Dreaming of Dr. Dolittle

Photo Credit: © Steven Turville

The work veterinarians perform is not unlike that of pediatricians. In neither exam room can the patients directly “tell” their stories. They are unable to say, “Doc, it hurts every time my leg bends this way.” or,  “I get a stomach ache every time I eat dairy.”

I think most vets would agree that, in the vast majority of cases, working with nonverbal patients (should I say, those who speak a language we don’t fully understand) does not handicap our ability to hone in on the diagnosis. History provided by our clients along with physical examination findings typically point us in the right direction. In certain cases, however, some Dr. Dolittle skills would come in mighty handy.

Take for example, the dog who appears stiff and sore at home, but happens to be profoundly stoic in the exam room. I push on his back, flex and extend every joint, palpate the abdomen, tug on his tail, and manipulate his neck in a fashion reminiscent of The Exorcist. Heck, I even perform a rectal exam. Yet I get nothing- neither a wince nor a whimper. Which of this poor fella’s body parts is in need of special attention? Dr. Dolittle would know.

Then there is the dog who has developed some strange behavior. From 7:00 to 10:00 every evening, he compulsively paces and whines and cannot be soothed. At all other times this dog seems perfectly normal, with no change in appetite or activity level. And wouldn’t you know it, his physical exam findings and blood and urine test results are normal. Is this dog’s behavior change physical or psychological in nature? Is the house haunted or is this poor pup experiencing an unusual case of indigestion? Dr. Dolittle would know.

If I could be Dr. Dolittle, the perks would extend well beyond simply making a diagnosis. I would learn many things from my patients that would allow me to enhance the quality of their lives. Think what I would do if I heard, “Doc, that cast you just put on my leg is pinching the heck out of my elbow.” or, “Please convince my mom to quit taking me to the dog park. I just hate it there!”

Most importantly, if I could “talk to the animals” I could know with certainty which of my very sick patients still held the desire to “fight the good fight,” and which ones were wishing for a peaceful and humane end to their suffering. Wouldn’t that be an incredible gift!

Professional animal communicators, also know as pet psychics, are the closest thing to modern day Dr. Dolittles. I’ve worked with many clients who have sought second opinions from animal communicators, and some have provided truly insightful and helpful information. I’ve learned that, just as with any other profession, there are animal communicators who are charlatans and those who are the “real deal”.  I believe that consultation with a capable pet psychic can be an invaluable adjunct to medical care, but should not substitute for consultation with a veterinarian.

Have you ever wished you had access to Dr. Dolittle for one of your pets? Have you ever worked with an animal communicator? If so, please share your experience.

Best wishes,

Nancy Kay, DVM

Diplomate, American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine
Author of Speaking for Spot: Be the Advocate Your Dog Needs to Live a Happy, Healthy, Longer Life
Author of Your Dog’s Best Health: A Dozen Reasonable Things to Expect From Your Vet
Recipient, Leo K. Bustad Companion Animal Veterinarian of the Year Award
Recipient, American Animal Hospital Association Animal Welfare and Humane Ethics Award
Recipient, Dog Writers Association of America Award for Best Blog
Recipient, Eukanuba Canine Health Award
Recipient, AKC Club Publication Excellence Award
Become a Fan of Speaking for Spot on Facebook

Please visit http://www.speakingforspot.com to read excerpts from Speaking for Spot and Your Dog’s Best Health.   There you will also find “Advocacy Aids”- helpful health forms you can download and use for your own dog, and a collection of published articles on advocating for your pet’s health. Speaking for Spot and Your Dog’s Best Health are available at www.speakingforspot.com, Amazon.com, local bookstores, and your favorite online book seller.

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17 Comments on “Dreaming of Dr. Dolittle

  1. Hi Dr. Nancy – I have worked for several years with two extraordinary women (Terri Steuben and Sandy Smith). They have been lifesavers – literally.

    After my senior Doberman mix Isis had her spleen removed I went to pick her up. The vet said she was fine – walking, eating, pooping. He left to have her brought to me and returned to say she had collapsed in her kennel. Terry (over the phone – not in person) told me she had an inflamed disc 3″ from the base of her tail because her spine had been knocked out of alignment when she was relaxed from the anesthesia and when it wore off and her muscles contracted the dislocation was locked in place. The vet made an appointment with a neurologist for noon the next day. When I got her there he told me she had an inflamed disc 3″ from the base of her tail.

    Sandy has been at several Best Friends Super Adoption events when I’ve been looking for companions for my dogs and has helped me evaluate the personalities of each candidate and make wonderful matches for my dogs and me.

    Bless them both!

  2. The other side of the coin can be different. One of my clients had a tiny Chihuahua with the temperament and personality of an angry Rottweiler. No one could approach “SweetPea” and he has bitten many people. The communicator told the owner that the little dog was angry because he wanted designer clothes instead of the simple ones she provided him. Contrary to my advice, she invested in a wardrobe that cost her a fortune, some even decorated with – believe it or not – diamond dust. SweetPea lived to be 21 and his personality NEVER changed. The owner finally believed me when he chewed up his tiny baseball cap with the diamond dust logo on it……

    The other “communicator” that comes to mind was one I appeared with on television who told the owner that his little black dog had a separsation angst which is why he would roll up one of the small area rugs at the door and sleep on it until he got home. (A problem?!) the show’s hostess asked her if she could actually hear the dog speak and the communicator said yes, she could and that she had a sweet, gentle FEMALE voice. All’s well, except that the owner informed her that the dog was an intact MALE and has the voice of a really big dog when he barks……

    Alas, I did not consider “communicators” after these experiences. Maybe I should try again if I feel the need for one?!

  3. Wow Dr. Kay, I cannot believe a veterinarian brought up Animal Communicators on such a widely read blog! Thank you! I consider communicator Sandi Evans of Canton, Ohio as one of my dog’s health advocates. I have not had to call her in the last two years but at one time was calling about every 8-9 months. During our last call my dog told her to tell me to relax and trust my own senses/gut feelings. While I am by no means able communicate with him like Sandi does, I have been able to read him well enough to not have to call her. The other thing I now do better is describe to his vets what I have observed. I am a believer.

  4. I have the great fortune of working with an excellent animal communicator, Toni Trimble in the Austin, TX area. I was given her number by a friend when I told her of my concerns with one of my horses that had vague symptoms. I knew he was trying to tell me something, but alas….I do not speak horse language. Toni has helped guide my with my horses’ care over these past few years. She has also helped my understand about their past and what they endured at the hands of previous owners…sure helps when your horse does not want to do what you ask of it!
    I am also blessed to have an open minded veterinarian. Initially, I was unsure about letting him know I obtained the information I was sharing with him. He was very interested about Toni and followed her directions about my horse’s issue. He also believes that herbs can be used to compliment veterinary care.
    I am an animal control officer and I have reccommended Toni to several people who have lost their animals. I usually can tell which animal owners want to exhaust all options before giving up on finding their pets.
    My only wish, as an animal control officer, would be to be able to communicate with the dogs and cats that come to my shelter. I would love to know why their owners brought them to the shelter and why they were picked up off the streets. I have looked at the faces of many “stray” dogs and could see that they were looking for their owners with every visitor that walked into the kennels…….
    Jackie

  5. After 6 months and many x-rays later, and various vets telling me they could find nothing, I contacted animal communicator, Lydia Hiby regarding Simba, my 12 year old Rhodesian Ridgeback mix. He had been letting me know he did not feel well and I could see he was now straining to go potty. She told me he showed her a large mass on his bladder and told her he was just taking it one day at a time. Armed with this new information I went visited Dr K at Pasadena Pets Healing Arts Center and he took Lydia’s info seriously. Even with her info it took him almost a hour to find the mass in a special x-ray. It WAS on the bladder and was inoperable and Simba and I had only one more day before we had to say goodbye.
    Lydia could hear Simba and helped Dr K to make an accurate diagnosis.
    http://www.lydiahiby.com

  6. I have used animal communicators on multiple occasions. As Dr Kay mentioned, there are charlatans around, so one has to be careful. I became friends with a communicator that was recommended by my previous vet when he felt that he had done everything medically possible for my 18 yr old cat and could not figure out why he was still alive and suggested I contact the communicator. She was able to learn that he was not ready to go yet and helped him energetically for another 6 months before we finally told him all his organs were failing and while he had the will to live, his body was not participating. My cat contacted the communicator on several occasions after passing to ask her to call me and 3 days after his passing, he had instructions for me to go to the local humane society where he had arranged for me to adopt 2 specific adult cats! They are still with me. On another occasion, the communicator was able to detect problems along another cat’s vertebrae that needed adjustments – this cat had been paralyzed by improper chiropractic adjustments by a vet, who then claimed a brain tumor was causing the paralysis – and the exact spots were identified by an animal chiropractor and my cat regained full mobility after 3 adjustments. I would recommend working with a good animal communicator in conjunction with an open-minded vet!

  7. I saw a dog communicator at a dog show one time. I was a real skeptic. She only asked for my dog’s name. She went on to describe his personality and things he liked (she got those mostly right … but did miss on some things), so I was still pretty skeptical. Then she looked at me an said “he really likes it when Daddy says ‘take care of Mommy’ “. This was something my husband said every time he left on a business trip.

    Not quite so skeptical any more.

  8. I am lucky enough to have a friend who does just that so any big decisions, having pups, spaying., moving on etc… are taken with Francoise’s help. She only “passes” the information – ie does not interpret what my dogs say. Over the years I have introduced her to the 3 vets I work with and she is now working with them as well with some of their patients . I live in Belgium and although she does work anywhere she only speaks French – but should anyone of you wish a french speaker here are her details. Francoise Danthine http://www.lecouteducoeur.com

    Marina :)

  9. Yes, I’ve used many different animal communicators, many times, and have taken two courses in it. One course was with Penelope Smith at Omega Institute in Rhinebeck, NY, and the other course was with Dawn Hayman at Spring Farm CARES. I originally heard about animal communicators from a book I read by Lydia Hiby. “Conversations with Animals”. That book really sparked my interest. Then I had a cat with a broken neck of the femur. I took that cat to a second vet for a second opinion on whether the cat needed surgery or not. That second opinion vet told me I could talk to an animal communicator to see if the cat was in pain. He recommended one locally that he used. I went to her house and “tested” her and she passed with flying colors. After that first encounter I used different communicators depending on what issue I was dealing with, medical issues or lost cats. One time one of my cats hid when company came to my house and the communicator found her underneath my shed in a groundhog hole. Another lost cat, Wheezer, 16 years old and on tapazole, I called about 12 different animal communicators, including the Animal Planet star Sonya Fitzpatrick, and we never found him. 50 percent said he was alive and 50 percent said he was in spirit world. After my beginner’s class with Penelope Smith, while driving home, my cat, Wormy, put a picture in my head of empty water bowls. When I got home I found that my husband had forgotten to fill the upstairs water bowls while I was away. I do recommend using animal communicators for lost animals, animals with medical issues that vets cannot pinpoint, animals with behavior issues, and also to communicate with animals who have crossed over into the spirit world. Just imagine what it would be like to listen to birds or squirrels talking about funny human habits.

  10. I had 2 wonderful sesions with a Reiki specialist. She was working with a friends dog who was terminal.
    She helped me as well with my puppy who
    I rescued at 5 months. She really did help me understand my puppies needs and attitude. She explained her need for independance based on her history as we knew it and how she had her own mind and detemination. In fact she’s a lot like me.
    We are a great team now and I know which battles to fight and what to let go.

  11. I had 2 wonderful seesions with a Reiki specialist. She was working with a friends dog who was terminal.
    She helped me as well with my puppy who
    I rescued at 5 months. She really did help me understand my puppies needs and attitude. She explained her need for independance based on her history as we new it and how she had her own mind and detemination. In fact she’s a lot like me.
    We are a great team now and I know which battles to fight and what to let go.

  12. I wish doctors for humans were as good about listening as vets are. My vet and I have an agreement: I know more about my own dog than anyone, and he knows more about veterinary medicine than I do. This serves us both very well and it certainly serves the pet. When I translate this to my doctors and explain that I know my body better than anyone and they know more about medicine, I often watch their eyes glaze over. At that point, I find another physician who has better listening skills, and more importantly respects my knowledge as I respect his. Vets have no choice but to do this. Unfortunately, doctors for humans just order more lab work.

  13. I have used the same communicator 3 times with 2 different dogs. I became a believer when she said she did not want to know much about the dog other than the name, etc. She then told me something the dog really liked ..she said “Winnie likes the white stuff I put on her food”. (I give Winnie a spoonful of yogurt on her food.) Made me a believer…….

  14. Thanks for asking about animal communicators. I have sought the wise counsel of a lady nearby at many critical junctures with my horses and dogs over the past five years and she is the real deal. I never ask her to do vet diagnostics work but she does find where things hurt and also the feelings and attitudes the animals have towards certain situations that I ask her to inquire about. She also does reiki and has done it remotely. I can tell my animals are more comfortable and relaxed in their bodies after she does this. She has blessed our lives immensely and given me peace of mind when terrible decisions or events entered our lives.

  15. In the case of the dog who is pacing and whining from 7:00 PM to 10:00 PM, if the dog’s a senior, he’s probably sundowning. This is something associated with senior people with dementia, but I’ve had senior dogs do this very thing and if you look at their eyes, the lights are on but nobody’s home. I started using a product called Neutricks on my 10 yr. old English Setter. Within a few days he improved, and after a couple of months he was also sleeping through thunderstorms, 4th of July and hunting season.

  16. Hi Dr. Nancy

    I first tried an animal communicator at your recommendation. I have tried three communicators all together.

    The last one I decided to try because she was recommended by Jasmine’s chiropractor.

    I have to tell you, that she is by far superior in what you can dare to expect. I was amazed every time. She also does what she calls a “body scan” as part of her reports; it’s nothing short of amazing.

    In Jasmine’s last days I contacted her yet once again, particularly because I wanted to know what Jasmine wished–whether she wished to keep fighting or whether she wished to be set free.

    When the communicator returned my call, she said she connected with Jasmine before calling. And then she described EVERYTHING we’ve been seeing as well as some things I didn’t really know myself. Specifically, she was talking about Jasmine’s liver. I did suspect the liver would have been suffering with all that was going on and was trying to support it nutritionally; I did not know how bad it really was. The blood work from couple weeks back was clear. Yet, her liver was suffering badly.

    As it turned out, which hubby told me after I mentioned that to him, when Jasmine was seeing her chiropractor on Tuesday, she did mention that her liver was enlarged and swollen and that she was going to report that to her primary vet.

    This communicator is absolutely amazing and impressive and I highly recommend anybody, who is considering trying an animal communicator, to try her.

    Her website is Healing Animal Communications, her name is Rev. June Blackburn.
    http://healinganimalcommunications.com/