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Tag: animal communicator

Owner of dog that was dumped down trash chute charged with neglect, abandonment

A 28-year-old Newark woman has been charged with four counts of animal cruelty in the case of Patrick, a 1-year-old pit bull who was found almost starved to death after he was dumped down a garbage chute in a high-rise apartment building.

Kisha Curtis was charged Friday with two counts of abandonment and two counts of failure to provide proper sustenance, New Jersey SPCA officials said.

The dog was discovered by maintenance workers March 16 inside a garbage bin at Garden Spires, a 550-unit apartment building. Staff at the Associated Humane Societies/Popcorn Park called it one of the worst cases of cruelty they’ve ever seen.

Matthew Stanton, a spokesman for the New Jersey Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals told FoxNews.com that Curtis, the alleged owner, faces two criminal counts and two civil counts, which he said could result in up to six months in jail or a $1,000 fine and community service if convicted.

Stanton said Curtis told authorities she was unable to take care of the dog anymore, but she denied throwing the dog into the chute at the 22-story apartment building. The New Jersey SPCA is investigating whether anyone else was involved in the abuse and disposal of the animal.

Patrick, meanwhile, is slowly recovering at Garden State Veterinary Specialists in Tinton Falls. Staff there say he is now standing and eating small amounts of food several times a day, though he remains pathetically thin.

AHS, which is paying for Patrick’s continuing care, is continuing to post daily updates on his condition. Most recently, they’ve reported that an ultrasound test found a foreign body lodged found inside the dog, and they speculated he may have swallowed something to quell the hunger that he was experiencing. 

AHS also arranged to have Patrick interviewed by an animal communicator, who reported he told her, among other things, ”I am broken, I don’t know why.”

(Photo: Courtesy of Associated Humane Societies and Popcorn Park Zoo)

Talking to animals: What Ace had to say


If I had to guess what was on Ace’s mind at a given moment, here’s what I think it would be:

“Food. FOOD. How about some food? Got any food? Gimme food. I really like food. I like you, too, but I really like food. Is that food I smell? Perhaps you’d like to give me some. Is it time for food? Food. Food. Food.”

Don’t get me wrong. I think he’s a far more complex being than that – more than a creature with a one-track mind. He loves and fears and empathizes and, I think, ponders more than his next meal.

But, when it comes to the mysterious song that plays in his head — and I’m guessing it’s a song, for all I know it could be haiku – food would have to be the repeated refrain.

When, during our weeks in Cave Creek, Arizona, we sat down with animal communicator Debbie Johnstone of Listen 2 Animals – I sat down, anyway, Ace kind of wandered –  I was hoping that he wouldn’t be so stuck on the chorus that the other lyrics couldn’t come through.

But they did. According to Debbie, Ace spoke to her – sometimes in words only she could hear, also by conveying images and feelings. Only a minute after we sat down, she’d gotten her first impressions of him:

“He’s one  happy dog, and he’s very passionate.”

Animals have spoken to Debbie since she was a toddler, she says. At first, she figured everybody could hear them. Born in West Virginia, and raised in Ohio, she didn’t have pets of her own, but she had long conversations with neighborhood animals – until her mother told her at age 7 that she was a big girl now and it was time to stop doing that.

So, for several decades, she did. She stopped acknowledging that she could hear what animals were thinking, and went on to become a computer programmer.

Her job with a major corporation brought her to Arizona in 1992,  and she took on new responsibilities as she rose through the ranks — including laying off people. After 9/11, she found herself doing more and more of that, to the point it was making her physically ill.

“I said, ‘I can’t do this any longer,’” and with that she began searching for a new calling. While trying to figure out what that was, she started doing volunteer work at Arizona Equine Rescue, where she  met a Shamanic healer who sensed she had the gift. With his help she enrolled in a course in animal communication and resumed talking to animals.

In 2003, she started her own company, Listen 2 Animals, where, in addition to serving as a translator between the human and animal worlds, she helps find lost animals, resolves animal-related conflicts and coaches humans on how to better communicate with their animals. Her sessions, with horses, cats and dogs, usually range from 15 minutes to an hour and run $30 to $90.

Debbie says the messages from animals come to her in different ways.

Sometimes she senses it. ”I’m empathic I can feel what the animal feels,” she said. Other times she  might see a picture, experience a taste or smell, or hear a noise. Some of the information is conveyed to her through what she calls “thought drops,” which made me think of the comic strip device, where what one’s thinking appears in a cloud with dots leading down to the person’s head. Sometimes she hears words, as if they are actually talking. “Sometimes they just come right out and tell me. Sometimes animals know exactly what’s wrong and can tell you, other times they don’t know.”

Her clients range from people who want to know why their cat stopped using the litter box, to what the old dog thinks of a new dog in the house, or — most commonly — people seeking some guidance in making the decision to put an old, sick animal down.

Amost half of her calls are from people whose animals are “getting ready to transition” and want to know how the animal feels about it. More often than not — despite all the human angst – the dog or other animal in question is ready to proceed. “They’re not afraid of death,” she said.

Debbie met Ace and me in a fenced yard behind a store in Cave Creek. It was Ace’s second meeting with an animal communicator. (You can read about the first at the Baltimore Sun.)

The first thing Debbie did when Ace approached was seek permission from him. She says she always asks an animal first if she can communicate with them — “otherwise, it would be like walking into somebody’s house without knocking.”

Right away, she said, Ace told her “he knows why he’s here.” Ace sat at her feet for a few moments, then took off to explore the yard we were sitting in.

I’d explained to Debbie that Ace had been traveling for seven months, and that I wanted to know what he thought of our nomadic lifestyle.

After relating her initial impressions, Debbie said Ace was communicating to her in words: “I actually heard the words, ‘This is what I was born to do.’

“He takes this very seriously,” she continued. “He really feels this is an assignment, or a job, if you will. He’s sharing a feeling of always moving, moving a lot … moving and freedom.” She compared how Ace feels with the feeling she had when she got out of the corporate world and started doing what she really wanted to do.

“Passionate, energized, that’s the feeling he gives me — that his life is about more than just going through the motions. He finds it joyful to met new people, go new places, see’s new things. He’s not tired, he finds it energizing … He likes doing different and new things … What’s really important to him is being with you.

“But still,” she added, “he’s looking forward to the day you get in one place, in a home.”

Debbie passed on some other information as well:

  • Ace likes the color red.
  • The chain link fence around the yard we were sitting in reminded him of his days in the shelter. She saw him as one of a litter of three, who was dropped off at the shelter by someone who didn’t speak English.
  • Ace has some achiness in his left hip joint, but it’s not painful.
  • Ace “thinks everybody really, really likes him.”
  • Ace likes eggs, and would like to be served them more often.
  • When I asked Debbie if Ace would prefer to eat twice a day, as he used to, or once a day, as he now does, she responded, “He wants to know if there’s a third choice.”
  • Ace enjoys being a dog, she says, as most dogs do. “If we could feel about ourselves like our animals feel about themselves, we would be very, very free. They’re just pleased about who they are.”

Debbie said Ace doesn’t mind riding in the car (which is red, by the way).

“It’s not something that bothers him because he likes to be with you. But he would like you to stop more often so he can get out and sniff and stretch. He likes to investigate and see new things.”

The last seven months have provided ample opportunity for that, and it was good to hear that — in her opinion — he didn’t consider our trip a total drag.

Debbie didn’t say that Ace was eager to get back to Baltimore. Even though he doesn’t speak to me in words, I think that’s a safe bet. I’m not certain whether that city will become home for me again, but according to Debbie, Ace already has that part figured out.

“Where you are, that’s home to him.”

A fine day for a March for the Animals

Rain or shine, $1,000 fines or no $1,000 fines, The March for the Animals takes place tomorrow at Baltimore’s Druid Hill Park — and what better way to show this sometimes less than dog-friendly city how much you care about your dog and all dogs.

Not to tarnish the Maryland SPCA’s largest fundraiser of the year with politics, but it is an opportunity — in addition to having fun and raising money for homeless animals — to take stock of our numbers, and realize that for every four paws pounding the pavement tomorrow, there’s usually one or two registered voters behind them.

The past couple of weeks in the city of Baltimore have served as an example of what can happen when a community of dog lovers is uninformed and unconnected. And what can happen when they unite.

It was revealed that the city had raised the fines for unleashed dogs ten-fold, to $1,000, with little effort made to inform us about it, either before or after the fact. And this in a city that has yet to open a single government-funded dog park. (Several council members say they plan to try and revise the law and lower the fine Monday.)

It’s time for dog lovers to unite, and for “dog park” groups to unite — again, we use the term loosely, since the city has yet to open an official dog park. (The only one that exists is in Canton, and it was built by private donations.) The March for the Animals is an excellent opportunity to let the networking begin, and, of course, the ohmidog! booth will welcome any rabble-rousing activists who care to gather there.

Again, the day isn’t about politics, but there’s no reason we can’t at least make initial contact, and exchange emails and phone numbers, amid all the fun, festivities and fund-raising.

At the ohmidog! booth, we’ll be holding contests (free Furminators will be among the prizes), bringing back our popular “Kiss My Ace” kissing booth, and offering our new hand-made, all-natural dog treats, ohmidog-O’s” all profits from the sale of which will be turned over to the Maryland SPCA.

The march runs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.; registration begins at 9:00 a.m. Sunshine is predicted in the morning, with rain expected to hold off until later in the day, so the event won’t likely be the soggy affair it was last year.

It’s still not too late to raise pledges for the March, the Maryland SPCA says, by asking your friends, family members and co-workers to sponsor you and your dog. Bring your pledges and donations to the event. With at least $30 in donations, you receive a doggie bandana and goody bag. With $40 and over, you also receive a March for the Animals T-shirt.

Additional information is available at the March for the Animals website, and if you need some help figuring out how to get there, here’s a map.

Among the day’s highlights:

  • A ribbon cutting ceremony with Duff Goldman of Ace of Cakes, which will be filmed for his Food Network show (10:00 a.m.). 
  • The march itself – 1.5 miles around the lake with your dogs at your leisure (10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.).
  • A Canine Agility Course, courtesy of Oriole Dog Training Club, where your dog can run through tunnels and jump through hoops (10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.).
  • Consultations with a pet communicator (limited to 20 people; 10:30 a.m. to 11:15 a.m.). 
  • Discount micro-chipping; it’s only $25 at the micro-chipping table (10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.). 
  • Sign your pet up to appear in the 2010 SPCA Pet Calendar and have a photo of your pet taken for the calendar for $50. The fee includes a 2010 calendar(10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.).
  • A demonstration by Mid-Atlantic Disc Dogs (11:00 a.m. to noon).
  • Training tips from the SPCA’s Training and Behavior Manager (11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.). 
  • A Pet Costume Contest with celebrity judges and the Muttiest Mutt Contest (11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.).  
  • Talking to dogs, fishing for rats

    (Because of problems with the links when it was first posted, this entry is being reposted. For other audio features, visit our “Pawedcast” page.)

    One talks to dogs (and hears them talk back). One wrangles dolphins. And another was an integral part of bringing the sport of rat fishing to Baltimore.

    Just a typical Baltimore evening — though one you might have missed if you weren’t at Centerstage for September’s installment of the Stoop Storytelling series.

    The night’s focus was “Animal Tales,” and I was lucky enough to be one of those to spin one, “Ten Things My Dog Taught Me About Humans.”

    Now the whole evening — seven storytellers, and three more from the audience — can be heard online at the Stoop Storytelling website.

    From animal communicator Terri Diener, who once assisted me in delving into my dog’s past (see part six), to  Chuck Ochlech (pictured above), tournament organizer for the Baltimore Association of Rat Fishermen (BARF), the evening was full of engaging tales.

    You can find the full list of storytellers, and the audio versions of their stories here.

    They’ll also have a permanent home here on ohmidog! Just click on “Pawedcast,” our new page that will serve as a home for audio features.

    (Photo courtesy of Stoop Storytelling)

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