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Animal Speak - June 2016 - Santa Fe

Animal Couples: Aging With Grace

By Lynne McMahan


"An animal's eyes have the power to speak a great language."

                          -- Martin Buber, 1878-1965


I have the privilege of living in Santa Fe, a city that has created a blessedness and focus on the sainthood of Francis of Assisi. As one of the early animal communicators, St. Francis knew the amazing loving presence of all animals was crucial to the balance of this place we call Earth. St. Frances was not only a proponent of animal rights and the wellbeing of creatures great and small, he was also actively engaged in raising consciousness regarding the needs and wellbeing of nonhuman animals with their human counterparts. "He honored them as spiritual beings within his Christian belief system... frequently sharing sermons with attentive audiences of birds. It is believed that he also saved the village food animals from a hungry wolf by communicating with the wolf and convincing him that it was in his best interest to refrain from eating the village inhabitants' food source...The wolf complied. His life was saved, and the villagers learned, expanded and practiced compassion for life of a species other than their own" (Jeri Ryan, Ph.D., Assisi International)"


In honor and appreciation of St. Francis and his teaching about animals as our spiritual companions, as well as addressing this month's theme of "agelessness," I would like to share two stories from our animal teachers. They show us their caring and compassionate nature as St. Francis would have us be, showing us the great language of love they give each other and the humans they are on this earthly journey with. The stories involve two wonderful animal couples who have found wholeness through each other and know the true meaning of aging with grace.


The first story comes from my sweet friends Boo and Moo (19 year old sibling cats) who live with my friend and neighbor and have shared their gift of aging gracefully. They share their unconditional love for each other and their human, Stefan, as well as any guest that comes to visit. Boo and Moo came to Stefan at 5 months old and as he says over the past two decades, "they have indelibly taught me patience...that love has no boundaries." The lessons they have taught him about aging in grace have been to share a good heart, good head, good health, to stretch and get plenty of rest, and to remember "never give up." When their human is feeling down Boo and Moo know just how to be quiet and comfort, no questions asked. Reiki has helped their aging process, and beyond their neighbor Lynne coming over to share her healing hands with them, their Dad gives them the daily hands-on healing they require to keep all three of them healthy and whole for the remaining years ahead.


My journey of friendship with Jade and Pancho, two Chihuahuas who are currently up for adoption together at the Santa Fe Animal Shelter, began in February when they were brought into the clinic with multiple physical issues. Jade seemed quite aged and disabled, physically, emotionally and spiritually. After clinic staff assessed her needs, they worked tirelessly to meet each need, from hip surgeries to proper nutrition and lots of love and attention, realizing that what she needed most was her brother Pancho as her recovery companion. He too had surgery and health requirements but was able to reveal his inner self and purpose when reunited with Jade, immediately showing his protection, love and loyalty to her. With their love and devotion to each other, they have taught the lessons of love, friendship and companionship, an elixir for health and wellbeing. At age 10, Pancho and Jade are beginning the next stage of their lives together, ageless and full of life and light to share and hopefully soon, in their forever home.


"When you touch one thing with deep awareness, you touch everything" (Thich Nhat Hanh). May our animal companions continue to help us on this journey of deepening awareness and connection and may we honor the true spirit of St. Francis and other greats who have been a light along the path. 

Lynne McMahan, Ed.D., En-Light-En Reiki, is a Usui/Holy Fire Karuna Reiki® Master and Mind-Body-Spirit Mentor, supporting the healing of each person or animal on their journey of transformation. For more information:,, or 505.400.3168. Santa Fe office: 110 Delgado St.

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