The first animal communicator I became aware of was Dr. Doolittle.  It didn’t matter to me that he was merely a character being played by Rex Harrison.  I was enthralled!  What a great ability to have; why couldn’t we all do that?  Apparently that is a common desire, because the movie was remade (starring Eddie Murphy), and followed by sequels (actress Kyla Pratt), for my son’s generation.  As a youngster, I was also a big fan of the “Mr. Ed” show (the talking horse, for those of you born much later than I…)

Two other movies have caught my attention lately.  One is “UP”, the marvelous animated story of finding adventure in life, even if it isn’t how you planned it.  If you’ve seen this Disney/Pixar movie, you know about the dog collars that translate dog speak into human languages!  (“Squirrel!”)

The other movie is “Avatar” (20th Century Fox).  I won’t even try to explain how the human-like Na’vi beings connect to the minds of various animal creations, such as the direhorses, but the resulting ability to share thoughts is way, way cool!  The movie is awesome for other reasons, too, so watch it when you get a chance.

Mythology has many examples of direct communication between humans and animals, and even some beings that were a physical combination.  Most of us are familiar with the image of the centaur: human upper torso with the body of a horse.  The human in this image is still the thinking entity.  Fewer are familiar with the mare-headed human-torso goddess form of Demeter.  Here, the horse represents the wisdom of the natural world; what a novel thought that humankind would not only partner with nature, but would even consider letting nature take the lead.  Linda Kohanov tells the story of Demeter in her Way of the Horse book and card set; Kim McElroy created a beautiful rendition of this mystical being for the card.  Demeter gave birth to twins, one of which – Aerion – was a horse that had the gift of human language.

Ah, don’t all of us wish our horses could talk that easily to us!  As David Walser says of Frederic Pignon and Magali Delgado, in their book Gallop to Freedom, “Roles are reversed: the horse whispers in their ears. He becomes ‘the Whisperer’.”  Frederic, Magali, and so many others of us are committed to listening to the horses we love, in hopes of elevating our level of understanding.

I have met some talented animal communicators, and I believe they have innate gifts.  I have taken classes to learn how to chat with the animals, but still feel rather inept.  Like with any other skill – keep practicing, I guess.  What I do know is that a deep love and respect for the animal is fundamental to the ability of any person to communicate with an animal.  We must believe the animal is a sentient being in its own right.  We must feel that we are all connected in some manner, all parts of the same whole.

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