Some of you may know that I am an animal healer as well as a therapist for humans. I go to a rescue centre called Dog’s Aid once a week to offer some healing to whichever animals need it. I’ve been doing this for seven years, and I can honestly say that I have never seen a cent go astray in that time – all resources go on the animals. Maggie, who runs the place, is an amazing character. I greatly admire her. She’s been rescuing animals for over thirty years. I don’t know how she keeps going. I simply wouldn’t have the physical or emotional stamina to do what she does. So at the moment, she and I have been trying to help a grey African parrot who is nearly bald as he is plucking his feathers out. I started offering him healing a few weeks ago. Then I did some research online, and Maggie changed the location of his cage. Then I got some Chamomilla homeopathic remedy for him. Some of his feathers grew back. Then I made up a remedy of Crab Apple, Cherry Plum and Rescue Remedy, from the Bach Flower remedies. He started on that last week and when I went in to work with him yesterday, I could immediately see an improvement. His energy field was brighter. He had more feathers. Maggie had asked two volunteers to extend his cage by linking it to another one and they had done a great job. I had gleaned more information from the internet and I put in a branch of silver birch (apparently silver birch and willow are two wood types safe to use with grey African parrots) and some pine cones, to amuse him. Yesterday, for the first time, he came right over to me, and put one claw on one side of the cage and the other on the other corner, exposing his chest feathers to me. He stayed like that for about fifteen minutes, soaking up the healing as I sang lullabies to him. He must be deaf because my singing voice would clear a pub after a lock-in!! Maggie always says that whatever ailment humans can get or experience, animals are the same. So when he was introduced to his new extended cage, he wouldn’t go into it. Fear of more freedom and addiction to the safe routine afflicts us all, I guess. Exasperated, Maggie said to him, “Well, you’re supposed to be intelligent – you figure it out!” He did, eventually. Later she told me that an eighteen year old dog called Lukie had died the day before from a massive stroke. Lukie came into the shelter five years ago. Her owner had another, bigger dog. Lukie was the size of a cat so that wouldn’t have been difficult. The big dog chased Lukie under the jeep and – get this – the owner deliberately ran over Lukie to “teach her a lesson.” I woke at 4am this morning thinking about this. What sort of heart of darkness would you need to have to do such a thing? I’m not naive. I’ve heard many horrific stories of humans abusing humans in my eighteen years as a therapist. But some stories cut right to your heart, don’t they? So what can we do to offset such barbarity? Look to our own inner demons first, and make sure we face them so that we don’t project them out onto a hapless dog or human. Intend to be kind and act in a kind way to all sentient beings and the earth itself. Clearly the world needs all the light we can bring into it. And now is the only time we have.