My heart swelled every time I got a call asking if I had time to visit Mikey while his family was away. My answer was always “YES!” I’d probably cancel my own vacation to spend time with Mikey because I simply adore him.
The orange Tabby moved into my heart two years ago when he was 17 years young. He owned me at the first head-butt and gravelly meow. His gnarled cauliflower ears tell the tale of the scrappy, territorial defender who ruled his neighborhood for nearly two decades. In those days Mikey’s low, stealthy, panther-stalking walk was no longer a warning to potential rivals, but the result of arthritis and the ravages of time.
I hadn’t seen my Mikey in a few months, so when I saw him just a few weeks ago, I noticed he was walking a little slower, and had a harder time sitting. He’d almost get his bottom down, but it was either too much effort or too painful. I thought it might be arthritis, or perhaps a spine or tailbone issue. Either way, it was painful and I knew I had to try to help.
My friend Sara began her healing career as a nurse, then moved on to Chinese Medicine —
acupuncture and Medical Qigong. I met her after I’d been in an accident and she helped me through serious pain issues using these methods. It occurred to me the energetic, hands-off Medical Qigong might be perfect for Mikey, so I asked Sara about it during a recent appointment. Sara had never worked on animals, but was intrigued by the potential and willing to give it a try.
I asked Joni, Mikey’s caregiver, permission to proceed. Joni thought it was great, especially since Mikey can’t take pain medications due to kidney issues.
When Sara and I went to visit Mikey I took his favorite treats (freeze-dried liver and duck) and we sat calmly on the living room floor. Mikey clearly felt comfortable with Sara from the start. He greeted me, then walked right to her and across her lap, claiming her, just as he’d done with me years ago. Sara noted his stilted gait, joint stiffness and difficulty sitting.
I heard Sara take in a cleansing breath and remained silent as her Qigong healing process began. Mikey continued to walk around, stopping by both of us for love, or me for an occasional treat.
Within about 20 minutes of Sara’s distance Qi healing Mikey’s body seemed to relax and his movement became more fluid. When he stopped to sit, he just … sat! In a smooth, natural motion. He continued to sit repeatedly, as if showing us and saying, “look at me!” He increased his time close to Sara, as if he knew the benefit was flowing from her. Perhaps as the pain became less distracting, Mikey seemed to become more aware of his surroundings, sniffing around, holding his head higher. We watched as years melted off the little guy right before our eyes. I was so moved, and so grateful to be in this room with these two beings at this moment. I will remember this event for the rest of my life. Even as I write, I can feel the cool, healing energy on my skin.
As if that weren’t enough, beginning to gather my things to leave while still sitting on the floor, Mikey walked over, climbed into my lap and began to softly brush his face against mine. He continued this for quite some time, nose to nose, cheek to cheek, forehead to forehead, seemingly saying thank-you, marking me with gratitude in the most gentle, loving manner.
A couple weeks later Mikey was still moving and sitting with ease. I believe people — and animals — come into our lives for a reason. They open doors and create opportunities to expand our beliefs and expectations and populate our personal villages.
You don’t have to believe, but you should be open to new possibilities. Mikey passed on recently, but because he didn’t know how to close his mind to the healing powers of alternative medicines it made all the difference in the quality of his last weeks of life.
And he made a difference in mine.
Leigh Melina is a professional pet sitter.