If you’re an animal lover like I am, you’ll have no problem embracing the notion that all animals – tame, domesticated, captive, and wild — think, react, and communicate among themselves and, more importantly, with us. Our experiences with them have confirmed this fact.
And if you know that humans are essentially spiritual beings, as I do, then it’s likely you believe, as do I, that animals are spiritual beings too. In fact, my life experiences with animals have convinced me that they are far more enlightened than we are.
More than one animal lover has declared animals far better at offering unconditional loving-kindness and forgiveness than any human! I have often said that animals can teach us a thing or two (or two hundred) about how to live life as gracefully as possible.
Have you heard about Koko, the sign language-adept gorilla, meeting her favorite and most-watched TV celebrity, Mister Rogers, and taking off his shoes because she had seen him do that on every episode of Mister Rogers Neighborhood.
Or how about the documented cases of wild dolphins rescuing humans who have fallen overboard.
At one point, we had a dozen llamas living together with a gelded horse named Brio. One morning early, before the sun was up, Mama Llama, who had been pregnant for close to a year, gave birth. (llamas and alpacas, or camelids, have a pregnancy that averages a whopping 11.5 months) Eric and I were sleeping outside in a tent, near the blessed event, and Brio galloped over and whinnied excitedly that he had just had a baby! I guess the fact that Brio had been gelded young hadn’t daunted his desire to be a father nor was he troubled that the infant was of another species – he couldn’t have been prouder as he pranced around the field!
And if you’ve ever had a cat, dog, horse, or some other kindred spirit in animal guise approach you because you’re in pain, to be with you to lend their support and comfort, you have all the proof you’ll ever need that our animals are proactively ministerial and compassionate guardian angels.
One of my students, Kris, told me she had a Siamese cat named Charisma who she swore was psychic. Whenever Kris would have a truly distressing thought, the cat would run to her from outside with a loud “meow,” as if he had been summoned by her, although Kris hadn’t said a word! Kris told me she even tried faking the sensation of distress, but doing so elicited no response from Charisma. Only the real emotion worked, and it worked every time, no matter where the cat was. It was as though he had whisker-like appendages attached to his favorite person that notified him of her emotional status.
I love the song in Doctor Doolittle called Talk to the Animals. Sadly, though, a lot of people who haven’t experienced close contact with animals consider interactive communication with them whimsical, wishful thinking, or — in skeptical scientific terms —largely speculative and anthropomorphic projection.
Like many other animal lovers, I respect my pets and don’t consider myself their owner. We animal lovers realize we share the earth with all these other remarkably aware beings – beings that are so much more evolved than we are.
Are you aware that cats don’t meow to each other? Meowing is an adaptation they came up with; researchers postulate that their meows are their best impression of a human baby crying. “Baby cries; caregiver comes! I will try that! Voila! Success!!!” (Two exceptions: young, still-nursing kittens will squeak out a meow-like vocalization to call their mothers back to them, and nursing mother cats will meow to notify their offspring that they’re returning or looking for them.)
Among themselves, cats chirp, tweet, hiss, spit, purr, groom each other, and tussle. Their meows, after weaning, are for us alone. So, cats learned to speak literally eons before our scientists in the West decided to try to figure out what the rest of their vocal repertoire was all about!
I had so many conversations with my Dutch warmblood horse, Influence, across the years — some uproariously funny, others profound. In fact, he spoke better English than I spoke Horse!
A lot of people converse with their pets. Part whimsy, sure, but true communication, soul to soul, is occurring. You can call a beloved pet a derogatory term just for fun (one person I know calls her dog “turd butt”) but it will feel how much love you have for them. That’s because it isn’t the language you’re using that’s communicating; it’s your soul, your undamaged, loving essence.
Animals respond to what you’re actually feeling. They’re not fooled by your Oscar-worthy acting ability.
Pretending to be patient when trying to get a puppy to return to you goes over like a lead balloon. The puppy knows you’re feeling frustrated and maybe even angry, and that’s what it will respond to. It will decide whether it’s going to feel safe and ready to comply with your request.
Animals communicate verbally and non-verbally. Some of their nonverbal communications include flickering ears, wagging (or sagging or unmoving and level) tails, and a physical reaction called piloerection, which is when some of the hair on their bodies stands upright. (For humans, goosebumps are our body’s honest effort to raise our hackles.)
Being able to communicate back can have a profound impact on your life – making you a better person, allowing you to tap more fully into the healing power of your animal friends, and allowing you to return the favor of providing the healing energy they also need as living beings.
If your pets remain a mystery to you, here’s a suggestion. Put on your Keen Observer/Researcher hat. Emulate Jane Goodall as closely as possible.
With patience and persistence, your pets — and the crows in your backyard, and the woodland and barnyard creatures that they communicate with — will become an open book to you.
This kind of sleuthing will become so much fun that you’ll find ways to do it every chance you get. And your pets and the environment will be just that much better off because of your new adventure in talking to, and with, the animals in your life.
If you are looking for a bit more guidance on how you can become a better communicator for your animal friend, how you can connect with the more deeply, and how you can better exchange healing energies to improve each others’ lives – consider accessing our Communicating with Pets and Animals course here >>