It’s a question I receive quite frequently from folks: “Can’t you just tell the animal to do something and fix it? You’re the animal communicator!” I may not hear those exact words but the intent behind the queries is always the same.
I once received that question from a clerk at the local hardware store in the small town in which I lived. She was a dog lover so our conversations often revolved around our dogs. I mentioned my dog Max had given me a vagabond Valentine’s Day gift: he had gotten off his leash and took off running after a cat. He was gone for over an hour, luckily a neighbor found him and brought him home.
There was a very pregnant silence, and then it came: “If you’re an animal communicator and you talk to animals, why don’t you just tell your dog to quit chasing cats and stay in his yard?”
This question was asked most recently after someone had read my post “Animal Communication: Why Kill The Messenger?”.
Variations Of The Questions
Usually by the time people are asking me this question, it’s an indication they have reached the end of their rope. They have often worked with knowledgeable vets and trainers, which has helped, yet the situation or problem still exists albeit at a different level. Folks just want the problem fixed! And who can blame them?
The most gut wrenching way I have heard this question is when it’s posed not as a question but as an ultimatum: “I’m tired of what’s been happening and don’t know what else to do. Either you fix the problem or the cat/dog/bird/etc is going to the humane society. I can’t deal with this any more.”
As Clear As Mud?
However the question is worded, it’s both an excellent and a fair one. My answers to this question are as varied as the forms of the question themselves. It’s a fact of life that people like having their questions answered directly and succinctly, giving them explicit information upon which to take action. I think I often leave folks confused and befuddled, as there is more to this question than meets the eye. I can’t help but think that sometimes the answers can be perceived as clear as mud!
Usually I start off by gently asking how committed the human is to this relationship. That’s not as harsh as it may sound. It takes two to tango, so to speak, and this tango takes place between the animal and their human. I am not a tango-ee, simply an intermediary.
Assuming the human in committed and ready to tango, I launch into talking about relationship-with instead of power-over the animals, explaining that just like humans, animals have free will: they are in charge of their own life destiny. At best, people are often very uncomfortable hearing that; usually it’s a foreign concept to the person. However, when you believe as I do that animals are sentient beings and our kin, that means I need to respect their desires and decisions, just as I do with fellow humans.
Taking that a step further, when I am in dialogue with a sentient soul of a different species, I need to actively listen to their side of the dialogue, listen to their point of view and digest what they are saying. I need to step out of my human-ness, away from my agenda and try to comprehend life from that sentient soul’s perspective as much as I am able.
I continue to learn that it is quite detrimental when I make the assumption that simply because I am the human in the conversation that I am automatically in the right and the other species will simply acquiesce to my will. My horse Shiloh made that abundantly clear when he told me: “Just because you’re human and it’s your idea, that doesn’t always constitute a good idea.”
Humans Are Not Entitled
Animal communication is at its best when used as a tool to create a mutual beneficial relationship between sentient species, not used as a tool to secure power over another species.
We humans totally ignore the fact we are animals too and as such, the human animal is not entitled to power over other animals. We co-habit this planet with our animal kin and it does work more harmoniously when we are in right relationship with each other.
Sure, I can talk with animals and relay the request to stop doing whatever behavior it is that bothers us humans. But truthfully, how effective is that?
When I was growing up and would question my mom about something, her response fell into one of two categories. It was either “Because I said so, that’s why” or “Because I’m your mother, that’s why”. Neither response helped me understand what was happening, why it was happening and certainly was not a motivation for me to change whatever I was doing.
As a client once said, she had noticed that telling her dog to do something was about as effective as telling her teenage son to clean his room!
Through the years I’ve learned animal communication is at its best when used as a tool to create a mutual beneficial relationship between sentient species, not used as a tool to secure power over another species. It’s time for all of us humans to reassess our relationship with our animal kin and ask ourselves what it means to be in right relationship with them.
Some Ideas To Help Us Be In Right Relationship
- Look at life from the animal’s point of view. As my horse Shiloh so bluntly and honestly said “Just because you’re human and it’s your idea, that doesn’t always constitute a good idea.” A good way to start this is by observing body language. If you take your dog to daycare and s/he doesn’t want to get out of the car, what does that say? Is s/he tired, sore, not feeling well, would rather be with you than in daycare? What options are available that are supportive of both your dog’s needs and yours?
- Pay attention to how you refer to animals. Be aware of the words you use. The words ‘owner’ and ‘pet’ create a hierarchy of the human over the pet. When we use the word ‘pet’ itself, we unconsciously create the context of that creature being wholly dependent on us for their well-being, thereby putting them at our beck and call. Pay attention to the pronouns you use when referring to animals. ‘It’ refers to an object, not a sentient being.
- The next time an animal catches your attention, take time and simply pay attention to them. Notice what’s going on. What do you see the animal doing? What do you hear? What feelings does that animal elicit in you at that time? So often we take the ‘being’ in right relationship as a given when we’re not anywhere close to ‘being’, we’re stuck in our human-ness.
It is when we allow another the freedom to live their own life that we are in true relationship with that being.
Here’s To New Beginnings,