by Bernie Siegel, MD
I became a believer in our ability to communicate with animals after Amelia Kinkade, an animal intuitive, who while sitting in California, told me via an email that she was seeing through the eyes of our lost cat Boo Boo, who had disappeared from our son’s home in Connecticut, and then she went on in detail about the house and yard and where the cat was hiding. The next morning I went out and rescued Boo Boo from the exact place Amelia had described to me the day before.
From that day on I learned that when in doubt to simply ask myself WWAD, or What Would Amelia Do? One of my biggest problems is mentally going into a place of fear when one of our pets is missing or acting strangely and I know that interferes with my ability to communicate. I tend to try and force them to do my will by every means available to me or I go into my head and decide what the animal is thinking, none of which ever work, instead of asking WWAD and resolving the issue.
My first experiment, after becoming a believer, was to try and find out why our beloved house rabbit Smudge Elizabunny would allow my wife to walk out into the front yard, pick her up and bring her into the house each evening while, when I attempted to do it, she would run around for ten or fifteen minutes until I finally caught up with her. Smudge began her day by running out our pet door every morning and spending the day in our fenced in front yard with our other creatures. So my first WWAD was to step out into our fenced in front yard the next evening and in my head ask, “Why don’t you let me pick you up the way you let my wife Bobbie do?’
The unexpected answer, which for me verifies it is coming from the animal and not my head was, ‘You don’t treat the cats that way.’ I realized she treated my wife differently because I was the zoo keeper and guardian and my wife more often brought her treats and rarely ever forced her to come inside.
When I went on to ask what she meant by that Smudge explained that I don’t make the cats come in at any specific time but give them the freedom to go in and out until my bed time. I then explained that the cats could defend themselves should a predator get into the yard and I was worried about Smudge being out late when it grew dark. With those words Smudge hopped over and let me pick her up and every day thereafter. I will admit some days she would smile at me and remind me of the old days for a minute or two but I could tell it was just her sense of humor. And when I had appointments I could go out into the yard and tell her I needed to leave the house and would feel better if she would come in. She always hopped right over when she knew I had a schedule to keep.
When Smudge died Amelia told me she would be with Rose who loved her. Little did Amelia know my Mom’s name was Rose and she died shortly after Smudge and I know they are together again sharing stories about me.
I also have two outdoor cats at our son’s house, Eanie and Meanie, and because the only time I can count on seeing them is in the morning when I serve them breakfast I made an appointment with our veterinarian for an early morning visit. For one week neither cat showed up for breakfast and so I called the vet to cancel the appointment and not waste his time. The next morning, bright and early, the two cats were sitting and waiting for breakfast to be served.
Our cats Miracle, Penny, Dickens and Gabriel read my mind also. Their names are no coincidence. Miracle was named after a cat which appeared in a dream to one of my cancer patients and said, “My name is Miracle and this is the cancer treatment protocol you should follow.” The cat then gave her the details which her oncologist agreed to and she is well today. So our next rescued cat became Miracle. Miracle is just that. She thinks she is a dog. She is fearless and so I have entered her in dog shows. The next year one posted a notice, “This dog show is for dogs only.” By the way the neighbors treat you with caution after they hear and see you running around your house yelling Miracle at the top of your lungs. Penny was named by a child who saw her being born and said she looked like a penny. A Penny is to remind us that we have Liberty and In God We Trust. Dickens and Gabriel remind me that if God is at my front door the devil is at my back door and to remain aware of both aspects of my existence. I groom them all every week; toe nails, teeth fur, hair ball medication and more. Whenever I think about doing it they all disappear. It is my way of testing our ability to communicate. If, however, five minutes later, I think about going down the hall to get something from my home office I have to step over them to get to me desk.
Last year I went shopping with our two dogs Furphy, a Lhasa Apso, who thinks our house is his Tibetan Monastery and insists on running the show and Buddy, a Griffon mix, who loves to chase anything that moves from a squirrel to an oil truck. The car we all got into was a new minivan with all the remote control door mechanisms on the key. After shopping I returned to the car and was horrified to see the side door was open due to my accidentally hitting the key. Buddy, whom I was worried most about was sitting in the car while Furphy was no where to be seen. My first reaction was panic as I began to run around calling out his name and searching the areas around the parking lot. Then I suddenly realized you are not doing what Amelia taught you and so I asked myself WWAD?
I then quieted down and went into Furphy’s head to find out what he was thinking and immediately realized he was searching for me as he always does and that he was probably at the front desk of the market with them asking over the loud speaker, ‘Whose dog is this?’ I say that because after attending Amelia’s workshop at Omega Furphy was not let into the dining hall during the lunch break. I left him at the back door and he always waits for me to come out but not this time. A man came through the hall, with Furphy in his arms, asking whose dog it was. Apparently Furphy had run around to the front door and into the hall searching for me. He won over everyone’s heart and they let him stay.
Anyway as I approached the front of the super market I saw a security guard sitting in his car. As I approached he lowered the driver’s window and asked, “Are you looking for a dog?’ I answered yes and he said, ‘Here he is on the front seat with air conditioning, water and treats.’ The guard went on to tell me he saw Furphy walking towards the front of the market and didn’t want him to be hit by a car so he picked him up. Furphy followed me back to the car and we have never had that problem again.
I may add that both Furphy and Buddy adopted me; Furphy by running out and grabbing my leg when I visited the shelter and Buddy by sending me a message. I had written a story about a dog named Buddy when I heard a voice tell me, one morning, to go to the animal shelter. I listened to the voice and went down there with Furphy and as we walked in a volunteer was holding a dog in her lap. I asked something I have never asked before, ‘What’s his name?’ Of course the answer was’ Buddy’ and home he came with me. My wife is very forgiving and accepting and adopts us all too.
Now to explain the reason I was surprised at who stayed in the car and who left is that after adopting Buddy from the animal shelter I could never get him to get into a car and he even jumped out of the car once when I stopped for gas. At home if I didn’t have him on a leash getting him into the car was a frustrating, time consuming experience. Finally one day I thought WWAD?
I then calmed myself and asked Buddy why he wouldn’t get in the car. I was amazed at his answer. He said the woman who owned him was very nice but when her husband came home from work she would ask him to take Buddy for a walk. Buddy went on to say, “He would put me in the car and then drive to a bar and leave me in the car. When he came out he would be abusive because of his drinking and just take me home and never let me out of the car. So getting into a car scares me and reminds me of all the abuse I received.”
From that day on his disobedience ended. We now understood each other and quickly worked it out to where Buddy now loves the car because he knows we are always going out to share the day. He loves to chase moving things in the woods near our home but I never have to worry about his not coming home and when I open the side door of the car before I can say, “Jumpee upee” he is in the front seat raring to go. Furphy and Buddy are both my co-therapists in support groups and anywhere they are allowed entry. The only problem is that now that they know we can communicate Furphy never stops telling me what to do and interrupts therapy groups unless he gets a treat which is my sign to him that we are starting the therapy session.
The other day I drove off thinking they were both in the car but after a half mile I realized no one was telling me where to go or what to do. I turned to look in the back of the car and saw only Buddy. I immediately connected with Furphy and told him I was sorry and coming home. I turned around and drove home knowing Furphy would be sitting in the driveway giving me that boy are you a dumbbell look that God’s complete creations give to we incomplete human beings. It is a look I get from the cats too when I used to accidentally lock them out over night.
Now I take attendance every evening both intuitively and physically before I get into bed to be sure all our kids are in the house and no one is locked out. My hope is you will all read on and let Amelia open your minds and increase your communication skills so you won’t get that look from the animals anymore. With time and training I even get along better with people too as an added benefit.