic capacity, with the difficulty that we all face in letting go.

Death, as many of us are aware, comes not as the end but as a beginning to another part of the cycle. Yet no matter how much we hold this thought consciously, when we experience the loss of one we love, no conscious knowing can assuage those feelings of sorrow.

Our society recognizes loss and has ritual processes that we call funerals for humans. But sometimes these are not enough. What happens when your loved one is not a human relative or companion, but an animal? It is apparent in the greater numbers of people turning to ceremony and ritual, that something important is missing from our modern, supposedly civilized lives.

Today, I conducted a ceremony for a friend, to honor her loved equine companion of 22 years. A few weeks ago, I conducted a similar ceremony for a client’s beloved cat companion.

Both ceremonies were beautiful representations of the strong bond and connection that can exist between different species. I felt honored to have been chosen to conduct these loving releases and learned much in doing so. Animals often share our lives selflessly, and the one refrain I hear over-and-over again from them is that they have no fear of death—they worry more about how much we worry about them.

My connection to She Walks gives me some insight into the spirit world. During the course of these ceremonies I have felt nothing but positive energy surrounding these transitions, and the same goes for all the actual deathbeds at which I have been privileged to assist. I have seen rainbows in the smoke of the fire ceremonies, been brushed by love and memories as the smoke curled around me, and been embraced by the spirit of one who has passed over.

Animals are so accepting of the cycle that we fear so much. At one death despacho (a ceremony for honoring the dead) I was assembling the despacho in ritual when a small bee flew into my hair. I assumed he would extricate himself and fly off, instead he died and fell into the despacho (strong shamanic drum roll, please). Needless to say my client wished to know the significance of this. So I asked the spirit of the bee, and his reply was, “Summer has ended, the cycle is turning, it is a good day to die.” These were words both my client and I needed to hear, and I try never to consider the source too small to teach me something important.

On a day-to-day basis I watch people struggle (as I myself struggle) with letting go, and with emptying out as they strive to be better vessels for the energy we call Spirit. While this transition may take a different form than the loss of a loved one, it still involves the emotions of fear and grief that we experience in the face of any change. Whether it is our death, the death of a loved one, or a stage in our evolution on this plane, transition means we leave some aspects of ourselves behind, but expand to encompass others. Shapeshifting in a very real sense.

So this year I shall embrace the change of the cycle as we proceed into the winter season, welcome it with ritual and ceremony, and acknowledge my place and connection to the wheel of life.

Originally published in The Kaleidoscope Journal, December 1998
©Rose De Dan. All Rights Reserved.

Tails of a Healer

Table of Contents


Acknowledgments ix

Introduction xi

The Rabbit Hole 3
The Wheel 6
Two Dogs 9
Winged Trust 12
Motherhood from the Heart 15

Transitions 19
As the Stomach Churns 22
Beacons of Light 27
Cookie Cutter Practitioners? 30
Chronicles from the Canyonlands 34
Bat the Cat 36
Light and Shadow 38
Building an Interspecies Bridge 42
Little Miss Hiss 46
Just Let It Happen 50
Shaken Not Stirred 53
Back and Forth 56
The Three Worlds 59

The House That Love Built 65
Guns and Mesas 71
At the Edge of Two Worlds 76
A Shaman’s Legacy 80
Freedom from Fear 86
The Wisdom of the Animals 89
Hotter Than Sex 93
Unheard Voices 97
The Dance of Life 99
Love Neverending 102
The Food of Love 107
Shells on the Shore 112
To Serve and To Heal 117
Grassroots Flashpoint 126
Through Their Eyes 130
Tibetan Buddhist Blessings 134
Animal Think 139
Close Encounters 143
When You Care Enough 146
Comfort and Joy 153
The Animals Are Waiting 157
Wake Up, the Looters Are Here! 164
Gracie the Cat and Fireworks 168
Gracie the Cat Star 170
Gracie by Morning Light 172
It Takes A Cat to Create A Village 174

Available as print or e-book.

My first book reading as author of Tails of a Healer: Animals, Reiki and Shamanism

Rose De Dan book reading Tails of a Healer: Animals, Reiki and Shamanism

Dancing the Shamanic Jitterbug

by Rose De Dan

Well, I have survived my first book reading, and I am happy to report, I actually had fun!

When I arrived at SoulFood Books in Redmond, and toted in my shamanic gear, I got my first look at where I would be reading, and seriously questioned if I knew what I was doing. For some reason I had imagined that I would be ensconced in an armchair somewhere among the bookshelves (perhaps I had delusions of being Alistair Cook on PBS). Instead I was led over to the café area and a STAGE, complete with a chair, spotlights, and a microphone on a stand. More the kind of setup I would expect for a musician, rather than an author, and indeed there was a guitar case lurking nearby.

So riveted was I by the idea of having to appear on that stage that I completely overlooked the overhead sign announcing “Rose De Dan, Author.” If I had not been so deer-in-the-headlights I might have taken a moment to appreciate the first-time joy of seeing my name, if not in lights, at least paired on a chalkboard with the lovely title “author” for all to see. Instead, I can thank Rhonda Hanley, who documented the evening photographically, for the opportunity to at least savor it in private later.

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