Animal communication, at its core value, is best summarized as "inter-species translation" And animal communicators do just that. And although labels can be cumbersome, over the last few months, it's become very obvious the label doesn't fit. More appropriately, it's just too small.
Every once in a while, a client comes along who re-defines the scope of this job description, and who shakes everything up, in a good way. This week, it was a sweet, senior Golden Retriever.
The client requested a session to determine what, if anything her dog would eat, and was offered the next available appointment in person, which was a week out. When she replied that she was concerned that the dog may not be with us that long, a phone session was immediately scheduled. It was a warm fall afternoon, and the dog lazily slept on the sidewalk as her owner described the situation. The old dog refused to eat anything that was offered, and it was concerning. So concerning, in fact, that the client had called for a vet appointment. The receptionist, not sensing any urgency, offered her one a few days later.
As the communication session evolved, I began to experience an immense pressure in the dog's chest, as well as an overwhelming sense of lethargy. The client continued to describe her dog's general weakness and change in demeanor. She was distraught by her pet's change in behavior, especially her lack of appetite. And then, an intuitive thought led me to ask her "can you please raise your dog's lip and tell me what color her gums are?" There was silence for a moment while she checked. And then the answer.... "they're um, white". I sucked my breath in. "White? Or just pale pink? Are you sure they're white?" I tried to not sound panicked. She checked again. "Yes, white. What does that mean?"
Calmly, I explained her dire need to call the vet. Now. "But they said I could come tomorrow afternoon". She hesitated. I explained that tomorrow may be too late, and then tried to prepare her for the possibilities. There was never a diagnosis implied, but more of a need to help this woman understand that her dog was in dire condition. White gums could have several medical implications, none of them good. This was no longer animal communication. It was a hybrid service that I still struggle to put a label on. It's never intended to be anything but supportive of professional veterinary care, a champion for pet ownership, and sometimes even coaching services to help clients through big pet-medical confusion. There is absolutely no need for a super hero cape on this end- honestly, just a better understanding of this service, so it can be explained to others.....
I asked that she try to stay calm, and try to prepare for decisions she would be faced with. The most important thing, right then, was getting her an appointment to be seen. We talked about the right language to use when talking to the receptionist, including those "white gums". I encouraged the woman to take her time to think through things that the vet said, once she was there. In my heart, I felt that this dog was tired... and that the news would not be good.
Most importantly, before we hung, up, the session reverted back to communication. "I want you to know your dog feels very loved, and has loved her life with you"..... She thanked me, and we said good-bye. Within minutes, I would be assisting clients in the vet clinic, so for a few hours, had put her Golden in the back of my mind. Later that evening, an email came through thanking me for being insistent that she go to the vet right then. The client had to say goodbye to her Golden companion that afternoon, after the vet said she likely had a large tumor...... and that she may not be here tomorrow.....
So grateful that the Universe directed our paths to cross......
Jen Ortman, owner of Holistipet (LLC) is a Professional Animal Communicator, Animal Reiki Master Teacher, author, and speaker.