Calm and Clear: Exploring Animal Reiki

by Michele Leach

When you first meet Kaye Smith, her energy instantly calms you and your pet. She greeted Lilo and me, her owner, with a warm and loving welcome as we entered the Animal Wellness room at The Reiki Center for Healing Arts.   

Lilo, a six-year old Great Dane/Pit Bull mix, was adopted by the Leach family about 5 years ago. She came from the Capital Area Humane Society where she had lived for a couple of months after her original owners decided to give her away due to issues with their cats. Lilo was adopted into a loving family, one that already had two dogs in the home, Buddy and Gracie. While Lilo seemed happy to be a part of a new and happy home, she had some self-esteem issues from the beginning. She had severe separation anxiety and would often cry when her owner left the house.

kaye and lilo.jpg

During her first Animal Reiki session, Lilo instantly formed a trusting bond with Kaye and calmed down as she began to talk to her. Kaye applied light, calming touch as Lilo and her owner began to express their feelings about how she fits in with other dogs, her relationship with Gracie, in particular, and not having the confidence to “speak” about what has happened in her life.

Kaye began to work on Lilo’s sacral and solar plexus chakras, which are the energy centers in the body for emotions and confidence. As Kaye spent more time touching Lilo’s body, she began to relax further, falling into a meditative state.

At the end of the session, Lilo was very calm and relaxed and was very affectionate with Kaye. Overall the experience for Lilo was a positive one, and she will be returning for more Animal Reiki sessions with Kaye in the future.

What is Animal Reiki?

It’s essentially meditating with your animals. But in a broader sense, Reiki is a spiritual system cultivating compassionate intention, which in turn may bring about healing transformation. The practice of Reiki helps us navigate life’s challenges with grace and surrender while we to learn to listen to and be present for others in a compassionate space. Offering one’s self as a conduit through which energy can flow for the good of another is the single most powerful gift that one can give and receive.

During a Reiki session, animals often experience a deep state of peace as the Reiki clears imbalances, allowing for new and harmonious patterns of health and wellness to emerge. Physical contact is not a requirement for Reiki and traditionally the practitioner offers Reiki to the animal hands off. This way, the animal controls the treatment, either accepting Reiki from a distance or settling themselves against the practitioner’s hands. Many people have unique experiences in connecting with and learning from the animals themselves. 

For more information about Animal Reiki, please contact The Reiki Center for Healing Arts at or call 614-486-8323.


Relax! Reducing Stress when Moving with Pets


by Julie Stoklosa

The boxes are packed. The new address is secured. It’s time to move–something experts say the average American does more than 11 times in his or her lifetime. And for 65% of American homes, this act of serial relocation involves the transport of at least one pet.

It’s no secret that moving, regardless of the reason, is considered one of life’s top stressors right after the death of a loved one and divorce. Now add in the complexity of ensuring the comfort and safety of a beloved pet or two into the mix. The result is a level of anxiety that is simply off the charts for both the pet owner and the furry members of the family.

A Moving Experience

Moving with pets can be daunting at best; heartbreaking at worst. Challenges stemming from logistical roadblocks, prohibitive costs or other difficulties may result in the devastating decision by owners to leave their treasured pet behind.

For owners who are able to arrange passage for their pets, other concerns surface. Commercial flights are an obvious option but one that The Humane Society of the United States says should be considered only after pet owners become “aware of the dangers of flying your pet in a cargo hold.” This is especially noteworthy because recent airline industry regulations now curtail the ability for many pets to travel in plane cabins.

Pet parents choosing to drive their fur baby to a new home deal with lodging dilemmas, tranquilizing angst, and nerve-wracking unknowns. It’s hard to focus on the road when consumed with a pet’s care.

Opting for Less Stress

The demand for a new way to reduce relocation stress for both owners and pets collided with the creation of CitizenShipper, the online auction-based peer-to-peer shipping marketplace founded by Richard Obousy. Today, CitizenShipper and companies like it, provide an affordable, trustworthy method to get pets from Point A to Point B while ensuring quality care for the animals and peace-of-mind for the owners.

The idea behind pet transport sites is simple, utilizing a model similar to other entrepreneurial enterprises such as Uber and Lyft. The online marketplace connects individuals who have something to ship with drivers who bid on a variety of posted transport jobs. Pet owners select a driver’s bid to complete the shipment.

According to Obousy, pet relocation has become a top transport service sought on CitizenShipper in the last three years. “It was obvious there was a tremendous need and opportunity to take pet transport in a direction that was considerably more owner-and pet-friendly,” said Obousy. “Minimizing stress for both the pet and the pet owner is critical to the process and must be the driver’s top priority–it’s what separates great pet moving services from the pack.”

How does a pet owner know if a transport provider is committed to reducing stress for the owner and the pet? Obousy says to look for a transporter who understands the pivotal role communication plays in defusing stress and has a platform in place for this discussion to take place. For example, Obousy says the CitizenShipper’s success as a pet transport service can be directly related to the forum for conversations it provides on its site.

Unlocking Peace of Mind

For most individuals, a pet is among the most precious cargo involved in the move. Trustworthy transporters know the first step to reducing stress starts with a detailed conversation addressing the pet owner’s concerns. This discussion alleviates the “unknowns” that causes the owner the most anxiety. How is my pet doing? Is she or he comfortable? What will the driver do to ensure my pet is safe? How will the driver comfort my pet? Where will my fur baby sleep? And the list goes on.


“This is so much more than putting an animal in a cage and driving it to a destination,” said Obousy. “Our pet transport drivers go the extra mile to ensure pet owners are comfortable with how often and by what means updates are provided throughout the journey.”

Obousy says it’s common for owners to request regular text updates, emails or photos from the driver or to ask for FaceTime check-in with pets while on the road. “If a pet moving service and its drivers don’t enthusiastically embrace communication touchpoints in the transport plan, consider looking at a different company and/or driver,” said Obousy.

Other hallmarks of reliable pet transport sources include driver background checks, a large selection of specialized pet drivers to choose from and access to owner feedback rating the performance of individual drivers.

Ensuring Creature Comforts

Established lines of communication also are instrumental in reducing stress for the pets being transported. Animals, like people, feed off the energy of others. Relaxed owners are more likely to present calmer pets come moving day. But the benefits of a transport partnership don’t end there.

Pets are creatures of habit. They have preferences and routines that provide comfort in addition to supporting health and well-being. Communication and discussion also provide the ideal forum for an owner to provide and explain food, play, medication, affection and environmental insights to the transportation provider. Sharing this information allows transporters to integrate as much normality as possible into the pet’s life during the move, which ultimately results in a less stressful experience.

Time to Get Moving

While no transport arrangement fully eliminates the stress caused by moving, personal transporters can substantially reduce the anxiety caused by separating owners from their furry family members. Knowing there is a devoted individual taking care of a pet’s needs frees the owner from worry and distraction.

To make sure pet owners and pets reap the maximum benefits of utilizing a personalized pet transports service, Obousy advises early action. It is important that owners have adequate time to weigh options, compare costs, and engage with quality shippers to determine the best transport “fit” for a pet. “You want the luxury of selecting a pet transport service instead of settling for one,” said Obousy.

Adopting a Senior Dog Was More Than I Barkained For

by Kristin Boes  |  photos by Olivia Ungemach

“Let’s go pick up your dog!” my friend declared one fateful Friday evening. She knew that I had fallen hard for a senior beagle at CHA Animal Shelter in Westerville, and she had decided that after two months of listening to me pine, enough was enough. It was time. 

As I filled out my application, the staff told me what little they knew about the dog. She was approximately 10 years old and had been transferred to them from an overcrowded rural shelter about two months prior. She had sad eyes and a droopy expression and hung to the back of her cage. Worse, they’d saddled her with the unfortunate moniker of Edna, which sounded to me less like a happy dog and more like a cranky librarian who always smells of mothballs and Brussels sprouts. “My dog isn’t an Edna,” I decided. “My dog is a bright cheerful flower! My dog is a Daisy! This is going to be great!” 

It wasn’t.

From day one, it was apparent that she had never been a cared-for pet. When presented with an array of toys, she just looked confused. She had obviously never seen stairs before. Her front teeth were worn down to the gums. She knew zero commands. She had not been spayed [see Editor’s note below]. And her version of being housebroken was licking up her urine after peeing on the floor. 

This last issue, of course, was the toughest to deal with, and my husband, Jeff, and I tried everything. We researched house-training methods and followed the directions verbatim, with no success. She had lab work and diagnostic tests. We tried Reiki and essential oils, and while she enjoyed them, they did not magically turn her into a housebroken wonder-pet. We even discussed taking her back to the shelter, but Jeff and I both knew that it would destroy her, in soul if not in body. Years of mistreatment had eroded any den instinct she should have had, and we were paying the price for someone else’s poor dog ownership. 

So if our dog wasn’t going to change, we had to. And amazingly, over time, we have adapted. It requires compromise and measuring success a little differently. It was exciting, for example, when she started to empty her bladder on the hard flooring rather than the carpet. It seemed a major victory when she stopped trying to lick up her urine; she’d left that part of her life behind. We’ve learned how to understand her signals. We buy paper towels and air freshener in bulk. And while it’s never a pleasure finding a mess on the floor, it’s just part of the care she needs. 

And she makes up for it a hundred-fold. She is the kindest, most gently forgiving soul I have ever known. She gets along beautifully with my three cats. Any destructive puppy tendencies are long behind her. She has overcome a horrendous past to become a joyful, loving, goofy dog, who gives daily lessons on patience and living in the moment. She has wispy white eyelashes, pigeon toes, and a tongue that never seems to fully stay in her mouth. She loves Starbucks “Pup Cups,” Timbits and Raising Cane’s french fries. (Always in moderation, just in case my vet is reading this!) My return from work is like Christmas, every day. She is my devoted shadow and loves nothing better than a snooze next to me on the couch. It feels like she was storing up all her love for that first 10 years, and now it overflows from every cell in her body. 

Daisy has helped me to see my city with all-new eyes, because she adores going on car rides and meeting new people. We have several fantastic dog parks where she can roam off-leash and put that beagle sniffer to good use. I discovered that many of the local craft breweries allow dogs on the patio, which has led me to join the Columbus Ale Trail. We have attended a doggy Halloween party, Wagfest, Gahanna Creekside’s Paws on the Plaza, and the Westerville “Easter Beg Hunt.” All over the city, her sweet demeanor and lopsided grin have won the hearts of everyone she meets.

People say they are nervous about rescuing a senior dog because of the limited time. But for me, the shorter time means I never take a day for granted. I’m cramming a lifetime of love into the years that we have together, and we are both reaping the benefits. Daisy might have been more than I bargained for, but this little dog has forever changed my home, my life, and my experience of Columbus. Our time together may be finite, but the love that she gives, and the love she inspires, is limitless.

Editor’s note: Daisy had not been spayed prior to coming to the shelter. CHA spays or neuters all pets before adoption.]


Kristin swore she was a cat lady … until she got a dog. Now she’s not sure. When she is not doting on her four fur babies (three feline, one canine) and husband (human), she is working her day job at a managed care company, participating in community theater, enjoying a book and a coffee, or training for a local race in which she will run, very slowly.