Dr. Dolittle’s Territory

by Christi Leigh

She was dying. No doubt about it. The diagnosis was cancer. It could be eight weeks. It could be eight months. It probably was not a year. And all I could think was, “I wish I could talk to her!” I wish I could tell her how much I love her. I wish I could ask her if she was in pain. Because in the end, I knew that I was going to have to make some very tough decisions. I wanted to keep her with me as long as possible, but I did not want her to suffer. So I called an animal communicator.

Animal communicators “provide a bridge for more immediate communication with an animal during the time we are together to help get some issues out, set some agreements,” says Miranda Alcott, an animal communicator based in Corrales, New Mexico. Once besmirched as late night talk show fare, the animal communication profession has been gaining respect from the public and the scientific world ever since two articles published in 1993, one in Newsweek and one in Time, asked whether animals think. “The scientific model that says animals can’t think and can’t feel is a lot of nonsense,” says Alcott. “We know they have relationships, feelings – they think about things, they grieve. So why not try to communicate?”

“Most people find that when you begin to connect with an animal you feel they are trying to tell you something. So many people say to me I know she is trying to tell me something, I just can’t get what it is. As more people have animals in their lives as friends, beloved beings, not just watch dogs, or working dogs, more people are trying this.”

Am I the only Briard owner who has sought the help of an animal communicator? To find out, I put a message on the Briard-L asking about animal communicators. I found that quite a few Briard owners have dabbled in Dr. Doolittle’s territory. They too wanted to say something to their Briards. Betsy Levine noted that she worked with an animal communicator on some issues, and found that the communicator was “pretty much spot on most things.” Merry Jeanne Millner told me she has used many animal communicators. She notes: “While I really do want to believe and I do, I am not too sure about what I have experienced. I used some of the big ones Pope, Smith and Sonya Fitzpatrick. Sonya Fitzpatrick and Penelope Smith have both written books. Raphaella Pope is very famous.”

“I used them to try and help me find Manu, the puppy that was stolen in Tennessee. I got three different scenarios from all women and we followed up on all three but to no avail. They use some good catch phrases that as a dog person I thought were pretty see through.”

“I also used Sylvia Brown a pretty famous *fortune* teller. She did tell me I would never find Manu. She also told me my sister’s baby was a girl. It was a boy!!!!!! So while I am a believer I have not had good experiences.”

Judy Schramm noted, “Yes, we have experienced an animal communicator. We attended a seminar by Beatrice Lydecker about 20 years ago. We never practiced the techniques she taught us. I am not quite sure I was sold, but it was amazing. I had my Briard J.J. with me, and she fell in love with him. She kept using him as her helper. She had with her three G.S.D. and a Briard mix. I have her book, and she signed it for me. Her book was titled What The Animals Tell Me, published by Harper & Row in 1977.

And then there is Jane Beahan. She notes “Sue Erickson went to an animal communicator seminar and found it very informative (of course Sue never owned up to this). I took Trump to one (just at a show, so maybe not real legitimate). She really tried hard, but said Trump “wouldn’t talk” to her. She gave me a free session, but I never used it.”

So, what happened with my animal communicator experience? Keep in mind that I am a scientist. I do not believe in these types of things. But I was desperate. I needed some sort of peace of mind. I thought I would give it a try…sort of… The truth is that I was too embarrassed to meet with the animal communicator myself. I had my mother do it. After all, she is more into these touchy-feely sorts of things than I am. She can do it.

So, my mother picked up my old Briard girl and took her to her house. The animal communicator met them there. The communicator sat in the living room with my old Briard girl who was allowed to roam the room at will. She spent about an hour with my girl and took notes which she later translated onto an audiotape for me to listen to.

The information contained on that audiotape was very soothing for me. It seems that my old girl was not ready to go yet. She wanted to have some more experiences, especially those involving riding in the car. She wanted to go out to the field and run and watch the sunsets. Yes, she found that she got tired, and yes to some extent she was in pain. She described the pain as a pressure of unknown origin. But, she still had a lot of music to listen to. She described feeling the music in our house through the vibrations in the floor.

Some of this sounds like pretty generic stuff. Anyone could have made this up. Right? I said this to myself many times. But, there were a few little details that I could not explain. Like how the animal communicator knew that our house was a house FULL OF LOUD MUSIC. Some of the occupants of my house liked to play music VERY LOUDLY. The communicator knew that my old girl liked to lay on the tile in front of the stereo where she can actually FEEL the music.
There were other unexplainable details in her testimony. In the end, I decided it did not matter. I needed something to hold on to. Something to get me through the last few months with my old girl. The animal communicator provided me with this. Whether it was fact or fiction. Whenever I got down about the whole situation, I would play some music for the old lady or take her on a car ride in the evening to watch the sunset somewhere. This I knew was what she wanted to be doing.