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.

Sometimes I Let My Dog Do The Driving

A couple of years ago, when we were deep into the fierce heat of July here in Sedona, when evenings don’t even begin to cool down until well after dark and the roads are still painfully hot for bare paws, I was at a loss for where to go for our evening walk. Rajah had broken nail a few days back and, while it was still healing he needed to walk on grass, which left us few options we hadn’t already tried. I had recently joined an animal communication class with renowned Animal Communicator, Maia Kincaid and, eager to keep up my practice with Rajah, in my moment of defeat I confided in him, “Rajah, I just don’t know where can go that will be cool enough to walk. We need grass. Where is there grass? Do you know where we can go?” I can’t say I heard an answer, but we got in the car anyway and started driving. I found myself in a sort of let-go state and simply drove without thinking about a destination. Left at the roundabout, towards the next town until without reason, I found myself turning right onto an unfamiliar street. Hmm. I don’t know about this. I can’t imagine there are any grassy spaces in this neighborhood. We should turn around and go back to somewhere we know.


I suddenly looked over to my right and saw what looked like a parking lot and thought it looked like a suitable place to turn around. As we pulled in, I realized this was in fact the parking lot for a little park. Grass! Lots of it and it had just been irrigated so it was deliciously cool to walk through. And right next door was an even bigger expanse of green. A golf course! I have no idea how Rajah knew of the existence of this park, let alone how to get there. But this wasn’t the first time he had surprised me with his navigational skills. Many a time Rajah has spotted a place from the car window that he wants to visit, and has later guided me back to that very place when we’ve been on foot. Much easier to do when he has me on a leash, but hey, I’m getting much better these days at the letting him drive thing!

Before you stop reading, thinking this woman is just plain crazy, I should probably tell you right now that I’ve always had special relationships with the dogs in my life. They come to me in my dreams and let me know their needs in unspoken but unmistakable ways. Rajah may be the closest I’ve felt to any of my dogs, and is my guide in learning animal communication. I’ll share more of our backstory in future posts, along with some of the amazing (and mundane) conversations we have.