Archive for July, 2011

Animal Communication Ethics – When to Cross the Line

Several years ago, a farrier in one of my beginning animal communication classes reported that a draft horse at one of the barns he worked at had been talking to him every time he was on the premises, telling him about the abuse she was experiencing. He had never heard of animal communication — certainly never studied it — so he thought he was going crazy and of course had no idea what, if anything, to do about this.

Likewise, one of my good friends, Kara, once found herself caught in a dilemma. Should she or should she not tell the owner of one of the horses at her barn what that horse had been telling her for two weeks?

One of the  “rules” most of us animal communicators follow, from  a code of ethics for the profession developed by Penelope Smith many years ago, reads: 

“Unless someone is in great immediate danger, I provide assistance through telepathic communication with nonhuman animals only where requested, so as to honor individual choice and privacy.”

(You can read the entire Code of Ethics HERE.)

So how do you know when to “cross the line?” Here’s my friend Kara’s story.

Kara was making nightly trips to the barn where she was boarding her mare, Sasha, in order to tend an injury the mare had incurred. It was mid-winter – cold, dark and dreary by the time Kara reached the barn. She usually found herself alone as she sat in the barn aisle, patiently waiting while her mare’s foot soaked in a bucket.

Another boarder in a stall nearby, a gelding we’ll call Jim, began calling to her every night, “Help me! Please tell my mom I need help.” Kara ignored Jim as politely as she could, because she had studied animal communication so was well aware of the above stated “rule.” And although she was quite gifted in animal communication, Kara had no intention of practicing it professionally. But being the compassionate animal lover and horse person that she was, Kara finally succumbed to Jim’s pleas and engaged with him enough to hear what he had to say.

Jim told Karen “I can’t breathe!”, and she “saw” and “felt” something in his throat. The message was very brief but very strong, and Karen felt certain she was hearing Jim accurately.

Kara didn’t really know Jim’s owner, Sally, but she had noticed that Jim had been having problems that interfered with his training. He could not be worked for any length of time, or very hard, without seriously overstressing him physically. But nobody could figure out what was wrong. Kara was also pretty sure that Sally was the last person on earth who would be open to hearing that her horse had “talked” to someone — anyone — and told them what was wrong with him. But Kara’s impressions from Jim were so strong that she decided to approach Sally and tell her what Jim had said to her. She figured she had nothing to lose.

“I know you’re going to think I’m crazy …,” she began, and she then outlined to Sally what Jim had told her. Sally glared, Kara persevered. She encouraged Sally to have Jim scoped, a simple inexpensive procedure, just in case there was in fact something in his throat. Sally did not respond and stormed away. But a few days later, saying nothing to Kara, she had her vet out, they scoped Jim, and, sure enough, he had a large benign tumor growing in his throat. The tumor was one that could be removed fairly easily, Jim recovered perfectly, and the problems with his training were solved.

This is a perfect example of how and when it is okay to “cross the line” ethically and hear out what an animal is trying to tell you, even if you don’t have permission. If the animal feels they are in trouble or danger, it is the humane thing to do. You may or may not be able to help bring a solution to their problem, but you can at least reassure them that you understand, and that you will do anything you possibly can to help them. And, believe it or not, sometimes it gives an animal a huge sense of relief just to know they have been heard. Some of them need to vent just like we do!


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Saying Goodbye – Ode to Annie and Pilar


Pilar & Annie, July 8, 2011, on their last walk together.






Blessings to you, Annie and Pilar, on this last day of Pilar’s earthly path.

Happy Trails, Dear Pilar. May you go with God.

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How to Tell Your Dog When You Are Coming Home … and Why

You’re reading this blog, so you’re an animal lover, right? Many of you would go one step further and say your animals are your children, right?

Well, would you leave your children home without telling them when you’ll be back? That right there says it all, but let’s look a little deeper, since our animals actually think and function differently than our children do. In this case, we’ll be talking about dogs.

It has been proven that many dogs know when we are coming home — even if it’s not at the usual time — and are waiting at the door … so why don’t they know that we’ll be back every time we leave? And why does this concern them?

Dogs are super intelligent, we all know that. But they do tend to exist more ‘in the moment’ than we do. So they don’t think too much about what’s going to happen tomorrow. If they have expectations, it’s due more to operant conditioning than to holding the thought, “Oh golly, gee, tomorrow at 8 o’clock a.m. Dana is going to leave me again!” Most dogs are able to settle into a routine, so are also conditioned to a usual home-coming time. But some dogs have extreme separation anxiety and go berserk every time they are left, whether it’s on a regular schedule or not.

That is certainly a major “why” you should let your dogs know when to expect you back — to minimize their anxiety. But common decency is another. Hmmm…. lots of issues for discussion here, but my main goal with this particular blog is to give you an exercise or two that you can use to show and tell your dog when you will be back.

First, please read Talk to Your Animals – Here’s How. This will give you an easy, down and dirty outline as to how to shape the message you want to send to your dog, in this case the day and approximate time you will be coming home. You will be using primarily silent words and mental pictures to convey your message to your dog.

Trust me. If you and your dog are close, just about anything you try to tell him or her will be understood, no matter how you go about doing that. But since we humans don’t tend to believe that, learning to project our thoughts and messages can be helpful. Here are two exercises you can practice that will help you send your messages to your dog more effectively.

1. THE RED BALL.  It’s nice to have a partner for this one, but if you don’t, that’s okay. Let your dog or cat be your partner, or an inanimate object. Sit comfortably in a quiet, relaxed space. Breathe deeply and become as “meditative” as you personally can become. Now visualize a huge red beach ball on the floor right in front of you. Push the ball so that it rolls over to your partner. Watch it move. Feel it roll away from you. Then “see” your partner push the ball back to you and feel its approach. Do this several times until you can really visualize and feel the action. Once you can feel this, put a short message inside the ball, such as “I love you” and practice sending it back and forth for a while. You can then use this red ball to tell your dog when you will be back by sending a message like “I will be back at 5:00 o’clock.” You might also include a picture as well, of a clock face indicating 5:00 o’clock. Pictures always help! 

2. THE HEART-TO-HEART LINK. Again, position yourself in a quiet space, breathe deeply, and center yourself. Then picture your heart chakra with little doors on it that you can open and close. Any kind of door(s) you like will be fine. Open your heart doors and see a laser beam projecting out from your heart to the heart of your dog. Picture him or her with little heart doors as well that will open in order for their heart to connect with yours. See the beam connecting the two of you, and you might initially just feel love and send it along the beam. Then form your message, with words and/or pictures, see yourself setting it on the beam, and watch it travel along the beam into your dog’s heart. This exercise always works, especially when accompanied by lots of emotion. If you show your dog you’ll be home at 5:00 o’clock, really FEEL the joy you will experience when you see him again, and this will help enhance the message!

However you do it, just please tell your animals when you’ll be home. They wait for us, every minute, and is there anything more joyous than our reunion with them? Knowing what to expect really helps them!

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