by Sandy Johnson
The world of healers has always fascinated me. Knowing that just outside the four walls of our perceived reality is a whole other universe of mystery and magic and unlimited possibilities never ceases to intrigue me.
A few years ago when I was researching one of my books on healers, I attended a conference at UCLA. Scientists and doctors shared the stage with energy healers to discuss the differences in their approaches to health and healing. The issue on that day was the placebo effect.
One of the speakers, an oncologist, told the well-documented story of “Mr. Wright,” a cancer patient suffering from late-stage lymphatic cancer. Wright made a practice of reading medical journals; one day he read that a certain horse serum was shown in clinical trials to be effective on cancer. Begging and pleading, he got the doctor to include him in the trial. Within weeks, Wright’s tumors began to melt away. Ten days later, Wright was discharged from his “death bed.” A few months later, a story appeared in the medical journal stating that recent studies proved the serum to be totally ineffective. Almost immediately Wright had a relapse, the tumors returned, and in a matter of months he was dead.
I was particularly moved by this story. I had always wondered about the placebo effect even while writing about the many successes of various healers. In 1996, when I interviewed the Dalai Lama for The Book of Tibetan Elders, I put the question to him. “Yes,” he answered, “the placebo is the mind’s own physician.”
Next, a veterinarian from Germany presented slides, X-rays of a nine-month-old puppy that had been hit by a car. The dog’s hind leg was badly broken, the tibia and fibula (shin bones) were completely separated from the femur (thigh bone). The vet informed the devastated family that this kind of break would never heal; if they wanted to save the puppy’s life, the leg would have to be amputated. As it happened, the puppy’s owner was a healer. Refusing to accept either option, the family took the puppy home. Immediately the healer began Reiki treatments, a form of energy healing, laying on of hands, developed in 1922 by a Japanese Buddhist.
The vet presented the next series of slides. One week later, the puppy’s leg was beginning to knit. The next slide was an X-ray taken one month later. The bones had healed completely. Pointing to the last slide on the screen she said, “Here is a photo of the puppy running and playing. Of course this puppy had no belief or non-belief in the healer’s ability to heal, which totally rules out the question of the placebo effect.”
That particular presentation remained fixed in my mind. It made me want to investigate more pet healings. I packed my virtual bag and laptop and took off, hopscotching (electronically) across the country and even across the pond to England. And since my travels were virtual, Charley (my nine-year-old Brussels Griffon) could remain firmly planted on my lap. Calling on my network from my previous books on healers, I followed wherever the trail led me. Along the way, I met the most extraordinarily gifted, highly educated and accomplished people whose lives are dedicated to the health and well-being of our four-legged companions. Not the garden-variety psychic healers popular among today’s New Agers, many of these pioneers in the field of complementary health hold advanced degrees in various sciences. They fight for the lives of animals not only out of a sense of duty, but because love and compassion of animals inspire in each of us a profound sense of humanity.
The Pet Healer Project is a collection of their amazing and often miraculous stories.