I can tell her not to eat that plant. But.

Tulips and other plants in your home or garden may pose a danger to your animal companion. (Image by Vlad from Pixabay)

As an animal communicator, I can tell your dog why it’s in his best interest not to nibble in your garden. I can advise your cat that eating the fresh-cut tulips you just brought in would result in illness, at least one upset human, and a trip to the vet. Or worse. Pets and plants can be a deadly combination.

Clear communication about expectations and consequences is important with any species. But for everyone’s safety and peace of mind, we often have to go further and block the path to temptation or remove it altogether. You can tell your teenagers that the liquor cabinet is off limits, but it might be best to keep it locked.

An animal-specific example: those Easter lilies are beautiful, and who doesn’t want a bit of life and symbolism after a long winter? But they are so toxic, especially to our feline friends, that I advise people with cats not even bring them home. It’s just not worth the risk. I don’t think Jesus will mind.

For harmony of animal and plant life, and to avert a horrible outcome, I recommend these steps. All of them.

  1. Know what’s toxic before planting it in your garden, adding it to the pasture, or bringing it into your home. The ASPCA maintains a list of plants known to be toxic and non-toxic to dogs, cats, and horses, but advises that ingesting any plant material can cause vomiting and gastrointestinal problems for cats and dogs.
  2. Know your animal companion, his curiosity level and interest in plants or other unauthorized objects. For example, if your dog is a shoe guy and has never looked twice at your flowers, you may have less worry than if his tastes are more universal (i.e., gets into everything).
  3. Be clear with your animal about what will happen if they chew on or eat plants. “If you eat this, you’re going to feel very dizzy, your tummy will hurt really bad, and I’ll have to rush you to the vet. I’d be so upset and frightened if that happened.” Picture all of this as you speak. “So find something better to do.” Then picture him calmly walking away from the plant and picking up a favorite toy, going to look out the window, or coming to you to be petted.
  4. Consider using a taste deterrent on your plants; I’ve had pretty good luck with Bitter Yuck, which I get through our veterinarian’s pharmacy.

Bottom line: If you know or suspect your animal may have ingested something poisonous, contact your veterinarian, emergency vet clinic, or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center, (888) 426-4435.

“There is love in this world.”

On a bright, muddy morning in March 2020, I arrived for my animal communication and Reiki rounds at Summit Equestrian Center determined to put aside my anxieties about COVID-19. 

But there’s no hiding stuff from a horse. 

Opal, a 27-year-old Percheron, met me at the fence and came straight to the point: “Please don’t be afraid. There is love in this world.”

Did she understand the pandemic? Probably not. Had she heard conversations about a sickness going around among the humans? Probably. Did she sense their worries? Absolutely.

Opal knew about uncertainty. She and her buddy Pearl, about 30, were cast aside after years of hard work. That could easily have been the end for them. Instead, through a chain of humans who saw hope where no one else did, they found new purpose as therapy horses. 

Before they passed last fall, both of them told me their last couple of years on this plane were better than they ever could have expected. 

When it feels like there is anything but love in this world, I remember and treasure this.

Animal communication and Reiki are different modalities

Animal Reiki and animal communication go well together, but they’re not the same … kind of like these two. (Photo by Nancy Crowe)

While animal Reiki and animal communication make a great pair, they are separate disciplines with unique benefits. The difference is essentially between meditation and conversation.

How they work

A Reiki session is a time of meditation, relaxation, and peace. Because I am certified in the Let Animals Lead® method, the animal is always in charge of whether and how he shares the energy.

During an in-person session, which I offer in the Fort Wayne, Indiana area, a cat or dog might curl up in my lap or settle across the room. A horse may stand on the other side of the pasture, hang out in a stall, or come to meet me at the fence. I’ve even had a donkey sidle up and nudge his head under my arm! Whatever the species or context might require, I go into a meditative state and let the energy do its work.

Distant sessions are much the same, except that the animal and I are not in the same physical space. She’s generally at home relaxing with her person, hanging out with the herd, or doing whatever, while I’m in my home office — again, in a meditative state, letting the energy do its work!

During an in-person or distant Reiki session, I may receive intuitive information — but that is not the objective of the session.

An animal communication session, on the other hand, is an exchange of information. I don’t need to be in the same physical space as the animal or on the phone with the animal’s person for this. I connect with the animal telepathically, focusing my attention on what he has to share. No appointment is necessary for this.

With the animal’s permission, I work to gain insights into behavior. Or I tell her about a change coming up and ask what would help her adjust. Or I ask him how he feels about anything from his food to his person’s new boyfriend. Once I’ve talked with the animal, I email the person a summary of what we discussed. The client is always encouraged to take only what resonates and is helpful, and leave the rest.

Together but distinct

In some settings, such as a farm with multiple animals, I may do Reiki and animal communication in the same visit, but not in the same moment.

How this works might be compared to a chaplain’s rounds. Time with each animal could be spent in conversation to begin. Then we might share Reiki. After the session, we might talk a little more before I thank the animal and move to another. We wouldn’t be meditating and talking at the same time!

There is a time and a purpose to everything (Eccl. 3:1). When we let Reiki and animal communication function on their own, our animal friends get the best each has to offer.