Jose Lima and his partner, Bill Spring, have long struggled to pet their 11-year-old cat Willie. "He does not like to be touched," Lima says in a Facebook message. But recently Willie sped towards Lima and rubbed his forehead against his owner's new Amethyst crystal. "He starts purring like crazy," Lima recalls. Now every night before bed, he demands Lima rubs his belly with the crystal.
"To me it seems like the cat can sense some type of energy or presence in the crystal that we as humans cannot sense from the crystal," Lima tells me. "[It's] as though the cat can recognize some type of metaphysical power."
Lima is not alone in his theory. Crystals are everywhere right now, from Jennifer Lawrence's flooded house to a resurgence in 2000s nostalgia, and pet owners are incorporating crystal routines into their pets' daily routines.
"People are currently gravitating towards leading healthier more organic lifestyles," explains Dr. Rachel Barrack, a licensed veterinarian who works at New York's Animal Acupuncture. "That trickles down to the care and lifestyle choices they make for their pets."
Combining a love for crystals with a love for felines and canines is not new. The crystal forum HealingCrystals.com endorsed the practice as early as the mid-aughts. (User Crystal CAT credited the Black Onyx crystal with the power to remove fleas and other pests in 2008.) But now urban residents and wellness publications, like Animal Wellness Magazine and Dogs Naturally, are encouraging animal aficionados to seek out crystals for their pets.
"Our animals are very energetically sensitive," Dogs Naturally contributor Brenda Utzerath informs Broadly over email. "They have fine tuned and heightened abilities to smell and hear things that humans cannot. It's all a part of their ability to survive, thrive, heal, and be well. Crystals (gifts from the earth) hold and share energetics/frequencies that can balance and heal bodies."
Utzerath's article, "5 Healing Crystals to Help Your Dog," advocates for having "Fido choose his own crystals." According to her post, you should bring a crystal home and show it to your beloved pet. ("Be careful he doesn't take it in his mouth and try to eat it," Utzerath instructs.) Watch if he rolls onto the crystal or drool falls from his mouth in an "overall sense of delight." If you take the crystal away from him and he looks for it, you've bought the right crystal for Fido and should place it in his "sleeping spot" or attach to a pouch on his collar.
Read more: How to Cast Spells with Your Orgasms
Utzerath has spread her wellness gospel in articles and at workshops that she leads near her home in Beaver Dam, Wisconsin. She teaches customers each crystal's power, identifying, for instance, Black Tourmaline as the "ultimate protector" and Amber as the source of "calming and energizing effects." She discovered alternative veterinary medicine in 2007. Although she lacks a veterinary degree, she studied at Colorado's Tallgrass Animal Acupressure Institute and later became board certified through National Board of Certification for Animal Acupressure and Massage (NBCAAM). Over the years, she has learned new rituals like crystals, Reiki, and dog massages.
Some of Utzerath's views are more mainstream ("Glutens have become enemies to all mammals," she preaches), but she also professes some controversial opinions, like her frustration with veterinarians. "We think our vets are 'Dr. Doolittle's' and somehow 'speak dog better' or know more about OUR animals than we do," she writes via email. "YOU are the one that spends every day with your pet. YOU know their habits, what is normal for them, what is 'off.'" She also tells me that she opposes pet vaccination because her dog passed away after receiving a vaccine. (This belief has grown in some cities like Brooklyn, where Brooklyn Paper reported two weeks ago that a local vet had battled anti-vaxxers refusing inoculation for their puppies.)
Jessie Schiewe, an Oakland-based dog lover, supported wellness techniques until she tried to solve her 14-year-old Chihuahua Mischa's "fucked-up knee and arthritis" by attaching a Rose Quartz necklace to her neck and sending her to a dog therapist. "This was before I succumbed to science and starting giving her pain killers," Schiewe remembers in an email. "I've definitely attempted to lay specific crystals on her chakra points, to help balance her out and possibly turn her into a nicer, less growl-y dog (it didn't work)."
Barrack would not find Schiewe's experience surprising, as she has found zero correlation between crystals and animals' well being in her veterinary practice. "Although this would be unlikely to cause harm to your dog," she says in an email, "without concrete scientific evidence as to its merit, this is certainly not something I recommend or endorse as a healing modality."
Barrack, though, does recommend other alternative medicines, like acupuncture. She studied Chinese medicine at the Chi Institute in Gainesville, Florida, and has combined Western and Eastern medicine in her vet's office. Over the course of her work, she has found that acupuncture treatment helps with animals' neurological disease (seizures, disc disease), gastrointestinal issues (anorexia, diarrhea, vomiting), skin diseases, and others maladies.
Crystals, however, are not a treatment option for your pet, Barrack warns. "I think there are much more effective Western and Eastern treatment options [than crystals] that have been proven to be successful in treating ailments in dogs," Barrack says.
Correction: This article has been updated to better reflect Brenda Utzerath's view of veterinarians.