Animal Healers – Part I

Animal Healers – Part I

We’ve all experienced the healing power of animals, the velvet equine nose that soothes the heart, that banishes our pain and disappointment; the icy, wet canine nose that encourages us to laugh, to shake off our self-indulgent misery; the licks and slobbers and whinnies and sighs that remind us that we are not alone, that all is well. Our animal companions possess amazing healing power, and they offer this gift freely.

A few months after the passing of my beloved equine partner, Nikos, once the edge of the grief was dulled and I could bear to travel to barns and work with horses again, I was working with a very thin, timid horse who had recently been rescued. His new human caregiver, Erika, was a barefoot trimmer, and this horse had been one of her clients. The people he had formerly lived with were getting a divorce. Neither party would agree to relinquish him to the other, and so the judge—this is a true story—ordered that the horse be put down. Still, neither party would budge. The horse, Mikey, was scheduled to die in several days.

Nikos, the one who brought me to this work, who assisted me in teaching (or, more accurately, I assisted him), had formed strong bonds with a number of my friends and students. Moments after my Nikos passed, he spoke to Erika, who was not with us and did not know he had passed, sternly telling her that she could not let this horse die. He told her to “pick up the phone” and do something about the situation, and she did.

And so here I was, my hands on Mikey for the first time, standing in a sweet, quiet barn with my trimmer and friend. Erika had called me because Mikey was clearly uncomfortable: His muscles were tense rather than supple; his back did not swing when he walked; there was no grace in his movement. I was working with him (using Neuromuscular Retraining and Reiki) to show his nervous system that ease of movement was possible. I had just begun the session and was quietly explaining my approach and goals while introducing Mikey to my touch.

I moved my hands from his withers to his thin, tense neck. Immediately, my hands began to pulse with an intensity I had not experienced before. Then I saw and felt a powerful white light envelope the three of us. My voice became thick and slow; I could barely form words. I could not move. The energy coursed through my body, through my hands.

A minute later, maybe two, the light was gone, my voice returned. I moved my hands from Mikey’s neck and stepped back. Erika and I looked at each other. She spoke first: “Nikos was here.”


I had hoped that by the end of the session, after about an hour, I would see a change in Mikey’s body, that the muscles would be more supple, that he would walk with more ease. But here, less than 10 minutes into the session, his wretched neck was shapely and full. In fact, the muscles of his entire body had relaxed; he looked as though he had gained a much-needed 50 pounds.

Nikos, who had often assisted me with healings when he was living, had told me that he would continue to assist me from the other side and that he would be able to assist in a more powerful way. But I had not understood what the difference would be. The few moments he had spent with Mikey had done the work of one, more likely two, of my sessions. I was able to proceed with the movement lesson that was only possible because of the work Nikos had done.

I am sharing this story with you, a story that is very special to me, that reminds me of my connection to the sacred, to remind you that the healing is all around us: in the warm, sweet breath; the gentle nudge and sigh; the music of the wild birds; the croak of the frog; the loving spirits of those passed.

Until next month . . .

Be well,


*This column originally appeared in From the Horse’s Mouth in May, 2009.

© 2009 by Pamela Sourelis