Communicating with the Non-Human World

| August 9, 2022 | 0 Comments

I have always believed that there should be a way to communicate with living entities that are not human.  Given today’s state of the world, I am not sure humans are doing such a great job communicating with our own species.  I am not an “animal communicator,” nor do I wish to become one; I do believe animals and maybe even plants can sense our emotions or the energy we put out.  For example, our neighbors raise bees.  They are constantly in our garden, on our balconies and decks, and in the house.  I often work right next to several.  I try not to handle branches they are using; I wait until the branch is free of activity before I deadhead, prune, or pick. They have never tried to sting me; they have stung other people in my yard.

            Sometimes I walk into a house with a resident cat and have sensed that the cat wants its food stirred.  I don’t know how I know that, but the cats whose food I’ve stirred have been visibly grateful.  On occasion I can tell by looking at an animal that a particular area hurts. Looking at their bodies, I imagine myself in the same behavior or position.  What would make me do that?

            We had a cat, Riesling, who was diabetic.  I had to test his urine twice a day to determine how much insulin to give him.  To test his urine, I had to put a container (with a long handle) under him to catch enough to test.  He received two injections per day; each dosage had to be calculated several times as I am severely handicapped mathematically.  I was working at the time.  When I was delayed because he didn’t need to go, the situation became dire.  Finally, I picked him up for a heart-to-heart chat.  “Remember how horrible you felt before you started getting these shots?” I asked him.  “Well, you have to pee in the cup so I can give you the right amount of medicine.  If you need to pee in the night, you must wake me up.  Or you can wait until morning, so I can test it then.  But I cannot wait for hours until you need to go.” 

He looked at me, chirruped the way cats do, walked to his litter box, and waited.  I grabbed the cup and he filled it.  From then on, I never had to wait for him to urinate.  In addition, as I was painstakingly doing the math and measuring his dose, he always jumped on the table and waited for me.  Then he turned so I could easily reach the back of his neck.  This went on twice a day for two years.

            I also told this cat that if he wanted to continue living, we would do whatever it took.  However, when he had no more quality to his life, he should be very clear about what we should do as we don’t speak cat.  He knew or intuited what I meant.  The week before he died, neighbors told me he had hung out in spots where 13 years before, he and a neighbor’s female cat spent time together.  He had been neutered; she had not.  She became pregnant by some stray Tom, got toxemia, and died in our garden.  Riesling spent four months gazing at the spot where she’d died, mourning, I suppose.  Yet 13 years later he still remembered.  On the night before he died, he spent about a half hour with each of us.  Then he went to sleep.  I woke up at five in the morning.  He woke up, looked at me, laid his head on my hand and died peacefully.  It was the perfect ending for him.  Somehow, we understood each other.

            Currently I take lessons in dressage, a difficult method of riding horses involving subtle communication. . . “aids,” or movements the rider makes which tell the horse what he is to do.  It is totally different from any kind of riding I’d ever done; it’s a challenge. Even the professionals say it is really challenging.  It isn’t strenuous, but it is hard to remember and maneuver one’s body in such a way that you aren’t interfering with the horse.  I am riding a pony/horse.  She is right on the dividing line between horse and pony.  Her name is Dolly whose students range in age from four or five to almost 82.

            Dolly has a sense of humor.  If I prevent her from stealing a snack as I walk her to the arena, she retaliates.  I always have a thermos of coffee or water as it is often hot in Lakeside; my lessons are first thing in the morning (7:30 AM or 8:30 AM, depending on the day).  I put my thermos on a fence post, and Dolly is very good about stopping so I can reach it.  However, if I have annoyed her, she whacks my thermos with her head knocking it to the ground.  She immediately turns to face me and gives me a “Gotcha!” stare.  Sometimes she thinks about doing it, but if I say, “Don’t you dare,” she stops.  It has become a running joke between us.

            Dolly also does not believe in unfair behavior.  If I give her a signal with my calves to go and she ignores me, I give her a kick.  Normally this is not a problem.  However, one day she needed a kick, but she was certain this was her first signal.  She bucked!  “I did squeeze you, Dolly.  You weren’t listening!”  I swear, she was so good after that.  Somehow, she understood what I meant.

            Perhaps I’ll write more about communication between life forms.  Since the Garden Club doesn’t meet until September, you are stuck with what strikes my fancy.  An update on my bougainvillea propagation: three are still living from the first batch and two from a second batch.  I’m still busy killing plants, by accident.

Barb Strona with Dolly.

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Category: Animals, Authors, Life Style, Local News, Seniors

About the Author ()

Barbara Strona is a native Californian who grew up in the Mid-West and Los Angeles. She and her architect husband, Carl, came to San Diego in 1968 and have lived in Mission Hills since early 1971. Barbara received a Bachelor of Arts from Scripps College with a major in English, and a minor in Art. She attended UCLA graduate school and received a General Secondary Credential. She taught English in Los Angeles, Pennsylvania, and at Point Loma High School. She has been a Realtor specializing in residential sales since 1984. Her passions include her job, reading, writing, foreign languages and foreign countries, animals (feathered or furry), theatre, and her family: husband, two adult children and two grandsons.