When Peewee, our 17-year old Burmese cat, lost his lifelong companion a few years ago, we gave him lots of TLC, and for extra emotional and energetic support we added ‘vibrational’ essences we had made from trees found in North American forests and parklands. Not long after, Peewee was again fully in his stride, but then we, as a family – my beloved Celine, Jason who is now 12 and I, came to a new decision. We thought a few young kittens might provide Peewee companionship in his remaining years, perhaps even keep him young in spirit. One day, Celine brought home two fluffy little Tammies “as cute as buttons,” whom we named Champagne and Mitten.

Peewee is a truly noble, gentle and wise cat, but he was put out by these newcomers. He’d hiss his disapproval and leave the room, especially when either Mitten or Champagne attempted to jump on his tail. We gave him another mixture of tree essences, designed to assuage feelings of jealousy and irritation, and each day we could see him become more accepting of their presence. Some older animals never really adjust to other animals joining the family, but within a week Peewee began to take care of his new sisters.

What are these vibrational tree essences that seem to have an affinity for animals? Not to be confused with highly concentrated and perfumed extracts from plants known as essential oils, tree essences are subtle dilutions, like homeopathic preparations, safe for people of all ages and animals to consume orally. Their purpose is to foster emotional and spiritual well-being and enhance mind/body health. That animals respond particularly well to essences made from trees is perhaps a reflection of the millions of years in which the lives of trees and animals have been deeply interwoven. Trees provide food and shelter for animals, while animals help trees to propagate. An acorn left buried by a squirrel may one day grow into a beautiful tree.

The development of vibrational essences owes much to the pioneering work begun in the 1920’s by the English physician Edward Bach. The essences he created, known as Bach Flower Remedies, are still highly valued. We began experimenting with tree essences more than 20 years ago. Our decision to focus on trees as the source of our essences grew naturally with our sense of their beauty, majesty and power.

Potential use of trees essences with animals is far ranging. They may, for example, act gently yet effectively to lessen stress and sooth an animal’s nerves in cases of trauma. But equally they may help resolve key emotional issues, restore the spirit of animals that have been abandoned, abused or neglected, or bring serenity and palliative support for animals that are fragile or entering the phase of death and dying. Sometimes their action is of a more general nature.

One summer afternoon the sweetest looking little gray squirrel began following me across our yard in Western Quebec. I was so completely startled that I initially tried to run from her, but soon realizing she was only a tiny baby I picked her up. Celine and I contacted the Ottawa Carlton Wildlife Center, a wonderful organization dedicated to helping wildlife in our area. They have developed programs to care for baby animals that have lost their mothers and to return them to their natural milieu. After a few days in the center’s care, we left not with one squirrel but with three: the original baby, Founder, because she found us, Sneeze because she always sneezed at feeding and Shy who always tried to hide under the blankets of the cage. We fed them a special formula via syringe, cleaned them and of course gave them tree essences. It is said that animals are our teachers. More then just enjoying them, we felt something of an of “aha,” a mixture of insight and wonder as we experienced each squirrel as a unique individual, just in the way we have come to see each tree as a unique individual. The story came to an end after six weeks when we successfully released them. By that time, they were revved up with energy and they darted off when we opened their enclosure’s door by the trunk of a lovely and mature Black Maple.

It seemed appropriate that the trees, whose vibrational essences had helped the babies through their first difficult weeks, would now provide them with food, shelter and protection for the rest of their lives.

Vibrational tree essences are not meant to treat any specific disease or disorder. That is best left to the capable hands of a vet or other caregiver. Tree essences can, however, help support the well being of animals we love without concern of adverse effects. They’re easy to use, yet as vets are beginning to discover, tree and other essences can be a valuable adjunct to their practice.

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