In the 1960s, St. Paul native John Lilly, M.D., an explorer of consciousness and pioneer of interspecies communication, experimented with ways to create a meaningful communication between humans and the bottlenose dolphin. In the U.S. Virgin Islands, Lilly created a human-dolphin cohabitat, a house on the ocean’s shore that contained an area that was partially flooded and allowed a human and dolphin to live together in the same space, sharing meals, play, language lessons, and even sleep. He later turned his attention to whales. He envisioned a time when all killing of whales and dolphins would cease, “not from a law being passed, but from each human understanding innately that these are ancient, sentient earth residents, with tremendous intelligence and enormous life force. Not someone to kill, but someone to learn from.”
In 1967, Rex Harrison starred in the musical Doctor Dolittle. Doctor Dolittle, originally the central character of a series of children’s books by Hugh Lofting, is a world-renowned veterinarian who speaks a wide array of animal languages. He sets off from his home in Puddleby-on-the-Marsh, England, in search of the Great Pink Sea Snail. In so doing, he and his friends meet such exotic creatures as the Pushme-Pullyu and the Giant Moon Moth. This musical was the source of the hit song, “If I Could Talk To The Animals.”
The Horse Whisperer — a 1995 novel by Nicholas Evans, and a 1998 film directed by and starring Robert Redfield — depicted a talented trainer with a remarkable gift for understanding horses. The movie’s popularity led to the word “whisperer” being coined as a slang term for anyone with a strong affinity for a particular animal or being. The term horse whisperer dates back to the early 19th century when an Irish horseman, Daniel Sullivan, made a name for himself in England by rehabilitating horses that had become vicious and intractable due to abuse or accidental trauma. His techniques were passed over to Willis J. Powell, who learned them well and traveled widely in the Americas to help the most seriously traumatized horses. Frank Bell of Eastern Idaho is a master trainer who specializes in techniques for natural horsemanship, or “horse whispering.” Frank Bell developed his Seven Step Safety System over the years after breaking his collarbone in an accident with a horse approximately 20 years ago. He has based his system on the teachings of the Plains Indians, as well as Buck Brannaman, the renowned “Horse Whisperer” on whom the Robert Redford movie was based.
“Dog Whisperer” is a TV series on the National Geographic Channel that premiered in 2004. It depicts dog trainer Cesar Milan as he helps clients whose dogs exhibit behavioral problems. Millan is a professional dog trainer and author of the best-selling book, Cesar’s Way. Millan approaches dog behavior with the goals of having the owner understand the natural needs and responses of a dog, to have a dog accept its owner as its leader, and to have dog and owner work together in a calm state of mind.
One of America’s most famous animal communicators is Sonya Fitzpatrick, host of the TV show “The Pet Psychic.”â„¢ From her early childhood in England has been able to communicate with animals. During her upbringing, she acquired her deep love for animals starting with her terrier, Judy. They grew so close that as Judy grew older, Sonya could actually feel in her own body the aches and pains her dog was experiencing. Sonya uses her telepathic skills to communicate with animals of all kinds to help achieve a better understanding of animals, so that she could help to solve behavioral problems and to help with their physical ailments. She has also helped many individuals reunite with lost pets.
Source: The Internet Movie Database, Wikipedia, www.johnclilly.com
Photo credits: Rex Harrison (Dr. Doolittle) – Fox Movie Channel. Sonya Fitzpatrick – www.sonyafitzpatrick.com. The Horse Whisperer – www.screenrush.co.uk. Frank Bell – www.horsewhisperer.com.au. Cesar Millan – Weblog of Weeds. Buck Brannaman – www.gentlehorse.com.