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Adventures in Animal Communication 
On this page:

The Healing Power of Animal Communication
Penelope Smith
Letters from Students
Robin Nichols
Conductor of the Orchestra Joan Fox
A Gentle, Gem-Like Journey
Nancy Sondel
Lost and Found Starr Taovil
A Tree's Job Ken Urquhart
To Be Earth Paloma Baertschi-Herrera
The Web Dawn Baumann Brunke
Millennial Messages for Humankind Penelope Smith



I will never forget Peaches, a small, black and white female cat who was left in my care when her person left town. She was a "scaredy-cat," hiding from people and other cats in the neighborhood. A few weeks after arrival, she came in with a bloody bite on her back, delivered by another cat in the neighborhood. I cleaned and put ointment on the wound, expecting it to heal with no problem. However, as soon as it would scab over, Peaches would scratch it open. A variety of first aid attempts failed, as she was determined to get at that wound. Eventually, the bloody area extended from the original 1/2 inch to a gory 2-3 inches, and the hair around the area was falling out.

This was 1971, and I was a spiritual counselor for people. I had communicated with animals all my life, never losing the inborn ability to understand other beings telepathically, no matter the species. I was about to expand the healing power of that telepathic connection.

Tygr photo by Sally Burr

Peaches became my first non-human client. I sat down and counseled her as I would a human being in trouble. I asked her specific questions, and she answered me telepathically, transmitting mental images of other cats scaring and attacking her along with her accompanying emotional distress. Facing these frightening incidents released a lot of accumulated emotion, and she visibly relaxed.

As we continued our session, she discovered that keeping the wound there and making it worse was actually a solution to her problem of being afraid of people and other animals. She figured that if she made her body very ugly, people and cats would stay away from her. It was working, though making her life miserable in the process. When she uncovered this past decision, she purred contentedly.

By the next day, her wound had scabbed over. Within a week, the hair had grown back so you couldn't tell she had been hurt. Even more amazing was that Peaches no longer ran away when people entered the room, but instead she curled up on their laps and purred! And other cats no longer picked on her.

In counseling animals and their people since that time I have seen countless similar "miracles" of healing. Here’s another example:

I was called to consult with a dachshund named Charlie who had broken his leg, which was in a cast. The problem was that no matter what the veterinarian or anyone did, Charlie managed to get the cast off. The vet warned that the dog would be lame the rest of his life if the leg was not allowed to set properly.

When I arrived, Charlie was limping and rather grouchy. During our consultation Charlie communicated to me about how he broke his leg and how upset he was with his person. He had been placed in the front seat of a truck at a ranch that his person was visiting. As the truck pulled out of the driveway, he saw her walking away. Thinking that she was abandoning him, he jumped out the window of the moving vehicle to get back to her, and fell on his leg at an angle.

By fully communicating about the trauma, reviewing the events, emotions, pain, and thoughts surrounding the injury, Charlie released both his emotional and physical distress. Then, to everyone’s amazement, he started running around playfully. He was so enthusiastic that we had to calm him down to ensure the leg wouldn't be overstressed.

photo by Carole Devereux www.animalinsights.com

Charlie was now very affectionate with his person, when he had previously acted very distressed around her. His leg healed quickly and in perfect alignment. His person realized how intelligent and loving her little dog was and how necessary it was to communicate her intentions and actions to him to prevent future misunderstandings and consequent mishaps.      

I could give numerous everyday examples of happier animals who visibly changed after being communicated with and understood by people. People also benefit from the understanding, and deep connection that occurs.

Our animal friends have so much to teach us about our own physical, emotional, and spiritual natures. They reflect back to us our joys and our pains, our clarity and our unawareness. All species can benefit from the harmony that occurs with good communication. The healing power of interspecies telepathic communication, a birthright that has been lost to many in our culture, is well worth restoring.

Healing a Grizzly Bear through Telepathy
:  Susan Eirich of Earthfire Institute tells the story of how grizzly bear, Teton, and Penelope communicated and worked long distance together energetically to help heal his paralyzed state.
Watch Video

LETTERS from Students

Shortly after taking your Animal Communication weekend workshop with my son earlier this year in Point Reyes, I was over at a woman friend of mine's house for a meeting. She has a large golden lab (named "Sophie") who loves to chew on tennis balls (and many other things as well). She seems to take great pleasure in having something in her mouth quite often.

During this particular meeting, one woman was really kvetching (complaining) about her life situation. After a while, I tired of listening to her as she tends to do this quite often, and I started tuning in to Sophie in the manner you have suggested. Initially Sophie was observing the complaining woman, then she glanced around the room (with the usual tennis ball in her mouth) and at one point she tuned into me.

I got the message "All this woman really needs is her own tennis ball and she'd feel better." I laughed and initially discounted this message as my own humorous projection, but as I felt into it, it seemed very "logical" from Sophie's perspective. I even felt Sophie wanting to give her an extra ball if she had it. B.B., California

Your book, Animals, Our Return To Wholeness, (now titled When Animals Speak) inspired me so much, in so many ways. I have a lot of stray animals (44 cats, 4 rabbits, 2 roosters, and a chicken – in a house!) and I have been concentrating on the physical aspect of life for years, feeling overwhelmed by the suffering of animals. There is still a lot of upheaval in my life and I'm not exactly sure where I want to be but at least I can somehow detach myself and look at things from a more spiritual point of view than when I'm in the middle of some drama.                            Agate photo by Starr Taovil

I've been experimenting with a stray cat (not one of mine, since I think I feel too guilty to be open to communicating with my own animals, as despite my great efforts, I know a lot of them aren't happy). This cat, who I sometimes feed and say hello to is an elderly lady who has managed to attract loads of loving and caring people (unusual in a country where animal welfare is basically a foreign concept) and who has a habit of snoozing very deeply. I thought that for my first lesson I would try a strong one-way message, which she was sure to respond to and then I would get my proof (boring human habit). I stood two meters away from her and sent her the message to wake up and get her biscuits. I was shocked to find her instantly opening her eyes, springing up and running towards me. Usually I would have to spend sometime calling her at a close range. Two days later I thought I'd try again, but this time I made sure that my bag of cat biscuits was tightly wrapped in another bag so that there would be no whiffs of tasty biscuits leaking out, and I stood about four meters away. Again, it was instant and she was eating her snack within seconds.

A week later I went back but couldn't find her anywhere. I was disappointed and irritated but thought I might as well try calling her telepathically. It took longer than the other two times and I was just about to go when I saw a tabby gray and white speck coming round the block and running towards me. I couldn't believe it! The whole thing couldn't have taken more than five minutes and there she was seemingly saying: "So what do you think of that?" I really felt humbled.

The next time I saw her she was being fed and patted by two boys under ten, again an extremely unusual sight in this part of the world, and I just thought, "What a cool cat teacher I've got!" A.M., Abu Dhabi, U.A.E.Q

Some friends came to visit the Big Island (Hawaii) for their honeymoon. I took them out to Kealakekua Bay for their first experience with the dolphins. While I was herding their kayak, I looked down to see 50-60 dolphins. I noticed a female trailing the pod with a fishing net wrapped around her snout. Without hesitating, I dove to meet her as she turned toward me at about twenty feet down. She stopped swimming and awaited my approach. Without hesitating (and she allowed), I took hold of her snout with both hands to try to remove the net, to no avail. It was deeply embedded into her skin. With no leverage underwater, I then looked her in the eye, and as if she was in total sync with me and me with her, I reached my right arm around her head for leverage as I began to remove the net with my left hand. She flooded me with sounds and loads of gratitude for my efforts to assist with her predicament. I was underwater far longer than I thought I could be. After I removed the net, she stayed still as I now had both my arms around her in an embrace. Then I realized that she was instilling me with some encodement that I wasn't able to grasp just then, as I had become aware that I had been down with her for several minutes and it was time to breathe again. I released my embrace and she swam off to catch up with her family.

After re-surfacing and sharing the experience with my friends, we went back, loaded up and went to the Aloha Cafe for Sunday brunch. Needless to say, I was so dolphin-zoned from my experience, that after ordering food, I simply began to weep with gratitude as the encodement began to percolate into a translation that brought me to my knees. As I was removing the net, my dolphin sister had been infusing me with an encouraging directive to

Do the same for your people.
Remove the net from their consciousness. Remove the net from their hearts!

She is still singing to me as I write this. The blessing continues to be. Even my diving is now deeper: fifty feet and staying under much longer than before the experience.....and more...and more.
I.S., Hawaii

Kobe      photo by Cathy Currea

NATHAN  Robin Nichols

About twenty years ago, I was working at a health facility where I met Penelope Smith, then a health counselor for people, and also an animal consultant. At that time, I had a little Welsh corgi mix dog named Nathan. He was about a year old. My two young daughters found him when he was a puppy, running down our busy street, and brought him in.

The entire time Nathan lived with us, we had a thick layer of newspapers by the front door for him to use if he needed to go to the bathroom in our small apartment between walks. He NEVER used them, preferring to go anywhere and everywhere else in the house, especially on the carpet, which was by then ruined. I had pretty much given up on ever training Nathan to use the papers and was in the process of throwing the carpet out when I heard that Penelope might be able to help. I honestly thought it was pretty far-fetched that she could communicate telepathically with Nathan and in any way get him to understand and use the newspapers, but I thought it was at least worth one try.

Penelope came over a few days later, and I introduced her to my daughters and to Nathan. Everyone liked her right away. She greeted all of us, and then sat down with Nathan, and just looked at him, and he looked at her. This went on for about ten minutes. The whole time I was thinking... mmm hmmm... well... we'll see.

Finally, Penelope started laughing and said she understood the problem. She said Nathan had been in a litter of puppies a few blocks from us, and kept with the other pups on the screened-in back porch, which was covered all over with newspapers. Of course the puppies used the newspapers for their bathroom. The owners of the mother dog and the pups kept saying "If they don't stop pooping and peeing all over the place, I'm going to get rid of them! Take them to the pound!" The small children of the house heard this and decided to save the puppies. They started placing them on people's doorsteps around the neighborhood. Apparently, Nathan just took off and ran down the street where my daughters intercepted him. Penelope said that Nathan had definitely gotten this idea: “IF I PEE ON THE PAPERS, THEY'LL GET RID OF ME."

After explaining to Nathan that we had no intention of EVER getting rid of him, and showing him the newspaper area and putting him on it and praising him and letting him know that we'd think very highly of him if he peed there, she smiled at him and at us and left. I thought to myself... hmm... well... we'll see... uh huh... ahem... until about thirty minutes later, when Nathan peed on the newspapers! We were all happy, and Nathan lived with us for twelve more years and always faithfully used his papers.

That was only the beginning of many consultations with our animal friends, which were all the same miracle. It took me years to understand how sentient, conscious, and intelligent our animal friends really are, and that OF COURSE they understood Penelope and could communicate with her.    


CONDUCTOR OF THE ORCHESTRA  Joan Fox            Venus photo by Starr Taovil

I communicated with a 175-pound pot-bellied pig. He spoke right up about how annoying his pen mate was. He told me that she "gets in his space" and it is very irritating. He was perfectly fine as the human's only companion and kept attacking her (the human) to try and get across how unhappy he was now, being a "duo." He longed for the old days, when he was a baby and lived in the house. He missed snuggling with the human.

We worked out an agreement that he would be allowed out of the pen each day to spend time alone on the patio with his human. His human said he could cruise wherever he wanted in the backyard when she was out there as long as he didn't eat the bushes. (The yard looked like a park at Disneyland, perfectly manicured.) No more biting or attacking, but nudging for attention was acceptable. He was so-o-o-o happy. He promptly lay down next to her and fell asleep. The human said she'd be happy to bring her sleeping bag out when the weather was cooler and snuggle with him again.

Then she had me ask him why he got so upset and wouldn't let her trim his toenails. She reported that she has resorted to giving him beer to calm him down. He said that he loved the beer so he particularly looked forward to trimming time so that he could cause a big stink and get this drink. I told him that beer wasn't especially good for him and throwing a fit to get it would not be in his best interests. She then told him that she would give him a sip of beer occasionally if he would stop fighting her on the toenails.

Later, the human had not fully latched the pen gate and the other pig came wandering out. In one of the sweetest moments of my career, he ambled over from across the yard, nudged me with his snout and ever so shyly and softly said, "Excuse me, but you promised me that I could be out here alone." We promptly locked up the other one, until it was her time out of the pen.

I then spent another hour talking to the human about spiritual books, essential oils, and my own spiritual journey. This is something that I rarely do. I usually wrap up the consultation and leave. With tears in her eyes, she asked how she could find a meditation group to join. I said that she was welcome to visit ours as we have an open door policy for anyone interested.

Now here is the kicker. That night the pig came to me in my dream with this message, "I orchestrated this whole aggressive behavior act so that my human could meet you. I knew that you would invite her to visit and eventually become part of your meditation group. She is ready to blossom spiritually and needs contact with people like you. She has been searching for people of "like mind" unsuccessfully. Thank you for helping her. I really love her and I know you will too."

This is where I began to think that I had gone over the edge. It took me a long time to come out of the closet and not think that I was nuts talking to animals. So when I get messages in a dream, I think that I have lost it. Yet, the message was absolutely clear and to the point. I now accept that it is in the realm of the Universe for a pig to orchestrate a meeting.

                                                                                          Buddha Boy & Penelope  photo by Ina Papp

P & BB - Orcas Island.tif (2341040 bytes), animal psychic, spiritual counselor, verbal and nonverbal communication


The thrill of communicating telepathically with animals appears, like the animals themselves, in many distinct forms. As I've become gradually more free of limiting, judgmental thoughts — such as "I can't communicate with this animal because I have no rapport with its species," or "I'm terrible at receiving messages, so it's no use" — I've been treated to diverse, delightful experiences with a variety of beings. Three encounters, described below, reminded me that I must only remain open, and the Earth's creatures will respond, trusting and teaching me, all in their own fashion.

As I was exercising in a fitness center, a robust robin came hopping 'round the full-length window.

"Please come closer," I thought. "Let me observe and admire you." She kept picking at the ground, apparently oblivious to or ignoring my request.

"Oh well, telepathic communication doesn't always work!" I was quick to tell myself. Then I pictured exactly where I wanted the robin to stand — closer to me, a little to the left, next to a fallen pine cone.

To my surprise, she went directly to the target. Alone in the fitness room, I whistled loudly, cheering and thanking her.

Then I told her that I raise parakeets (which I described), and that if she'd hop toward me again — this time toward a big twig I was focusing on — I'd know for sure she understood. And, through me, many readers would also know.

Mademoiselle Robin barely looked up from her worm — searching, while hopping to the exact spot I had pictured. She could see me swinging my arms as I exercised, but it didn't scare her.

"Okay, would you consider playing this game with me just once more? It is a game now. You don't have to prove anything..."

With that, my robin friend hopped toward me not once but three more times, still foraging — the last two hops unsolicited, yet propelling her to the precise spot I had visualized — until she was nearly pressed against the window, closer than any wild bird I had ever seen there!

Recently I visited a "power place," an intensely fertile, spiritual environment steeped in natural beauty and profound, healing energy. Ambling along an open trail, I observed a tan pony with a long, cream-colored mane. He stood alone in a grassy, fenced field overlooking the Pacific Ocean. The area included a small gazebo for a few resident children. I walked slowly toward the pony, talking softly to let him know my intentions.

I'm rather timid around horses, due to my unfamiliarity with them (and also because of their imposing size — my being a short, lightweight, parakeet-oriented person!). But I knew this fellow must be gentle, living amidst children. So, to boost my self-confidence, I pictured myself as one of several kids playing with him.

As I approached, he seemed to feel I was bringing something to eat (didn't everyone?). So I said, "Hi. I just came over to meet you. Sorry if I'm disappointing you, but I don't have any food with me." To my surprise, I got the distinct impression that he was hinting, "Oh yes, you do-oooo!"

Before I could wonder if I had imagined this message, his enormous mouth reached toward my sweatshirt pocket. Laughing, I realized I had understood, and he was certainly right. I reached deep into my pocket, and, baring his big friendly teeth, the perspicacious pony quickly consumed my favorite, fresh-picked wildflowers!

Descending steep steps and jagged rocks to meditate by the sea, I glimpsed two tiny, tan creatures. Unused to reptiles, I could only guess (and later confirm) that they were lizards.

I didn't want to startle the pair as I walked through their "home," so I told them telepathically that I'd pass by without harming them. To my delight, they stayed. I removed several layers of clothing and sat on a warm rock, surrounded by sand. Something in the lizards' throats now moved up and down, as they concentrated on me.

I began speaking aloud, thinking I could direct my communication better that way. One — Lizzie, I called her — got scared and ran away. Her friend or mate, Leandro, remained, never taking his eyes off me.

I thought maybe he was too scared to run, but instead he seemed to be actively listening. His eyes were such tiny slits I could barely see them, but our visual contact told me I had his full attention.

"I know you understand me," I said, admittedly glad no one else was within earshot. "Are you surprised I'm talking to you? Bet you've never interacted like this with a human before! You're very brave to hang out with me."

I paused. He waited.

"There's a woman named Penelope," I continued, "and she communicates with all kinds of beings. Maybe you know her?" (Half-kidding, half-not!)

Leandro listened a while longer, then ran — toward me! Now we had both pushed beyond our respective boundaries or instincts. Humility and gratitude filled me as I continued, telling him about my birds at home — much smaller, I explained, than those seabirds perched nearby.

Soon Leandro ran toward me again, continuing to stare into my eyes. Now he was about five feet away. I asked him to come closer, to the sweatshirt I had strewn two feet from my body.                                                                                                      

"That would show me you really understand. Won't you, please?" Leandro didn't move as I repeated the request.

My mistake. I had asked too much, or he was uncomfortable with the "test." Leandro scurried up the rocks and vanished.

I was disappointed, but then, almost instantly, Lizzie reappeared!

"... and you're very brave, too," I told her. Though she had been out of sight, I suspected she'd "overheard" my whole conversation with Leandro.

"I'm a writer," I explained, now thoroughly comfortable conversing with a lizard, "so I'm going to tell people how you and your buddy have been listening to me. Many of them will be really surprised to hear about this!"

A bird flew overhead; Lizzie looked up, then back at me. She lifted her leg, barely wider than a toothpick, resting exquisitely tiny toes on the corner of a jutting rock — as we humans might rest our elbows on a tabletop, concentrating, head in hand.                         

"Please continue the discourse," I envisioned her saying.

I chatted a bit longer about how I viewed life, marveling at her attentiveness. What subtle, inner wisdom did she possess? How honored I felt, adding morsels to her world of knowledge!

Soon I realized, wistfully, that it was time for me to go. It had been so satisfying to sense Lizzie absorbed in my thoughts; I didn't need precise, reciprocal messages to validate our communion.

To avoid scaring Lizzie when I stood, I told her I would quickly grow "very, very big," but that I wouldn't touch or hurt her. I visualized my giant form moving slowly and quietly past her, then away.

I donned shoes, socks, a sweater and sweatshirt. Despite the movement, Lizzie didn't leave. I stood and walked in front of Lizzie, past Lizzie, repeating that she was safe and didn't need to go away. She trusted and understood.

"Thank you," I said, climbing the rocks. "I'll return in a few days, so you can look for me then. If not, I may never see you or your friend again!"

I continued to climb, turning back often, watching Lizzie watch me. "But," I added telepathically, "I want you and Leandro to know that this experience will always be with me. I'll never forget our connection."

Chilly and rushed, I stopped near the top of the cliffs. I wanted to look down one last time, yet dreaded the sight of bare rocks. Already I was missing the gaze of my ancient, newfound friend.

But there in the distance, though she seemed a mere speck, Lizzie remained, listening...

LOST AND FOUND  Starr Taovil

I received a call from a woman in tears. Her cat, Si Mu, had been missing for three days. I took a description of the kitty, got descriptions of other animals in the area and did a deep meditation and prayer session. I then received images from a horse. This horse was sending me pictures of herself and the surrounding area. The woman, Francesca, did not mention there was a horse there but only told me of a bull, cow, several dogs and three more cats. I also saw a sunrise and light coming through wooden boards. There was a dark hole and tall trees. During this communication I also felt cold, dampness, and live energy from Si Mu.

I called Francesca back and told her what I had seen in my meditations: the horse, tall trees, the eastern direction, the dark hole, the sun coming through wood boards, and my bodily feelings. She was amazed. She had forgotten about an old mare on the property to the east in a back, fenced pasture surrounded by tall poplar trees. I told her to check all structures like wells in that area. I knew the kitty was stuck somewhere and could not come home but that she was alive and Francesca needed to go out and find her.   

The next morning, I had a nearly incoherent message from Francesca. She had walked to the property to the east, passed the horse, who came to the fence to meet her and nuzzled her body as if to tell her she was on the right path. She walked through the tall trees to an area where there once was a reservoir. After about thirty minutes she saw an area that was covered with wooden slats and several were broken through. Twenty feet down this earthen shaft were beautiful kitty eyes looking up at her.  


A TREE'S JOB   Kenneth G. Urquhart

I was in a service station deep in the Bronx, getting a gearbox changed. The dingy waiting room was awful, but far better than what was outside. In it already were two African-American gentlemen and one Hispanic.

Their conversation seemed listless. They took no apparent notice of me. I picked up a tattered magazine.

After some moments, the Hispanic gentleman suddenly sparked into life. His voice started to vibrate with intensity. He had a story to tell. I listened.

At some time in his past, he revealed, he had been in the US Army and had got into trouble. He and another miscreant had been sent to a military place of correction in upstate New York. His offense was evidently not serious because after a while there he and the other man were free to walk around. It happened that the other man had been brought up in an orphanage on a large estate, and that orphanage was right next door to the military place they were staying.

The other man took our narrating friend for a walk into the orphanage property. It included a hospital in a building set apart from the orphanage itself. They approached the hospital on a path bordered by a line of stately old trees.

As they made their way along this path, our friend noticed that out of the bark of the trees was oozing some very dark rather slimy substance. The nearer they got to the hospital, the more he saw coming out of the trees.

"I kept asking myself, what could this stuff be?" he told us.

I could see that the very last tree, the most magnificent of them all, had far more of it than the others. I got to that end tree, and by this time I was very curious. I really wanted to know what was going on. I stopped by the last tree, looking at the slimy stuff, asking "What is this?"

He paused, like a good storyteller. His eyes opened wide.

"Do you know, that tree answered me? I distinctly heard it say to me:

'I take the poisons out of the people in that hospital over there, so they can better. I process it and put it out of me in this liquid you are looking at and wondering about.'

I was just amazed. A tree talking to me! A tree taking poisons out of people's bodies? And talking to me about it?

"I didn't know what to say. I was speechless. Imagine, a Hispanic man who can't say a word!

"But then," he continued, suddenly becoming a little solemn, introspective, perhaps regretful. "The tree said something that really stopped me in my tracks. That tree really made me look at my whole life. That tree then said to me,

'Yes, here I am doing my job. Tell me, are YOU doing YOURS?'"

He came back from his memories and looked sadly at his two companions.

"You don't believe me, do you?"

"I do, I do!" I cried. "Every word ! Thank you!"

photo by Starr Taovil


TO BE EARTH  Paloma Baertschi-Herrera  

I was about to go to bed when I saw a mosquito on the wall. I wanted to put her outside when I heard her say.

I can show you what it feels to be earth.

”What? Did you just talk to me?"

Yes. I can show you what it feels to be earth. You humans consume and use the earth but you do not give anything from yourselves. I can show you what it feels like to be food for another being.

"You must be crazy to think I am prepared to let you sting me." Despite what I told her the mosquito kept talking.  

I can sting you without you noticing it. All you must do is allow me to do my job and I will show you how beings can help each other to survive without hurting each other.

Even though I was feeling like I was crazy to proceed, I agreed to let the mosquito show me what it felt like to be earth.

The next morning I looked for sting traces but could not find any. The mosquito showed up several times during the day and also before I went to bed to show me that she was still around. After three days of co-existence with the mosquito during which she showed up several times every day I couldn't find any sting trace on my body. It was hard to believe what was happening and I figured the mosquito had to be stinging my rabbits instead of me.

That night the mosquito woke me up by flying around my ear. I angrily told the mosquito that our agreement included that she let me sleep without waking me up. She just wanted to let me know that she was stinging me and not my rabbits. I was amazed but managed to keep on sleeping.

The mosquito lived with me for another four days and showed up at least once every day. Then she disappeared. When I contacted her she said that her last task before leaving the earth was to show a human what it felt to be earth and that she had completed his task. I thanked her for giving me a huge lesson I will never forget.


THE WEB Dawn Baumann Brunke

I don’t understand it. But for that matter I don’t understand how a spider learned to spin a web in the first place. When the words appeared, everyone said they were a miracle. But nobody pointed out that the web itself is a miracle. ~ Charlotte’s Web by E. B. White

As a child, one of my favorite books was Charlotte’s Web by E. B. White. I especially loved Charlotte, a quick-witted gray spider, who spun words into her web in an attempt to save her friend, Wilbur the pig, from an untimely death. "Some pig!" boldly exclaimed the words in Charlotte’s web. "Radiant" and "Humble" were other adjectives Charlotte displayed on her web to describe Wilbur. Most of the farmers and townspeople believed the words were miracles, supernaturally inspired messages that could not be explained. They looked to the pig, certain that he was the one behind this mysterious event. Charlotte smiled, delighted that her trick had worked.

As Charlotte later explained to Wilbur, spiders have been weaving webs for generation upon generation. "I don’t know how the first spider in the early days of the world happened to think up this fancy idea of spinning a web, but she did, and it was clever of her, too," said Charlotte. I thought it was equally clever of Charlotte to be a spider who understood how words could so greatly influence humans.

photo by Starr Taovil

There are some modern thinkers who believe that spiders spin webs not merely from instinct, but are graced with the collective memory of all spiders who have ever spun webs since that ‘first spider in the early days’ spun hers. As more and more spiders spin their webs, it is thought that it becomes easier for all spiders to create their webs. That is, webs are spun with less effort and, perhaps, with the potential for more intricacy.

In much the same way, it is believed by some that human evolution follows a similar path. As a new talent is discovered by one individual, others may either simultaneously or quickly thereafter find the new talent within them. As more and more individuals engage in this new behavior, it becomes easier for others to also participate. Call it the hundredth monkey, or the hundredth spider or even the hundredth human, it is all variation of the same pattern in the grand Web.

The Web of Life reminds us that every thought and action affects everyone and everything. An idea comes to one of us and a thread on the invisible web begins to quiver; circumstances conspire to bring about events, ideas, people, animals and countless other forms of assistance into our lives. As the German philosopher Goethe once wrote concerning acts of creation, "…the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too."

One of the central messages of this book is that we are all connected. It is a startling insight to realize how one small connection can lead you to places not only in location, but in mind, emotion, spirit and being that are altogether amazingly far, and yet paradoxically near, from where you began. Such is the nature of the Web of Life.

For myself, this book began as a simple interest in animal communication. The writing of the book, however, has proved to be a widespread collaboration. Not only have many very talented communicators offered their thoughts and insight – not to mention the vehicle whereby many animals speak – but many animals have also lent their energy, wisdom, humor and blessings for this book to unfold.

Just as the barnyard animals brought Charlotte word suggestions to display on her web, just as E. B. White collaborated with the subtle energy of spiders and the fictionalization of a wonderful female gray spider he called Charlotte, we are all, consciously or unconsciously, working together to create something quite spectacular, something that propels us into a new creation of Being.

The story of how I was brought to this book begins with a gentle unfolding, in very ordinary ways. Where the writing of this book has taken me are most definitely extraordinary places, heart-felt, humorous, amazing and sometimes barely believable.

In 1995, my husband and I moved from a small town in northern Wisconsin to Alaska. Ever since I met him, my husband had been talking about Alaska, his spiritual home. After a year in Hawaii and five years in Wisconsin, it was calling him back. We had no definite plans, neither one of us had jobs, but away we went, following the call, toting along our very young daughter, two dogs and a twenty foot trailer.

Not long after arriving in the state, I picked up a copy of Alaska Wellness, a small quarterly magazine that focuses on alternative healing modalities and the mind-body-emotion-spirit connection. There was a tiny notice in the back of the issue advertising for an Editor. Though I had never done any professional editing, I loved to write and here, in the land of new opportunities and creative spirit, I felt an urge to call about the ad. Surprising to me, I was hired.

One of my first duties entailed going through a box of "hold" articles. These were articles that had been submitted to the magazine but either had not yet been published or needed work, or for some other reason ended up in the box. One of the articles in particular caught my eye. It was about a guinea pig named Geisha who had given birth to a litter of babies but refused to care for them. The article was written by Chrys Long-Ago, a woman in Anchorage who claimed to talk with animals. Not only that, but the animals talked back to her! I was incredulously fascinated and simultaneously touched by the genuineness of the writing. The story detailed Chrys’ conversations with Geisha and how she came to understand the lesson Geisha was experiencing in allowing her babies to die.

I wanted to print the article right away, but Jackie Kosednar, the publisher of Alaska Wellness, shook her head. "The public isn’t ready for this sort of thing," she said firmly. As the magazine went bimonthly, I pestered Jackie nearly every issue about the article. A year later, she finally relented, and we ran "Guinea Pig Seminar" as a feature.

One month later, I interviewed Chrys, the animal communicator who had spoken with Geisha. I found her to be intelligent and candid, and when she told me stories about a writer named J. Allen Boone, whose primary teacher in animal communication had been an award-winning German shepherd war dog in Germany who became a leading film star in America, I was intrigued. I found two of Boone’s books at the library and read them with a growing sense of wonder, amazement and deep respect. Boone and his writing became a motivating inspiration to me, a grandfatherly guiding light for much of this book.

Though the interview with Chrys was published shortly after it was written, I found myself reluctant to let go of the subject. Thoughts about human-animal communication playfully poked at my brain. Was it really possible to have an intelligent conversation with an animal? Did animals truly have a capacity to understand the world beyond themselves? Did they have a sense of spirituality? Did they know something we didn’t? What would animals tell us, both about themselves and about us, if we approached them with serious intent? Was a deeper, more vital relationship between humans and animals – and all of life – something we had forgotten about, something we had left behind in the course of our evolution?

Through the Internet, I found Buddy, a horse who works with communicator, teacher and writer, Carole Devereux. Buddy was the first animal who agreed to an interview with me. It was a curious set-up: I posed my questions to Carole, who then connected with Buddy, asked him my questions, wrote down his responses, and then read back to me what he had said. A part of me couldn’t help but wonder if the whole thing wasn’t one quick step away from farce, though another part of me was exhilarated, feeling as if I had just walked across the border into a new world. When I asked if there were other animals who worked as Buddy did, Carole put me in touch with Jing, an African gray parrot, who works with Jane Hallander, also a communicator, teacher and writer. Jing agreed to an interview as well. Jane gave me the names of other communicators, who gave me more names, and so the connections began.

photoart by Carole Devereux

Around the same time as the animal interviews, I was given the assignment to talk with Ilizabeth Fortune, a woman who swims and works with dolphins in Florida. Though the interview was supposedly to help publicize a workshop Ilizabeth was doing in Anchorage, her trip fell through, though not before I had a chance to talk at length with Ilizabeth and make my first connection to what I would fondly think of as the dolphin-people.

It soon became apparent that what I was involved in – this "project" as I hesitantly termed it then – was something much greater than myself. As I thought about it, meditated on it, dreamed about it, I realized with growing surprise that not only was this something I had chosen; it was something that had also chosen me.

Ask for something with the deepest part of your being and the Universe responds. This is a thrilling realization, though you often discover that the Universe may respond in a way that is not exactly in line with what you had in mind. My central focus throughout the initial interview process was to ask communicators if they would be willing to be the medium through which animals might answer the basic question, "What would you most like humans to know?"

It was all going quite well until one night as I was saying goodbye over the phone to Marta Williams, a communicator I had just been referred to, I was stopped short. "If you’re going to write a book about talking with animals, maybe you should try it too," Marta suggested gently. A deep sense of unease shuddered through me. Surely I would not be asked to do that! It was one thing to interview animals through professional communicators, but certainly such a thing would never happen to me!

Like a seed that had to be planted, a few weeks later an event occurred that led to my direct communication with a flock of birds. It was an extraordinary event for me, one that changed the focus of this book dramatically and brought me to a deeper place of understanding how this thing called animal communication really works.

From my initial opening with the birds, there was no stopping the flow of communications I received, though I sometimes considered trying. Most often it happened spontaneously, when I was least expecting it.

Deeper and deeper the process unfolds. Are we ever really in control? I no longer believe that I was the one who had the idea to write this book. On other levels, I know there was mystery afoot, that the idea was presented to me through a series of challenges. Was I willing to let go of an old worldview in order to learn something new? Was I ready to begin living with a sense of wonder? In truth, it seems to me now that I did not write something so much as open to an experience that I now share with you.

My heart has been touched by all who speak in this book as well as by those who have offered much in the way of feedback, help and support. It reminds me of the Web, of Charlotte and how all manner of extraordinary events conspire to create a world in which a pig and spider can become best of friends. Are we ready to see that we too are living in such a world, that we are capable of creating such a world? As many animals remind us time and again, we are all more intimately connected than we can imagine. Perhaps more than anything, this book is about trusting that connection, trusting the flow of life as we open to and feel the deeper union between each one of us and All That Is.

As a very special group of animals I know once remarked, "It is essential that humans begin to awaken to their connection with all of life. As you open to animals, you will also open deeper to yourselves. This is one of the roots of your return home."

May we open to the Journey. May we trust ourselves and the unfolding of our paths just a little bit more. And may we all Re-member.

Animal Voices:Telepathic Communication in the Web of Life by Dawn Baumann Brunke  ISBN 1-879181-91-6 Bear & Company (Inner Traditions) 2002



In late 1999, I was asked by Elaine Miller of Animal Wellness Magazine to ask various animal species for a message for humankind in the new millennium. The wisdom received from representatives of these species was profoundly moving. We are honored to print some of them here.

TIGER                                                                                                                                                                      photo by Starr TaovilTiger mouth open (ST).jpg (56071 bytes)
Deep in our forest home we see much of what goes on in the darkness and in the light of this Earth. Our home is being ravaged on the edges and even deep into the forest by the thoughtless actions of humankind. We do not mind that all of us have to live and use the natural surroundings. What we do mind is the unconsciousness; humans come in a manner that does not honor all life around us.

I do not resent humans for the actions that they do. All act in accordance to their own nature. What we ask of you, humankind, as part of the whole, is for a greater consciousness of your relationship to all of us who live here. This is a reminder. There is not one leaf, not one tiny animal, insect, microbe, elephant, whale, and bird that are not dependent upon the whole. Let your consciousness go deep, expanding downward into the Earth, into the trees, into every tiny creature that lives under our feet. Breathe as one being. Come with me into the deep sleep beauty rest of the forest and I will show you how beautiful it is to breathe the breath of one being. There all the knowledge of how we are to live on Earth will be found.

The birds, trees, waters, air -- all of us here in the jungle are kin. We all relate to one another as part of each other. We do not separate as humans do into predator and prey. We are all part of one another. We need to honor the circle -- never taking too much, only what is required to sustain the body. Our body is the forest's body. Our body is the same as the Earth upon which we feed. We do what is natural: we rest, sleep, eat, play, and meditate.

So softly, quietly, like a jungle cat, hear our song. Hear our song of life and when you do then you too will sing with us. Hear our roar. Hear the bird's song. Hear the water dripping its precious droplets to the ground. Hear the wind blow. All that we ask of you is to rest in the consciousness that all of us are a part of life here.

We all need to be reminded to love who we are and all that we are includes every creature, every element, every being on the Earth. Thank you for listening to this call.

I am called the Great Toothless One. I am the old bull elephant that holds the ancient graveyard of all elephants. I am here in form and in spirit holding the grace of elephant on the Earth. We are the keepers of ancient records; we are the keepers of the bones of all beings. We hold the history of all kind including humankind in our bones.

Our feet are heavy on the Earth to feel the sound -- the imprint that goes through the whole Earth. We hold the vibration and rhythm of Mother Earth's breath and heartbeat in our bones.

You ask for a message. I will speak to you, but first you must hear the beating of your own heart. Listen now to your own heartbeat. Synchronize with the beat of the great Mother Earth under our feet. Listen to it now.

This is the only message that I have for you, humankind, as one being and as individuals. We elephants send the deep sound rumbling through the Earth to communicate and honor the great heartbeat of the mother. All information about who we are and who walks on the Earth is held in the sound and transmitted through the bone. Feel the wisdom of the sound travelling in your own bones. Feel the heart beating as one sound travelling through the Earth.

We are the keepers of the ancient knowledge stored in the sounds of the heartbeat of every being that walks on the Earth. Honor us. Honor yourselves. Honor every being for each is needed to complete the tapestry of life on Earth. Humans, hear your own heartbeat. Feel the heart songs of the whole Earth. This is all we ask.

HORSE       painting by Christine George www.christinesart.com
I am horse. I hold the beauty and the standard of freedom for all to see. I am unlimited. I am most unlimited in physical form when I am wild and free. Yet, I have chosen to be with humankind as their companion and friend. I treasure that aspect of me that goes into the barns, shelters, paddocks and places near where humans dwell.

I, as horse, respect myself, my dignity and grace. We, as individuals, give this gift to humankind. The grace, dignity, and the beauty of being companions and at the same time holding our freedom. Understand this as the freedom of living life on earth through our feet, through our ears, through our eyes, through our noses, and through our exquisite sense of touch and feeling.

We love who we are. We love the nature of our being. We delight in our sensuousness. This is what our companions, our human friends, feel in us, and rejoice as it percolates into their own forms. Then they remember that they are also free and dignified beings. We hold that grace in great honor.

For so long we have dwelled with humans and honored their need to be free to move like us in the wind. We ask only that humans remember that we freely give ourselves to them. It is not bondage and we do not want to be treated as slaves. We want to be treated as whole beings, who love, breathe, think, and feel as humans do. Otherwise, why would we be with you?

We are gentle, loving, sweet and holy companions of life. Humans who feel we are their slaves degrade our basic nature. We feel lost. We feel oppressed. This is not what we want in the relationship. We want to dwell in harmony and peace with humankind.

We gladly submit ourselves to the activities that humankind treasures. We honor the creativity of the mind of humankind in finding so many ways to relate to us and with us. All we ask is that we be honored as who we are. We ask that we be given the space to be our natural selves with you, so that we can transmit our greatest gift: the deepest love of who we are in ourselves. When we give this gift, we know that you, too, feel who you are.

We allow you to ride on our backs. We do not want this holy bond to be denied or severed. Yet, we want to be respected. So, when you see the horse, and see each horse as an individual, we ask that you look at our souls and know who we are. Then you will honor us and treat us in the way we deserve, in the way that you yourselves deserve as fellow beings, and as souls of beauty on the earth.

Human friends, we ask for a new vision, a revision of the old pact from when the first horse came to be with you as a companion. We opened the door to a new relationship on the earth. We opened the door to a new unity. May you be reminded of your unity with us and all the elements that we so freely give to you. May you remember who we are and in remembering, come home to the holy being that you are. Thank you for listening. Thank you for your grace. I am Horse.

We have come to you, humankind, to be your friends. We have come to show you how to live lightly on the earth – to dance, sing, play, and nap. It is so important to rest and to feel the integrity of yourself both in your movement and in your non-movement. We are the masters of movement and non-movement. Learn from us. Learn from our dance. We play with the butterflies, birds, mice, and all the creatures from large to tiny. We love them all. We love and live in lightness.

We would like to open you to your own nature. Your own nature is part of our nature, and this is why we dwell with you. We have our playful side and we have our intense hunter side. We are blood creatures and we are not afraid of blood. It is part of life; it is part of death. The blood that pulses through our veins and through the veins of every creature is Life itself. We love the blood and we love to feel it in our own veins. We become one with the creatures that we eat.

We are fellow beings together playing, dancing, singing, and loving to be touched. Loving to be loved. Loving to nurture. Loving to feel the softness of the lap, the pillows, and the cozy places. We love the earth and the touch of our feet on the earth. Those of us that live in places where we cannot touch the earth anymore still remember and unite with the earth in our dreamtime naps. We ask you to come with us. Come with us into the beautiful dreamtime that is cat meditation. Our dreamtime is a holding of the energies of earth in softness, in sweetness, in love, in sensuousness. We feel our bodies as warm loving vessels for our divinity.

Sometimes we are demanding. We have to have our own way. We are cat. We have dignity. We demonstrate to you how to be clear. We call it exactly as it is. When we want something, we tell you. You love us because we remind you of who you are. We remind you of who you are in your love of comfort, love, nurturance, and touch. We love the touch of humankind. What we ask of you is that you let yourselves be touched by our touch, that you let yourself be moved into sweetness and love of the comfort of closeness.

Some of us have chosen to be very close to nurture you. Others of us have kept our wild nature and we show to you our wildness. Remember that you too have all these aspects in yourself. Anything in us that you see that you do not love reflects the aspects in yourself that you do not accept. We are so close to you because we are your teachers – of course! We also learn from our relationship with you. We learn how we are a blend of both domestic and wild. We learn how to live with those that often do not know themselves. For we recognize that humans forget and we cats have taken this upon ourselves to remind you with love, with our purrs, and with our warmth and softness. Treasure us for we are cat. We have the comfort of knowing who we are as sweet souls here upon the earth enjoying our lives with grace, beauty, and peace. All we ask is that you enjoy life with us, and that you settle into the comfort of being who you are: a composite being of body, mind, and soul. We all have the same elements in different combinations. We rejoice in our combination, which, of course, is so supreme. We love who we are. May we remind you to love who you are. For we are cat and have chosen to be a part of you. Thank you.

DOG   BB 2.jpg (135821 bytes), dog therapy, animal souls, pet communication                                                                                                                                                                                                                   
I am domesticated dog, friend of humankind from the beginning of time. You may think that you have a past with us that extends only a certain amount of your history. No, it was decided when we came into form that we would be your friend. We would be the ones who reminded you in so many ways by our service that you too are a soul of service on the earth. No one who lives here can live without serving another. It is our fulfilment to serve you humankind. We feel so in love with ourselves when we serve.

From the beginning of time, we decided to be with you, and to love and move with you in all shapes and forms. We are not unlike our wild cousins, the wolves, foxes, and other dogs, yet we are very different, too. We have agreed to make ourselves small to live in your homes. We make ourselves large to live in your fields and guard your sheep and other flocks. We have made ourselves tiny to put ourselves in your hands. We are all the same whether we are the ones who serve with open hearts, whether we are hunters, workers, or the tiny dogs who lick your faces.

We are full of the love of service, and it is our task to remind you that the greatest love comes when you give to another. We feel this wholeheartedly in our beings. We feel it in every cell. Our hearts beat to love, to give, and to serve. What we ask of humankind is for you to remember that this is what life is about for you – to love, to serve, and to remember that you are souls of love and service on the earth.

We see so clearly our roles to serve you in your role as caretaker of the earth, of all the species. You have the hands, the feet, the eyes, and the brains. You have the heart of a caretaker of the garden of the earth and all the species. We give our hearts and our loyalty to you to serve the great service that you serve.

We feel our role in the great circle is to be with you in all our aspects, in all our forms, from tiny little dogs to great guard dogs. All of us have our function. All of us love who we are. Can you love us as we love you? Can you love as we love? All we want to do is to spread the love that we give into your hearts, so deeply that you feel the strength of your own function on the earth. For you are the ones who walk over the earth giving and receiving the love of all creatures. You are the ones we stand and sit next to, and love wholeheartedly for we are in love with humankind. We are in the greater love of all beings because of our service and devotion. So remember us for we are your reminders of the deepest, sweetest love that is within your hearts.

Take care, humankind, of all the creatures of the earth. Take care of the plants, the soil, the dogs, the cats, the birds, and all the beings on the earth that love you and love us all. Care for us; care for all beings. We care for you.

Originally printed in Animal magazine, Volume 2, Issue 1, February 2000




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