Touched-By-A-Paw was featured in the Venice, Florida Gondolier Sun Newspaper.


Jasmin von Oertzen and her horse, Pop, experience techniques of The Healing Touch for Animals practiced by Chris Wheeler of Pawsitive Animal Wellness in Venice. Wheeler is helping the horse overcome a neurological condition contracted by eating or drinking contaminated food or water. PHOTO BY PAM JOHNSONChris Wheeler loves animals. She worked as a veterinarian technician for 13 years. When she moved to Sarasota County, Wheeler began working for veterinarian and holistic practitioner, Dr. Jaime Gonzalez. Often, she would walk to the door of the clinic with a distraught client whose pet had just received a devastating diagnosis and wish she could do more for both of them.
Then she learned about Healing Touch for Animals, a worldwide program developed 20 years ago by Carol Komitor, based on Healing Touch, a program for humans founded 40 years ago by Janet Mentgen.

The theory is that an animal’s mind, body and spirit can be made healthy through the manipulation of its field of energy. After completing t he Healthy Touch for Animals courses, Wheeler formed Pawsitive Animal Wellness. Now, Dr. Gonzalez refers patients to her.

"My passion is the Hospice animals, because this treatment allows the animals to maintain a good quality of life while their people process what is happening to their beloved pet," Wheeler said.

But there are many other reasons for the treatment. Among them are pre- and post-surgery, injuries, behavioral issues, helping a pet settle into a new home, and trauma — especially for rescued animals. The treatment is said to relieve stress and anxiety, reduce pain and help the animal develop confidence for training and competition.

The technique creates relaxation, which has a cascading effect, Wheeler said. Muscles relax, endorphins flow and nutrition is better absorbed.

When treating an animal, she first assesses the congested area.

"Clearing energy congestion and balancing energy is the first step. Sometimes we see them moving during treatment in such a way that they are helping the energy clear."  One of the animals Wheeler sees frequently is Pop, a 15-year-old thoroughbred. His first owner intended to race him. When Jasmin von Oertzen bought him in 2010, it was clear Pop did not want to race. Nor did he want to participate in dressage, the performance of a choreographed horse show. But when von Oertzen introduced Pop to jumping, the horse seemed to have found his calling.

"He is very competitive and knows the course on his own. If I fell off during a jump, he could finish the course without me," von Oertzen said.

But EMP put an end to that, at least for a while.

Equine protozoal myeloencephalitis is a neurological disease. Pop probably contracted it by eating food or drinking water contaminated with possum or raccoon feces. The protozoa get into the nervous system, causing symptoms such as body parts that feel disconnected from the body.

The disease took a toll on Pop. To put it simply, his front legs jumped the hurdle but his back legs didn’t. Wheeler remembered the day Pop suddenly became alert during his treatment and demanded to be allowed to run in the pasture. She and von Oertzen turned him loose in the field, where he ran back and forth several times, all four legs working together. Pop was feeling better.

Pop also receives sound therapy. Tuning forks are used to create movement of energy to clear congestion. The technique is said to be soothing and calming.

"You can actually use the tuning forks for space clearing. There was a place in the stables that none of the horses would go willingly. Then we cleared the energy and it was no longer a problem," Wheeler said.

Aroma therapy can help. Young Livings Valor, a blend of rosewood, spruce, frankincense and blue tansy, helps get Pop’s sessions started. This essential oil is said to boost courage.

Von Oertzen believes Pop is making progress and will be able to jump competitively again.

While Wheeler is hands on with Pop, she can perform these treatments from a distance.

"That means I can perform protocols on animals not in front of me. I get myself grounded and connect to the animals. I might use a surrogate, such as a stuffed animal. I focus on my intention to help the animal and go through the same steps as if the animal were here in front of me," Wheeler said.

Cindy Baker of Touched by a Paw uses a calming Healing Touch for Animals technique with her dog, Carlo. PHOTO PROVIDEDAnother practitioner of distance healing is winter resident Cindy Baker of Touched by a Paw.

"It’s all about intention," she said, "which can travel a long distance."

While Baker spends her summers in Philadelphia, her clients may be anywhere. One example of a problem she recently solved was a dog who barked through the night. After a few long-distance treatments, the dog slept all night. Relaxation is key.

She remembers the first time she saw a demonstration of Healing Touch for Animals.

"It was the end of the day and all the dogs were very vocal and ready to leave. The two practitioners started talking and all the dogs quieted down and fell asleep. I was amazed and had to learn more," she said.

She finished her Healing Touch for Animals courses in 2011.

"I started volunteering at the Suncoast Humane Society in February and was asked to work on Ranger, a catahoula leopard dog mix. When I met him, he was lunging at the kennel door and biting the chain link. After two HTA treatments the director of operations remarked how calm he was when she walked by. Ranger was adopted after four sessions," she reported.

But is there any scientific evidence that these protocols actually help?

"On the human side, we are close to having a billing code for insurance for these protocols. For animals, there have not been many studies, partly due to funding," Wheeler said.

Wheeler coordinates classes for others who want to learn the skill.

"The classes are 20-24 hours, a long weekend," she said. "There are four levels of training and an advanced proficiency level. During the training we use the techniques on animals."

The classes are held in Sarasota. To learn more, go to

Contact Chris Wheeler at 954-695-9255 or email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. To contact Cindy Baker, call 484-458-8049.

Jasmin von Oertzen and her thoroughbred, Pop,
are experiencing less stress from Pop’s illness
since having healing touch treatments.