Animal communication: too much to believe?

pixabay woman & dog water's edge
(Image by coffy from Pixabay)

As a practicing animal communicator who is also a longtime skeptical journalist, I get it. To believe we can communicate telepathically with animals can be a stretch. To believe it can happen at a distance, without benefit of phone or WiFi, is even more challenging.

In an age of science, and when we have to be careful who we trust, is this not appropriate? I say it’s very appropriate.

So why would anyone even consider that communicating with animals is possible … or work with an animal communicator in order to help a pet?

It comes down to why we believe in anything: our lived experience, the credible evidence we see, and what we stand to gain.

1976 Garlocks' lake home w Lassie & Mugsy the kitten I found
This is me at age 9 with a friend’s collie, Lassie; and a tiger kitten who’d happened by that morning. I called her Mugsy. Though I don’t remember specifics, I know I talked with both of them. Mugsy followed me around for the rest of the day.

Been there, done that

As a young person, I spent a lot of energy hiding — or shutting down — my sensitivity. I did so in order to survive bullying and generally function in the world. I still communicated with animals, but knew better than to call it that.

Like most journalists of my generation, I learned to seek reliable sources and verify everything. “If your mother says she loves you, check it out,” was the motto. I prided myself on getting the facts right, spelled correctly, and presented with perfect grammar and Associated Press style. (I still do.)

When I was about 40, my cat Idgie developed inflammatory bowel disease, hyperthyroidism, and crippling anxiety. She received good veterinary care, but at the same time, my intuition was beginning to open back up. I knew there had to be more I could do.

There were “pet psychics” on TV, but I never thought much about them. Then I heard about someone in my own small Midwestern city who did intuitive work with animals — an animal communicator, she was called. Almost before I knew what was happening, I’d emailed her about my cat and signed up for the next class.

We learned. We practiced sending and receiving information telepathically with one another. Each of us then did a distant communication with an animal whose species, age, and gender we were told, with a specific question to be addressed. 

I was stunned at the accuracy of the information I received. Holy crap, I knew this was real, but now it was tried-and-tested-real.

My cat and I began some tentative, yet heartening talks about trust, needed changes, and giving ourselves a chance. Her physical challenges continued, but there was a profound shift in the way we both viewed them. She felt heard in a new way, and we were able to move forward with more faith and less fear.

I moved through the intermediate and advanced animal communication classes over the next couple of years. We brought in photos and communicated with one another’s animal companions. We did an in-person communication with a dog our instructor brought in. Afterward, on my own, I practiced connecting with other animals.

This discipline is much more “practice” than “woo,” I discovered. I had this natural ability, but I had to use and develop it in order to truly help animals and their people. Which, I increasingly realized, was something I very much wanted to do.

Tell me something good

Most of my clients are referred by others who have worked with me and found it helpful. Credible word of mouth beats Yelp any day. 

Show me the science, you say? Here are a few relatively recent studies indicating there’s more to interspecies communication than previously thought. As always, judge for yourself. Also recognize that we may be just scratching the surface in this field.

Dogs understand what we say and how we say it, Hungarian scientists found. They trained a group of family dogs to enter an MRI machine and scanned the way their brains responded to not only words but their tone. 

Two books reviewed in the Christian Science Monitor further delve into research on how attuned our canine companions are to our emotions, speech, and behavior. 

Cats react to the sound of their names, according to a group of Japanese scientists. 

Goats prefer positive human facial expressions, says a UK-based study. 

• Not to be outdone, 23 horses were taught by Norwegian researchers to express their needs using symbol boards.

What use is this?

In a training session at one of the newspapers where I worked, the presenter said the WGASA principle must be considered in every story we write or publish. WGASA stands for (and I am paraphrasing here): Who gives a shilling, anyway? In other words, the information we gather and present has to be relevant and useful to our readers.

It’s the same with animal communication. Maybe your animal friend has a seemingly intractable behavior problem, or you are facing a gut-wrenching end-of-life decision. An animal communicator should, at the very least, provide a compassionate “second set of eyes” on the issue.

Moreover, if you’ve chosen a reputable animal communicator whose approach resonates with you, chances are good you’ll gain something useful. It might be a tip you can act on immediately, such as moving the litter box or taking five minutes after dinner every night to toss a tennis ball for your dog. Working with an animal communicator can also yield insights about whether your dog feels a proposed surgery would help, or why your cat doesn’t like your new gentleman caller. 

All of these things help you to have a better understanding of your animal friend, and vice versa. The result is less frustration and anxiety, and more peace of mind for all.

Is talking with animals too much to believe? You decide.

New book brings Reiki and intuition together

9781608082131_p0_v2_s600x595Readers of Tina Zion’s previous books on Reiki and medical intuition will find a refreshing review in Reiki and Your Intuition: A Union of Healing and Wisdom (Boutique of Quality Books, 2019). New readers will find plenty to consider and use. Tina, who is a colleague and mentor, provided a pre-publication review copy.

Tina’s emphases on projecting positive energy outward instead of creating a shield for protection, getting permission as not only an ethical imperative but a way to empower others, and being a clear vessel for healing are important for any student or practitioner. The book is also peppered with personal stories from other Reiki practitioners.

The information and examples presented will be helpful with the often puzzling process of figuring out what is happening as we learn to both work with Reiki energy and allow it to work through us.

As an animal Reiki practitioner and animal communicator, I appreciate Chapter 9, “Intuitive Reiki with Animals.” It underlines the importance of trusting the images and impressions I get from an animal and sharing them with the animal’s human, rather than trying to interpret them myself. Also meaningful is a personal story from a veterinarian who is also a Reiki master and offers Reiki informally to her patients when the opportunity presents itself.

Though the book as a whole may have benefited from more editing and streamlining, it’s a worthwhile read for those who are exploring what intuition is, how Reiki works, and how they as people and practitioners fit into the picture.

Empath survival … and more?

BK04739-Empaths-Survival-Guide-final-outline250While Judith Orloff’s The Empath’s Survival Guide: Life Strategies for Sensitive People (Sounds True, 2017) covers much of the same ground as her earlier works, this is a worthwhile, well-timed reinforcement.

Being an empath goes beyond having empathy, Orloff explains: “We actually feel others’ emotions, energy, and physical symptoms in our own bodies, without the usual defenses that most people have.” As an empath myself, I so appreciate the realism and simplicity of that last part. I don’t have the defenses most people do, but I have other abilities they do not. That’s the way we humans are; it’s that “gifts differing according to the grace given us” thing, and it’s why we can (and must) appreciate and help one another.

I received a review copy (but no compensation) after answering a call on WordPress for bloggers to review the book. Having many years ago read her books Second Sight and Dr. Judith Orloff’s Guide to Intuitive Healing and listened to the audio program Positive Energy Practices, I was interested in reading what Orloff had to say about empath survival in 2017.

Although some basic information on types of energy vampires and protection strategies is repeated here, there are many new and useful nuances and details. As an animal Reiki practitioner and animal communicator, I appreciated that Orloff included animal empaths in her chapter, “Empaths, Intuition, and Extraordinary Perceptions.” There are also good, practical tips on work, travel, and personal relationships and raising sensitive children.

Here’s where the real learning came for me: Despite the many insights and strategies for empaths’ mental, physical, and emotional well-being, in the dark recesses of my mind lurked a “C’mon, there’s got to be more here.” The “more” had to do with what actually happens when we stand up for ourselves and set boundaries, even to the extent of putting our well-being before social correctness, in a couple of the book’s examples. There will be judgement. There will be push-back. There will be consequences that will feel much different from what happens if we just go along and try to be like everyone else.

I often tell people being an empath or highly sensitive person is a gift, and those of us who are given such a gift have the responsibility to make sure we then gift it back to God, the universe, our little corners of the world, etc. It’s up to us to learn how to protect our energy and manage our sensitivity so that we can be at our best for ourselves and others.       If we’re not careful, we can cross that line between empowered empath and overly sensitive problem person. So there’s got to be more, right? Explanations to roll out? Ways to defuse the anger and deflect the criticism that may come our way?

Except maybe there isn’t.

Orloff consistently emphasizes treating others with tact and kindness, especially narcissists and other energy vampires (such as rageaholics, control freaks, and nonstop talkers). For example, with a controlling or critical person, she suggests calmly saying, “I value your advice, but I want to think about how to approach this situation myself,” or politely, firmly, and unemotionally asking the person to stop criticizing you. (She also wisely suggests examining and healing the self-esteem issues that make these such a bother.) There are no detailed defense tactics here; just quiet, succinct assertion.

Well, duh.

Taking responsibility for ourselves and our needs — without apology, explanation, or justification — in a kind, fair, respectful way is, in fact, enough. If we stand in our power and allow others to stand in theirs, we cannot become problem people. Others’ judgement is not our business, and the pusher-backers will find something else to do once we’ve walked away.

Maybe that’s the empath survival strategy I needed to review at this moment in 2017, and I’ll bet I’m not alone.

For more information on intuition, wellness, and empath protection, visit drjudithorloff.com. To learn more about my writing, editing, and intuitive work, come see me at njcrowe.com.