Can I Use Guided Imagery to Heal My Pet?

 Dear Belleruth,

I have a few questions. Can I use guided imagery to heal my pet? Do I play the audio so that they can hear it, or should I play it for me but think of my dog?

Thank you,

Dear Craig,

We have no official research on this, but we do know from 25 years worth of steady, consistent feedback from all kinds of people, old and young, male and female, healthy and sick, that dogs (and cats, too) respond well to guided imagery. Here's a wonderful story that was sent to us a while back about how guided imagery helped a woman visualize her cat recovering from cancer.

"I would like to let you know about a unique way that I’ve been using your guided imagery CD’s. First, let me say that they have been a lifeline for me, especially dealing with some unpleasant medical problems and the sudden death of my mother in September. Unfortunately, I was dealt another blow in December when my amazing tabby cat, Cody, was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer after surgery to remove a tumor, his spleen, and part of his pancreas.

Before I go any further, let me tell you a little bit about Cody. I adopted him from a shelter when he was 2 years old and he’s now almost 14. He has a wonderful personality and absolutely loves people. One of his goals in life is to charm everyone he meets. When we lived in Cincinnati, one of his vets used to refer to him as the Cat Ambassador. He ’s one of the few cats who actually likes being at the vet because people love on him and tell him how cute he is. We affectionately call him our snuggle slut.

My partner and I were heartbroken to learn that our beautiful little guy was so sick. After his surgery, we were told that he likely had only 4-8 weeks to live. The vet told us to spoil him rotten and feed him whatever we wanted.

He began getting snacks of tuna, salmon, and lots of cat treats. We also found out that he likes lentils, black beans, pudding, and ice cream. I wanted to spend as much time with him as possible while he was still feeling good. I started to lie with him on the couch and imagine that I was passing my love and positive energy into his body.

I was so distressed about having to face another devastating loss that I began doing your General Wellness CD every morning because I so like the imagery in it. Cody saw this as an opportunity to crawl on top of me for snuggling. This felt so good for both of us. I began to incorporate Cody into the imagery. In my imagination, we have been to the Dallas Arboretum, the Outer Banks of North Carolina, the Rocky Mountains, and the Portland rose gardens.

The CD imagery involves a healing light and cleansing breeze. Not only do I imagine the light and breeze cleansing my body and soul but I also imagine them destroying the cancer cells in Cody’s body. The mist in the imagery helps boost our immune systems. I always feel that there is transfer of positive energy and love between us. We feel it in different ways but we’re both happy to share that time together. We do the General Wellness CD together almost every morning; it’s our special time together.

I’m happy to report that it is now 5 months after Cody’s surgery and he is doing great. He is still adorable, happy, playful, charming, affectionate, and obnoxious. He has far exceeded everyone’s expectations in terms of longevity. Our vet is amazed by him and has been in touch with the specialist who gave Cody the dire diagnosis; the specialist is amazed, too.

I have asked if they might have made a mistake in the diagnosis and was assured that the tumor definitely met the criteria for pancreatic cancer. Cody gets checked out by the vet every two weeks and has gotten perfect check ups every time. Plus, every time he goes to the vet clinic, he gets loved on by the vet and nurses, an experience he loves.

My partner and I know that a downturn could happen any time and very quickly but we are so happy and blessed to have had so much good time with our amazing tabby. I know that Cody has no real idea what I’m imagining as I’m listening to the wellness CD but I can’t help but wonder if just maybe we’ve been healing each other—he comforts my heart with happiness and pure goodness and I’m sending healing energy and love into his furry little body. It sounds a bit hokey but I have to believe that there’s something to it.

I thought you would enjoy hearing this story. I bet you never thought your CD’s would be applicable to feline health. Thank you for helping Cody and I recover and heal."

All Best,