It's 11:00 p.m. and I'm relaxed on the sofa, deeply absorbed in a book. My cat, Emmie, leaps up to join me, finds herself a comfy niche in the corner of the quilt and begins a rhythmic purring-- her usual signal of being comfortable and content.
I continue reading for a while, and when I break, I notice that Emmie is looking directly at me. It's not just her "I'm really happy" look. Her eyes are fixed intently on mine and her expression is questioning. I reach down to stroke her fur, but her expression intensifies. She is obviously not looking for a pat. She is looking for an answer, or possibly, a reaction that lets her know I understand. "What is it?," I ask, looking for a signal or a gesture to help convey her thoughts. I meet her stare, trying to concentrate on her message. She is trying to tell me something, I'm sure. What can it be?
Most pet owners know the day to day expressions, barks, meows and other signs that pets use to communicate their daily needs. "I need a snack. It's time for my walk. Let's play catch. Touch me." There are times, however, that our pet seems to want our attention for a matter outside the usual. These actions sometimes leave us stumped or confused.
Animal lovers acknowledge that their pet is more than an animal. It is a family member, with its own set of feelings, wants and needs- almost like "a person in an animal suit." If this is true, can we talk with our pets? Can we really find out what's on their minds?
To learn more about penetrating the minds of animals, I talked with Nedda Wittels, Animal Communicator. Wittels has been working with animals and their owners on a professional basis for four years and has a large clientele across the country and in Canada. She is also a practitioner of Hands-On-Healing and Reiki II for both humans
Wittels began communicating with animals at the gentle encouragement of her Arabian mare, Echo. (She and Echo have been companions for twenty-one years.) Today, both Echo and Nedda's cat, Violet, assist Nedda in her work.
"Certain animals can be very spritually powerful," she notes.
"The first step in communicating with animals," says Nedda, "is to be open to the possibility. Animals are beings with feelings who are capable of understanding and awareness.Their only means of communication is telepathy. In order to talk with your pet you need to reshape your belief system.
Meditation can help, since it trains you to focus. You need to be able to clear your mind of all other thoughts. Once you accomplish this you can become aware of the messages being sent."
These messages may come in the form of pictures, feelings, physical sensations, knowings or words. "When the communication comes in words, the animal sometimes has an accent," she says. She recalls a 17 year old cat that had the voice of an old Jewish man, and another that had a French accent. Animals can also take on the vocabulary and speech habits of their owners. "I once talked with a dog in Boston who said something was 'a precipitating event.' I found that to be unusual."
Sally Gosselin attended
"I never thought I'd
be able to do it.
By the end of the
day I was talking
with Violet and Echo."
Besides working with owners on an individual basis, Nedda holds one-day workshops to teach people to get in touch with the skills necessary for animal communication. "At the end of the workshop all the participants are communicating," she says. "Is the next step, then, to learn to communicate telepathically with humans?," I ask. "No," says Wittels. "The human mind is complicated, full of thoughts and constantly on the go. Most people would find telepathy with humans impossible. The next step for most people would be to talk with nature- rocks, trees, the earth."
According to Nedda, man once had the ability to communicate with nature, but lost it. "We have come to accept left brain thinking as reality," she states. "Communicating with animals and nature is a right brain skill. In native cultures it is quite natural to talk to plants and animals."
What kinds of issues does she deal with in her work? Wittels says the range of topics and problems is broad. "Sickness, life & death decisions, behavioral problems, conflicts between animals, house training issues, changes in family and competition training are some common issues."
Communications between animals and humans enables them to share each others perspectives and to converse freely, without the barriers of language. By tuning into the animals perceptions and viewpoints we can enlist cooperation, resolve disputes, enhance health and well-being and enrich our relationships. Sally Gosselin, who has attended Nedda's workshop, says, "Instead of guessing at what your animal is thinking, you know. If my German Shepherd, Cavu, isn't eating, I can find out why. When we go away we can talk with our dogs while we're gone. It puts them more at ease."
It was actually simple day to day communication like this that convinced Sally's husband, Rick (who was a non-believer) to attend the workshop and learn the skill himself. "At first he thought I was crazy," Sally says.
"One day Cavu wasn't eating and I asked her why. She said, 'Because you aren't in the kitchen with me.' We went and sat in the kitchen and she immediately ate her food. The more Rick saw, the more he became convinced."
Communicating with Cavu was key in choosing Sally and Rick's second Shepherd, Tara. Sally, Rick and Cavu had discussed getting another dog and Cavu thought it was a great idea. The three of them decided to call the new dog "Spirit of Friendship." "We looked at a few litters, but Cavu wasn't impressed," said Sally. "As soon as we saw Tara, it was instant friendship and we knew it was the right dog. "This is 'Spirit,' Cavu said. After we bought Tara we found out that her full name was 'Tara Kindred Spirit.' Tara and Cavu get along perfectly and are the best of friends."
When another client, Fiona Bane, first started working with Nedda Wittels she had five dogs and two horses. At one point she found it necessary to lease out her two horses and wanted to check in with them to make sure they were happy in their temporary homes. She enlisted the aid of Wittels in communcating with her pets. "They seemed to be happy, and it eased my mind about the lease situation. Actually, one of my horses, Jet, is still out. He seems so happy there that I said he could stay. He just loves the girl who has him, and there is a pony, named Princess, with him. He has taken on a 'high and mighty air,' perhaps due to the pony's name."
During one session Jet told Nedda that he goes trail riding all the time and he really likes it. "That's just not true," Fiona said. "They don't go trail riding." (It's not uncommon for animals to fib according to Wittels.) When Fiona arrived for her next visit, Jet was just returning from trail riding. "I was so surprised!," Fiona said. "I asked how he does on the trail." "He's pokey," they said (which is really unlike Jet). "He takes baby steps so that Princess can keep up with him."
Fiona has also worked with Nedda regarding two of her dogs, Kazoo and Odie, who were both older and seriously ill. Though she eventually had to put the first dog, Kazoo, down, she was able to discuss his illness with him and make him comfortable until both of them felt he was ready to let go. "Kazoo was Top Dog. He felt if he left there would be no one to protect us," Fiona said. "He was a very proud dog." She is still in communication with Odie, who suffers from a tumor on his brain stem. "He is comfortable, says Fiona. "He's not spending much time in his body and has things to do. He's not ready to depart yet."
Perhaps the most satisfying contact for Fiona was with a nine month old dog who had been hit by a car. Fiona spent a year agonizing over the death of the dog, feeling guilty that she had let it out. She decided to have Nedda contact the pup. "It was a great day," the dog said. "I was running around and playing with Kazoo. I had a great time." Learning that the dog had no ill feelings about the experience, Fiona was able to move on and accept what had happened.
"There is healing involved in getting in touch with animals and their feelings," Nedda believes. "If you can talk about injury, it helps release energy to help the animal to heal. Many animal workers learn communication. It helps them with their work."
"The most convincing part for me," says Fiona Bane, "is the way in which each of my animals greets Nedda. They have such different personalities, but the greeting nails it every time."
Nedda Wittels also believes that some animals are here to reflect us back to ourselves. People and their pets often share the same symptoms or have the same ailments. "One of my clients had breast cancer," she recalls. "Her cat also had it. I could see the two of them attached by their illness. The cat was finally able to separate and let go. During that time, the woman was able to work through her own healing process."
"Sometimes," she states, "an animal can relay a spiritual message."
She recalls a woman at one of her workshops. When Nedda spoke to the woman's cat, she could feel a heaviness around the heart of the woman's husband. The woman confirmed he had heart problems. The cat told her to ask her husband to open up his heart and receive love. This would help in his healing.
"If you want to get in touch with your pet, start telling him or her whats going on," says Nedda. "If you're leaving, tell the animal where you're going and when you'll be back. If its a vacation, tell your pet who will be taking care of it and feeding it. This eleviates stress on the part of your pet while you're gone," she says. She told of a contact with a horse regarding training. "His owner wanted to know which saddle he liked best. He described a saddle that he didn't have," she recalls. "It turns out that I was talking with his half brother a few stalls down."
If you are planning a consultation with Nedda, have a list of questions and concerns ready. She does her consultations by phone from her office in Simsbury, Connecticut. She also likes to know the name, age, sex and coloring of the animal. "A photo isn't necessary, but visual descriptions help. Occassionally, there is an animal so eager to converse that he or she will take over the conversation. It's very rare, but it has happened," she says.
The stories are numerous. These are just a few of the many experiences shared with me by Nedda and her clients. I actually collected enough to fill a book. What can we make of communicating with animals and trees? What of this woman who talks with animals?
Nedda Wittels is a solid, grounded individual. She holds an MS in education and an MA in history. Her professional experience includes 10 years in public education and 15 years as a software designer. At one point in her life, she realized that things never worked out as she wanted them to and that she was generally unhappy. "When I started making decisions based on intuition," she says, "I found that things worked out. Since then, my life has been happy." She has a great love of animals and has found happiness and gratification in her work.
"Each person has telepathic ability. One only needs to take the time to develop it. When you experience the energy and make-up of another form, you become more connected with it," Nedda believes.
"As we recognize the intelligence and spirit in all living things, we can respond with openness and expanded awareness."
Is conversing with animals some weird, new age trend? Do plants and animals really have a voice? I'm reminded of Psalms 148 and 150, with which I leave you:
...Praise the Lord from the earth,
You great sea creatures and all
Fire and hail, snow and clouds;
Stormy wind, fulfilling His
Mountains and all hills;
Fruitful trees and all cedars;
Beasts and all cattle;
Creeping things and flying fowl;
Kings of the earth and all
Princes and all judges of the
Both young men and maidens;
Old men and children.
Let them praise the name of the Lord...
...Let everything that has breath
praise the Lord...
Were Old Testament Psalmists aware of something modern man has long forgotten? It would appear that perhaps King David and Nedda Wittels are of one mind.