I’m so grateful for the time and energy Katalin gave to this interview. I don’t really know her, but I feel the passion and heartfelt responses to the questions and hope you will, too. Please enjoy the second half of my interview with Katalin.
Part one was posted on August 7.
Question: Do you have animals of your own, besides those in your care? Would you tell us a little bit about the animals that influenced your change of focus?
Answer: The only pet or animal left that was in my or our care before Rosegate was founded is Cecilia or CeeCee as she is know. She is currently 19 old or young depending on when you ask her. She was actually my first. CeeCee was only one and a half years old and she was on the waiting list for euthanasia. Healthy and young with a stunning beauty she was an aloof queen in a cage. Unfortunately it seems that was her only quality the previous owner wished for and when her double coat and claws caused concern for the situation they first declawed her then dumped her. That may explain why she has this English queen attitude and looks at you like a peasant that just smeared mud on her golden carriage. The shelter workers placed CeeCee into my arms in what I think was a desperate attempt to save her so I couldn’t say no. I am a CeeCee sucker at heart. Always I find the underdog and ‘dysfunctional’ the ones that need love more. She was scared, she was tiny and she was shy. She hide her head under my arm and almost demurely demanded I take her home and I did, the very same day. Her trauma never left her. Stubbornly skittish and always one to say poo to you she stands strong and silent and alone (but we know she is a big fluff full of love, only she does not know how to show it or accept it). As my husband was in the estate management business, she went through a lot of new homes and the animals that came with it all. We moved from place to places, from Ohio to Hawai’i, several residences in Hawaii and then finally to Minnesota. CeeCee was a real strong trooper and never complained through out the adventures. She knew I would never surrender her and so she put up with this all and through it, taught me to be focused and finally settle down. She will be our cover girl in the new 2020 Rosegate Calendar. Besides CeeCee, there also Baby Kāhili. He was a Mother’s Day gift from Tommy (my favorite orange tabby). He was born in just 60-62 days after Tommy had passed. He was a tiny Orange Ball from our local shelter. He helped me a lot on my griefing time. Many of the ones we cared for have passed on and CeeCee still stands proud and watches the ones we have now and whispers to them they are finally safe and loved. She is indomitable. They are all really our pets and since the Rosegate model is not to draw a line between them and us, facility or home, time on the clock or off, they hold no distinction except fur babies. They are not a job but family. Furry and freaky but family.
Question: What is the difference between human intuition and the intuition you observe in animals?
Answer: I have always been intuitive since early childhood. I loved observing people and their behavior. I remember when I was a kid growing up Siofok, Hungary on the shore of lake Balaton, me and my sister loved to just sit on any of the benches and just people watch.
I think lot’s of people are not aware that they are also intuitive, because of their busy lifestyle. I was lucky enough to be diagnosed with Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis at a young age. This put limitations on my physical activity which then afforded more quiet time and self reflection. I took advantage of this and intensified my people watching. Combining these with an increase in reading and I was on a philosophic endeavor to understand the world of people more. I think this all tapped into a hidden skill. The next level of intuitivity, empathy. As time and my life progressed I found myself caring for various pets and this connected me into the uncanny natural link between animals and people. It is an undeniable connection any pet owner will notice on even a slight level.
Then I met a skinny cat named Tommy. An Orange Tabby that was abandoned on a foreclosed property across the street from where we lived on the Big Island. He was a healthy, male cat who was sneaking over and spying on us. I think he was observing us and deciding if he could live with us. He decided yes, we would make a good family and he adopted us with the act of letting my husband pick him up and carry him on over.
After a few years and moving back to the mainland, he got sick with cancer. A small blemish on his nose turned against him.
Besides for all the veterinarian visits and modern medical avenues to go down I was desperate to find other ways to care for him.
I join an Animal Communication Group on Facebook hoping to know what he wanted me to do. I shared Tommy’s story daily with them and some tried to communicate with him. I was kind of envious to see that they had the skill to do that but then I remembered my early childhood and that I too had made such connections. Becoming busy with my life, raising my daughter, paying bills and all the other rigmarole that I had forgotten about this gift.
My husband suggested that it was getting time to put Tommy down but I was not ready nor did Tommy seem to agree. Dreams came to me that Tommy was running away from euthanasia twice, so I decided to stay with him as long as he needed. We took Tommy to the vet, they gave us an option to either euthanized or try administering a high dose of steroids.
The vet said to tell them immediately if Tommy is improving or not responding the steroid treatment. He did show some signs of improvement. He was more alert with his vision and hearing and his eyes were clear and focused. He was using the scratching pole… that he had abandoned for many months and he was jumping up to my bed again. He purred a long time while I was massaging him. This improvement unlocked our connection and I felt everything that the cat felt, we were bonded even more in those times. Even physical healing at the tumor site was noticed, my husband called the vet and they were very happy to hear of his dramatic improvement. They felt that Tommy’s euthanasia (that was scheduled for the next day) could be postponed until a further time when needed. They knew from experience that without a miracle this was temporary but we had to go through this ourselves. So a few days before my hubby called to the vet, I felt an urge, a voice inside of me to save him from euthanasia. I explained this to Tommy’s animal communicator and she reached out to him again. She did another full healing session and she said that “He is actually feeling a lot better than I thought”. Everyone had been amazed and we all had hope. We had been very happy with the progress and could tell even his emotional well being was better. I then asked him how can we thank all his friends and supporters?
While meditating on this he was beside me, comforting me and I fell into a sleep. In a vision of dreams I saw all these candles floating on a lake/ocean which reminded me of Hawaii and when we had been to an Obon festival, the Japanese festival of honoring the dead. Painting that image was an important step and that is how the cover of a card I later made came to be created. Upon awakening from this dream a short poem had been placed into my mind and I had to write it down. I was sure that poem was from Tommy. My first real communication with him this whole time. Then when he relapsed and drew closer to the inevitable, I was “hearing” some of his instruction. I will never forget while he was resting on the big blue chair we have in the living room, I needed to go to the bathroom badly but then I heard: “Go, you don’t need to stay here every seconds with me. I will be fine, don’t worry. YOU need to start seeing your doctor as soon as I am gone!” In all his care I was not taking account of myself and my health requirements. He was finally becoming comfortable with his condition and crossing over that he was now caring for me. As it turned out I did have a concern that was going unnoticed. An adverse reaction to one of my medicines and if it continued it would have been catastrophic. Tommy and I where so close and bonded he helped me to be more intuitive with animals again, that I was told as a child that “animals don’t talk”. He prove them wrong, yes they do talk. Just not in the audible words of humans. It is on another level inside.
Question: I understand that part of the care animals receive may include Reiki. How have you seen Reiki help an animal?
Answer: The first time I was introduced to Reiki healing it was back in 1997. I was undergoing total hip replacement and had already had the first hip surgery. After the second surgery I had the good fortune to make friends with a Reiki practitioner and he helped me with weekly sessions. My healing time was dramatically reduced and even my doctors were amazed.
Now we come to the story of Tommy and his battle with cancer. Some of the animal communicators where also Reiki practitioners and specialized in therapy for animals. Several sent Reiki healing for Tommy and it seemed to work. They worked from their hearts and helped him to feel love and comfort during his time of need. They also suggested that they could infuse a blanket for Tommy. I found a yarn called Noro Kureyon. I simply love working with this yarn. It is self striping and produces an amazing effect. I knew that this was the perfect natural fiber when I started to knit his blanket. The stunning colors tastefully bled together. When Tommy’s healing blanket was done they infused the blanket with Reiki Healing Energy, Love and Lights.The blanket came out so pretty. He loved it a lot. He felt safe, warm and cozy underneath. After two years of his passing, I decided to make more little blankets like Tommy had. I wanted to call it “Tommy’s Legacy”. The little blankets will knit exactly the same way, with the same yarns (variety colors) and they all are going to be infused with Healing Reiki.
People are animals and besides for our minds, not much different than other animals. Why would Reiki not be applicable and help them too. We could say it is a psychosomatic effect in humans such as we want to believe it will work so it works and we are really healing ourselves. If that is the case then we have to accept that self healing through the mind is real and alternative theories and physics are also real. Baby steps to a final belief in a concept that may be hard at first to accept. Here is another way to take a middle approach. As a fur parent with a sick animal we are scared and agitated. The animals are feeling this and it affects them too. We get calmed through Reiki so in turn they feel this and follow suit. Real or not and in whichever way it works I believe it does. Those kind people have all my love and gratitude for helping us during those dark days.
Question: For those readers who have senior aged dogs who can’t walk as much as they used to, do you suggest particular forms of exercise – mental and/or physical that will benefit the dogs and work better with their limitations such as arthritis or other ailments older dogs might have?
Answer: Besides some peaceful Reiki sessions, swimming is the best exercise for older dogs with pain or arthritis, even with obesity. Even just wading in water. Take them into the water up to their chest and walk around. If they have a chance to take their senior pets for a peaceful lake or pool regularly that would be beneficial. I like a soft bottomed lake. It adds some resistance and feels good on their toes.
Also, don’t forget to feed your seniors with the right kind of food and not just a grain free diet. Older dogs need more nutrition. An essential fatty acid is one that must be supplied in the diet because it cannot be manufactured by the body. Although Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids are both incorporated into cell membranes, it is important to supplement with Omega 3 fatty acids to lessen the development of inflammation in your pet’s body by not activating these membranes. Many pets have health problems caused by too much inflammation in the body, so most pets benefit from supplements with higher concentrations of Omega 3 fatty acids. If your states allow (or not), give them CBD oil for ease their pain or anxiety. It’s a plant material and will help them a lot.
Reduce their stress if possible. We may think ol’ flabby doggie who sleeps all the time is not stressed but just like with Reiki they will be absorbing your stress. Many people have busy lives and no longer even notice their own stress so they are oblivious to how they are also giving this to their pets. Dogs mostly are more susceptible due to their unconditional love and dependence.
Question: Is there a wait list for your facility? Are you aware of other facilities like this?
Answer: We have no backlog or waiting list currently. Any animal that has the right temperament to fit in here will be considered. Rosegate takes in only one at a time and space out arrivals so as not to overload everyone with a constant fluctuation. Too many too soon can cause territorial attitudes and stress. I know that we sometimes use the word “facility” but I prefer “Forever Home”. One shelter has already declined us taking in one of their dogs by stating they wish for a home. I do not think they read up on us. .
We have young rescues too. We did intend to specialize in seniors but how can we turn our back on an animal in need. I think a name change may be in order soon to help with any confusion. We wish to provide a peaceful place, a home forever and will have to think about how to impress that in name.
We do have the ability to take in another dog currently and are planning to visit high turnover shelters looking for the right candidate.
We have been noticing a “trend” in animal rescue that is very encouraging. More senior rescues and special needs orientated rescues have been forming and though they have different operating models, they all are tending to these special animals. I think we all can make the differences, no matter if we are doing it big scale or small scale.
Question: What would you like us to know that I’ve haven’t asked regarding Rosegate Retirement Home for Dogs and Cats?
Answer: Rosegate is a small organization founded and operated by us, a Husband and Wife team. Tough we do not have a herd of dogs here, we are trying to rescue as many as we can handle. Giving them a happy, peaceful quality life. If any expansion can come to be, we will consider that at the time.
Hopefully we can show a good example with the Rosegate model. Many people could do as well and it does not take much more than a little extra investment and a lot of love, time and patience. Own your property and provide a safe house and yard. Time is the real resource one must have to build off of. A few guiding rules for those who would like to form a Forever Home is just that. For the life of the animals and just because they are old does not mean they will not live for many years. This is not a hobby or fashion fade. Too many rescues have popped up that seem to be an “empty nest” replacement therapy for some people… We call them ’boutique rescues’. Bored, married ladies who have seen their kids go off in life and they now wish to have a little Ego boost. They quickly hit the walls with the dedication animal care takes. Then the financial pressure comes in and that leads us to rule number two. If you cannot afford to do this, don’t do it! You can not count on donations all the time.
The other troubling aspect of these ’boutique rescues’ that has now seeped into the community at all levels is animals as consumer goods. Retail merchandise with a price tag on them. The adoption fees people are asking for are silly. They all say the same thing, they have costs and investment in the animals and they must recoup their loss. We shake our heads in disgust. Ten years ago, people in the animal care community had one goal, to find a good home for the wayward critters. Now it seems to be secondary to the cost effective side of things. The gentrification of their goal is to have the picture perfect operation to post on social media. Always remember that the animals care not for the window dressings but for loving arms hugging them.
Besides rescuing some older animals we are also created a 2000 sq.ft. Pollinator garden on our 3 acres property. If people have just a small yard they still can do that. If Rosegate can do this with limited funding then anyone can do it too. Yes, it is a hard work but you are doing something good in your life, don’t forget that.