Bark and Woof for beginners...
Grace Wynne-Jones meets Ireland's answer to Dr Dolittle
Ever wished you could have a chat with your dog or cat? Well you can, says an Irish woman who gives workshops on how to communicate with animals. Lyn Furlong claims that animals have "told" her many amazing things. Vets call on her services to diagnose mysterious ailments and she's even conversed with racehorses.
According to Lyn, learning animal communication is "like learning Spanish or German". She believes that everyone can do it but "you have to practise". She explains that animals communicate with people telepathically and the information comes in different forms. Sometimes it's through "language" or "mental pictures", and sometimes she can "feel" their emotions. "It's a mixture of these three impressions usually," she says. "The key thing is love."
Can a dog understand and "speak" English telepathically? "Yes," according to Lyn, and she believes animals somehow understand foreign languages too. She's found telepathy bypasses the need for translation. "I don't know how, but it does," she claims, recalling the time she conversed in English with a poodle from France.
Lyn, who lives in Trim, Co Meath, is used to being told that these claims are "barking", but she feels her experiences prove that telepathic communication with animals is possible.
For example, she was asked to communicate with a friend's Yorkshire Terrier who had his back hunched, was lethargic and wasn't eating. He told Lyn his "feet were tingling and his stomach ached" and he believed he must have walked on something.
"His owner remembered the Council had sprayed weedkiller," Lyn recalls. The dog was immediately rushed off to the vet and Lyn believes that without prompt action he might have died.
On another occasion, Lyn asked a cat what was causing his asthma and he showed her a mental picture of a vacuum cleaner. His owner dismissed her cat's claims as "daft", but later rang Lyn to say she'd forgotten that she'd put a perfumed sachet in the vacuum cleaner. When it was removed the cat's asthma improved considerably.
"Animals' sense of smell is approximately 1,000 times stronger than that of humans" Lyn explains, "so we have to be careful." Lyn was also one of Ireland's first lady bookmakers. She has now retired from that job but still has contact with racehorses through her animal communication. She claims horses usually tell her what the problem is and the area that is painful. This has led to a number of successful treatments.
"Most animals love us unconditionally," she adds. But, she is keen to point out that "animal communication cannot take the place of good training". We often give animals "conflicting instructions", so we need to improve our animal communication skills.
One of the key things Lyn teaches at her workshops is that animals are very sensitive to a person's energy. She says that they can "pick up telepathically what you are thinking". So if, for example, you're out walking with your dog and see another dog, don't immediately think there is going to be a fight. Instead, try to remain calm and he'll be more likely to stay calm, too.
"Animals respond better to clear messages," she reveals. And they don't seem to hear the word 'don't'. So it's best to give them positive instructions such as 'sit on the floor'.
Lyn is now a member of the International Association of Animal Communicators and her workshops are popular. But how did she get involved in such an unusual career?
"I always had an interest in animals. I knew they understood what you said to them," she says. Her interest in the subject really took off when she saw animal communication expert Sonia Fitzpatrick being interviewed on the Late Late Show in 1998.
Vets have attended Lyn's workshops. Participants even learn how to tune into an animal simply by looking at a photograph of them.
Lyn claims this is done through a "heart connection" with their spirit. And she believes we can contact pets who have passed away in the same way because "only the physical dies".
Lyn's big dream is "working side by side with vets". And, for obvious reasons, she's adamant that "there is no such thing as a dumb animal".
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