Carol Gurney is internationally respected as one of the foremost experts and a pioneer in the world of Animal Communication. Since 1986, she has traveled the globe teaching people how to connect with our animal companions and the first to offer a fully comprehensive training program in this ever-growing field.
From the beginning, her focus has always been about the deeper gifts the animals bring to us. Through her work Carol helps people understand that, through their unconditional love, animals offer a direct reflection of those areas within ourselves that need nurturing.
In 2008, Carol established The Gurney Institute of Animal Communication. This groundbreaking Institute is internationally recognized as a center of learning, devoted to the empowerment of individuals uncovering their innate ability to connect with animals from the heart and as a beacon of the highest level of training, professionalism and integrity in the industry. In 2012, Carol transformed The Institute into a non-profit Public Benefit Corporation to provide an even broader foundation for informing and educating all of society about the benefits of animal communication.
Carol will be in the Twin Cities on August 8-9 to present her Introductory Animal Communication Workshop: Make the Connection. She will be at the Walks with Horses Ranch in Becker, Minn., and anyone interested can contact Melissa Bieber at 320.267.8034 or [email protected]
The following is my conversation with Carol Gurney, on communicating with animals — and with each other.
You will be presenting your introductory animal communication workshop in Minnesota in August. What can participants expect to experience during the two-day class?
Carol Gurney: The first day they will learn all about telepathy — how it’s possible, the different techniques — and then they will do a series of exercises to get them ready for the afternoon. The final exercise that they’ll do is a telepathic communication exercise with each other through the use of color. It is so helpful for them and confidence building, because they realize that they haven’t talked to their partner, but yet the partner can pick up information that they’re sending.
In the afternoon, we’ll have two animals with us, probably horses, and we’ll sit as a group and ask the horses particular questions, like “Share with us your favorite activities,” and then we might ask about their dislikes or what their person looks like — specific questions that the students don’t know the answers to. That will be very validating for them and prove that they are really making a connection with the animal.
On day two, I’ll help them understand that we don’t really need to be with the animal, but we can connect with them from a distance. We can still ask those questions and get the answers. The students will exchange photos of their animals and ask questions like, “What does your home look like? What is your relationship like with the other cat in this family?”
It’s a very confidence-building workshop, because they get the validation. If somebody is having a challenging time because maybe they’ve got some fear of, “Oh gosh, I think everybody can do this but me,” I’ll take that person and work with him or her individually so that they can make that connection. Because I found it so challenging myself when I first started, I’ve developed different exercises for people.
In the beginning, because I had such a challenging time and did not believe it myself and really just didn’t trust it, I had to get like 10,538 validations to believe it myself. During that period of time, it enabled me to understand what everybody goes through. Within the workshop, I help the people individually if they’re struggling at all.
What distinguishes your approach to teaching and understanding animal communication from others?
CG: I think I have a down-to-earth approach. At the Institute, what we’re all about is integrity and authenticity.
We’re teaching a language. It’s just like students coming to learn a foreign language. We tell our students that if you were going to try to learn to speak Italian, for example, after a two-day workshop you wouldn’t be able to leave and speak fluently. We want to tell them the reality of it so that they don’t become disappointed and have high expectations.
We tell them that this work is all about getting the answers from the animals. Some people will teach shamanic journeying but we don’t, because that muddies the waters and after a while you don’t know who you’re talking to. We don’t do the psychic work, because some people may get their information from Spirit guides or from here or there. That’s not what we do.
We simply learn the language of the animals, so we keep the authenticity and the integrity alive. It’s a language coming from the animal and nowhere else. I’ve been doing this for 29 years, and there’s nothing abstract about it. We just bring it down into everyday language so that it’s really understood, and we keep it as simple as possible.
In your book, The Language of Animals, you begin by talking about the heart. Why is the heart important in communicating with animals?
CG: When I took my first workshop, I couldn’t get it. Everybody else was getting it, but I wasn’t, so I was pretty frustrated after I left the workshop — and I didn’t do anything for two years because I didn’t know what to do.
It was when I bought my horse, Tallanny, that I learned the difference between talking with people and animals. I had my own business at that point, and I would just take a chair and sit with him. By doing that, it began to feel different. If I thought I had a problem when I saw him and rode him and just hung out with him, all of my problems were just gone. I was able to relax. I was able to quiet my mind. I was able to be still. What he was trying to convey to me in a concept was that I was trying to make the language the same as it is with a person — communicating from the intellect, the mind only — and he was trying to share with me that if you open your heart, you will be able to hear the animals.
I understood when I was able to feel that feeling, that sense of love and that sense of peace from him. Imagine a circle, a wheel, and the heart is in the middle. We know that we’re all emotional, physical, spiritual and mental beings. If you talk from the middle — the heart — then it makes you privy to all the different aspects of that person or that animal. You can touch the intellect, you can touch the physical, and you can get information from all of those aspects. But if you were to use just the intellect and talk from that part, you would only be talking to 25 percent of who that individual is and that conversation would be very limited.
When you talk from your heart, what you’re really doing is telling that person or that animal that you’re really here because you just want to know who they are. You’re not here to judge them or criticize them. It’s a whole different way of speaking and listening to a person.
I think everybody has experienced that at one time or another, where you’ll meet a person, maybe at a party, and only talk to them on an intellectual level. You may not know why you’re doing that, but it is usually because you don’t feel comfortable or safe with sharing your emotions, or sharing aspects of spirituality with that person. Then you meet another person at the party and, oh, my God, you start talking, talking, talking because you just feel so comfortable with that person. That’s usually because that person has approached you from a heart level saying, “I’m just interested in knowing who you are.”
When we do that, especially with those animals that have been rescued, traumatized or abused from the past, it’s really critical that we do approach them at that level so they do know that we are safe and they can open up to us.
Thank you for sharing that. That was a really good way to look at how communicating with animals and people are the same, in some respects.
CG: It really is. I think people do communicate from the heart, but they just don’t call it that, and they don’t know that they’re doing it because it’s natural.
Is that the key to being in the right space to communicate with the animals — getting in touch with your own heart?
CG: Yes. When people communicate with an animal, a lot of times their own personal issues will come up. Maybe somebody calls you and says, “You know, my cat’s been soiling all over the house for a couple of years now and I’ve got to resolve this or else I’m going to put my cat down.” You, the animal communicator, really need to not sit in judgment of that person, because that person probably has done everything they know to resolve the issue. They’ve consulted a vet, they’ve gotten a trainer, and they’re really just at their wit’s end. They’re saying they may have to put the animal down, but they probably don’t mean it. Perhaps that person hasn’t really dealt with their own issues.
That communicator might sit in judgment of the person rather than realize that what that person needs is probably just some acknowledgement of all of the things that they’ve done. So you say, “I admire you for doing all these steps that you have done, so what I’d like to do is help you find that one missing link for you with your animal, so hang in there.”
People need to be acknowledged. What we have to do as communicators is really look at our own issues so there is no projection onto the person at all. We have to really be there 100 percent with the person, leaving ourselves on the sideline. That takes some time, because it’s easy for people to jump to conclusions.
Our job is really learning how to quiet the mind so that we can be in our heart. We process 40,000 thoughts a day, so there’s a whole lot of talk that’s going on with ourselves all day long, so we have to learn how to reduce those thoughts so that we can be receptive to really hearing what the animal is saying. I tell students that can be done by meditation, maybe tai chi, maybe yoga, or maybe it simply can be a walk in nature, because that’s what helps you quiet your mind.
We have a lot of work to do as communicators to be accurate and receive information on all levels from the animal so that we can help the person, because they come to us in desperate needs. They have lost their animals, their animal is sickly and the vet is kind of stumped and really doesn’t know what to do. So we learn how to be able to ask the animal how they feel physically. There is no diagnosis. It’s just a matter of the sensations that they’re feeling in their body. People call because they don’t know whether their animal is ready to go and they don’t want to make a mistake. They have behavioral problems, and if they can’t handle the aggressive behavior of their dog, they’re looking at euthanasia. So we deal with all these very sensitive issues.
As communicators, we need to be doing our work, which can take years. We have a certification program, the only one of its kind in the world, to teach people how to become professional animal communicators. It takes years to do that.
What we’re kind of sad about is that after a two-day workshop, a lot of people say that they’re animal communicators, and they’re just not. No one after two days can communicate fluently.
As communicators, we have a lot of work to do on ourselves, with ourselves. Not only do we need to become accurate with learning this language, but we really need to be in touch with ourselves. How well do we telepathically communicate with ourselves? How well do we listen to our physical needs and take care of them? Our spiritual needs? Our mental needs? Our emotional needs?
People think it’s just about learning how to communicate with animals, and it’s not. It’s learning about ourselves. The biggest thing that we have to learn is how to be there for the people, because after a while we realize that we can learn animal communication, but now how do we help the people? We have to learn impeccable skills of how to listen.
What we’re known for at the Institute is our customized action plan. Our job is to get to the root of the issue, why the animal is doing this, and then ask them what they need to do to change that behavior. Depending on what the animal says, we may add what we feel might be helpful to that animal, but our job is not to just give this information to the person. We really need to explore with the family. Are they willing? Does their lifestyle allow them to implement the things that are necessary to help the animal?
Our job is not to just hang up after talking to the animal, because the client may be overwhelmed by what has been presented. Our job is to listen to the family and say, “Is it possible for you to do these things?” We need to be able to offer a plan that’s doable for them. Otherwise, when we hang up the phone nothing will happen and then the dynamic doesn’t change. So our job is to really learn communication on all levels.
I wondered how your connection with other people changed after becoming an animal communicator, and it sounds like perhaps you’ve become better at connecting with people.
CG: Oh, absolutely! A lot of people will say, “Well, I’m going into the field of animal communication because I just feel more comfortable around animals and I just don’t deal well with people.” And I’ll say right off the bat, “Well, you’re coming into the wrong profession then, because you really need to have good skills and you really need to like people.”
That’s a good point to emphasize that you’re supporting the people as well as the animals.
CG: Oh, absolutely because we don’t want to hang up the phone after all of that work is done, and so forth, our job is to help the family and the animal, and then we get back to the animal and just say, you know, “Things have changed a little bit, and it’s not because the people don’t love you, they love you tremendously, but their lifestyle, their busyness at work and so forth, they, you know, they just don’t have the time, but they’re going to do this, they’re going to do that, you know, so see how much they love you?” So, that’s what our job is.
From your experience with animals, what have you learned in general about what they offer us as human beings?
CG: The thing that I learned, oh gosh, 29 years ago, was that animals are a mirror of us. They are very much like children and they will act things out. Often there isn’t really anything going on with the animal, because it has to do with what’s going on with the family.
I’ll give you an example that a dog helped me understand. I was called by a man who said that when he had his dog in a room with other people, the dog would go on attack mode with the people. If he left the room, the dog would be absolutely fine. He would come back in the room and the dog would go back on attack mode. So they had muzzled the dog for eight years and he really just wanted to see if animal communication could make a change.
When I talked with the dog and asked him why he was doing that, I got absolutely nothing. No communication back. Of course, I got really scared and wondered, “Oh, my God. Have I lost my abilities? What has happened?” But, when I got back to this fellow and told him, “You know, I don’t, I can’t help you because I got nothing from your dog,” then he told me that he doesn’t often go out and socialize, because he is just not comfortable doing that.
“I go to my parents’ house for dinner and then I come back home.”
“Well,” I asked, “how uncomfortable do you get around people?”
“Well, I just feel like I could get hurt, that people might hurt me.”
All of a sudden, a light bulb went on for him and he said, “Oh my God, Carol! This isn’t about my dog is it? It’s about me!”
I said, “Yes, but I didn’t know that.”
What I’m finding is that when animals don’t communicate back, it is my cue to look to the family, because something might be going on there. The man asked me what he can do, and I responded, “Well, you have a fear. Animals are feeling beings, so when you put out that fear, the animal feels it — and this dog loves you. What he’ll do then is push the people away from you because you think the people are going to hurt you. He’s just responding to fear.”
The man asked again, “Well, how do I deal with it?”
I said, “You know, you might want to consult with a therapist to be able to find out where your fear is coming from, because once you find the root of the issue for you, then the fear won’t be there anymore and your dog won’t have to protect you.”
After that consultation, I realized that animal communication is much bigger than I thought it was. I started seeing another aspect of what animal communication is, and that is something that I pioneered and brought to the field of animal communication. So, oftentimes we do look to see if anything is going on with the family, because if the family doesn’t deal with it, then the dynamic can’t change. The animal can’t change in a vacuum.
Animals are some of our greatest teachers. They teach us about ourselves. One of the primary reasons they are in our lives is to teach us how to love ourselves the way they love us, unconditionally. Our animals are there through thick and thin. They don’t care how much money we make, what we do for a living or what we look like. They truly love us for who we are. I look at that and say, “Wow, as people, we aren’t even there yet. We still love each other with conditions.” Animals really have a lot to teach us about loving ourselves and being kind to ourselves, appreciating all of who we are — because they do.
It seems they care so much about us that they’re responding in different ways to get our attention to that issue.
CG: That’s a great way of saying that. Absolutely.
Animal communicators also serve as a medium, because they work with pets who have passed over. What’s the value of people reconnecting after a beloved pet has gone and what is the experience like for you in sharing information from a pet to a grieving family?
CG: It means so much. I’ll give you a case study. A fellow from England, Richard, called and he had a bull mastiff named Oscar, and Oscar was euthanized. Oscar was very ill and died very early.
“You know, Carol, I want to believe that animals continue on, but I don’t have proof of that,” Richard said. “I don’t know that for sure.” So he tested me with all of the questions: Who was with Oscar when he was euthanized? Of the two homes he had, which one did Oscar like? What room did he like the best? If Oscar is on the other side, who is he with and what is he doing?
I passed the test by answering all those questions, and then I said to Richard, “Your dog shows me that he is with a man in spirit form, but the man he is showing me looks exactly like you, and he is wearing a uniform. And the man wants you to know that he will take care of Oscar for you.” And then I heard Oscar say, “Please tell him to keep singing the song to me” and the song was, “You are my sunshine, my only sunshine.”
When I told Richard that, I could hear him cheering up. He said, “Oh, my God, Carol. The person that you’re talking about is my grandfather, and I asked my grandfather specifically to be there when Oscar passed. My grandfather and I looked exactly alike. He’s wearing a uniform because he was a police officer. You don’t know this about me, but I am a police officer.”
And, he said, “I needed to test you and I needed to get that concrete information because that’s what we do. And, I can’t believe that you got this, but every day when I go to work I imagine that Oscar is riding in the passenger seat like he always did and I actually sing that song to him every day, every morning that I go to work.”
Here’s a man who wanted to believe that his dog continued on, and for him it was proof and acknowledgement that what you’re doing means so much to your animal so just keep doing it, don’t stop singing that song.
We get such validating information from those who have passed that can really help people like him. He was so distressed, grieving so much because his dog died very early on, and so for him, it gave him peace. They know that their animals are okay. It gives them great comfort.
When we teach our students about the death and dying process, we prepare them to be able to talk with the animals before they leave. Many people want to know if it’s their time, if they need assistance, or if they can go on their own. Our students learn how to help the people before and then how to be able to talk with them once they’re gone. Some animals will say, “My transition was as easy as my life was with her.”
Are you finding that more people are becoming interested in communicating with their pets? Is there a trend toward that right now?
CG: I think it just continues to expand. Back in 1980, only three people were doing this and now we have probably thousands of people. The interest in animal communication just spreads by word of mouth. For instance, when Richard starts talking to his family and other friends about his experience with Oscar, people want to know more about it. They say, “Wow, if this person believes that it’s possible and this person had this type of experience, then I want to know about it. I want to have that connection with my animals.” And not only do they want to hear about their animals from a professional communicator, but now they’re hungry to learn it themselves.
In the past, there were very few books on the marketplace. Now there are books galore on the subject. I do see the field expanding more and more. I recently took my first trip to Japan and they were so excited about it, so happy that they were learning with such accuracy and depth. I’ll probably be going there for a couple years.
While you were talking, I was wondering if it would be valuable for all pet owners, when they first get a pet, to have a simple class where they can connect maybe on a deeper level with their new pets.
CG: Tim, you must be reading my mind and our goal, because that’s what I keep saying to people: “One of these days, just as when you have to get a collar and a leash for your dog, and carrier for your dog or cat, you will then speak to a communicator about who your animal is.” I hope that day comes. I’m not quite sure it will be in my lifetime. Our mission is to change how the world thinks and feels about animals, so I hope that one day it will be exactly that. That’s what we’re hoping for. Yeah!
For more information on Carol Gurney and the Gurney Institute of Animal Communication, visit www.gurneyinstitute.com