Even in a short time, we can make a difference in the life of an animal — and they can make a difference in ours . . .
Joanne lives in PA and has woods near her house. One night in May, very late, Joanne was woken up by the sound of an animal crying pitifully. Her husband didn’t hear the crying and Joanne later checked with her neighbors and they hadn’t heard the crying either — but Joanne heard it. She went outside to look, but didn’t see anything and reluctantly went to bed.
At 5 AM, Joanne woke up and could still hear the crying. She went into the woods, where she frequently walks, so see if she could find the animal.
Near a creek which had recently overflowed, she found a tiny fawn. As soon as the fawn saw Joanne, she came right over to her. Joanne felt a heart connection with the beautiful fawn the instant she saw her. The trust that the fawn showed in coming to her melted Joanne’s heart. Joanne carried the fawn home and spent the next hour or so with her. Joanne took the fawn, who Joanne had been calling Bambina, to the local wildlife rescue.
The rescue staff said Bambina was only 1 1/2 to 2 weeks old. Joanne knew the staff at the rescue would do the best they could to help Bambina — but she was so tiny and so young. Sadly, Bambina died 5 days later.
Joanne contacted me a few months later. She said she needed to know why she and Bambina shared this experience.
We talked to Bambina in Spirit. Bambina was so grateful that Joanne found her that morning. She had been so frightened and lost and was grateful for the kindness and love she felt from Joanne, even for the short time she was with Joanne. Bambina said she could “see” that Joanne had a kind and loving heart and would help her, which is why she walked over to her right away.
Joanne wanted to know what happened to Bambina’s mother. Joanne had looked for Bambina’s mother, but couldn’t find any trace of her. Even though it was not hunting season, Bambina showed me her mother dead on the ground with a arrow through her chest. My feeling was that this was an accident — target practice gone wrong. Bambina, hidden near by, was panicked and didn’t know what to do. She showed me running and trying to hide, panicked and afraid. She couldn’t tell me how far she’d gone, but to Bambina, it seemed like a long way. My feeling was that she’d been on her own for 24 hours or so.
We asked why Bambina didn’t survive. Speaking from the perspective of a soul in Spirit (being able to see “The Big Picture”), Bambina said that her body was too weak and she was too young to survive. My feeling was that she had some kind of an infection, possibly respiratory, and that her body was too weak to fend it off.
The shortness of Bambina’s life was understandably upsetting to Joanne. She wanted to know if there was some kind of lesson or reason for it. Bambina said that her short life was definitely challenging — but held important lessons for her soul . . . That even though people could be cruel (by killing her mother) they could also be kind and loving — as Joanne was. Bambina said that Joanne’s loving kindness made all the difference to her.
Bambina said that she did not want Joanne to be sad. She said that she would now be a Guide for Joanne — that she would walk with her in the woods. Joanne said that she walked in the woods all the time and would be honored to have Bambina walk with her. Bambina said that, although Joanne had always felt a connection to plants and animals, it was time for Joanne to connect to the animals and plants in the woods in a different way. She said that the nature beings would have messages for Joanne, so she needed to listen and allow herself to receive them. Joanne said she was grateful for the messages and understanding to come and that she would allow herself to receive them.
Bambina asked me to let Joanne know that she was in the part of the Spirit world that I think of as the Recovery Place, so her Spirit could recover from the challenges of her time on Earth. Animals generally don’t appear to me there as the age they were when they crossed over — and the fawn was no exception. She appeared to me as a full grown doe — beautiful and full of gentle energy. The fawn said that this is the way she wants Joanne to visualize her — the way she will be when she walks in the woods with Joanne.
Finally, the fawn said that the lesson of this experience for Joanne was this: that it’s not the amount of time that you have to give love and kindness that matters — it’s that you give it. Joanne said that she understood and that she would look forward to walking in the woods with the fawn — who was now a doe.
P.S.: After we talked to Bambina, Joanne emailed to let me know she’d been out running errands that same day and drove past a beautiful, full grown doe standing on the side of the road. The doe looked calmly, right at Joanne, then turned and ran away. Joanne knew this was a message from Bambina — “See, this is what I look like now!” Joanne said she will continue to look for messages in nature and will continue to connect with her beautiful new Guide in deer form.
” I didn’t understand why the fawn and I shared this experience together. But I knew it was meaningful. That’s why I talked to Sky. I needed her insight. It was a very powerful and emotional experience for me, and I feel a bond that I can’t explain with ‘my’ fawn. I feel like it was a special gift, and I am grateful. ” — Joanne S., PA
“ Can you talk to elephants? ”
That was the opening question of a new client who sat down at my booth at a metaphysical fair in CO a few years ago. I told her that I’d not talked to any elephants previously, but since I have not found any species that I couldn’t talk to, I was certainly game to try!
I asked if she had some kind of personal connection with the elephants and this is the story she told me . . . She had been making donations to the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, a sanctuary for elephants and rhinos in Africa, for several years. By donating, she was able to sponsor elephants and get regular updates on their progress. The summer before, she made a trip to Africa and was able to finally meet the elephants she was sponsoring and many others at the sanctuary. She had pictures of a couple of baby elephants that she wanted me to talk to.
She handed me the first photo — a female baby elephant. I asked the baby if we could talk to her and she said yes. The first thing that came through was the baby’s personality — she was very attracted to people and loved interacting with them! Her energy was very bright and fun loving. Whenever there were visitors, she showed me that she would always be near them — touching them and asking for scratching/petting. My client confirmed that this is what she experienced with this baby when she visited the sanctuary.
Next, she asked if the baby remembered what happened to her mother. The scene immediately came to me, filled with the feelings of panic and intense terror . . . the baby seeing her mother riddled with bullets and falling to the ground, as the mother tried to shield the baby from the poacher’s guns. The baby, in terror and panic, not wanting to leave her mother and not knowing what to do. As the men came toward the body of her mother, the baby tried to hide and thankful was ignored by the poachers. The baby showed me returning to her mother’s butchered body, crying in agony and fear, until kind humans came and brought her to the sanctuary. As I related this to my client, both of us cried. After we could talk again, my client told me that what the baby had shown me matched the history that she had been given by the sanctuary.
We asked the baby if she liked being in the sanctuary. She said it was very nice and that the people were so kind. She said they understood elephants. My feeling from her was that the sanctuary staff treated the elephants like “people” . . . 4 legged, very large people, but with the same needs as a human being — for comfort, companionship, touch and love — and that was the most important part for her. She said she was very happy there and knew that the staff would take care of her until she was big enough to “go out” — into the larger wild part of the sanctuary.
We talked to another baby — a male — who mercifully was very young when his mother was killed so he did not remember the event. His personality felt very different. Although he too loved interacting with the people, he also liked playing tricks on them — taking their hats off their heads and picking things from their pockets and running away or hiding them. He thought this was wonderfully funny — and the people did too! My client confirmed the accuracy of the information I received from this baby too.
We also talked to an adult male elephant, a patriarch, who had recently crossed to Spirit as a result of old wounds suffered at the hands of humans. The dignity and grace of his Spirit was an honor for me to experience. We asked how he felt about crossing over due to his injuries. He said that humans still do not understand that all life on earth is ONE. Damage done to one species is damage done to all. All life is precious, he said, but until all humans take this understanding into their hearts, the world can not be at peace. My client wanted to know if the patriarch felt he would stay in Spirit or if he would reincarnate and return to earth. He said that when his Spirit was ready, he wanted to return to earth. He said he wanted to return to the sanctuary so he could continue his work — helping people understand. He said people who visited the sanctuary came away changed, with deeper understanding and more open eyes and hearts. He said that was the best way to change people — one at a time — so they could feel the truth in their hearts.
As I always do when I communicate with an animal, I thanked each of the elephants we talked to for speaking with us. I thanked my client for the privilege of speaking with these beautiful animals . . . and I thanked Spirit for the honor of being able to hear them from my heart. It was an experience I will never forget and will always be grateful for!
If you would like to donate or foster an elephant or rhino at the
David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, go to –
You can foster an elephant or rhino for as little as $50.00 year.
Laus was a young feral cat and had been in a cage for 6 weeks at the vet’s office. The vet had hoped to socialize Laus and get her a home, but Laus continued to be mean and agitated. But for Judy and Dave, the vet’s warnings about Laus’s behavior came too late. It was love at first sight and they brought Laus home that day. In Judy’s words, “Laus proved to be quite a stinker — alternating between sucking on our shirts and biting us!” But nothing Laus did dimmed even slightly the complete unconditional love Judy and Dave had for her. In time, Laus became a loving — if opinionated and forceful — member of the family.
After 14 wonderful years of loving and laughing at Laus’s antics, Laus started having health issues. Laus was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer in September of 2012. Judy was told to take Laus home, shower her with love and wait for the end — which the vet felt would be in 3 months. As Judy was leaving the vet’s office in shock, one of the vet techs suggested that Judy contact me so that she and Dave could say good-by to Laus.
I spoke to Laus and Judy soon there after. Judy was particularly bonded to Laus and was completely distraught about the short prognosis for Laus’ remaining life. She was already grieving and was an emotional wreck. She did not know how she was going to live without Laus.
So I was rather surprised when I connected with Laus — she did not “feel” like a gravely ill cat to me! In fact, she had good energy and was very talkative. When I told Laus what the vet had said — that she was expected to cross to Spirit soon — she would have none of it! She said she had no intention of crossing over soon. I had no doubt from the energy she put behind that statement that if she had anything to say about it, she was NOT going anywhere!
When I asked Laus to tell me how she was feeling physically, she pointed me at her left lower lung — Judy confirmed that this was the location of the tumor. When I “felt” through Laus’ body, I could feel the tumor clearly. But it did not seem to be bothering Laus excessively. Laus said she was not having any pain, although she did feel pressure from the tumor. Laus was able to tell us that she felt better since they had started treatment for the tumor, so Judy knew they were on the right track. Laus just didn’t understand why the vet was making such a big deal about it!
Laus was very opinionated and had a lot to say about pretty much every aspect of her life. She loved her food, but didn’t like the pillow that they had made specially for her because when she laid down on it, it made a “crinkly” sound she didn’t like. Laus knew she was beautiful and said that she ran the household — which Judy confirmed! We asked Laus about the other four cats in the house and Judy confirmed that Laus’ analysis of their personalities — and how they interacted with Laus — was right on. This included Laus’ opinion of their Maine Coon cat, Melvin — who she said was terribly “needy”. When we talked to Melvin, he said he LOVED Laus, but had to “adore her from afar” because Laus was not exactly a cuddly cat.
Judy wanted to know about what happened when Laus was a tiny kitten, before coming to the vet’s office. Laus showed me that she was feral and living in a dumpster with her siblings and her mother. Her mother left one day and never came back. My feeling was that she had died. One after another, Laus’ siblings died around her — but somehow Laus survived until she was rescued and brought to the vet’s office.
Laus is a very direct and to the point kind of cat. At the end of the session, Judy asked if Laus had anything else to tell her. True to form, Laus did not mince words. She told Judy that she had to stop being sad all the time. Laus said she had no intention of dying any time soon and that Judy was wasting whatever time they had left fussing over her, worrying and being sad. Laus didn’t know how long she’d live (although she thought it would be a long time) so she told Judy in no uncertain terms that she needed to stop worrying and start enjoying whatever time they had left together.
I wasn’t sure how Judy was going to take this — Laus did not pull any punches delivering this information. Judy was quiet for a few seconds and then told me that Laus was right. She had been sad, full of dread, worrying, fretting and hovering over Laus constantly since Laus was diagnosed with cancer. Judy said that after hearing Laus put it into words, she realized that she wasn’t making the most out of whatever time she had left with Laus. Judy is a natural worrier so it would be challenging for her to not worry, but she said she would do her best not to worry and enjoy every moment with Laus. Laus said she’d be a lot happier if Judy could be happy — then they could really enjoy each other again. Judy said she would do her best.
Nearly two years have gone by since that first conversion and Laus is still going strong!
Judy schedules a chat with Laus several times a year to see how she is doing and to discuss things as they come up. One of the things we check on each time are Laus’ medications/side effects. When we spoke to Laus the first time, she complained of feeing “dopey” from one of her meds. We could tell which medication it was based on when it was given each day and when the “dopey” feeling occurred. By adjusting the dosage and checking to see how Laus was feeling, Judy and the vet were able to be sure that Laus was receiving the maximum benefit from the medication with a minimum of side effects.
As Eleanor Roosevelt said, “Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, and today is a gift; thats why they call it the present.” By learning to let go of her worry, Judy has been given the gift of enjoying all the “presents” that her time with Laus can give her — and Laus is very happy about that!
” We have discussed Laus’ life as it happens and Sky has been able to give us invaluable information about Laus’ treatment, feelings and love. It has been so important to talk to Laus and get her input on anything that comes up, no matter how small — or if I’m just feeling anxious about how she’s doing. We all feel better after we talk to Sky! We hope Laus continues to stay well and we know that Sky will be there for us to guide us through this journey. We cannot thank Sky enough for sharing her wonderful gift with us! ” — Judy C., FL
Demetria, or Demi as her person Robyn affectionately calls her, is a very determined cat. In fact, Robyn says she is a true diva! Robyn loves Demi and does her best to give Demi what she needs and wants.
I first spoke to Demi in April. Robyn, her husband Bob and their furry family were living in challenging times. Robyn had moved to south Florida for work and took their other cat, Ladybug with her — Bob remained in Canada with Demi and their dog Sammy. Robyn had taken Bug (as Robyn calls her) because Demi doesn’t do well with change. Our first conversation, which included Bob who was visiting in FL, started with talking to Demi about peeing outside the litter box, which she’d been doing on and off for a few years.
We asked Demi what started this behavior. Demi indicated that she was mad because Robyn had started fostering kittens. Demi did not want to have to share Robyn’s attention with the kittens and showed her displeasure clearly by peeing outside the litter box. Robyn said that she had thought that was the issue and had stopped fostering kittens, which was a very difficult thing for her because she wanted to help homeless kittens — but Demi came first.
Since Robyn was no longer fostering kittens, we asked why Demi still wasn’t using the litter box. Demi said that since Robyn left, Bob was not keeping the litter box clean enough to suit Demi. Bob admitted that he could do better with this and agreed to make sure the box stayed clean. But there was more to it than that . . .
Robyn was concerned that Demi was having physical issues and asked me to see if Demi was having any pain. Demi pointed me at her lower back/hips — the pain level she showed me was significant. When I scanned her body, I felt that she had arthritic changes in her lower back/hips. Robyn knew that Demi had been injured in a car accident as a kitten, but did not know the specifics of the accident. Demi showed me that a car had partially backed over her when she was lying on the driveway. Robyn said that this explanation correlated perfectly with the injuries that had been identified. Demi showed me that the pain was making it difficult to step up over the edge of the litter box. Bob said he would cut down the front of the box so Demi could get in more easily.
I asked Demi if she would be willing to use the litter box if Bob adjusted the box so she could get into it more easily and if she was having less pain. Demi didn’t see why it was a big deal that she was peeing outside the litter box — it took a LOT Of convincing to get her to say she would “try” to use the box! Considering how stubborn Demi was about this, I was glad that at least she said she’d try.
Robyn wanted to take Demi to the vet so they could see if anything could be done to help reduce Demi’s pain. I explained to Demi why she needed to go to the vet and what we expected would happen (including the exam by the vet and x-rays). Demi was highly insulted that “they would do things” to her. After much convincing, including letting her know that the more cooperative she was, the sooner she’d be back home — Demi finally said that she “would be vocal, but would cooperate.” She really felt all this was an affront to her dignity!
About a month later, it was finally time for the vet appointment so Robyn asked me to talk to Demi again. Bob had cut down the front of the litter box and he had been diligent in cleaning the box . . . and Demi had been really good about using the litter box! We told Demi how grateful Robyn and Bob were that she was using the litter box — she took the compliments as her due for good behavior.
Next we talked about the vet visit. Clearly, Demi had been mulling this over in her mind, because when I told her the appointment would be in a few days, she was very defiant and said, “I’M NOT GOING!!” We told her that the vet tech was someone she knew and liked, but she didn’t care. The only way to describe her response is a tantrum! She was adamant that if she was taken to the vet, she create a fuss — I was honestly afraid she would hurt either the tech or the vet, she was that upset. I finally had to tell her, in the strongest possible way, that she could NOT hurt anyone. I told her she could vocalize, but could not claw or bite anyone. I couldn’t get Demi to promise to behave, but she said she’d “try”. Robyn reported to me later that the vet visit went very well — no one was injured and Demi did cooperate, even though she was not happy. Demi got an extra special treat of tuna that night as a “thank you” for her good behavior!
A few weeks later we talked to Demi again, to see how she was feeling. Demi showed me that her low back/hips were tight, but not painful. Unfortunately, Demi had started peeing outside the litter box again. Her initial response was, “Oh, that again? It’s not a big deal — it’s just not always convenient” to use the litter box. I had a lengthy discussion with Demi about why it was important to use the litter box, reminding her that Bob had done everything she asked to make the litter box work for her and that if she could use the litter box sometimes, she could use it ALL the time. Demi started arguing with me, saying that she uses it when she feels like it. I told her that she had a nice place to live, good food and is well cared for and that the best way to thank her people for all that is to use the litter box all the time. She did not seem impressed with my suggestion and I was not confident that she’d comply.
At the beginning of June, a family member flew with Demi to FL so she could live with Robyn. We’d prepared Demi for the trip and she did great — of course, the sedative she received before leaving helped too! Demi had been excited about seeing Robyn again — but “not so much” about seeing Bug. When we let Bug know Demi was coming she said, “OH NO!”
The next few weeks after Demi came to FL were pretty stressful, as the cats worked things out between themselves. Bug made it clear to Demi that she wasn’t going to let Demi walk all over her and Demi gave as good as she got. Since Demi was stressed, she started peeing outside the litter box again. Robyn tried several different types of litter boxes and finally found one that Demi likes — an under the bed storage container with the lid removed.
Peace has not been restored totally — but the cats have mostly established a kind of tolerance for each other. Demi isn’t 100% on using the litter box yet — but she is getting better. Robyn says that it is Demi’s loving behavior toward people that is her best quality — she rubs on and will sit on anyone who comes into the apartment — including the plumber! As Robyn says, “Demi’s affectionate behavior balances out the times she makes me want to pull my hair out!”
So Robyn is going to love Demi through it — whatever it takes!
” Gaining the insight that our companions really do understand and strive to communicate with us has brought the bond between myself and my own animals even closer together.” — Robyn T., FL
Events in our lives can have a big impact on our animal friends. Sometimes they give us subtle signs that they are disturbed, other times it is very obvious. In either case, we need to listen so we can help them through it.
One such animal who was traumatized is Sadie, a 12 year old male Green-Cheeked Conure, whose person is a woman named Sam. Sam has loved and cared for Sadie since he was 8 weeks old. Sadly, Sam’s husband crossed to Spirit in 2010. In Sam’s words, “Sadie is all I have — he’s my best buddy.”
Sam was shocked to come home on October 26 to find that her locked home had been burglarized. Her first thought was not of the damage the thieves had done or the loss of her possessions but of her beloved Sadie. She immediately went to check to see if he was alright. Although unhurt, Sadie was clearly traumatized by the home invasion. Sam reports that despite her efforts to reassure Sadie and help him get past the traumatic event, Sadie wouldn’t interact with her and “would only perch at the back of his cage shaking and quaking.” Sadie wouldn’t eat or drink anything, much less chatter to Sam — even though he was quite a chatterer normally.
Although traumatized herself by the break-in, Sam was most concerned about her beloved Sadie. At the suggestion of a friend, Sam scheduled an appointment with me to talk to Sadie two weeks after the burglary.
As soon as I connected to Sadie, he started talking about the break-in . . . ” There wasn’t anything I could do —
I couldn’t stop them! ” He was so upset! If Sadie was a person, he would have been crying, he was in so much distress.
Sadie needed to vent his feelings about what happened before we could talk about anything else, so we let him talk. He felt it was his responsibility for taking care of the house when Sam was out (Sam admitted that she always said, ” Take care of the house, Sadie ” before she left the house). When the thieves broke in, Sadie felt helpless — there was nothing he could do but watch them. He was very literally caged and was powerless to stop them. He was terrified, but he could do nothing. He felt he’d let Sam down and that he had failed her. As Sadie continued to vent his feelings, I could feel him let go of the emotions and release the the trauma of the experience.
As Sam listened to Sadie’s words, she began crying. Sam was able to relive the experience of the break-in along with Sadie and release the feelings she had been holding in as well. Gradually, both Sam and Sadie were able to return to a place of better emotional balance.
I reassured Sadie that, for Sam, the only thing that was important was that he was safe. Sam said she did not know what she would have done if anything had happened to Sadie — she didn’t care what earthly possessions she lost, as long as he was safe. When I told Sadie this, he said, ” She isn’t mad at me for not taking care of things? ” I assured him she was not — that she was grateful that he stayed still in his cage and didn’t attract the attention of the thieves. All that mattered to Sam was that Sadie was safe. I could feel Sadie sigh with relief when he heard this!
We next told Sadie that from now on, Sam was going to take responsibility for keeping their house safe — that it wasn’t Sadie’s job any more. I explained the alarm system that Sam had purchased — that was challenging for Sadie to understand, but he got the point — that it was not up to him to guard the house any more. He said, ” I’m just a small bird, but I would still guard the house for her if she wanted me to. ” That brought tears to Sam’s eyes — and mine too — but we assured Sadie that Sam would be responsible for the safety of the house from then on.
I assured Sadie that his only job now was to be happy and be a loving companion for Sam. Sadie told me that was easy — he could definitely do that! I asked if he felt like he could start eating and drinking and chattering with Sam again. Sadie said he thought he could, because he felt so much better now.
Finally, Sam asked me to tell Sadie how much she loved him and that she was so grateful to have him in her life. Sadie said he that he sees Sam as his ” partner ” and would do everything he could to show her how much he loves her.
In the course of the conversation, I could feel Sadie’s energy go from extremely worried and upset to calm and happy . . . Sam’s energy improved during the conversation as well. It was a healing experience for both Sadie and Sam.
Sam emailed me a few weeks later to tell me that, immediately after our communication session, Sadie started eating and drinking and had returned to his normal chattery self! She said she also felt calmer and more relaxed and said that the appointment had been therapeutic for both of them.
” I called Sky after the break-in and she talked to Sadie and me — and calmed us both down immediately! Sky talked to Sadie again this spring — twice in two weeks, while I was on vacation in FL and Sadie was boarded at the vet’s to be safe. She checked on him, reassured him and told him what was happening. I can’t tell you how reassuring it is to have Sky in Sadie’s and my life! ” — Sam H., CO
When I tell people that I’ve talked to animals such as hermit crabs, snakes, fish or lizards their first question is generally, “But what could they possibly have to say?”
The answer is — a LOT! Animals of all kinds have opinions about their world, even if their world is as small as a terrarium.
One such opinionated being is Martin — a Leopard Gecko. Martin came to live with my client, Doreen, when Martin was given to Doreen’s husband by a client. As with all animals who come into her house, Doreen took Martin under her wing.
I had been talking to Doreen’s animals for many years, so Doreen knew that communicating with Martin to find out what he wanted and how he felt would be very helpful.
Doreen wanted to know how Martin liked his food. Martin said that he really liked the meal worms they’d been giving him. But his FAVORITE food was the crickets! It was so much fun to hunt them down and eat them Martin said. He loved the chase and would start stalking them as soon as crickets were put into his cage. Martin thought is was great that he could eat a few and still have others hopping around for hunting later. Doreen said that everyone in the family had noticed how much fun Martin had stalking the crickets and they loved watching him and cheering him on!
Doreen wanted to know how many crickets Martin wanted at a time, since they’d tried different numbers of them. Martin indicated to me that 6-10 crickets at a time was OK . . . but if Doreen gave them to him on a regular basis, 5 or 6 was enough. Doreen said she’d be sure to give Martin the crickets regularly, since he enjoyed them so much.
When I asked if there was anything else Martin liked to eat, he showed me something soft and squishy feeling that was whitish in color. Martin said it popped or smashed in his mouth, which he found enjoyable. It really didn’t seem to be fruit, but I couldn’t figure out what else it might be . . . Doreen said she’d do some research to see if she could figure it out. When I talked to Doreen the next time, she said that she figured out that Martin was talking about the moisture beads that come with the crickets. She’d checked to be sure they wouldn’t be toxic for Martin (they aren’t) and she had observed Martin chewing on them and seeking them out, so she figured that was what he was referring to.
We asked Martin how he liked his terrarium. He liked the plants and he really liked the heat lamp — it kept him nice and warm, which is important for a reptile. However, Martin said that when he was chasing down the crickets, he got warm on his own —so they could turn down the heat lamp a little when the chase was on. Doreen said she’d keep an eye on that.
We asked if Martin liked the location of his terrarium. Martin said he did — he said he felt like everyone paid attention to him, that they were always watching him, which he liked. I asked Doreen where his terrarium was (my feeling was that it was in a busy room, at the center of “the action”) — Doreen said Martin’s terrarium was in the family room next to the TV! Martin said he liked it when the family would come over and talk to him, but didn’t like it when someone tapped the glass. Doreen said she talked to Martin all the time. She said she would remind her children not to tap on the glass.
A few months later, Doreen and her family moved to a new home and Doreen wanted to check to see how Martin liked his new location. Martin asked if he could be moved to a “busier” spot in the new house. Martin felt like he was no longer at the center of the action and wanted more attention. Doreen admitted that he was no longer in the family room, but hoped that she’d be able to get him resettled there soon, after they finished getting settled in their new home.
Martin also said that he felt cooler in the new location than the old — it didn’t feel drafty when he showed it to me, but somehow not as warm. My feeling was that Martin’s terrarium was against an outside (rather than interior) wall — Doreen said this was correct and that would account for the decreased warmth. I suggested that she get a warmer bulb for his terrarium, which Doreen said she would do and she would get Martin moved to a better spot as soon as possible.
Doreen’s family is settled now in their new home and Martin’s terrarium has been relocated to a “busier” part of the house. He has a warmer bulb in his heat lamp and is continuing to enjoy the hunt for his favorite food, the crickets. Doreen and her family are giving Martin lots of attention. Martin is, again, a happy gecko!
“My biggest concern was that all of my animals have been mammals and I had no idea about reptiles! So, talking to Martin seemed like the best way to learn about Martin. I really did learn a lot from him. Martin knows my voice when I am in the room talking and he will come to the side of the terrarium and visit with me. Talking to Martin has been the best bonding for us!” — Doreen L., PA
I met Dualin Gun, a handsome Quarter Horse, only a few days after he was born. In reality, I knew him even before that — I’d been giving equine massage to his Mom through out her pregnancy.
Dualin’s person, a long time western horse-person named Gwen, couldn’t wait for Dualin to be born. His sire was a very successful western working cowhorse and his mother was Gwen’s own beautiful Quarter Horse mare, Charm. Gwen was confident that Dualin would would become the reining horse she had always wanted.
One of my favorite memories of Dualin occurred when he was about 2 years old. I was in Gwen’s barn massaging one of her other horses and we noticed Dualin standing in the field behind the barn. Gwen yelled “ Hello Dualin ” and waved to him . . . he must have thought she was calling him because he headed for the barn at a dead run! There was a moment of suspended motion before he hit the thin wire stretched across the open gait (he was thinking, “ Should I? ”) then he broke through the wire and kept coming toward the barn at a gallup! It was clear he wasn’t going to stop before he got to the barn, so I dragged the horse I was working on into a stall. But Gwen stood calmly in the middle of the aisle and waited for Dualin. He stopped on a dime, right in front of Gwen and she never flinched — just patted him on the nose when he stopped. Gwen trusted Dualin totally that day — and still does.
Gwen started Dualin’s training at home and followed up with a local trainer. We talked to Dualin when needed — to explain training issues so he could understand better what he needed to do. Dualin tried hard to do as he was asked. When the time was right, Gwen asked me to talk to Dualin about going to a professional trainer to learn reining. Dualin said he would try very hard — he knew how important this was to Gwen and wanted to be a good partner for her.
Dualin had been away at the trainers for a couple months when Gwen showed me a video of Dualin that the trainer had sent her. The trainer was trying to get Dualin to do a simple exercise to prepare him for fast reining spins. But Dualin kept trying to do the spins, not the simple exercise! When the trainer corrected him, Dualin cooperated . . . but Dualin seemed very unhappy the whole time.
We talked to Dualin that day . . . he said that reining was boring. He felt sad and unhappy doing the reining work. He said he could do everything they were trying to teach him already. Dualin said he knew how to do spins, sliding stops — everything. He didn’t understand why they wouldn’t just let him do it! Gwen confirmed that the trainer agreed that Dualin could do everything but he didn’t seem happy. I asked Dualin if he would be happy doing reining if he he was allowed to just do it . . . he said no, because it was SO boring — but he said he would do it if Gwen wanted him to. I asked Dualin what he wanted to do . . . he said, “ I need a cow. ” Gwen didn’t know how he could know about cows, since he had never met one — but Dualin was very clear with me that what he wanted was to work with cows.
When I told Gwen this, she knew she couldn’t force Dualin to just do reining. The last thing Gwen wanted to do was to break Dualin’s spirit. We asked Dualin if he’d be willing to do reining if she also did some cow work with him — Dualin said that would be OK, but he would only do reining if he could work with cows too.
Shortly after this Gwen and her horses moved to FL. Gwen watched Dualin the first day he was turned out in his new field. As he wandered around exploring, he suddenly focused on the fence area that was shared by the neighbor’s field, where a small herd of cows was standing by the fence. What Gwen observed amazed her . . . she saw Dualin go to the fence and start trying to work the cows through the fence! He had not had any training with cows — Dualin was working on pure instinct! Clearly, Dualin was a cowhorse through and through — working cows was the job he was hard wired to do. Gwen knew in her heart that she had to let Dualin do what his heart wanted to do.
Dualin received training in working cows and spent a summer on a working ranch in Montana with his trainer. We talked to Dualin while he was away — he was SO happy working the cows! He loved the long days, the independence and the trust that his rider had in him. Dualin loved every minute of his work that summer, but missed Gwen and was glad to be home with her when the summer ended.
Gwen and Dualin went on to train and compete in working cowhorse competitions. Gwen said they didn’t always win, but they always had fun. Gwen says that Dualin always knew what he needed to do to get the cow — she just has to “ get out of his way ” so he can do it.
Gwen tells the story of one time at a lesson when Dualin was so determined to get the cow, that when the cow ran and through the arena fence – then plowed into the seating area, Dualin kept right on the cow and went right through the rubble of the fence and seating, right behind the cow! That might sound scary, but Gwen said she had complete faith in Dualin and knew he’d keep her safe — and he always does.
Dualin is retired from showing but he and Gwen still take trail rides and Dualin insists on trailering to every horse show with the horse Gwen is showing — he will NOT be left out of the action! As Dualin’s Mom did before him, Dualin watches out for Gwen — and continues to bring joy and laughter to her life.
“ I feel very blessed to have Sky in my life and in my horses’ lives. She provides that missing link which enables me to be sure I am doing the best I can for each of them. I feel more in tune with their well being and am confident that I am not taking them in a direction that they are not equipped for mentally or physically. Sky’s ‘conversations’ with several of my horses have truly warmed my heart and made me feel so much closer to them. ” — Gwen A., FL
All animals, just as all people, like to have a purpose. But some dogs have a very special purpose — to search and find people buried in piles of rubble. These dogs are remarkable in every way and it has been my privilege to talk to a number of them.
One such dog is Aedan, an Australian Shepard, whose person is Jane. In October, Jane talked to me about Aedan, who was in training to be a search dog. Jane was very concerned. Aedan wasn’t progressing with his training. Jane said Aedan seemed confused and didn’t seem to understand what he was supposed to do. In fact, he was actually regressing in his training.
Aedan showed me that he would constantly stop and look to Jane for guidance during training. Jane confirmed that this was exactly what he did. Aedan was not at all confident and kept feeling like he was “ doing it wrong. ” My feeling was that Aedan was a very sensitive dog, which made him sensitive to his person’s energies and to the energies of the practice “ victims ”. Jane said that the ” victim ” was crucial to the training, since the reward for the “ find ” was the “ victim’s ” interaction/play with the dog. I suggested that she try being more of a cheerleader for Aedan. He needed and wanted Jane’s approval. I suggested that Jane correct Aedan if he went wrong, but then let it go — support him and encourage him, not be tough on him. Jane really wanted Aedan to succeed, so she agreed to try this.
Next we focused on making sure Aedan understood what he needed to do — that when Jane said, “ Go find ” he needed to search the whole rubble pile until he found the buried person’s scent, then stop and “ alert ” (bark continuously) until he was released. Aedan showed me that he was only barking once, very weakly, because he wasn’t sure that was what he was supposed to do. I assured him that the bark alert was correct — but that he needed to keep barking until he was released and got to play with a toy for a reward. I also suggested that he use his “ big boy ” bark — he said he understood now and would be able to do what he needed to do.
Jane thought it might help Aedan if he understood what his job was about. I asked Aedan what he thought the training was all about — he said he thought it was a game and about playing with the toy at the end — it didn’t seem important to him. I told Aedan that it wasn’t really about the toy — that he was training for a very important job that only very special dogs like him could do. I told him that he could help keep people from crossing to Spirit too soon by finding them in the rubble. I told him that if he could learn his job well, he would get to travel to new places and find people he’d never met before. I told Aedan that Jane couldn’t do the work (the scenting and searching) that only he could do it. I reminded him what his job was — to search the rubble pile, find the scent, follow it to source and bark continuously to alert where the scent was coming from. I told him that not many dogs could do this work — but he had the skills, the nose and the smarts to do it! I could feel him puff up with pride in himself for the first time in the conversation!
The next practice, Jane said she was a cheerleader for Aedan — and he was a star! He worked independently, was able to deal with shifting rubble — even a board that flipped up and hit him. When Aedan found the “ victim ”, he gave his “ big boy ” bark! In Jane’s words, “ The cheerleader in me told Aedan he was awesome and physically rubbed and petted him — could a dog hold his head higher? ”
We checked in with Aedan in November. He’d been doing very well. He said he was having fun finding new people (practice “ victims ” he didn’t know). It felt to me that with each new experience, Aedan was becoming more confident — he knew what he needed to do, he knew his work was important and he was having fun doing it. Aedan had found his purpose!
In January, Jane asked me to talk to Aedan again. Jane had taken Aedan to FL to practice at a search dog training area there. I asked Aedan how he liked searching in a new place and finding new people. His energy was very confident. He said he knew his job is important. He said he was “ thorough and careful ” on the rubble piles and that he liked the puzzle of figuring out how to be safe and find the person.
Jane asked if it would be possible for Aedan to search faster — not less careful, just quicker. I asked Aedan if he had to “ think ” about being safe — he said he didn’t. He said, “ I feel the rubble with the pads of my feet ” and could jump off to a safe spot without needing to think about it. I suggested that he try leaving being safe on the rubble piles to his intuition (which he was already doing) so he could focus on scenting and searching — that if he could do this, he’d be able to search faster. He said he’d never thought of that, but he felt he could do it.
We asked Aedan if he thought the fun part of searching was playing with the toy after he found the person or searching and finding the person — he said it was searching and finding that was the most fun — that the real reward was finding the person. Jane asked if Aedan understood that he was special — he said, “ Yes — I’m not like other dogs. I get to go on the part of the plane where the people go! ”
Aedan is still in training, but Jane hopes that soon he will be ready to test his skills so he can join the elite group of dogs who help people in desperate need — people whose lives depend on the dog’s skills, courage and determination to find those who need to be found.
“ I was ready to wash Aedan from the training and came to Sky as a last resort. Sky, thanks for finding out the issues/roadblocks Aedan was having. I really like seeing his focus and determination. Aedan had several agility/rubble issues in training this week that shook him, but he sucked it up and continued! He did not freeze! He pushed ahead — I’m so proud of him! ” — Jane S., MD
One of the most common issues animals have is anxiety when their person leaves them. For some animals, even having their person leave for 5 minutes can cause anxiety and for others, being gone for work is a major issue.
Inevitably, there will be times when you need to be away for longer periods — a week, two weeks, even a month or more. It’s always a good idea to let your animals know you’ll be away and for how long, where they’ll be staying while you’re gone and who will be taking care of them and also to answer any other concerns they might have. This can be done through a communication session or by connecting with your animals yourself. Most animals will do just fine when their person is away for longer periods, whether they stay at home with a live in pet sitter, have a pet sitter visit every day or if they spend the time in a kennel or cattery.
Others . . . not so much!
For the worriers, one of the things that I’ve found that can be really helpful is what I call a “check-in”. These are short communication sessions that I do telepathically, while the person is away — without the animal’s person on the phone with me — to make sure the animal are doing OK, to find out if they are having any problems and to remind the animal when their person will be back. After the session, I email the animal’s person to let them know how their animal is doing.
Recently I had a client, Donetta, who was going to Europe for twelve days. She has two older dogs — Jazzy, who is very relaxed and goes with the flow and Charlie, who was a rescue and came with issues. Through previous communications, we’d found out Charlie was claustrophobic, especially when confined to a crate or confined in the house during the day alone. Donetta worked out a solution that worked well for Charlie. Before Donetta’s two week trip, she hired a pet sitter to be at the house at night and care for the dogs — but she was concerned that Charlie would worry, due to the change in his routine. We scheduled a communication session before her trip, so both dogs would know what the plan would be. Charlie was concerned, but was reassured that I’d check in with them while Donetta was away. I checked in with Charlie and Jazzy twice while Donetta was away. Jazzy was fine, but she was concerned about Charlie! The first time I checked in with Charlie, he was trying to be brave, but was concerned about when Donetta would be home. Although the dogs were cared for, the pet sitter was not following through completely, which concerned Charlie. I reassured him and confirmed that he was OK, being fed and was warm enough. Charlie’s energy felt much better (less worried) at the end of the talk. During the second check in, Charlie told me he knew Donetta would be home soon and couldn’t wait to greet her!
Sometimes the worrier is the person, not the animal. One of my clients, Kristin, had the opportunity to travel over seas for a month with her husband. Kristin scheduled a pet sitter who she had total confidence in . . . but Kristin was still concerned about her beloved kitties — especially Jasmine, who was older and was having some health issues. Kristin asked if I could check in with her cats twice a week, which I did. The cats couldn’t wait for Kristin to come home and they were grateful for the check ins . . . like having a friend call to make sure you’re OK. One day I received an email from Kristin between check ins. The pet sitter had emailed and said that Jasmine wouldn’t eat her wet food. Jasmine tended to be thin, so not eating was a big problem. The pet sitter tried several cans of food from the open case of canned food, but no luck — Jasmine wouldn’t eat any of it! Kristin asked me to find out what was going on. When I asked Jasmine, she said the canned food smelled “bad” to her. I asked if she was hungry and she said yes — she wanted to eat, but not if it smelled “bad”. I emailed this information to Kristin — she instructed the pet sitter to open a tin of wet food from a different case of cat food. Jasmine immediately ate the food from the new case without a problem! Perhaps the food had gone “off” or been contaminated somehow . . . but finding out from the cat what the problem was prevented an unnecessary vet visit and worry for Kristin!
Vacation should be an enjoyable experience for you and as stress free as possible for your animals. Letting your animals know what your trip plans are, how they’ll be cared for while you gone and, if needed, having “check ins” planned for the time you’re away, can go a long way toward decreasing worry for you and for them.
“ I want to tell you, Sky, how very helpful it was to have you talk to our dogs during our recent twelve day vacation. Before we left, you explained to the dogs that we would be gone and when we would return. You explained to them who would be caring for them and how it was going to work. I believe the most important part however was that you talked to the dogs twice while we were abroad and emailed us after you talked to them to let us know how they were doing. This was such a help for the dogs — and for us! Having you checking on them during our vacation was helpful to all involved and eased our worry immensely. Thank you for your wonderful help with the 4 legged ones in our family and the 2 legged ones too! ” — Donetta Z., CO
I talked to Abigail and Elliot the first time at a metaphysical fair in Denver, CO. Elliot is a very handsome Siamese cat and Abigail is a lovely Siamese cross cat. Their person is a kind and caring woman named Cindy.
Since that first conversation, we’ve talked many times. Cindy is so happy to be able to find out what her kitties are thinking! Cindy has an excellent intuition and often tells me that I confirm what she felt was happening with her cats – but it’s good to hear it direct from them, she says.
It was clear from the beginning that these two cats couldn’t be more different! Abigail is very self assured and relaxed about everything. Elliot is a worrier and needs lots of reassurance. When we ask Abigail how she is, generally she’ll say, “I’m fine – but you should talk to Elliot.” When I ask Elliot how he’s doing – he tells me everything!
Elliot has some health issues we’ve had to address – pancreatitis and hypothyroidism. The pancreatitis makes Elliot nauseous – which can lead to vomiting at times, but this improves if he eats regularly. But it always came down to Elliot being afraid that if he ate he’d throw up. Cindy never got upset when Elliot threw up – she always told him it was OK, so he didn’t have pressure from her. But Elliot hated the indignity and the loss of control he felt when he would vomit. We talked to Elliot about this a number of times . . . still, he just couldn’t stop being upset about throwing up.
One day Cindy gave Abigail some treats, which she wolfed down – eating is never a problem for Abigail! Abigail ate the treats very quickly – and immediately vomited. It didn’t phase Abigail a bit – she just went right back to eating treats! But Cindy reported that Elliot had observed this and looked stunned.
Soon thereafter Elliot had an episode of nausea/not eating. When I spoke to Elliot, the first thing he told me about was not how he was feeling – it was that Abigail had thrown up! He couldn’t believe she’d done it (he seems to think she’s perfect) and he was stunned because, “she didn’t even care that she’d thrown up!” I suggested to him that if Abigail wasn’t worried about throwing up, he didn’t need to worry either. This was a revolutionary concept to Elliot – not caring about throwing up – but he said he’d try to remember. He’s gotten much better about not worrying if he gets nauseous/throws up and he gets back to eating much more quickly now. We asked Elliot what kind of food would taste good when he’s nauseous. He showed me something thin and not solid — Cindy said that she sometimes had given Elliot baby food. Since then, whenever Elliot has tummy troubles, baby food still goes down well.
Another issue Elliot has had was with his medication for the hypothyroidism. Elliot will not take a pill and won’t eat food with medicine in it, so the vet prescribed a cream that Cindy can rub into his ears twice a day. Elliot always ran away from Cindy when it was time to apply the cream – Cindy finally got fed up with the chase game and asked me to talk to Elliot about it. It took a few conversations but it gradually got better. Elliot had to understand that if he didn’t let Cindy apply the cream, he’d have to take a pill (Elliot admitted the cream was better than a pill), he had to understand that if he didn’t get the cream that he would go to Spirit sooner than needed (he was definitely NOT ready to go to Spirit yet) and he needed to understand that the chase game before Cindy applied the cream was NOT fun for Cindy and had to stop. I showed him a picture of what Cindy wanted – Elliot coming to her willingly when it was time for her to apply the cream, letting her apply it and getting lots of loving after – and he agreed to cooperate. He’s been quite cooperative since then – he needs a reminder now and then, but over all, he let’s Cindy apply the cream without any chasing before hand!
Elliot is always very appreciative when we talk to him and always asks me to tell Cindy that he loves her. Abigail says it’s good for Elliot to talk to me – that he really needs to talk – but it’s “nice” that I talk to her too. Elliot says that Abigail really likes it when we talk to her – but we all know she’d never say it . . . just like she doesn’t usually say directly that she loves Cindy – but we all know she does! I told Elliot that it’s always nice to talk to him and Abigail — he said, ”You’re our friend and we like to talk to you too!”
“I am so thankful to you for everything you do for Elliott and Abigail. I believe next to me your are Elliott’s favorite person!” – Cindy T., TX