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Lucas - 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 performed exercises.

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 negative reaction.

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 class,

"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 puppy."

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 to see.


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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