Hounds Horses and Hearts: Working Animals Tell Their Stories
UPDATE: Shari Koval has recently published a new book titled Hounds, Horses and Hearts: Working Animals Tell Their Stories. This book is a series of true stories about animals with jobs from the animal’s point of view, communicating through Shari. There are stories from service animals, therapy animals, police dogs, healer animals, and athletes. Shari came up with a list of questions asking what the animals think about being in the working world. The owners/handlers provided Shari with the background of the animals and she put their stories together. Each animal has very interesting advice for the world to live better lives.
What has been your process?
Lots of time sitting in my treatment room talking to animals from photos. I attempt to meet as many animals as I can. I received the names of the animals from a friend of a friend of a friend. A lot of the animals in the book are my clients. They have a therapy job or have made themselves a self-proclaimed protector. A friend would say “Oh, I know this type of animal”. That is how the big list began. For the police dogs, we went to the local police departments that my husband retired from. I was able to talk to those animals.
How many animals are there?
There are 21 chapters in the book and there are 18 different animals or groups of animals. There is a chapter about Tammy Marsh’s work that she does with Equine Assisted Learning. I interviewed each animal in that program and this group is one chapter in the book.
Your long list becomes you short list. You decide who you are going to use and you begin talking to them in person and through pictures?
How many did you actually meet in person?
I met about three quarter of the animals in person. A service dog and 2 therapy horses near Albany I have not met. There is one dog in Texas I have not met and then a service PTSD dog in the south I have not met.
Now that you have your interview, what is next?
I did all the interviews first and then I tackled writing each one of those chapters. Being from a scientific background, I had to decide whether to just give the facts. The more I talked to these animals, I realized they are more than just facts. They are scentient beings. I tried to do my best to tell their stories, represent the work they do, how they affect their people and what advice they have for the world.
As a former co-publisher, did you go back to that publisher and tell them you had something new?
I self-published this book and Tammy self-published the last book. I had my sister do my editing for me. She did a great job and it went pretty quickly once they had the manuscript. I work with Balboa Press, a division of Hay House.
If you self-publish, why do you need them?
Balboa does all the ‘real’ work. In reality, I have paid for my publishing. Once I make my money back that I have paid to publish, I will begin to receive royalties. I do the writing and Balboa distributes. When you publish through them, the book is available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Balboa Press, etc.. I can also sell them myself. You can opt for Balboa to set up book signings, and you can do that yourself. You can also buy marketing services from them too. They will do a video for you to use on YouTube and elsewhere. Each stage of the process, this company provides you with a different expert to help you. They offer a variety of packages. They are very versatile.
To see all this promotional material must be very exciting!
Shari Koval has been part of the Wellness Arts Network for many years and is the owner of SKEnergy Healing LLC in Beaver Dams, NY. She can be reached at (607) 279-5749 and by email at SKenergyhealing@gmail.com. Her website is www.SKenergyhealing.com
Natural Healthcare for Pets
Shari Koval has been part of the Wellness Arts Network for many years and is the owner of SK Energy Healing LLC in Beaver Dams, NY. She can be reached at (607) 279-5749 and by email at SKenergyhealing@gmail.com. Her website is www.SKEnergyHealing.com
How long have you been in business?
Since 2009, so 7 years.
How do you describe your business and what you do?
I do a lot of different modalities. I started out using Reiki. From there I became a Reiki Tibetan Usui Master (the basic Reiki) in 2009. I joined IARP (International Association of Reiki Professionals) and have been a member since then. In 2011, I became a Karuna™ Reiki Master. This is a bit higher vibration and includes adding 8 more symbols. In 2011, I became certified from Level One to Level 6 in Tuning Fork Therapy. In 2012, I became certified in Color and Crystal Therapy using the tuning forks. In 2014, I became certified in Natural Healthcare for Pets.
Where do you get all these certifications?
My Usui/Tibetan Reiki Master is in England. The Tuning Fork Therapy™ training was distance learning. It was an intense training program that involved many exams and practicums to be sent in and graded. Francine Milford from Florida developed Tuning Fork Therapy™ along with the color and crystal therapy that I work with. My Karuna™ Reiki Master is in the Ithaca area. The Natural Healthcare for Pets was distance learning as well through Penn Foster. It was in intense program with many home work assignments and exams. I did all this while I was working full time.
What inspired you to begin all that?
I have always liked anything medical. If I had it to do all over again, I probably would have become a veterinarian. However, I wanted to go out and make money so I obtained an AAS degree in hatcheries Biology. I have had many surgeries and I never wanted to rely on Western Medicine. The Reiki interested me as a support system. The western and the eastern medicines work very well together.
Once you begin something, the other things usually come in. I have always been very musical so the tuning forks were a good fit for me. They are a more scientific approach to energy healing. Each of the body organs and each of our systems has its perfect vibration. If you get out of sync, you can use the forks to get it back in. From there I began playing with singing bowls.
I originally began the Reiki to work on animals, but then the people came. I continued to build up the animal work skills with the Natural Healthcare for Pets.
What have been your greatest stumbling blocks?
I believe it has been a matter of finding the time to focus on it. I worked full time, I have a household, I was building a business, I have a parent to care for. Now that I have retired, I have more time to dedicate to this.
Do people have any misconceptions about you or your business?
I think people wonder about what this Reiki thing is. (Is it a religion? Is it from the ‘devil’?). I tell people this is a gift from God. It is something everyone can do because we are just the conduits – it is not our energy. I teach my students that way too. If they are not comfortable with me saying this is a gift from God, they probably won’t be one of my students.
People will think I have certain mindsets because I do this work. Lots of people had a hard time believing I spent most of my time as a scientist. I got to use both halves of my brain.
What did you do for your work?
I worked at Corning Inc. for 31+ years. I retired as a Senior Scientist in Research, doing glass surface research.
If you could have a Do-Over, is there anything you would do differently?
I may have looked into this work sooner, because I really believe doing this kind of work is my calling. However, I believe everything is going to progress the way it is supposed to.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
I see this business continuing to grow. It has been a steady growth for 7 years. I have about half and half human to animal clients. I love that mix. I would like to do more distance work because I can do that wherever I go. I plan to have a book published.
I co-wrote a book called Talk To Me: Round Pen Work from the Horse’s Point of View. I was the Animal Communicator on the book and Tammy Marsh authored it. (Available online at Amazon.com, Barnes & Nobles, etc.). The next book will be Animals With Jobs From Their Point of View. I work with Therapy Animals, Police dogs and horses, Service Animals, and Athletes (and some animals who have given themselves jobs). I think this book will write itself. The animal owner will fill out a questionnaire and I have a list of questions I ask the animal – Why do you do the work? What makes you do this work every day? Do you LIKE to do this work?
I’m sure you get asked this all the time, but how do you know what the animal is telling you?
It’s just like dealing with a person. It is not an exact science. You can only pick up what you can pick up. You make a heart to heart connection with them. You telepathically ask them a question and then the answer will come in. When I first started, I’d get single words. I have been doing this long enough now that I can get full sentences, they can show me things through their eyes, they can let me join up with them to feel how they feel in their bodies. I do a lot of that for the diagnostic part of my work to see where their pain is. Then you have to trust it.
How do you verify what you are doing?
I will send the answers to the owner and ask if this makes sense to them. Sometimes yes and sometimes no. you can only pick up what the animal is willing to share. Like people, animals may not want to share with you and that is their prerogative. However, I always check with the animal first to see if they are willing to talk with me