Volume 1, Issue 5


Polly and Arrow

Photo copyright Cheryl James

Although it’s nearly Christmas, I had every intention of getting this newsletter out back in September. As the saying goes, things happen. My daughter was quite ill, as some of you may already know. For those of you who contacted me over the last six weeks, I apologize for delays in responding to calls and emails as well as for the necessary rescheduling of consultations due to caring for my daughter. It was a scary time for my family, but thankfully my daughter is on the mend and is expected to make a full recovery. I’m now able to put my focus back on the other love my life (the first being my human and animal family), the work with your animals.

I look forward to seeing you in my classes or talking with your animal family members in my office or at a distance. If you would like to share my services with friends or family as a holiday treat, gift certificates are always available.

The Tonglen Healing Arts for Animals class schedule has also been updated and is included in this newsletter. You can always go to the home page of my website to check for future classes as I add them to the schedule.

As always I wish to thank all of you for trusting me to work with your animals. I hope you all have many wonderful days of playing and snuggling with your furry animal family members in the coming New Year!

Polly

This Month

The Conversation Continues
Animal Communication Tip: You’re Only A Thought Away
Healing Rituals
Birdie’s Story
Upcoming Classes

The Conversation Continues

I’ve been blessed to be able to work with many animals who are young, vibrant and full of life. However, as all of us know, no one stays young or healthy forever.

I have struggled with whether I should write about my work with animals after they have died. I know not everyone believes in life after death. If they do, not everyone shares my belief system about being able to communicate with those animals who have let go of their bodies. However, the healing I have felt and that has come to so many of my clients from communicating with our animals after they have died makes me feel strongly this is something I should discuss in this edition of The Animal Talker. So, with trepidation I may be discussing a topic of controversy, I have decided to write about why I treasure the work of talking with animals after they have died.

My experience started with my dog Alex, the Bernese Mountain Dog I wrote about in an earlier article On the Road Again. Alex was an older dog when I first began studying animal communication. When he became very ill at the end of his life I was dealing with some unrelated personal issues, and adding them to my feelings surrounding his illness made me such a wreck that I could barely talk with him. I couldn’t put my attention on Alex without feeling the gut wrenching pain of anticipatory grief, and at the time it was just too much. As a result, when Alex finally succumbed to cancer I felt I had let him down by not talking with him more at the end of his life.

In the months following Alex’s death I was so devastated I couldn’t think or talk about him without crying or having an immense feeling of guilt that I should have done more for him (not that there was anything else I could have done to keep him alive). It wasn’t logical. It was emotional. It was grief. All of the feelings associated with my guilt and my sense of grief at his death left me in a holding pattern of pain.

About a year after Alex died, I was taking a class from a well-known animal communicator, Jeri Ryan, Ph.D. She asked me if I had any animals I wanted her to communicate with and I mentioned Alex. I told her I knew he had been gone for a while, but I simply was unable to get over his death and the feelings surrounding it. Jeri told me she might not be able to connect with Alex because so much time had passed, but if they had unfinished business with their people sometimes animals stayed available for communication long after their deaths.

Jeri was indeed able contact Alex and the conversation I had with him through Jeri helped lift the heavy weight I had been lugging around with me for the prior year. It was then I realized what a gift it is to be able to talk with our animals after they die, and to be able to find out if they are okay or if they need us to do anything on their behalf.

Soon after moving to Issaquah, where I live and have my office, we adopted Haiku, a tiny Abyssinian/tabby mix. Haiku was the only cat we’ve had who was allowed, demanded actually, to go outside. He loved to climb on the roof of the house and race across it. He greeted clients in the driveway and escorted them up to my office. He was an amazing hunter of mice and voles. He was designed to be an outdoor cat and he took great joy in being on our property.

Despite being warned numerous times about the dangers of being outside, Haiku refused to be an indoor cat. Sadly, about a year after Haiku had claimed his outdoor territory he was killed by coyotes.

A few days after Haiku died I was out on our front walkway and I thought I heard the bell of his collar jingling. A day or two after that I started seeing a blur racing across the roof of our house. Soon, my husband (who is not woo woo) also started seeing an occasional blur on the roof.

About a week and a half after Haiku died I had a client in my office with her dog. The dog was growling and barking at a spot on my office floor. The behavior was so strange that I asked the dog what he was seeing. The dog immediately showed me a picture of Haiku. I turned to the woman who was with this dog and explained that my cat had recently died, and I believed his spirit was in the room with us and that’s what her dog was reacting to. The woman turned to her dog and said, “Leave the kitty alone,” which is what she told her dog when he displayed the same behavior towards her own very much alive cat. The dog immediately stopped and settled down.

Eventually we adopted two more cats, who we kept indoors all the time. After arriving home one evening from a night out, my husband and I were getting out of our car and I heard the sound of Haiku’s collar jingling. At that very moment my husband dropped to the ground and started looking under the car. I asked him what he was doing and he said he had just seen Haiku, only Haiku had looked vividly solid. My husband then said, “How are we going to bring Haiku inside with Rocky?” Rocky was one of the new cat residents of our home and, except for his brother, he hated all other cats. I reminded my husband that Haiku did not have a body, no matter how solid he appeared to be.

Haiku’s spirit remained with us for about a year, racing around outside. During that time I spoke with him numerous times, thanking him for being in our lives and letting him know he could move on to whatever was next for him whenever he wanted. Haiku said he was still enjoying his time on our property and that’s why he was there. He had no other unfinished business, no unresolved feelings holding him close to us. He simply wanted to stay for a while. Gradually I heard his collar or saw the blur on the roof less and less frequently until he was eventually gone.

I’ve communicated with animals who, after letting go of their bodies, have chosen to stay with their people and act as guides to them. I’ve spoken with animals who had some trauma around their death and either needed help communicating to their people they were now safe or needed help accepting the circumstances about the way they let go of their bodies. This is why I see benefit for both the people and the animals in being able to communicate with these spirits.

I’ll end this with another story of an encounter I had with an amazing soul. One day I was sitting in my office across from a very scared and aggressive dog who was crouched next to his person. Generally, even when an animal is upset in my office I don’t have a sense of fear that they might hurt me. If I remain still and calm I usually feel quite safe. However, in this case from the moment he entered my office the dog maintained a lock on me with his eyes and produced a not so low growl. Every slight movement I made, even shifting my weight in my chair, made this dog start to lunge for me. While his person did have him on a collar with his leash glued firmly to her hand, I knew this dog would have bitten me if given any opportunity. Insight into this extreme aggression was the reason for his visit on that day.

Then, without warning, the dog jumped up and lunged toward me, nearly breaking free from his person. At that moment I felt the presence of Cerne, a dog who had died several months earlier. Cerne was a large Irish wolfhound mix who had lived with a friend of mine and I was stunned to feel him so near me. In a split second Cerne made me aware that he was there to take care of the situation and that I was safe. He then put his energy between the lunging dog and myself. The dog stopped in his tracks, settled next to his person and did not attempt to attack me again for the rest of the session. Why Cerne chose to come to me in that moment, I didn’t know. I was just grateful he did and I thanked him for it.

Talking with our animals after their bodies have surrendered their spirits will never take the place of loving them and interacting with them when they are physically present with us. The most important lesson I’ve learned from talking with those animals who have let go of their bodies is to cherish the animals currently present in our lives. We all have to leave our corporeal form sometime and nothing replaces the feeling of soft fur between your fingers, a wet nose poking you to wakefulness or the sound of a tail thumping against the floor at the end of a long day. For me, knowing that my animals’ spirits go on when their bodies can no longer participate has been the final gift they have been able to offer, and for that I am immensely grateful.

If you have a question you would like to see addressed in an article, please send it to Polly Klein at paws@tonglenhealingarts.com.

Animal Communication Tip: You’re Only A Thought Away

We all have periods of time when we need to be away from our animals. You may have a schedule that keeps you at work for a long day, or perhaps you travel. No matter how long you are separated from your animal you can always check in to let them know you are thinking about them.

A simple way to do this is to create an image of your animal in your mind or, if it’s easier for you, get a photograph of your animal to focus on. Once you have put your attention on your animal, allow a feeling of calm and peace to fill your body. Next, mentally say “hello” or “you are safe.” Remember to always keep your body calm while focusing on your animal regardless of the exact message you would like to convey. The words you are thinking get mixed with the feelings in your body, and by remaining calm you are telling your animal that you are thinking of them and that all is safe and well with both of you.

Pepper

Healing Rituals

Recently I was asked to help conduct a memorial gathering for a horse friend, Pepper. She was a beautiful bay quarter horse, and at only fourteen her life ended abruptly when her intestine ruptured.

I was honored to be asked to help lead the event and wanted to make it special. I planned to start off talking eloquently about this great mare and how she meant so many different things to different people. When the time came for me to start talking, I felt tongue-tied. I do a lot of public speaking and teaching, so the idea of talking in front of others was not the reason I was fumbling for words. In fact I had taken quite a bit of time to prepare my thoughts on the many gifts Pepper had given others throughout her life.

Instead, as I opened my mouth to start, I was overcome with feelings of sadness. I glanced out the window towards the barn where I was used to seeing Pepper standing and waiting patiently for me. It was all I could do to get out, “Pepper was special. She was special to lots of people and for many reasons.” As I listened to myself, I was mentally shaking my head with disbelief that my words were so clunky and mundane.

Trying to give myself a chance to get more composed, I described to everyone the ritual I was about to lead them through. We would go around the room and anyone who wanted to share a memory or thought or wish for Pepper could say it out loud. Then when each person was finished saying whatever he or she liked they would take a handful of pasture seed from a sack and put it into a small feed bucket. I chose not to go first in sharing as I was still trying to collect my thoughts, which seemed to have been carried away by my flood of feelings.

As we went around the room I listened closely to the stories and memories others had to share. Listening to their words and picturing the images in my mind of Pepper doing the various things being described, I found my body settling down. I even found myself laughing at some of Pepper’s finer examples of her encounters with the human race. By the time I was ready to share my memories, they came out as easily as exhaling. Instead of faltering to find the right words, I simply spoke from my heart. Instead of stifling the torrent of emotions, I allowed them to be carried out into the room with my stories.

When we were all finished sharing our tales, I mixed the seeds together in the bucket. As I swirled the seeds with my hand I spoke about the fact that seeds represent potential and also the beginning of the life cycle. I invited the group to join me outside to sprinkle the seeds on the pasture where Pepper often grazed, explaining that our thoughts and memories of this wonderful mare would go with the seeds and grow to feed all the horses to come.

I share this story with you because so many of my clients ask if they should do something to remember their animals when they pass on. While you certainly don’t need to do exactly what I’ve described, I think the process of participating in some sort of ritual can be extremely helpful. Creating a ritual that is uniquely yours and that feels right to you is the only thing that matters. I’m not convinced rituals at times like these are about closure, because the grieving process takes as long as it takes. Rituals can create a starting point for healing, just as this one did for me.


Birdie’s Story


Birdie

Birdie is a 10-year old Goffin Cockatoo. She picked me out at a pet store where she was left by her previous family. That was over eight years ago. Birdie seemed very happy; she sang, danced, told stories, played with her various toys, and helped me with chores around our condo. One day approximately five years ago, I came home from work and there were shredded pieces of feather all over the floor below Birdie’s cage. Birdie had started plucking his feathers out. Over time, she continued to get worse and worse; not just in appearance, but her mood drastically changed. She no longer played with her toys, she retreated to her cage instead of helping me around the house, and when I came home from work she would be shaking and would not come out of her cage. Her feathers disappeared to the point were she was just a fluff ball of down (except for her head). I took her to four different vets, a behaviorist, acupuncturist, and did extensive research on feather-picking. I even joined a feather-picking support group on Yahoo. There were times when Birdie’s condition got a little better, but that was due to the many antidepressants and other medications she was given. At one point she began mutilating her skin, so she wore a collar for several months.

About a year ago I finally gave up, took Birdie off all medication and decided, as long as she was in good health, I did not care what she looked like. She seemed to appreciate that people were no longer picking and prodding at her and she could have some peace, but her feather-picking and pulling continued. To keep her mind off of her feathers, we would go on visits over the weekend to a parrot store in Bothell where the owner would let Birdie sit in the front of the store and enjoy the excitement of all of the birds and people. Birdie definitely enjoyed the people, but seemed to be a bit annoyed by the birds.

During a visit to my doctor’s office, she suggested that I have Birdie talk to an animal communicator. I explained to her that Birdie had seen a behaviorist and was put on several different medications that did not work. She explained that animal communicators communicate with the animals, not just watch their behavior. At that point, I was willing to try just about anything.

I found Polly’s website and took her Animal Communication course. Birdie went to see Polly and told her all about her anxiety over being abandoned. She was constantly afraid I would abandon her like her previous family had and her anxiety continued to get worse and worse. Polly and Birdie discussed some of her likes and dislikes and Birdie explained that she did not care for other birds (they are not useful and not equal to Birdie or people), but she did like dogs. Having wanted a dog for some time, I began searching for a dog companion for Birdie.

Birdie now spends her day “babysitting” her new friend Guinness, a ten-month old cocker spaniel. Although Birdie’s feathers have not instantly grown back, she has started singing and dancing again, helps me around the house and tries to grab the nylons when Guinness and I play tug-o-war. Thanks to Polly, Birdie is feeling more secure and enjoying her new puppy.

Kerry Kriner

If you would like to see your animal profiled here, just e-mail a picture to paws@tonglenhealingarts.com. We will profile at least one client in each newsletter.


Upcoming Classes

Reiki Level I
Saturday, February 23, 2008, 10:00 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.
Location - Tonglen Healing Arts for Animals, Issaquah, WA
Reiki Class Registration Word document

Reiki Level I
Saturday, April 19, 2008, 10:00 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.
Location - Tonglen Healing Arts for Animals, Issaquah, WA
Reiki Class Registration Word document

Reiki Level II
Saturday, May 31, 2008, 10:00 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.
Location - Tonglen Healing Arts for Animals, Issaquah, WA
Reiki Class Registration Word document

Introduction to Animal Communication Workshop - (CLASS FULL - waiting list only)
Saturday, January 26, 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
and
Sunday, January 27, 2008, 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Location - Tonglen Healing Arts for Animals, Issaquah, WA
Registration Information

Introduction to Animal Communication Workshop
Saturday, February 9, 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
and
Sunday, February 10, 2008, 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Location - Bastyr University, Kenmore, WA
To Register: click here

Introduction to Animal Communication Workshop
Saturday, May 10, 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
and
Sunday, May 11, 2008, 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Location - Tonglen Healing Arts for Animals, Issaquah, WA
Registration Information

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Polly Klein 2007. Polly Klein, owner of Tonglen Healing Arts for Animals, is an animal communicator, Reiki Master and Certified Animal CranioSacral Therapist. You can contact her online at www.tonglenhealingarts.com.