When Duty Calls…..


I am fortunate to presently live a very free and abundant life of travel and adventure, exploring new places while enjoying the companionship of much loved pets. And yet there are times when the cycles of life intervene and I am required to take action when the animals become sick or injured. One such experience stands out. Home owners in Geraldton, Western Australia, contacted me two weeks before their scheduled departure date to advise that their much loved Border Collie, had been suddenly and shockingly diagnosed with tumours which had metastasised throughout her body. She lingered for another week, but finally passed over one week before their three month holiday and my arrival. They still required my care of their four year old cat Spin.

Cats I find are pragmatic creatures. Once they realise that their owners are gone and that you are an acceptable person who will tend to their needs, they will accept you. Some will become very affectionate, particularly when they sense the Reiki energy coming from you as they take to your lap. I’ve had  quite a few who have insisted I stay in Reiki meditation all day-for my benefit of course!  Cats do seem to have more of an affinity with Reiki than dogs. I recall many years ago as a student of the healing energy, reading a paragraph from Diane Stein’s book “Essential Reiki”. In this definitive Reiki text she shares just how much they love it-and how they are probably critiquing your technique!


After all, they are descendants of the Cat goddess, Bastet of Ancient Egypt.

Spin of Geraldton was naturally frosty for the first day or two after his owners left but warmed to me (the Reiki helped) and began sleeping next to me on the bed. Then within a few days she had changed back and wanted nothing to do with me. This was unusual behaviour as once a cat thaws and warms to you, they invariably stay that way until a couple of days before their owners return. Don’t ask me how, but they do know when you are on your way home.
Other behaviours of Spin’s  were unusual and I started to wonder if something was wrong. This was confirmed when I went to pat her and she couldn’t raise her head from the ground. I advised the owners who were in  Switzerland and took poor Spin to the vet. Her condition puzzled the locum Vet-it would happen on a weekend!-but by Monday Spin had gone blind and was having trouble swallowing food. The condition still puzzled but it was looking increasingly like a slow growing brain tumour. After many phone calls backwards and forwards to Switzerland a decision was made to euthanase.
I was able to be with Spin at the end and she passed peacefully.


The owners asked my advice on whether to have her cremated or buried and from my experience I felt it important that they have her buried nearby. In fact, I buried Spin for them.
Strangely, there were positives which arose from this situation. I realised that I had healed my grief at losing Hamish-Prince Hamish to you-the last of my pets in March 2012. I could not have buried Spin if I hadn’t healed this bereavement. There were benefits for the home owners too. Being at a distance spared them re-experiencing some of the wounding from the loss of the 11 year old Border Collie.


Life is beyond our control and illness and death can occur at any moment. When it comes to pets, my responsibility is clear; to do everything I can to lessen their suffering. In such situations, it’s important to have clear communication between home owners, the Vet and myself. When we are all working together for the highest good of the pet then the most effective decisions can be made with the best possible outcomes.


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2 thoughts on “When Duty Calls…..

  1. Oy. I’ve house/pet sat a few times, and something like that happening while you’re there is a nightmare, for everyone, but it seems like they were lucky to have you as their pet sitter. Well done, in a very difficult situation.


    1. I didnt see it so much as a nightmare , just life. These things can happen to any of us, human or animal at any time and we have no control over life or death. But thank you for your comment and your praise.


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