by Michael Hofferber. Copyright © 1992. All rights reserved.
People who live with animals almost invariably talk to their critters, or at least that's been my experience. And the animals, in their own way, usually talk back.
I've personally talked to several horses, a few cows, assorted chickens, a pair of exceptional pigs and dozens of dogs and cats.
We don't carry on about American literature, of course. When I do, their eyes glaze over the way mine do when someone talks about computer programming. They sniff. The scratch. They look elsewhere and finally walk away.
But when the subject is birds or food or the quality of the weather, then we understand each other just fine.
In books and tapes and workshops, Smith teaches telepathy to people seeking a better understanding of their animals.
"I have communicated with animals all my life," she said. "It became something I just had as an ability."
As a child, Smith recalled sitting in a park and calling out to the creatures around her, asking them to come near. Birds and butterflies would perch on her outstretched arms.
This special skill is something she kept quiet about when she was young, but as an adult Smith has made a career out of interspecies communication. Her phone rings constantly, she said, with calls from people seeking help with their problem pets.
Smith told the cat's owners that they needed to acknowledge their cat and thank her for trying to protect the household. She suggested that they make a deal with their cat, promising to make a twice daily coyote patrol around the house to ensure its safety if she would stop urinating on the carpets.
The owners agreed and the cat stopped, Smith said.
On another consultation, Smith was asked to communicate with a Rottweiler show dog that was inexplicably acting up in the show ring.
"This dog would do everything perfectly at home, but he would suddenly do funny things in the show ring," Smith recalled. "He was getting quite a reputation at the shows."
The trainer told Smith she had promised her dog he would never have to go to the shows again if he would just behave and help her win another degree in the show ring.
"I communicated with the dog and just started laughing," Smith said. "He said, 'She's promised me I won't go to another show if I do it right. But I love these shows!'"
The dog told Smith his purpose in life was to make people happy. He enjoyed the laughter that his antics in the show ring provoked.
"We worked out a deal," Smith said. "She continued taking him to dog shows, and she got her degrees."
In her workshops, this New Age Dr. Doolittle promises to teach people how to open up the lines of pet communication on their own.
"First you have to learn how to quiet your mind," she said. Once open and receptive, the images and impressions of what the animal is thinking and feeling will come through.
"All beings are quite capable of understanding another being without opening their mouths," Smith noted. "The whole secret to what I do is listen to them."
That's about as far as I followed her, however. When Smith said she does most of her consulting over the phone, telepathically communicating with animals hundreds of miles away, I started to scratch and sniff.
When she told us about contacting the spirits of dead pets, I was out the door.
Sure, there's telepathy. I see it every day -- in the horseman and his mount, the huntress and her dogs, the sheepherder and his flock, me and my cats.
You'd have to be pretty insensitive, overly preoccupied, or terribly self-important not to know when a cow needs milking or be able to sense why a pig is off its feed. Dogs are straightforward with their ideas and requests and cats, while somewhat more complicated, have little trouble making their feelings known, at least to my experience.
But not all folks are the same. Many aren't raised with animals these days. And some, I suppose, need to consult a telepathic therapist before they'll accept the possibility of communication with another species.
For me, I've got to leave you now. There's a call from my pinto on the other line.
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by Michael Hofferber
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