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- This is the story of a spontaneous interaction that occurred during
an obedience class several years before I began offering interspecies
communication as a professional service. At that time, the idea of communicating
telepathically with our animals was familiar only to a very few of the
dog-training students, and it was not openly discussed in our classes,
let alone used intentionally to enhance our work with our dogs.
Today, with our awareness of how our thoughts can affect the dogs, it
is more likely that the instruction will explicitly include helping
our dogs by sending positive thoughts and mental pictures of successfully
As the class began, the instructor, my friend Marsha, was concerned
about the unusual behavior of her dog Lucas. Marsha explained to the
class that Lucas had been becoming more and more sullen each day since
a new puppy, Tommy, had joined the family. She had made the plans for
this addition to the family assuming Lucas would be happy to have a
little brother to play with, and so she was very surprised at his seemingly
Instead of wanting to play with the new puppy, Lucas just seemed miserable
and now his attitude was even beginning to affect his work. Normally,
Lucas is full of enthusiasm in obedience class. He loves being "demo-dog",
demonstrating new exercises to the class with Marsha, always watching
intently for her cues and responding eagerly and with precision. But
on this particular day, he not only lacked his usual sparkle, he actually
turned away when Marsha spoke to him, looking dejected. As Marsha was
discussing her concerns about his behavior with the class, Lucas suddenly
caught my eye and began glaring at me from across the room. Words began
popping into my mind:
"She didn't tell me the puppy was coming! Tell her
that! Tell her! She didn't tell me about the puppy, she
doesn't care what I think! Why doesn't she care what I think?"
As those thoughts were appearing in my mind, I realized that the words
were accompanied by intense feelings of rejection and of worthlessness.
This message of words and emotion was so strong and so clear that, without
thinking about what I was saying, I blurted out in front of the whole
"He says that you never told him the puppy was coming! He is worried
that it means you don't care what he thinks. He thought he was important
to you and to the family and now he feels rejected."
Well, I probably surprised myself as much as I surprised the others
in the class! Although I knew that Marsha was aware of my ability to
communicate with animals, I had no idea what the other people in the
class would think of this announcement. But the message from Lucas felt
so urgent that it compelled me to speak out before I could think about
it and censor myself.
Marsha responded immediately, "It's true I didn't sit down with
Lucas and talk about it, but I told Jack all about Tommy, and I thought
that he would tell everyone and get everybody else ready for the new
Jack is the eldest of the family dogs, the furthest along in his training,
and in the top position within the family group. It was natural for
Marsha to assume the others would follow his lead in a situation such
as a new addition to the family.
As Lucas continued to stare into my eyes, I could feel that this was
more than simply feeling slighted by Marsha, he actually felt rejected
and unloved. Just as I began to wonder why Lucas was letting this seemingly
rather minor thing affect him so deeply, the answer appeared in my mind…
he never understood why Marsha didn't tell him about the puppy and so
he had built up his own version of why in his own mind - he decided
that it must mean that she didn't care about him or his feelings, that
she didn't think of him as an important member of the family - and then
that explanation became his reality.
It all started to make sense to me now, and I could see that while Lucas
was in real pain over this, it was really all just a big misunderstanding.
If we could show Lucas that he was mistaken and that Marsha does think
of him as an important family member, perhaps all could easily be forgiven.
I described the feelings of rejection Lucas was showing me and explained
how it seemed that he had come to feel this way. I suggested that Marsha
apologize for not telling him about the puppy, and take some time to
explain the story from her point of view.
Of course, while all this is happening, there was still a room full
of people and their dogs, and even though this entire exchange had only
a taken few minutes so far, the other people were there to attend an
obedience class and Marsha needed to get back to work. So she apologized
quickly to Lucas and told him we would talk later. She let him out into
the backyard so that he could relax and skip the rest of the class.
After the class, Marsha and I went outside and sat down with Lucas.
We only had about five minutes before the next class was to begin. I
made sure that Lucas was open to hearing what Marsha had to say and
explained to him that she wanted to apologize. Marsha told Lucas that
she was sorry that she hadn't told him about the Tommy and explained
that she honestly thought that telling Jack was like telling all of
them. Although I felt a shift, Lucas still didn't seem completely convinced.
Based on the impressions I was getting from Lucas, I suggested that
Marsha describe to Lucas what she would do differently if she could
do it all over again. She told him truthfully that now she has a better
understanding of his expectations, and that if she could do it over,
she would be happy to talk to him about the puppy because he always
has been and will continue to be an important member of the family.
That was all it took! There was an immediate change in Lucas. He stood
up and gave Marsha a kiss, then he gave me a kiss, then we all got up,
Lucas did a little leap in the air as if to say, "Wow! I feel better!",
and he ran ahead of us to the training area.
The next class was getting started within a few minutes. The real Lucas
was back! The change was remarkable! It was hard to believe that this
was the same dog. The sad and sullen face was completely gone. Lucas
was once again happy to be center stage as "demo-dog", performing
the exercises with his usual intensity and lightning speed, glad to
be working with Marsha and back to showing off his expertise for everyone
There are a couple of interesting things that I learned from this
episode. The first was that often telepathic communication comes in
the form of just knowing. My communication
with Lucas took several forms; there were the actual words I heard in
the beginning, the emotions that I then realized were coming with the
words, and then there was the knowing. As
I had wondered why Lucas was feeling so hurt, it was suddenly as if
I just knew what thought process he had been
through to come to his mistaken conclusion that Marsha didn't think
of him as important.
Often we just look for words, pictures, or emotions as we strive to
develop our abilities to be open to telepathic communication. This experience
helped me see that such communication can happen in unexpected ways,
and to be receptive to it requires us to be free from judgement and
preconceptions not only to what we receive
but to how we receive it.
The second is that there is a distinction between what I have come to
call a surface apology and a true
apology. A surface apology goes something like this, "I
am sorry if you got hurt by my actions." What this really says
is, "I'm sorry that you are so sensitive that you got hurt."
The person (supposedly) apologizing is taking no responsibility for
having caused pain, indeed, they are actually placing the blame on the
person who was hurt for being too sensitive. A true apology, on the
other hand, is very straightforward, "I am sorry that I hurt you."
The person apologizing is taking responsibility for their actions and
for the results of their actions, and is implying that they would do
it differently if given another chance.
Notice in this story that Marsha gave Lucas a true apology and it worked
its magic almost instantly. The energy around the situation was shifted
as soon as Lucas understood that she truly wished she could go back
and handle the situation differently.
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