I started talking with animals…
in 2001. At the time, I was not what you’d call an intuitive. I was a product manager for a software company. I had three kids, three dogs, two cats, a loving partner (who is now my husband) and a big fat Portland mortgage.
I don’t come from generations of mystics and seers. I’m not someone raised on tarot cards and vision quests. I was raised a Lutheran in Minnesota. Sure, I was a little creative and quirky, but nobody expected me to go woo.
Anyway, in 2002, we adopted a 9-year-old weimaraner named Beulah. She had been dropped off at the weimaraner rescue by her owner, a single guy who ditched her to marry a lady that hated dogs. I mean, who does this?
Beulah had a rough transition. She had only known one owner. She had never lived with dogs or cats or kids. She was a cranky, sensitive dog and she was ours.
One morning, several weeks into this new arrangement, I woke up around 4 am. I’m not much of a morning person.
I sat up in bed wondering, “Why am I awake?”
Then I felt a wave of deep sadness in my heart. It was a gut-wrenching feeling. I looked over in the dim light and saw Beulah sitting up on her dog bed.
I heard her say, “What did I do?”
I said, “What?”
She said, “What did I do that he made me leave home and come here?”
“Oh Beulah!” I said, “You didn’t do anything! You’re our Beulah and we love you.”
I sat on the floor by her. I pet her back and rubbed her ears for about 20 minutes, and Beulah sadly settled down and fell asleep.
I sat by her dog bed and thought, “What just happened?”
No More Words
Later that day, I walked by Beulah, who was laying regally on my couch.
Okay, I thought, Let me try this.
I reached out to her with my mind, and said, “Hey Beulah, How’s it going?”
She stared back at me. I heard nothing.
It was like whatever magic I had experienced was gone. What I didn’t know then is that it’s easiest to pet whisper with animals when the situation is emotionally charged. That’s why I had heard her earlier that morning.
Prior to that morning, I thought that you had to be someone really special, magical, mystical to talk with animals. The reality is that we all already do it to some extent, and that nearly anyone can get good at it, if they practice.
Beulah lived to be 13 years old. She learned to really love her life with us. She became a happy, bossy girl, in charge of dogs, cats, kids and also my shoes, which she carried around the house and hid in unexpected places.
That was the beginning of my journey.
My Teacher, Bert
We adopted an old horse named Bert. He was on a kill lot, headed to slaughter, when some kind people paid the ransom and took him to a foster home. Bert was so thin that you could count his ribs, and they didn’t know if they could save him. Three months of groceries and a quiet pasture helped a lot. But, unfortunately, Bert had an injured leg that wasn’t going to heal.
A 3-legged horse is not long for this world. The vet thought he had about 2 months to live when I adopted him. He hobbled around on his 3 legs, and sometimes he rested his rump on the wall of his stall.
I didn’t want Bert to suffer. I thought we were at the end of our story. We weren’t. Much to his frustration, I treated him like he was dying.
One day, I said out loud, something to the effect of, “Hey buddy, is it your time to go?”
And he very clearly, and with some salty language told me what I could do with myself.
That started us on an 18-month journey, where he taught me all of the ways that animals try to communicate with us. He taught me how to be present.
He taught me so much. His very clear voice was the first that I consistently heard..
Bert Passed Away in 2006
He didn’t just teach me the ins and outs of intuitive animal communication. He taught me about dedication and courage and kindness and to never treat anyone like a lost cause.
We adopted another horse, Ed who had been severely traumatized before he came to live with us. Ed was a beautiful bay, perfectly sound in body, but very mentally ill. He was skittish and reactive, unsafe to be around.
We boarded him for a year, and we thought we could fix him. We hired trainers. We tried natural horsemanship. I followed the work of Mark Rashid (who is amazing). Ed would do well for awhile, and then he’d relapse into a wild-eyed horse who didn’t recognize us and was afraid of a halter. Then we’d start again. He never got over the trauma. He remained broken for the rest of his life.
But, when we rented a farm and brought Ed home, Bert immediately made friends with him. And every day after, those two would wander the pastures together, never more than a few feet apart. Even though Bert was old and injured, he was Ed’s gentle leader. We didn’t try to train him. We just let him be. And even though he still had moments of fear and trauma, he was really happy for that year. We owe that to Bert.
But Bert couldn’t stay. Ed spent a few more peaceful years in a retirement pasture, and then he passed away too.
I owe everything to Bert, and I hope that I see him again.
78 Case Studies
Before I put out my sign, I wanted to make sure that I was really good at it. I have many internet friends who were also involved in horse and dog rescue, up and down the west coast. I sent them emails, asking for pictures of their pets and 3-5 questions that they knew the answer to, and then as many questions as they wanted that they didn’t know the answer to.
I did seventy-eight of these case studies over eighteen months. My accuracy rate was about 85%. After the case studies, I spent six months doing as many pro-bono sessions as I could.
In October 2008, I went pro.
I am celebrating my eleventh year of working with people and their pets!
Working with animals for this long has changed my worldview. After talking with literally thousands of animals, I feel like life is both sacred and gritty. A dog can be a holy teacher who, at the same time, likes to find dead things to roll in.
Literally, life is happening in holy and earthy ways at the same time, all of the time, and we are here to love one another, and to enjoy the company of one another, and to solve problems and lessen the suffering of each other.
Animals are the best at showing us these lessons. I feel lucky to have a job where I am in direct contact with so many amazing pets and their people!