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The Animal Communicator Blog

Honoring Early Animal Communicators: Carol Gurney

Moved by the recent death of animal communicator, Jeri Ryan, I wish to celebrate early animal communication students who became dedicated professionals in the field. This article is derived from the “Featured Animal Communicator” story I wrote for Species Link, The Journal of Interspecies Telepathic Communication, Issue 62, Spring 2006.

Carol Gurney was one of my first animal communication students who became an accomplished animal communicator and teacher of animal communication.

Woman sitting on lawn with Golden Retriever puppyCarol Gurney with Credence, 3 1/2 months old

Far Out
In the 1970s, people did not grasp the notion of communicating with animals as they do now. The orientation in the media and business and scientific world was very left-brained. Sequential, linear, analytical thinking was the modus operandi. Intuitive work, meditation, yoga, and spiritual growth classes were regarded as far out and not the mainstream offerings they are today.

Many of my first students worked with me for years, learning with their own animals through individual consultations and observing me teach, before becoming professional animal communicators. It was harder for those students of the early 1980s to venture forth as animal communicators when only a few people practiced in the field. At that time, even most holistic veterinarians were hesitant to recognize animal communication work as valid. Now, many veterinarians consult with animal communicators. Some even have an animal communicator on their staff or have become animal communicators themselves.

The second generation of animal communicators, including some of my students, like Jeri Ryan, Carol Gurney, and Dawn Hayman, developed their own training programs. They and others who came after them remembered, refreshed, and strengthened their animal communication skill, and built on their previous professions in counseling, healing, communication, or other related fields.

Embracing the Adventure
I feel deeply connected with those early adventurers who studied with me. I have fond memories of our featured communicator, Carol Gurney, from many consultations with her about her cat, Soleil, and with Tallanny and Dudley, her dear horses, at the Malibu, California ranch where they were stabled. I remember Carol visiting my home and her warm connections with my animal family. I have a clear picture of her breakthrough with in-person animal communication when the worked with Pasha, my former Afghan hound, in the advanced animal communication course after Carol had stated at the start of the course that she was more comfortable with long-distance communication. I have cherished our relationship and her accomplishments as an animal communicator and teacher. I will never forget Carol saying with such depth of enthusiasm, “I just love to teach.”

Carol tells about her first connection with animal communication and how she began on the road to her joy and professional achievement in the field.

I’m often asked if I had a natural gift for communicating with animals or did I just grow up always doing it. I have to laugh because that is just not so. My first real brush with the world of animal communication came in 1980. I had taken dear Soleil, my black cat, to the vet because she had suddenly begun using the house as her litter box. On top of Soleil’s soiling, I was in a difficult marriage, and working as a corporate executive at a major advertising agency. Needless to say, I was an emotional wreck.

When the vet couldn’t find any physical cause for this new behavior, he told me the problem was likely emotional. Emotional? I was totally caught by surprise. He suggested I speak to an animal communicator and gave me the names of three people who were doing this work at the time: Fred Kimball, Beatrice Lydecker, and Penelope Smith. I decided to call Penelope because I liked the sound of her name. I had no expectations, but I was extremely curious to see if someone could really “talk” to animals, and was certainly open to anything that might help.

Penelope shared that Soleil was soiling outside her litter box because she was trying to keep the house grounded. She added that Soleil was sensing the difficulty in my marriage and reacting to the tension in the house. Soleil was doing the only thing she knew of to help the situation. Soleil’s concern helped me take a serious look at my relationship, and I finally realized my marriage could not be saved. I joke with my students that animal communication doesn’t necessarily lead to divorce, but this experience was certainly pivotal in my learning what I really loved to do.

The experience had lit a fire in my imagination. Penelope explained that everyone had the ability to communicate with animals. If this was true, I thought, it would be my dream come true! But it was a fantasy at this point and being a left-brained, black-and-white corporate type I doubted that I could ever make this dream a reality.

My whole life I have been fiercely determined and worked hard to achieve my goals. By 1980 I became the first woman Vice President for the West Coast branch of an international advertising agency and was recognized in Who’s Who of American Women and Who’s Who of California. I was winning accolades for my work, dealing with major corporations, and moving up the corporate ladder. Outside of work, I continued to be fascinated with the human-animal connection.

Life was exciting, for now I was enjoying the identity of a very successful businesswoman. By 1983 I was ready for a bigger work challenge and more autonomy, so I started my own consulting business, a newly-created business that did not exist in the marketplace.

All the while, however, the thought of the human-animal communication would dance through my mind. Little did I know that all that experience in the corporate world, listening to and working with people, would be worth its weight in gold when entering the field of animal communication. As I have come to learn, half of the success of an animal communicator is dealing with the human part of the relationship. So all my experience in setting up communication programs, hiring people, learning to understand what makes people tick, and helping managers understand how to communicate with their people was all part of this bigger picture of communication.

The same year I created my own business, my beloved horse, Tallanny, came into my life and I began to spend most of my free time at the ranch where I was keeping him. I had already begun practicing the communications skills I had learned in Penelope’s introductory class in 1981, and I was longing to follow my dream of mastering ‘the language of the animals.’ The impetus came when a friend of mine encouraged me to go see a spiritual counselor. As soon as I walked into her home, she said, ‘Oh, it’s so nice to know that you are an interspecies communicator.’ That was all I needed to hear. Remembering my session with Penelope and Soleil, and now with this spiritual counselor, I knew it was time to move forward and follow my dream.

In 1986, I sold my consulting business and started practicing with as many animals as I could find, volunteering my time to anyone in need. I tested myself over and over to be certain that I wasn’t just making this up. I would ask everyone I met at the ranch if I could communicate with their animals and as word spread of what I was doing, I was invited by others to talk with their animals. Despite a good deal of success, I still wasn’t sure that I was ‘getting it.’ Where the number came from I have no idea, but I actually set a goal for myself that I needed 10,538 validations!

I think the first time I believed I was really communicating came when the gal I bought my second horse from asked me to talk to her dog. She left him up in northern California because she felt he wanted to stay with his friends instead of moving to southern California with her. When I got in touch with her dog, he told me that he loved her. So I thought to myself, “Anybody could say that; how do I know that I’m talking to her dog?” So I tested myself and asked him if he had a message for her and indeed he did. He said, “tell her I miss roller-skating in the park with her.” So I passed the message along to her sheepishly since I didn’t want to be wrong, but she had this huge smile on her face and said with tears in her eyes, “we used to go roller-skating in the park every night when I got home from work.” That was the communication that helped me finally believe that I wasn’t making it up.

Carol feels that her most important training in learning how to be a good listener to both animals and all of Nature came from animals. She also found that learning to trust in her telepathic connection required calling upon her strongest determination.

Childhood Heart Connection
Carol remembers her early love for animals and also her childhood oppression.

Growing up, I forever wanted to rescue any animals I found, but we had only one dog at a time in our household. Luckily for me, my grandmother was a big fan of cats and fed all the wild ones in the neighborhood, so there were lots of them around me including the wild in nature. I clearly remember that my joy in life came from being with animals and surrounded by nature. You could always find me outside in a pile of dirt in the backyard.

I was happy in that world until I was enrolled in a Catholic school for the next eight years. The nuns at my school didn’t provide an open and fun-loving place for a child to be. Using your imagination or fostering intuition wasn’t offered as part of the daily curriculum. In all fairness to Catholic schools, I don’t think exploring spiritual connections with people or animals was standard fare for any organized learning institution at the time. Looking back, school was what I’d call oppressive and not a real confidence builder. I went from being a sensitive and happy child to one full of fear and lacking confidence.

In her journey with animal communication, Carol acknowledges that she had a lot of healing work to do to connect back to her emotions, body, heart, and spirit. Her personal background also helped her understand other sensitive people who have suffered abuse and seek to learn animal communication. She is grateful that her beloved horse, Tallanny, taught her the way to connect with other animals at the heart level and that the heart accepts everything without judgment or criticism and is the center or core of who we really are.

Key Discoveries
A key realization that steered Carol’s work was how unconditionally animals love and how they help their people by reflecting human behavior or, like children, acting out things. Most of her business is geared towards helping families see that many of the issues are not strictly about the animals but more about the imbalances within the family structure. She has found that animals are very concerned with helping family members see the aspects of themselves that need to be nurtured, healed, or balanced.

With this principle in mind, Carol guided students in her
HeartTalk Training Program to discover what needs to be nurtured, healed, or balanced in their lives. Then they go out to work with the public as baggage-free as possible or at least aware of their issues so they can be clear messengers for the animals. Carol found that people who consult with or want to become animal communicators seem to be motivated to address personal issues concerning themselves if it helps their animals.

Carol’s previous career in business helped her be successful in finding lost animals, getting to the root of behavioral problems, and working with death and dying issues. Attention to detail and how to quickly read a client’s mental/emotional state and then choose just the right words to relay this information in a professional and compassionate manner helped her enormously. In the highly competitive business world, she found that reading a person wrong, dressing inappropriately, or being unprepared meant losing the job. Carol puts the same hard work and integrity that made her successful in business into her animal communication work.

As a teacher of animal communication, Carol relates personally to students’ struggles, which has helped her develop a program that addresses their potential challenges. Carol also teaches body balancing workshops. She recommends that animal communicators have some body work in their repertoire to help animals with injuries, excess tension and stress in their bodies, and emotional upsets and trauma stored in their cells.

Memorable Experiences
Carol relates some of her moving experiences as an animal communicator.

I will never forget Timmy, the 23-year-old thoroughbred and his person, Deni Bator. Timmy had developed narcolepsy. It was a terrible thing to witness; he would fall asleep standing up and crash to the ground. During this same period, he began charging anyone who would try to come near him, then rear and bolt, while giving out this high-pitched scream. Deni had been advised to euthanize Timmy because the prospect of him injuring himself or a human was too great a threat. But Timmy’s veterinarian suggested that she call me.

I went to see Timmy and as I approached his corral, tears welled up in my eyes and I heard Timmy say, “Where is my friend?” He kept sending me an image of a mare and then shared with me how depressed and hopeless he felt. He said that he didn’t want to live anymore. When relaying this information to Deni, she told me that Timmy’s best friend, a mare named Delight, had been put down just two weeks prior. At the time of her euthanasia, they were instructed to take Timmy out to the pasture so he couldn’t see what was taking place. They euthanized Delight and then brought Timmy back to his corral where his friend was now gone. He never knew what happened.

I had to step back at first to see how to approach this. My first step was to apologize to Timmy, letting him know that his people didn’t know how important it was for him to say good-bye. I explained to him that Delight had been very sick and they felt it was best to let her go. I told him that I thought there was still probably much for him to do with his person, Deni. I then asked Deni to sit down with Timmy and let him know her feelings. He needed to know what he meant to her, what she had learned from him, how her life had been enriched by him, and how she looked forward to continuing learning from him for many years to come. She had her conversation with Timmy, and his behavior changed overnight, and they continued on their newly meaningful journey together.

Every time I tell Timmy’s story, it reminds people of the depth of the animal’s emotions. It is so important for people to understand that animals experience the same range of emotions that we do and that the imbalance and lack of communication can cause such pain and strange behavior.

The story that makes me laugh every time I tell it is about my own horse, Tallanny. Often, people will ask me if animals lie. And I have to tell them, “Yes, they do”. Tallanny often participates in my seminars and when he was asked his age for the first time, he told the students the truth, that he was 27. The next question they asked me was “how long do horses live?” The average lifespan of a horse is in their late 20s. Everyone in the class sighed, thinking that his death was probably sooner than later.

The next time a class wanted to test their skills by asking Tallanny his age, I hesitated, but said okay and left it up to Tallanny. I couldn’t believe what he said. Everyone in the workshop got that he was 5. It wasn’t just one student that received that information; all twenty students received the same answer! When I asked Tallanny why he said he was 5, he told me that if he said he was 27, people would think he was near death. If he said he was 5, people would think he’s a young and frisky horse. The answer solicits a whole different energy and response from the people, so he manipulated the answer so he could feel better. So now when new students come and want to ask the age question, I chuckle inside.

Perhaps the most heart-wrenching communication I have ever received came from a horse named Star. His guardian asked me to look into a severe and chronic stiffness in Star’s neck. As I began to stroke his neck and gently lay my hands on him, he radiated energy so intense it was tangible (it almost knocked me over). I could feel his pulse throbbing as he told me, in a flood of emotion, how profoundly grateful he was to his new guardian, who he believed had saved his life.

With his previous person, he had been a competition horse, a hard-driven jumper who had begun to lose his edge as his youth faded. He had overheard these people say that if he didn’t fetch a decent price at auction, he would be sent to the slaughterhouse. He understood what this meant and was terrified. Afraid to sleep, he stood listening day and night to the sounds of trucks coming and going from the ranch, filled with dread that one of them would be coming to take him away. Consumed with the daily stress of keeping watch and fearing for his future, the muscles in his neck had frozen in place. He knew he was still strong and vital, and he wasn’t ready to die.

By this point in his story, our conversation had caught the attention of the ranch hands working in the barn. They work closely and intuitively with the animals and are often natural communicators. A few of the ranch hands stopped working altogether and came over, drawn by the strong feelings emanating from the horse.

Star had relaxed a bit by then and began telling me how he was being retrained for dressage, ballet-like exhibition riding in which a horse and a person closely synchronize their movements to execute an elegant dance. The work was challenging but mentally satisfying and, above all, he loved being so attuned to a human being that they could move together as one. He had never felt such kinship, such union. He wanted the woman to know how much he loved her, both for giving him the chance to live and for the tremendous gift of the closeness and affection he had come to feel with her.

Even in his new environment, he could not sleep. The anxiety from the past ran so deep that Star feared, despite the depth of his relationship with his new guardian, that one day she would also choose to let him go.

I couldn’t help but weep at his heartfelt declaration, and I could see tears in the eyes of the ranch hands looking on. Not wanting to break this amazing connection, I signaled to one of them to get Star’s guardian. I asked her to close her eyes, take some deep breaths, and allow him to connect with her. When she did, she was almost bowled over by the depth of his emotion, his overwhelming devotion, and gratitude. Stroking him, she promised that he would never again wait in terror, listening for the dreaded trucks. She assured him he had a permanent home under her protection and love.

I asked Star what else he needed, and his answer was simple: “I want to go to sleep.” We accompanied him to his stall, ranch hands and all, and watched in amazement as he gently and peacefully lay down and slept, finally getting the rest he so desperately needed.”

Many Accomplishments
Carol Gurney has made unique and abundant contributions to the field of animal communication with decades of teaching others to communicate with animals and developing her HeartTalk Program®.

Carol is also the author of
The Language of Animals: 7 Steps to Communicating with Animals. Sounds True, one of the largest producers of spiritual improvement works, selected Carol to author the Beginner’s Guide to Animal Communication. She has been featured in many national publications and numerous national television and radio programs such as ABC Eyewitness News and CBS Channel 2 News.

Today Carol spends most of her time teaching others to communicate with animals. She rarely has time for consultations but confidently passes hundreds of requests to her assistants who have completed the
HeartTalk Program® Professional Certification Training.

Dedication to Animal Communication
Carol’s words about the field of animal communication as a profession sum up her dedication and purpose:

Animal Communication is a profession and needs to be dealt with on that level. It is not enough to say that one has taken a two-day workshop and therefore is now deemed an Animal Communicator. It requires a great deal of study, practical experience, and a commitment to self-care study. It is my mission to continue helping those dedicated to an education in the business.

Carol Gurney’s Tips for Successful Communication with an Animal Companion

It's natural to have difficulties/challenges communicating with your own animals since we are so emotionally connected. Try going into another room, distance yourself physically, and pretend that you've never met this animal before. Have a list of questions prepared ahead of time just like you were practicing with a new animal. You may be happily surprised!

If you are trying to connect with an animal and you begin to feel scattered and confused, don't jump to the conclusion that you have been unsuccessful. That may be the feelings of the animal you have connected with.

If you are a beginner, be willing to make mistakes. That is how we learn so don't be too hard on yourself. Be mindful of the expectations you impose on yourself and the animal. You couldn't possibly expect yourself to be immediately fluent. You must be realistic in knowing that it takes lots of practice or you may be setting yourself up for failure rather than success.

Be diligent about recognizing how your connections feel when you are accurate, versus when you are not. Learn how to recognize the difference. Monitor how it felt when you received information that was validated versus how it felt when the information was inaccurate. Keeping track of your progress and setbacks is vital. This will help you to "weed the garden," so to speak, but remember to be gentle with yourself.

When you are delivering information that you received from the animal to his/her person, pause after each point and ask if what you are telling them makes sense. This will give them the opportunity to validate the connection and information you have gathered from the animal. Remember, the animal's guardian is just as excited about hearing what their animal had to say as you were when you received the information. If you deliver all the information without any pauses the listener may be overwhelmed and might find it difficult to back-track to certain points that you made, either to question or validate them.

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