Wednesday, January 29, 2014

The Cat Who Cared

Claire asked me to talk with her sweet Ragdoll cat, Casey.  He's a gregarious, funny, friendly, and all-around great cat, but Claire and her husband were losing sleep over him, literally.

Not only did Casey pace at night, but he insisted on opening closet doors and rattling window shades in the master bedroom during the darkest hours.  His night-after-night antics had left Claire and her husband exhausted and exasperated.  Could I find out why Casey was so rambunctious in the midnight hours, Claire wanted to know, and more important, could I persuade him to stop?

When I connected with Casey, he admitted that he did want Claire and her husband to wake up.  The question was:  why?

I wasn't prepared for what he said next.  It turned out that Casey's middle-of-the-night rumblings were inspired by his fear that one of his "parents" had stopped breathing, and his purpose in rousing them was to make sure they were okay.  He knew if he could wake them, they'd have to breathe!

Claire and her husband were astonished when I told them what Casey had shared.  It turns out that in fact, Claire's husband has been diagnosed with sleep apnea, and there are times when his breathing does momentarily cease.  They had no idea that Casey had understood the danger, and that all he wanted to do was to help.

Interestingly, after my session with Casey, Claire reported that her dear cat has been much more relaxed and that he's begun to sleep through the night again.  I'd suggested to Casey that instead of creating noises that would disturb his sleeping parents, he could jump up on the bed and wake them if he perceived that one of them had really stopped breathing.  It's a solution that seems to be working for everyone.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Bonding with Bobby

When you live with a dog, things can go from good to bad as quick as a shot, with no warning.  If I'd forgotten that, I was reminded of it today by Bobby, the impish Cocker Spaniel who's a bundle of cuteness and mischief.

The first time I saw Bobby on Petfinder, I fell in love.  It wasn't hard.  He was adorable and winning and it was hard to imagine that there could be anything but sweetness in that doleful face.  I hadn't lived with a Cocker Spaniel since I was a young child, but having shared my life with Springer Spaniels for almost 20 years, I figured I knew what to expect.  I was wrong.

Bobby was a doll during the long ride from New York to Massachusetts on the warm September afternoon that I met him and brought him home.  He was coming with a rap sheet, so I had entered into our adoption contract advisedly.  Through no fault of his own, he'd landed in a kill shelter, but had been miraculously rescued by Pamela Schechter of Companion Critters, who cuddled him and coddled him and gave him a spiffy haircut so he'd make a good impression.  Bobby had lasted at his original adoptive home only 48 hours, having been asked to leave after he bit his adopted "father" as he tried to collar him when he fled from their fenced yard.  I was cautious, but initially undeterred.

After only a few days, I was ready to bring Bobby back.  His fascination with my cats bordered on mania.  They were terrorized, spending their days quivering under my bed while Bobby strutted his stuff.  I couldn't believe what I'd done to them; I had been assured that Bobby liked cats, but he sure didn't show any respect or affection to Neil, Glenda, and Django.

Not only that, but I discovered that Bobby's name should have been, "Mr. Into Everything."  After having lived with several mild mannered Goldens and Springers for so many years, I was completely unprepared for a dog who not only surfed counters but regularly safaried into kitchen cabinets, waste baskets, and purses, eating everything in his path.  He was a seven-year-old in a seven-month-old's body.  I hadn't signed up for that.

But instead of relinquishing Bobby, I decided to take him on.  A few sessions of training were only marginally helpful.  The trainer thought she could use conventional methods to bring Bobby around, but none of them worked on a little guy who wasn't used to being told what to do.  I tried EFT and though for 24 hours, Bobby didn't flinch when he spied one of the cats, the magic quickly wore off.

It finally hit me that Bobby was like no other dog I'd ever had.  I had to learn his rules, and play by them, if we were going to make any progress.  That meant lots of sweet talk and encouragement, and never trying to grab an item of contraband from his mouth, lest I become bite victim #2.  I praised him and loved him and even when he exasperated me, I forgave him.  Again and again.  And he forgave me.

I became the student, and Bobby, the teacher.  As I softened, so did he.  We grew closer, in spite of myself.  Even the cats noticed the difference, gradually gaining the confidence to mingle with Bobby without fear.  On days when I spend hours bent over a computer, Bobby's little face peeks up from under the table as if to say, "Take a break.  Pet me."  And I do.

Yet I hadn't understood how much Bobby meant to me until this morning, when somehow, he scooted away as I opened the door to retrieve a just-delivered package.  Perhaps because his mostly white coat blended with the snowy driveway, I didn't see or feel him go.  It was only when my other dog, Tennessee, tried to push the door open as I was closing it, that I realized something was amiss.  I turned around expecting to see Bobby waiting in the hallway behind me, but he wasn't there.  I rushed around the house, frantically calling him, but then, in horror, I understood that he'd bolted.  My heart sank.  I could feel the adrenaline rising as I flung open the door and screamed, "Bobby!  Where ARE You?!"

And there, sitting quietly as though nothing had happened, was Bobby.  Not a fugitive, but just a little Cocker Spaniel who, after more than a year, understands that this is his home--a place where he is loved and appreciated for who he is.  A place where he belongs.

Friday, October 25, 2013

A Dog Beckons from the Beyond

I received an amazing note from a dear client of mine, Seanne Moulton, recounting an experience she had a few days ago during a mediumship demonstration conducted by Francesca Kimpton, a psychic medium from the UK who now lives in California.

Seanne wrote:

"Francesca was talking to a gal in the audience when she stopped and asked, 'Does someone have a dog who just recently passed?  I mean, very recently?  Because there is a dog here who keeps running back and forth in front of me.  He seems so happy.'

A woman raised her hand, and Francesca immediately knew it was this woman's dog.  She said the dog was running up to all of the spirits who had come through and had been rolling on his back for a belly rub.  The dog couldn't stop talking about the new tag his 'mom' had purchased for him, just before he passed.  The woman confirmed that indeed, she had just bought her dog a new tag, right before he died.

The dog kept talking about how proud he was of that tag.  The woman confirmed that he had been parading around, showing off that tag like he was at a beauty pageant.

Then, the woman's father came through and tried to pick up the dog, saying, 'Come on, all these people didn't come here to listen to a dog!'  But the dog responded, 'Oh yes, they did!'  He said he just wanted his mom to know she was the best mom he could ever have asked for.  He said he always heard her when she talked to him, and he knows she has been crying a lot since he died.  He wanted her to know that he still lays on the pillow with her, just like he used to.

The woman's father chimed in and said to the dog, 'She cried more when you died than she did when I died!'  And the woman confirmed that yes, that was true.  Her dog continued to lick her father, and then rolled on his back for more belly rubs. . ."


If you're fascinated by the idea that we can connect with our animals after they've been released from their bodies, you won't want to miss The Conference on Animals in the Afterlife, on Sunday, November 3rd in Boxborough, MA.  Psychic Medium Joanne Gerber will be doing spontaneous spirit readings, and we hope that just like the dog in Seanne's story, departed animals will be among those who come through.

Register today to get the early bird rate of $149 for the whole day.  You can join us for the afternoon, to hear Kim Sheridan's keynote and be part of Joanne Gerber's gallery, for just $99.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Why I Wait

When we are in the grips of grief after the death of a beloved family member, our first impulse is to try to maintain a connection with him, in an effort to blunt the stark reality of his passing from this earth.  Because we can no longer touch or kiss or caress the person who has just left his physical body, we become desperate to find other ways to connect.

It's no different when we lose our treasured animal companions.  We want some confirmation that they are okay, that they didn't suffer in the process of making their out-of-body transitions, and that they know we love and miss them terribly, even if it's only been hours or days since they left our loving arms.  We ache to know how they are doing, and we feel we can't wait.

But when it comes to scheduling a consultation with an animal who has just died, I suggest that my clients do wait, at least for a few weeks, to allow the torrent of tears and torment to abate a bit, and to give the animal's spirit the space and time it may need to acclimate to a new reality.

And so I was interested to learn that respected Medium John Holland says the same thing.  I've been reading his book, Born Knowing, in which he says:

     "Until you've dealt with your bereavement, you shouldn't think about
     making a connection right away. . .I also believe that the newly arrived
     spirit needs their own adjustment time before they're ready to send
     any messages."

John is speaking about people, of course, but I think the same advice applies to our animals in spirit.  The healing and comfort you can receive from a session in which they paint vivid pictures of their earthly memories can bring healing and comfort even if you wait, just a little while, before you ask me to make the connection.  The animals with whom you joyously shared your life will still be there for you, no matter how much time has gone by.


You'll have an opportunity to connect with departed animals and people at  the upcoming Conference on Animals in the Afterlife, when Joanne Gerber will be doing live, spontaneous spirit readings for members of the audience.  You won't want to miss it.

Friday, September 06, 2013

What Animals in the Afterlife Know

In celebration of her new book, Speak Woof & MeowRonni Ann Hall of The Designing Fairy invited several animal communicators--including me--to submit guest posts for her blog during the month of September.

I was grateful for Ronni Ann's invitation, and delighted to participate.  My piece, entitled "What Animals in the Afterlife Know," was published today.

"In my experience as an animal communicator," I wrote, I've learned that animals who have left their bodies behind can continue to stay involved in our lives in wonderful and sometimes magical ways.  They know what we say; they see what we do."

If you'd like to read my account of the verifiable information that was shared with me by Dawson and Sophie, two amazing animals in spirit, please read the post on The Designing Fairy blog.

Among the other topics that will be featured there through the end of this month are "communicating with feral cats," "hearing animals telepathically," and "how to help your animal transition."  Ronni Ann will also publish excerpts from Speak Woof & Meow on September 24th, as part of this series.

Tuesday, September 03, 2013

The Guns of September

Every morning during the month of August, I delighted to see dozens of Canada Geese lazing in small groups throughout a verdant hay field in Holden.  I would try to count them, but there were so many, I couldn't.   On some days, there had to be 60, or more.  They were relaxed and happy and peaceful, and my dogs and I nodded silently at their beauty and majesty as we passed the flocks during our daily morning walk.  The geese felt safe in that field, with no thought of danger.  They've been coming to this same haven for years.

On Friday, they were gone, without a trace.  I assumed they'd started their fall migration, and wished them well.  But then on Sunday morning, I heard the familiar sound of honking hordes, and saw 20 or 30 of them circle the field, and then land.  Were these the geese of August, or a new battalion, stopping to fuel and then continue their southerly journey.  I didn't know.

Yesterday, it happened again.  A V-formation of geese suddenly appeared in the sky and then gently floated into the quiet grass, in slow motion.  I was awed at their precision.

But this morning, everything changed.  Dozens of geese flew so low that I could hear their wings flapping as they passed overhead.  As I watched them veer in search of a soft landing, I was horror struck at the simultaneous boom of guns and the gut-wrenching sight of one, two, three geese felled from the sky, without warning, by greedy and blood-thirsty hunters who had been hiding in wait.

Perhaps a half-dozen of the geese had already landed--their fate unknown--but the ones in flight immediately understood that something was terribly wrong, and wafted out of reach as fast as they could.  I felt sick, and heartbroken as I spied the three hunters, almost literally smacking their chops, hungry for more.  The blood of the geese they'd already spilled wasn't enough.  They'd wait for the flock to return, as they knew it would.  I complained loudly and bitterly to the men, but they just sneered.

My heart stopped as I saw the huge flocks circle back to where some of them had been shot down.  Here we go again, I thought.  I couldn't bear to watch the continued carnage.  The geese were heading in my direction, and I could hear the hunters cock their guns behind me.  With all my heart, I said, "no, no, go back, go back!"  It felt like I was watching the rerun of a violent movie, and I braced myself for what was to come.

But then magically, the geese somehow realized that if they continued on their intended trajectory, the formerly welcoming pasture would become their killing field, and as one, they turned away, beyond the guns' reach.  I don't know how they knew, but I was grateful that at least for this morning, no more geese would fall from this sky.  They remain at risk through September 25th, and I cringe at how many more will be brutally shot down throughout this Commonwealth, all in the name of sport.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

On The Couch

Sometimes I feel like an animal psychotherapist.  So often, something magical happens after a consultation, just because I've made a heartfelt effort to deeply listen to an animal's complaints, concerns, or fears, and sincerely acknowledge them.  Those fears might seem silly or inconvenient, but I take them seriously.  And in doing so, I've honored and respected the animal I'm talking to, letting her know that she has a right to her feelings, whatever others might think.

This is what happened with Maggie, a magnificent Hanoverian mare with whom I've had the privilege of communicating on several occasions over the course of more than a year.  Maggie is a brave and talented eventer, and it takes a lot to scare her.  But of late, she'd been showing signs of stress when she was turned out in a large, lush pasture bordered by tall trees and woods.  Rather than relaxing in this green paradise, Maggie had been anxiously pacing the fence, as if begging to come in.  No one knew why.  To our human minds, it made no sense.

When I connected with Maggie, I mentally put myself into her body to see what it felt like to be out there in the expansive grassy paddock, alone.  I could immediately feel her sense of vulnerability:  there was something unseen looming in the woods beyond the field and Maggie worried that it might spring forth to pounce on her.  A hawk flew overhead:  it, too, felt like a threatening presence in a wide open place where there was no place to hide.

I let Maggie know that I understood why she might feel worried, and gently suggested that she had the power to flee, to run if danger should appear.  She said she might be happier in a smaller pen, closer to the barn, and I passed that on to her dear person, Polly.

That was yesterday.  This morning, Polly sent me this photo of Maggie happily grazing out in the big field alone, showing no signs of care or stress.  Same field, same woods, but something had shifted.  There may be many explanations for Maggie's new-found feeling of comfort in her surroundings, but I believe that as soon as she knew her fears were validated, she let them go.