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The Vision...

Spiritual Retreat...

for Pets (and Their People)

* Providing an environment conducive to emotional healing for both pets and people
* Featuring introduction to force-free, positive-reinforcement behavior modification
* Featuring the use of Alpha-Stim® for pets and people
* Offering massage and reiki for pets and people
* Offering other opportunities for people for spiritual healing, including…
   Drumming Meditation Circles
   Prayer Song Meditation Circles
   Breathing Meditation Circles
* Profits to support WolfStone Ranch’s rescue work

When I started WolfStone Ranch in 2010, my primary mission was to pull the “unadoptable” dogs and cats from the Farmington Pet Adoption Center, rehabilitate them and place them in appropriate homes. But of course, that’s addressing only one of many “back end” problems of animal suffering. Let’s face it… we’re never going to win this battle without also addressing the “front end” issues. Specifically, to name just a couple of priorities, setting up a low-cost spay/neuter program in the community and instituting a comprehensive, ongoing humane education program throughout the local school system. Generally speaking, what we’re talking about here is addressing the ways humans contribute to creating suffering for animals.

One of those human causes of animal suffering is all the stress, anxiety and depression that people are experiencing, even here in the “greatest nation on earth”. The ongoing fallout from the Great Recession, the growing divide between the have’s and the have-not’s, global warming and extreme weather, depleted natural resources, human overpopulation, sectarian wars throughout the world, terrorism and technology ~ which has created at least as many problems as it has opportunities. There’s no dearth of reason for stress, anxiety and depression, not to mention insomnia! And whatever we’re feeling, so are our pets… for they are unwitting sponges sopping up all our emotions.

Another problem is getting people to slow down enough to fall into the “heart space” that allows them to feel compassion… for themselves, as well as others! That compassion is what will motivate people to make changes in their own lives to address their own suffering, as well as the suffering of others.

We can’t change other people. For heaven’s sake, it’s hard enough to change ourselves! But what we can do is provide an environment that is conducive to the change we’d like to see in ourselves and in others…

Seek and ye shall find…

"We must commit ourselves to incorporating the conditions that foster peace and serenity into our daily lives. So much inside of us can flourish when we turn off the worldly noise. The search for inner peace is a lifestyle decision."
- November 11, Marianne Williamson’s Perpetual Calendar

… which is precisely why I’ve finally figured out that the business I’d like to start, whose purpose is to provide profits to help support the rescue and rehabilitation of emotionally wounded animals, is a SPIRITUAL RETREAT FOR PETS (and their People)!

Oh, there are already spiritual retreat centers that allow you to bring your pet with you, but I’m not aware of any that are designed to actively provide spiritual (emotional) healing for not only people but also for the nonhuman members of their families. (If you know of any such retreats, though, please let me know!)

A spiritual retreat for pets and their people certainly fulfills WolfStone Ranch’s second mission… that of creating an environment that supports healing for all living beings. And part of creating that environment will be turning all WolfStone Ranch properties into National Wildlife Federation Certified Wildlife Habitats (more on this below).

But what, exactly, do I mean by a spiritual retreat for pets and their people? First of all, though, what do I mean by a spiritual retreat for people? To me, a spiritual retreat means finding inner peace and serenity. In other words, a spiritual retreat is a place to find emotional healing.

When I’m feeling anxious, overwhelmed with all the “worldly noise”, what I need is to stop, step outside my mundane daily existence, breathe deeply, relax… and get back in touch with the Sacred Within. That’s where I remember that I am a Child of God… an integral part of God’s magnificent creation, actually made of star dust! This is where I feel the strength and courage and wisdom that are already inside each and every one of us… This is where I get in touch with a Sacred power within to cope with all of the suffering and injustices in the world… This is where I remember that I am worthy of being here… that I have a purpose, a mission, a calling… to bring love to the world… and this gives me profound inner peace and serenity… so I sigh with gratitude… and feel emotionally healed!

A spiritual retreat for pets is not so different. It’s also about emotional healing. Obviously, animals experience fears and anxieties about their world, too. If they’ve led a rough life, been through any trauma, they no longer (if they ever did) feel that the world is a safe and secure place. They may not trust other dogs or they may not trust people. They too need to experience peace and serenity. Once they feel their world is a safe place… they can relax… and heal… and then learn and grow.

Now, animals are extremely sensitive to people’s emotions… fix the emotional problems of a dog’s human and you’re halfway there to fixing that dog’s emotional problems. Because animals mirror our emotions, if your dog is acting out, one of the first things you need to do is see if you are feeling anxious or stressed (or any other painful emotion). Treating a pet’s owner’s emotional upset is, therefore, fundamental to creating an environment in which that pet can feel safe to focus on relaxing and learning new, healthier ways of interacting with their world.

To begin with, WolfStone Ranch’s Spiritual Retreat for Pets (and their People) will use such ancient methods of spiritual healing as meditation, massage and music… all for the animals as well as their people. For people, the types of meditation that we will use are drumming circles, prayer song circles and breathing circles. For pets, I’d like to also offer chiropractic, acupuncture and reiki.

For pets and people alike, though, we will feature a modern technological tool for creating a meditative state of mind. Alpha-Stim® is a micro-current electrotherapeutic device. As its name implies, its proprietary wave form is virtually identical to the human brain wave in the alpha (meditative) state, but it works equally as well on other animals. And it’s already approved by the FDA for the treatment of anxiety, depression, insomnia and pain. Using Alpha-Stim® (even simultaneously on human and pet) will enhance and expedite traditional meditation and healing. By extension, therefore, using Alpha-Stim® will augment behavior modification and other canine rehabilitation efforts.

Speaking of… as part of our emotional healing palette, we’ll also offer an introduction to force-free, positive-reinforcement behavior modification, such as Karen Pryor’s Clicker Training, I say “introduction”, because we won’t have enough time (in just a handful of days, even as much as two weeks) to complete any training course. However, our canine rehabilitators will be able to assess any pet’s behavioral issues and help design (and even begin) a rehabilitation program.

In this beautiful and serene environment, together with the healing techniques already mentioned, both people and their pets should be even more receptive to any training and rehabilitation work, building a stronger and deeper bond between them that they can take home with them, where they can continue their training (and rehabilitation) with a trainer (perhaps even one we can recommend from a growing network of such trainers nationwide).

My goal is to create a place, in WolfStone Ranch, that is a paragon of compassionate treatment of all animals (according to the Golden Rule), so we can quietly lead a revolution of changing attitudes throughout the rural Midwest region. In this subtle yet profound way we can build a community around the shared ethos of compassionate treatment of all animals, thus fulfilling WolfStone Ranch’s third mission.

Creating A National Wildlife Federation Certified Wildlife Habitat

Developing all properties as attractive sanctuaries for wildlife… Providing native plants for food sources (such as fruits, nuts, berries and nectar)… Providing water sources (such as birdbaths and a water garden)… Providing cover (such as thickets, rock piles and birdhouses)… Providing areas (of dense shrubs, vegetation and nesting boxes) for places to raise young…