A Recent Letter

In my role as a communicator – all creatures, animals, your forebears, mine – I sometimes receive a letter. Since most are not handwritten – or written at all – I don’t have much trouble with interpretation. This most recent missive is from a dog.

By the way, I was going to write about the world situation, politics, ethics, (now, there’s a word that hasn’t risen its head for quite some time!) the beauty surrounding us this autumn, but I kept making draft after draft, never getting it quite right. And then, when I was looking up, I got this letter. I’m not sure whose dog it might be. I’m doing some research on that. In the meantime, see if it strikes a chord.

Dear my Now person with whom I live and to whom it might concern,

Why did you bring me here and what do you want?

Who are you? Perhaps I should have asked that first. Perhaps I should have had you fill out a form but I don’t know how to make one. If I were you that’s what I would do, I would make you fill out a form and then I would teach you how to sit up straight and beg and roll over. I wouldn’t show you off to anyone, that’s too embarrassing for anyone, even a human being. But first I would have you fill out a form. Now, back to you, why did you bring me here? Why weren’t you better prepared? Didn’t anyone tell you what it was like to be with a dog? I know you would use the expression “have a dog” but I don’t like being had. I like being with. I don’t know what you like. I don’t think it’s being with because you leave me all day and ignore me all night so, back to my question. Why? Why am I here? Why did you put me on a plane and drive forever to get me and drive forever to put me in this place you call home. I don’t know what home is. I never had one before. I always heard they were what every dog wanted. A home was what we dreamed of back in the kennel. We never thought of it in the wild, on the streets of the wild. We only were told about its existence when we were taken to the kennel. We thought it would be better than the kennel, we didn’t like the kennel much because it smells bad and the light is harsh. But we didn’t have to fight, that’s a relief, and we got food. When I think about it now, from this place you call home, that I have to call home – whatever that is – the kennel had some nice parts. People for one. People who were cheerful and I could tell they were doing their best, whatever that is. But I learned from those who were doing it that “best” means a smile even though it switches to a worry face as they go by. When they see me they smile and sometimes I smile back. I’m big on sharing, it’s something we did in the Pack. Being here, I’ve learned to appreciate that. Even though it’s not so smelly here and the light is better. I miss the smiles in the kennel. I don’t even know where the kennel is or whether I’ll ever see it. I don’t know whether I’ll ever see the happy face on the counter or the bowl of what I learned to call treats by the desk where people talked on the phone. I found out the phone is very handy. You can do all kinds of things with it and if you use it enough all sorts of things happen. Is that how I got here? Back to why am I here? Was it the phone? Back to my question. What do you want? Why did you come to get me? Why did you make such a big deal, drive hours and hours with that determined look on your face. I assume you looked like that before I was in the car. You certainly look like that now! Maybe I caused it all. That’s a terrible thought. This is truly a bad situation. What am I doing here? Why do you want me to be here? What do you want me to do? What do you want to do? How are we going to manage this? Didn’t they train you before you came to get me? Didn’t anyone tell you anything about what it would be like. They treat you like a saint, but you’re not. I won’t say I like the smell of the street wild or the lights and I won’t say it wasn’t confusing, but I learned things there. I learned where to go and who to trust – well, for the most part. I don’t know who to trust here and there is no place to go, no place to learn the ropes and no one to learn them from. Let me repeat, “Why am I here? What shall I do? Where is there for me to go? I saw you writing on a form they gave you to fill out at the kennel, what did you say? What do you know? How does it relate to me? What do you want? Why am I here? Why did you bring me here, all those miles, in that traffic, how did you decide to do it? Why did you decide to do it? What did you decide to do and what can we do about it?


Enter This Life

“Just come back more as you are!”

Was what one of my teachers was told when she trekked to Japan to meet an abbess with a question about her own re-birth.

Startled and speechless she entered her three month retreat with the fulness of her being and continued just as she was – as she is.

Here is something for all of us. No matter what. It’s about belief, faith and acceptance.

Just be yourself. No matter what.

Need help? Ask your companion animal.

20130830-155609.jpgHAVE A GREAT DAY!!!!





We keep our eyes on our feral cat Mamacita. We house her in a heated abode and when she doesn’t want to sleep there, we make sure there is another choice – also heated. Perhaps the wind is coming from the wrong direction, we make sure she has choices.
Her water dish is heated and refreshed regularly. Her food is offered room temperature and fresh. She allows us to pet her most of the time. This has all taken about four years.
When she is here we feel relaxed, part of a larger whole. We pay some of the same attention to the birds and other, what we call creatures, that we live with and around. We have the ability to think we make their life better and we depend on that.
When Mamacita is elsewhere – we don’t know where – we are on the lookout. Somewhat uncomfortable in our skin. Is she OK? Will she come back? Did something eat her? It can be an internal (interfamily) struggle sometimes – one of us says keep her thinner so she can run fast and another may say she needs to be warm and able to go days without food if that were to become necessary. But no one of us can resist her face at the window, so she is fed generously.
She has given us three kittens and we have given her the end of her motherhood in a moment of neutering – where it was assured she would never be tamed. We think it may take a bit more time and we think she will be inside with us one day. We are not (collectively) sure if this will be a great moment in our history!
In the meantime, we lean on her for our self approval. And when she doesn’t reject our care, when she takes in our nurturance, we are so happy and feel so blessed.




How to be Your Best Friend’s Best Friend

Last night a dear friend texted to get help with her brother’s dying dog who happened to be the sibling and litter mate of her own dog. She was worried about her dog as well as her brother’s and wanted to know how they were handling what was going on for them all.
When I went to speak to Sugar, the dog whose death from cancer was imminent, I got a huge wave of concern for my friend. I called her immediately and heard her confusion in what the focus of concern and help should be.
She had a lot going on, the death and possible pain of Sugar, the chance that this could happen to her own dog and her own concern for herself and her brother. A lot of emotional threads.
I think this is the thing I really do in animal communication. I listen for the threads and put them together in a way that soothes the humans involved. The vet had told them Sugar was not in pain, Sugar told me another story and said that this pain was not a big deal, she was ready to die and be away from the discomfort and, yes, pain that life was bringing her now. She was ready was her main theme.
Actually the most impacted was my friend’s dog who was apart from her, she is a nervous dog to begin with and her companion was emotionally torn and confused. Dogs can stand a lot. They have a resilience that boggles our minds and hearts. They are patient and forgiving beyond our wildest imaginations, but it is hard for them to have the people they look to as their chief focus be overwhelmed.
One of the best ways we can help our companions is to take a break, a breath, a walk. Do what they want for a few minutes a few times a day – walks, treats, a little panting never hurts. It could change us into being the humans they treat as if we already are.




Our walk this morning included an unexpected excitement. Scads of horses and trailers, riders and dogs just a few hundred yards from our path. The hunt was on. Jules had never seen so much commotion! He raced to it and halfway there I called him back. This is a shot of his return to me. Joyous, finding deep satisfaction every moment. I love Jules. He is my idol on this morning and so many others.

Leashed and Free

Cho and Jules

Lately I’ve been walking with Liam on a leash.
I noticed (for the last few years…I can be slow) that Cho takes his walk with us in a wide arc. It dawned on me that he might be avoiding Liam who goes after Cho’s neck and then Cho easily outruns him. When he gets far enough away and Liam has given up, Cho stops and eats grass.
As I said it’s taken me a while to notice that Cho spends most of his time eating grass. Typically he runs a few circles around us and then he stays a distance away but is always with us.
So now that Liam is leashed, Cho almost heels! He does his run and then he hangs with us. He even comes into the dog gate with the rest of us – Guinnie, who is always on a leash, Jules who follows behind my heels and Liam who until recently has been free to jump at all our necks at will.
My lesson is that Cho doesn’t really want to be far away. He really wants to walk with us and when I lessen the pressure on him, that’s exactly what he does!
 Cho and Liam (leashed)

Guinnie and Liam

What I Make of It

Today I spent a lot of time looking over a photo shoot I did over the weekend. It is so funny – strange – to me that I have been taking photographs all my life, I’ve been a commercial photographer since the ’70’s, and I still feel nervous about the photos “coming out.”
As I am taking photo after photo I still think it is possible that none of them will be any good. Or good enough for me. I think that’s the crux. I also think I will fail to put the camera in the correct mode to take the photographs I want to get. Given how I feel about that you would think I’d do more planning – which I don’t. Time has shown me that all plans get put aside for the moment and anything I think I’m looking for or going to see is blown away by whatever happens in the moment.
A photograph is, after all, just a split second. A moment when we are whatever we are and change is the only rule. It is uncannily close to life. Lived in awareness or not, the photo shows the truth of that moment. Not the “truth,” just that moment.

I was given a camera when I was about seven. It was called an “Imp.” When its 8 exposures were taken it was sent back whole and a new one came in the mail with the photos I had taken. I tended to take photos of what was immediately around me. Much as I do today. Then it was sheep, their lambs and the dogs I lived around. I loved taking the photos – much as I do now – I felt alive and as if I had a special vision – much as I do now.
I looked for the special package to come in the mail and tell me that I had indeed seen my surroundings with a special eye, my own viewpoint of which I was the sole witness and director. Much as I do now.
And though I like what I see, I like more what I make of it. And what it makes of me.



Communicating With Animals

When people call me to help with their companion animals they usually want their pets to know they are loved, which is the first thing animals know about us. We are easy to read. When we are face to face with our pets they get it.
What pets want to tell us is often different. It’s not always about love although they want to tell us they love and appreciate us. Sometimes they want us to back off and trust. Just trust. Them, ourselves, love.
Sometimes just the word”pet” or “mine” in reference to themselves sets animals off. They say, “my person.” Once, when I was away at an animal communication workshop, “my” dog Zoe was asked by a communicator mate at the workshop, “who is your person?” Zoe answered, “Paula is my person.” I was infuriated! I was only gone for four days! Geesh!
Their connection with us, to us, is a no-brainer for them. They are here for us and sometimes they want help getting us to understand what they are trying to say. Sometimes they want to give us a head’s up about what life is all about. That’s something they know a lot about. Zoe was trying to give me a lesson in appreciation and allowing. Something she was really good at.


Talking To Eli

First off, no one needs to talk to Eli to know how he feels. He’s right there up front with his behaviour. Paula and I were reviewing Eli Events while talking to my son Ben who lives in Istanbul – with our granddaughter Isabelle and Isabelle’s mother Gulru. We were reminded that before Eli came inside, he was grabbing our legs as we attempted to enter our house and making it generally impossible for us to go in or out. We had positioned a broom inside where we could “sweep” him aside – but then we had to put something outside. Or did we start with the broom outside?
That’s what it’s like. Confusion. This stray, feral (hmmm, don’t know what to think about that) cat was keeping us from entering our house. He was looking in at the door, pawing the glass and meowing – all meowing is pitiful so I won’t describe it.
Paula got a Havahart trap, set it with food and as she was setting it, Eli walked in. Right past her, sat down by the food and looked at her, “You finally got it. I want to be In!” So, before he can be anywhere we took him to be neutered. Nothing was any problem at all as long as he was In. Inside. We were hoping to put him Out when he came back from the vet. No, he would have to be “quiet” for ten days. He went to my studio. We were at the Inauguration. He had a collar on. He did everything he could to get the collar off. Everything in my studio was trashed. Every surface was a place for him to try to rub the collar off. When we came back we took the collar off. He was great. Calm and easy.
As long as he was inside. Then as long as we were with him.
We weren’t with him enough. I didn’t have to talk to him – oh great communicator – he started peeing outside the box. So we got different litter. Of course the one he likes is the one Paula is allergic to. So now we have him in the attic at night and with us during the day. How did we figure that out? Simple, he showed us every step of the way. He likes being with the other cats a certain amount, then he likes being by himself. He shows us when he wants to be by himself. He shows us when he wants to be with us. He loves to play. He loves to perch. He’s great fun and easy – yep, as long as he can handle what’s around him. If he can’t, he shows us. One way or another. Eli is clear.