By Mary Lemons, BA, CHTP
Printed in Art of Well Being Winter Issue 2006
This summer Downs Syndrome neighbor Cherry and her dog Copper were missing. Rescue squads and hundreds of volunteers gathered near their home late Saturday afternoon. They combed the area but to no avail. Nightfall came and still no Cherry, no Copper. They continued the search throughout the night.
What an eerie feeling to see flashlight beams jotting here and there across the fields near our house that night. The next morning I saw people walking the fields about ten feet apart. I knew they were still looking for Cherry, probably exhausted from the stifling hot summer temperature of the previous day, certainly hungry, and perhaps disoriented from wandering for almost twenty-four hours. Late Sunday morning and still no sign of Cherry or Copper.
Then they found Copper at the creek. He was stuck in the muddy bank. Exhausted and dehydrated, Copper could not walk to the house. Someone picked up the large dog and carried him home.
When I heard Copper had been found, I went to the house to see him. I believed he could lead us to Cherry. Beth, Cherry’s sister, met me in their yard and thanked me for coming. Copper was resting peacefully on the living room floor. He greeted me with loving eyes when I knelt beside him.
I introduced myself to Copper and did some energy work with him to help him release the trauma of his ordeal. Then I asked him to help us find Cherry. Sitting there with Copper, I had the distinct feeling that Cherry was still alive. I kept getting the impression of UP from Copper. Normally this UP message means the person or animal has died and has ascended into spirit. However, the impression of Cherry still being alive far outweighed the UP message.
About eight people, including Lynn’s Episcopal minister, were sitting there watching me as I talked with Copper. Not getting Cherry’s distinct location from Copper, I asked everyone to join me in a meditation to her. They all listened intently as Copper and I spiritually talked to Cherry.
I reminded Cherry that no matter what happened to her that she would always be surrounded by Spirit’s unconditional love. I asked her to avail herself of the fruits of nature since “manna from Heaven” comes in many ways. I smiled when the Episcopal minister nodded in agreement.
We all opened our sacred hearts and sent unconditional love to Cherry wherever she was. We imagined every light in her home being on, beckoning her home. We then imagined the light of our sacred hearts extending through the woods, over the fields, shining brightly, showing Cherry her way back home. I then asked Cherry to connect with her own sacred heart energy and to project outward her love from within.
I continued to sit close to Copper as I asked Spirit to open the heart and mind of someone who was open to feeling Cherry’s love extending outward. . .someone who would search in just the right place. . .someone who could find Cherry.
I still got the impression of UP from Copper, but I dismissed it since he was giving me a greater impression of her being alive. I did not stop to consider that his UP could mean something other than Cherry’s transition into spirit.
About an hour later we received word that Cherry had been found safe, but tired, several miles from her home. She had wandered UP the hill and had walked north toward the small town of Badin.
A woman from Badin had gotten in her truck and driven south. She drove off the main road and then found Cherry in about ten minutes. She was not a trained rescuer. She had not been part of the organized search party. She just had the feeling she was to go look for Cherry in her own way.
So what does this adventure have to do with Animal Talk? Plenty! It taught me two things about communicating with animals.
First, release all your expectations when you talk with other species. If I had gotten past my thoughts that UP meant having died and ascended into spirit, I might have perceived the further message that Cherry had gone UP the hill. I tried to make Copper’s UP message fit my perception of UP.
We must listen without expectation. We must listen to animals with a clear mind and heart. We must allow them to expand our perceptions.
Secondly, I expected Copper to lead us to Cherry’s physical location through his telling us where she was. Instead Copper lead us to a meditation through which we created the sacred space for Cherry to be found easily. Had it not been for Copper, I would not have asked those people to join me in meditation, in prayer, for Cherry. Had it not been for Copper, we would not have created the group energy that helped Cherry be found.
Truly, our animals take us where we need to go if we will listen to them without expectation, if we will listen to them with open minds and hearts.