Having an animal that’s poorly or in pain can be one of the hardest parts of being a pet parent. If only they could point to where it hurts or let us know why they are limping! Well, it turns out they can.

On a recent morning walk, Rajah started favoring a front paw. It’s foxtail season in Northern Arizona, and these dangerous grass spikelets are the bane of summertime life for dog parents. If you’re not familiar with foxtails, they are grasses with a barbed seed head that cling to fur and will keep burrowing into an animal’s skin. Even if you don’t have a dog, you may have experienced them in your socks and will know that, because of the barbs, pulling them back out the way they went in doesn’t work very well. You have to find the tip and pull them forward.


Our usual post-walk foxtail check came up with a couple between the toes, so I thought we’d taken care of the sore paw. But later in the day I noticed Rajah licking the paw again and he wasn’t keen to walk far. I asked him what was going on and he “told” me he had something stuck in it. Now, when I say he told me, it’s not that I hear his voice, or even words. Animal communication, for me, is getting sensations in my body, a feeling, an image, or sometimes simply a knowing. So I checked the paw again, this time using my energy practitioner skills to confirm what I was getting. I surrogate tested every area of the paw using energy kinesiology and sure enough, the test went weak when I touched the second toe. There was nothing I could see or feel, even using a magnifying glass, but Rajah cried when I touched there. Frustrated and feeling bad that I wasn’t helping him, I promised I would try again later.

That evening, my boy lay on his bed giving me an intent look that I knew meant he needed help with the paw. I again asked him what was wrong with it and saw an image of something sticking in the nail bed of his second toe. Taking a flashlight, I examined the paw once again and this time, maybe because of the extra light or simply seeing it from a different angle, I was able to locate the tiniest cactus spine next to the nail. It was almost impossible to see from any other angle, being the same color as the nail. It must have been barbed because Rajah winced when the tweezers pulled it out. Poor boy! That must have been so irritating and painful.

It’s easy to doubt the information we’re receiving from an animal, especially when there isn’t immediate or tangible confirmation. I’m so glad I have Rajah as my teacher! He’s very patient with me, as are all the best teachers.