You are reading this because you’re a huge animal lover and thought it sounded pretty cool when you read that it’s possible to work with your pet to create a better you. Or perhaps you are at your wit’s end dealing with a pet’s behavior problem and are willing to try anything—and this write up represents that. You may be thinking, however, that the concept of helping an animal by helping yourself does seem a little crazy. Well, I completely understand this (and would have thought the same thing myself had I not witnessed it working with thousands of people over the past decade and a half).
Many books have been written about the love of a good pet, but none have yet shown how that love (inherent to all animals) fulfills a greater purpose: specifically helping people evolve into the best possible humans they can be while at the same time helping animals live better lives, become better behaved, and experience better treatment. Countless books have tackled “curing” behavior problems and mastering animal training, but none have demonstrated how working on yourself is actually the key to a positive, healthy, problem-free relationship with an animal in your life. To fix “problems,” most books focus on animal training, which means they miss the main point: if we pay attention, our pets (and other animals, whether wild, farm, or domesticated) can catalyze our emotional, spiritual, and mental growth—all of which result in better jobs, more love, better loves, kinder friends, more fun, happier days, and, not to mention, behavior challenges fading away!
Animals are already creating tremendous shifts in people in mainstream society. Animal Planet, for example, features a reality TV program called Pit Bulls & Parolees about an animal rescue center that hires parolees and works with a very misunderstood breed of dog: pit bulls. Through the act of rehabilitating and caring for abused and forgotten dogs, the inmates learn responsibility, respect, self-care, and more. Programs like this are so successful at helping inmates become happier, healthier people that there are many of them taking place in prisons around the country, and this isn’t even the tip of the iceberg!
Additionally, equine-assisted therapy programs that use horses as a system of treatment for children with autism have become very popular around the world. This is a form of care that uses the rhythmic movement of riding a horse to help children focus better through their body. Then, the healing is pushed even further ahead as the children learn how to take care of the horse. Autistic children in these types of programs typically become more communicative, calmer, and even happier.
The Pit Bulls & Parolees TV show, equine-assisted therapy programs, and numerous other programs have achieved great successes, and much of the world is embracing methods such as these. But what if it were possible to take these ideas even further? What if animals could understand what you need, what you want to express, and what will help you move through a troubling period, and then through this understanding, they could even assist you in changing your beliefs?
What if your pet could actually play the role of your therapist?
We are all familiar with the idea that animals are extra sensitive to their surroundings. Housecats know when their humans are sad, dogs sense when excitement is in the air, wild birds know when danger is approaching, and elephants are aware of the near or far location of their entire family. But have you considered that animals might be even more in tune with their surroundings than previously thought?
The animals in your life are so very connected to you and to their environment that they understand if you don’t feel safe in the world, if deep down you don’t like yourself very much, or if you don’t feel worthy of a loving, caring, nurturing relationship. Animals can understand these things about you better than, perhaps, you currently understand yourself. Because of all this knowledge animals have about us humans, animals are then able to modify their behavior (positively or negatively) in order to force us to address these deep-down, negative feelings about ourselves, thereby improving the quality of our lives more than we ever thought possible before.
Through my work with animals as an animal intuitive, I’ve learned that animals are acting as our therapists, our trainers, our mentors, and our teachers, guiding (and sometimes pushing) us to take leaps in order to move to the next step in our own evolution. Want to stand up to your tyrant mother? Look to your aggressive dog. Want to find love? Pay attention to the anxious squirrel in your backyard. Is your job sucking the life out of you? Check out what your sick horse is showing you. Yes, it may sound crazy, but our animals are giving us the answers—every single day.
Incredibly, this phenomenon isn’t just for people who have “exceptional” animals. It occurs with all animals, from mice to camels to dogs to elephants to any animal you can name. Isn’t it exciting to think about finding a way to tap into the wisdom, intuition, and growth that animals have been offering humans for thousands of years?
Although I’m an animal communicator, this is not an intuitive animal communication book. Not at all. It is a book about what the animals are communicating to us through their behaviors and through the feelings and emotions they evoke in us. For more than fifteen years I’ve been working as a professional animal communicator, and during that time I’ve encountered thousands of people and their pets and wild animals. I’ve come to understand that there is a lot more to the human-animal relationship than most people (even the biggest animal lovers!) have realized.
In my business as an animal communicator, people bring their animals to see me because they want me to use my intuitive abilities to fix a problem. Perhaps their dog was peeing in inappropriate places, their horse was afraid of his stall in the barn, the mother hen in their coop has been pulling her feathers out, or the mountain lion who lives across the way is killing all the chickens. My clients will tear up while explaining their hope that I will be able to talk the animal into behaving differently or, more appropriately, that I’ll be able to bring their challenge to an immediate resolution. And at first, when I began doing this intuitive work with animals, this is what I thought I was supposed to do too—fix everyone and get rid of the behavior problems. Make everything for the person and their animal nice and easy.
It turned out that sentiment couldn’t have been more wrong. At least, I was completely wrong about how “fixing” the animals would happen—it wasn’t the animals that needed the fixing!
No animal wanted me to say, “Hey! There’s nothing scary in the barn. You have to start walking in there without freaking out!” Just like no human would want to be told, “Elevators aren’t terrifying, get over it!” This “explain it and fix it” approach wasn’t changing the behavior of the animals my clients were bringing to me, and because of that, it certainly wasn’t making my clients happy either.
As I delved more deeply into this work, though, I found that there was a thread—one very important thread. The animals (and it didn’t matter if they were pets, farm animals, wild animals, or any other kind) that people were bringing to me to fix seemed to have a much better understanding of themselves and their behavior than their humans (and, at first, I) ever suspected, and they were very aware of the challenges and waves they were creating for their humans.
Animals have been secretly helping people evolve for thousands of years, but people have not given this assistance the credit it deserves. I want to show you what I’ve learned through my many years working deeply and intuitively with animals so that you can take full advantage of all that the animal kingdom has to offer at every level. You’ll learn:
• How your own pet is helping you grow and evolve
• What life lesson your pet is assisting you in mastering
• How to “fix” that behavior problem in a beloved animal (oh, those behavior problems!)
• What your life can look like once you’ve mastered what your animal is teaching you
• How your animal is helping you be more confident, feel better about yourself, and feel comfortable being seen
• How your animal can shift your life so you can create more abundance
• How to accept the love that all animals (and people) hold for you
• Fun, goofy tools and techniques to help keep you on track
• Specific, easy-to-follow steps for mastering the lesson from your pet so you can evolve and grow!
I always say this to my clients, so I will say it here too: this is not hard work. Once you know what to look out for and what steps to take, the only challenging part is making yourself do it. If you’re an animal lover like most people I know, you’ll jump at the chance to work deeply with the animal in your life, especially when you learn that the work you do on yourself will benefit both of you as well as the other areas of your life!
This work with animals isn’t something you master and then move on from. It is an ongoing exploration of yourself, your life, and your inner beauty. In my personal life, I’ve had opportunity after opportunity to witness animals in this way, and it hasn’t mattered how much I’ve learned from each experience or how much I’ve progressed as a result of that learning: the animals continue to find new ways to teach and enlighten me.
Animals have mastered the unconditional love of themselves and of the world they live in. The human race has so much to learn from them, and in my animal communication work I continue to learn every day, despite the huge number of animals I’ve already worked with. I resisted this work for a long time, but when it had a profound soul-reaching effect on my well-being and on who I viewed myself to be, I had to stand up, take notice, and start sharing this realization with others.
Read on with an open heart and an open mind, full of trust. Everything I talk about here in Animal Lessons stems directly from my experiences with animals. It’s what they have shown me again and again, and it’s what they want you to know!
My Personal Experience
I resisted this understanding about animals for a long time and only finally embraced it when I felt I had no other choice (and boy, am I glad I finally did!). For almost twenty years, I’ve been working intuitively with animals and their humans, but that path wasn’t always clear to me or even desired.
I graduated from the University of New Hampshire with a bachelor’s degree in English and within a year found myself living in the heart of the Mission in San Francisco. My husband and I had known each other through college, but it wasn’t until I moved to California that we started dating, and within three months we were engaged. I was so happy, as I’d finally met someone who understood my sensitivity! He didn’t make fun of me for saving bugs trapped in the house or for helping dogs that looked like strays. In fact, despite being somewhat of a manly man (quiet and protective), he joined right in and began saving animals himself. It was such a relief to finally have someone in my life who didn’t view my sensitivity as a weakness or a drawback or something that I needed to change.
I grew up in the Midwest, feeling as if I stood out like a sore thumb. I’m tall and skinny (no matter how much I work out), and while that may seem like it would be a blessing, for me it was a curse. None of my friends had the same body type, and as a teenage girl, not fitting in was unacceptable. Top that off with the fact that I seemed to know what everyone around me was thinking or feeling—without being told—and you can begin to see that I spent almost the first twenty years of my life feeling like a misfit.
After a couple years in San Francisco with Kevin, we both decided it was time to go to grad school. Kevin’s dream was to get his master’s in geology, while my dream was to be in charge. I went for my MBA. At the time, all I knew was that I wanted my own business. My focus wasn’t on helping people or animals but more on finding something to do with myself that made me happy. I thought getting an MBA and moving into the corporate world would do that.
It didn’t. While I excelled in the corporate world (I do love structure!), I didn’t find that it was feeding my soul. I also found that my straightforward way of dealing with problems and challenges wasn’t the norm, and once again I felt like a misfit.
Around that time, our dog Bella became gravely ill. Kevin and I checked her into our vet, and over a period of four days she continued to go downhill with an unknown sickness. As each day came and went, I found myself less and less able to go to work and deal with the politics, projects, and dysfunctions that were there, and it felt much better to work out my frustrations and fear at the gym. And that’s when it happened.
I ran into my friend Cindy in the gym parking lot. Cindy and I had originally met because she had a dog-walking business. She knew both of my dogs Bella and Kelso very well and loved them as much as I did. She said, “Danielle, since you’re out of options, I have an idea. Why don’t you take her to see this pet psychic I heard about? He’s up in Nashua this weekend.”
Now, I’d grown up doing everything I could to blend in to my Midwest and, later in my teenage years, New England environment, which meant not delving deeply into things like psychics, energy healing, near-death experiences, or pet psychics. But as a married adult woman working a job in the corporate world, I finally felt secure enough in myself to run (not walk) home, call the pet psychic, and immediately make an appointment for the next day.
I was not only excited to possibly help my dog, I was also excited to possibly have it proven to me that animals really were able to communicate in this way.
The pet psychic reading on Bella proved to be not only true but also a success. As a result, Bella did get better and went on to live to be fourteen years old despite being a puppy mill dog rescued from a terrible pet shop. I call it a success because it was during the reading that I realized two things: First, this stuff is real. This guy was really, actually, truly, communicating through ESP or something with my dogs. And second, not only could I do this, but I have been doing it my entire life.
Although I opened up my own pet psychic business within just a few months, I hemmed and hawed over leaving the corporate world (and my corporate salary) for a few years. It wasn’t until I was laid off from my job as a project manager at a major telecom company that I finally took the leap and said, “Okay, this is it. I’m doing it, and I’m doing it full time!”
At that same time, I was also dealing with feelings of being an outsider. My family could not understand how I would want to consider leaving a very promising career in marketing at a very successful company to go and pursue my love of animals in this way. Most likely, if I’d received their support, I would have jumped sooner into working full time as an animal communicator, but had I done that, I’m not sure I’d be where I am today.
During that time, one of the things I was experiencing was that I didn’t seem to have control over the readings. In my eyes an animal communicator connects psychically with an animal, asks the animal some questions, delivers the answers to the animal’s human, and fixes whatever the problem was. If I was going to do this animal communication thing, then I wanted to do it right. And I wanted to look to how other animal communicators were working and follow their examples.
But that wasn’t the plan the animals had for me. And as I would soon find out, “fitting in” and “following the crowd” were not in my future.
How I Reluctantly Discovered Animal Lessons
As I connected intuitively to each animal, the animal would tell me I should also be connecting to his or her human. Right away, this was not what I wanted to do. It wasn’t the norm of what I saw other animal communicators do, and it felt like I was psychically prying into the life of the person. But the animals wouldn’t talk with me unless I did it their way! So my work began involving animals and any people connected to them.
Next, when I worked with my clients’ pets, they weren’t content to just have me connect to their people. They wanted me to intuitively get to know their personalities. They showed me how to psychically detect things about that person that I feared the person didn’t want me to know.
“Ah, I see you’re a real go-getter at work, Mike, but it turns out you really hate your job and would rather be doing something artsy.” And I’d have to say this to a guy who just brought his pit bull to me so that I could help him with his chewing problem! Now, imagine having to do that! I couldn’t and didn’t want to, so I resisted. In my connection to the animal I would say, “Yeah, yeah, okay, but tell me about this chewing thing,” and in my head the dog would say something like, “Don’t you get it? He’s supposed to be painting!” I was so scared to tell the person what I was getting.
This all changed with Jesus the Chihuahua. That little dog had the power to alter the course of my entire life—and he probably only weighed six pounds.
In a phone session, Diane wanted me to work with her dog, Jesus, because he was peeing in a plant in the kitchen, and it was killing the plant. Diane wanted me to fix Jesus so that he’d begin using the backyard, as it was causing a lot of turmoil in the home to have Jesus peeing indoors. To me and my resistant little self, it seemed like an open and shut case. All I needed to do was connect to Jesus, tell him to pee outside using the sliding door, and all would be well.
Jesus had quite a lot of spunk. He was no wilting flower and didn’t really seem to feel that his small stature put him in any danger. When I connected psychically with him I began right off by asking about the peeing in the plant. I asked if he knew that he wasn’t supposed to pee in the plant.
“Yes, Danielle. I know that,” he said to me.
I immediately thought it could be a bladder problem and asked him how his bladder was.
“My bladder is fine, Danielle,” he said, as if he were talking to a little kid.
It must be a training issue then! I asked if he knew where the backyard was.
“Of course, Danielle. I know where the backyard is—it’s right out there,” he answered in my head with somewhat of an eye roll.
I asked if he knew how to get outside.
“Yes, Danielle! Clearly, I know how to pee outside!” he almost yelled psychically in my head.
Now, I was at a loss. This wasn’t a training issue—he knew what he was doing. I told him then that he should stop peeing in the plant. I told him it was causing problems for his family and that things would calm down if he would just pee where he is supposed to pee.
“No, it won’t.”
Huh? Diane had told me that he was the cause of the problems in the family, and now he’s telling me that he’s not the cause. I realized I had never asked him why he was peeing in the plant.
I was almost hit over the head with his psychic answer. He showed me an image of a man and a woman in the kitchen fighting. The man was reaching over and punching the woman and the woman was covering her face as the man continued to hit her. I realized there was quite a lot of domestic violence going on in the home, and I suddenly felt at a loss. What was I supposed to do with this information? And how did it have anything to do with Jesus peeing in the plant?
Jesus provided the answer. He psychically told me that he was peeing in the plant during the times when Diane needed to be taking care of herself. Every moment that he peed in the plant was a moment where Diane needed to stop whatever she was doing and reevaluate her choices. He said that as she got better at taking care of herself, he would have less and less need to remind her by peeing in the plant. Dumbfounded, I remember holding the phone to my ear, not knowing what to tell Diane about what Jesus had just told me.
I didn’t want to tell Diane I knew about the abuse.
I didn’t want to tell Diane that she needed to take better care of herself.
And I certainly didn’t want to tell Diane that her dog would only stop peeing in the plant in the kitchen once she’d begun living an empowered life in which she was the number one priority.
Silence. For quite a few seconds. Luckily, most people don’t understand how an animal intuitive works, so she didn’t have any idea the quiet was due to my own freak-out in my head. Finally, I asked Jesus how I should tell this to Diane. He gracefully told me the wording, which I felt comfortable using, and I immediately shared with Diane what he had said about taking care of herself.
It was this reading that made me finally agree to follow this path that the animals had been carving out for me all along. It was this reading that also made me abandon all hope of ever fitting in with the rest of the world. If I was going to do this animal work thing, then I was going to do it the way the animals were making me do it.
Since that time, the animals have helped me perfect connecting with their person. Whether it’s a pet, an animal in a zoo, a wild animal, an animal on a farm, or even an animal discovered through social media, every single animal has held the same basic message. I’ve appeared on countless radio shows, on TV, on telesummits, at events, at workshops, and at retreats with the same message: animals are here to help us evolve and finally embrace unconditional love. Unconditional love for them—and even more importantly, unconditional love for all, including ourselves.
In my private practice, when someone first comes to me, even if they are the biggest animal lover they know of, there is always another level of love they can discover for themselves through working with animals. One of my favorite times of the summer is when I teach beginning Soul-Level Animal Communication at the Omega Institute in Rhinebeck, New York. We spend three days connecting with beloved pets, teaching our animals and each other’s animals, but on the last day of the workshop, I send everyone out into the wilderness to find a wild animal of some kind to connect with and learn from. The first time I taught the class most people connected with the groundhogs or the deer that frequent the Omega campus, but as time has gone on, the students have expanded their experiences. They now connect with beetles, butterflies, hummingbirds, chipmunks, slugs, and more. And because they just spent the past few days coming to understand how animals are helping us evolve, they always come back having learned about themselves through these wild encounters.
This is what I want to share with you—how to benefit from your experiences and relationships with animals you come to know. This, I have realized, is how you can discover unconditional love for all—especially yourself.