I first noticed Oreo in June 2017 in the Ulster County SPCA’s sick room, quietly sitting in her cage, head down and drooling a bit. She was around 10 years old, healthy on arrival at the shelter, but over time she developed illnesses.
Sweet and listless, Oreo’s appetite was poor. Her mouth, with its sores, could not manage her food. Her health didn’t improve, despite the tender loving support and dedicated attention of the shelter’s medical staff.
I began offering Reiki sessions to Oreo in her cage, she being a gracious and willing recipient each time. She’d receive, and seem to absorb, the energy flowing around her into a deep place inside her, which felt like a tall waterfall.
Over the month of June she began to clearly decline. Paige, our wonderful vet tech and head Oreo caregiver, asked me for any messages she might share. Following are portions of what Oreo told me:
Yes, (Oreo’s) brokenhearted. She feels totally let down. There was a girl in her life. Not a daily presence, but a regular friend and companion. She’s lost her connection to that girl and the sweet young energy in their friendship. She shows herself indoors looking out a window, waiting for the girl to visit. She felt this girl understood her and she could be herself, silly sometimes, playful, sometimes nothing was expected of her. She could just be herself without having to try being someone else. She says this girl was a true friend.
She knows in her heart she’s lost this girl and the idea of trusting a new person is like hiking up a mountain. It seems like a lot of work. She doesn’t have a lot of energy to give at the moment. She’s not ruling it out, either, finding a new friend. It’s just a lot to accept and Oreo is not a fast mover. Right now she feels boxed in on top of her heartbreak. She does appreciate all that’s being done for her. She’s so grateful to you (Paige).
And she feels the concern for her welfare. She says, “please understand me and how hard it is.”
I said to Paige,
That she could share her feelings with you, sad or happy, is a great gift. Her trust in you allows her to share, like any dear friend.
A few days later I checked in with Oreo again and I told Paige:
Before I even got to sit down she’s showing herself doing a silly dance, knees up and down real high. Very theatrical, as though she were doing a jig. She says she feels brighter. She loves being looked at, all of it. She understands that it’s needed for her health, and she doesn’t mind anything that has to be done for her, even the less pleasant stuff.
She clearly understands and reads your intentions for her and deeply appreciates your work for her. It’s important to her that you know that. She is grateful, but it’s with dignity that she says it.
She is feeling that the love sent her way is suddenly penetrating the foggy cloud of sadness she’s been in. She’s showing that cloud, gray and dirty and you can’t even see her inside, just this tough cloud of sadness. She feels that sunlight and warmth, human warmth, is getting in and she’s drinking that in. She feels lighter now.
She’s showing a literal lifeline sent through this cloud, pitched through as though with a javelin, with the bright lifeline attached. The javelin makes it through the sadness, she sees the lifeline, bright and braided and beaming, she couldn’t miss it, and she felt she wanted to try. So she took the chance! She’s allowing herself to feel comfort. She knows she deserves it. But she didn’t have the … juice before.
Now she’s allowing herself to believe that she has a team, a loving team standing behind her. Her sad heart feels a little softer. She is so happy to be cared for. She loves being noticed. She understood her situation was pitiable when she arrived at the shelter, but she’s much happier with her cheering squad behind her! She’s laughing a little. It’s really everything to her, she says.
She’s showing herself drinking in light (sunlight, the light of spirit, the warmth of being cared for, all kinds of light) and she cares for light even more than food. It was scarce in her world for a long time. She didn’t see how she could find light of any kind again, once it was lost to her. She says she couldn’t hunt it down. It wasn’t something she could have whenever she wanted. But she needs kindness and caring, and to be accepted for who she is.
She’s sending you (Paige) kisses for caring so much. She could not resist. She appreciates all those caring for her, but she says it was you who cared enough to throw her the lifeline.
Paige and Oreo
June became July. The staff and volunteers on Team Oreo continued to sit with her at her cage and encourage her, despite her becoming weaker. (Paige offered Reiki throughout and gave her a home visit.) We loved and believed in her, as she herself said she was amazed that she had so much light to give back. I left our Reiki sessions moved to tears by this radiance beaming from our Oreo.
On July 18, she went to her rest.
Thank you, sweet Oreo, for sharing your enlightenment with us. You are a strong ray of light in our hearts and I’ll never forget your generous gifts.