I noticed the scar as soon as she sat down – it stood out like a red beacon over her heart. It quickly faded out of my sight as I talked with the person whose life revolved around this seemingly insignificant concentration of tissue.
Sarah is trained in veterinary nursing, and is also a gifted energy practitioner and speaker. Her passion is to bring energy therapy into mainstream veterinary medicine. She wanted my advice on how to proceed, because she believed she didn’t have the credentials to be accepted in the professional world. How could she get people to hear her, and understand how important energy medicine is to animal healing?
As she told me her story, the animal connection was hard to miss.
Sarah grew up on a pig farm. Her family saw the pigs as income, but Sarah connected with them on a deeper level. Her heart would break as she sobbed over a piglet that didn’t make it. She talked about her empathy, and how she now chooses to do her energy work from a distance. It’s easier than being caught up in the emotions surrounding a sick animal. If she isn’t careful, each case makes her heart ache a little more.
Sarah’s first heartbreak didn’t occur because of the piglet. She was born with a congenital heart defect – a bad valve – and that has caused her many touch and go moments due to heart failure. There is no irony with the physical and emotional broken heart. They are energetically and spiritually linked.
As she told me about her most recent surgery – a valve replacement and the cause of her scar – I said, “Let me guess, it was a pig valve”.
We chuckled about her love of pigs, and how her life was saved by the very animal she took care of as a child. Now it was time for her to learn to empathize, not sympathize. Her physical heart was better, but it risks further damage from her emotions. Compassion and caring without taking on the emotion is one of the most difficult lessons of anyone in a healing or service profession.
I knew pigs had more to teach Sarah, so we talked about what other things we could learn from them. On the outside, pigs smell, they love to roll around in the mud, have very bad table manners and make loud, snorting noises. Most people wouldn’t choose to cuddle up next to a pig. But on the inside, pigs are very intelligent animals, and make loving companions. And how many hearts have been physically healed because their valves are similar to humans?
I suggested Sarah take on some Pig Wisdom. When she can get past the need for approval, and speak her truth no matter what people think, her professional path will open up. Pigs don’t care if people are turned off by their noises, they snort anyway. They don’t care if they smell, and they certainly don’t trouble themselves over appearances. Those of us in complementary healing fields also need not worry about how people see us, or if our words will be received. It is the act of being true to ourselves and speaking up that is important. Of course that’s true for everyone – it’s about loving ourselves for who we really are.
In the immortal words of the Muppet character, Miss Piggy, “There is no one on the planet to compare with moi.”
Dr. Susan Wagner is a board certified veterinary neurologist whose pioneering work acknowledges the bioenergetic interaction between people and animals. She is an advocate for change in the area of interpersonal violence and animal cruelty, and works toward a greater understanding surrounding the health implications of the human-animal bond.
Residing in Worthington OH, she is an active public speaker in the areas of energy theory and healing, spirituality, and the human-animal bond. She especially enjoys teaching about the spiritual nature of animals. Dr. Wagner is published in several peer-reviewed journals. She is also co-author of Through A Dog’s Ear: Using Sound to Improve the Health and Behavior of Your Canine Companion, and was research director for the Through A Dog’s Ear CD series. Dr. Wagner is an Adjunct Assistant Professor at The Ohio State University Veterinary College, and a Level IV Healing Touch for Animals practitioner.