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Rebecca Blackbyrd: Beyond simple conversation with animals

My senior feline, Mr. Aussie Cat.  Even with a diaper he's still the suavest Cat in Town!
My senior feline, Mr. Aussie Cat. Even with a diaper he's still the suavest Cat in Town!
By Michelle Cole

Last year I was introduced to a small group of ladies who all worked in the pet care field in various job titles. One of the ladies I met is Rebecca Blackbyrd who I asked to answer some basic questions about what she does and will be sharing with you today. What is most interesting for me in the interview is the synchronistic mention of caring for senior pets & those preparing to transition. Here is what Rebecca had to say about herself, I hope you enjoy learning about her as much as I did!

She describes animal communication as an energetic connection, one that allows her to receive sensory input from the animal. She can receive actual words, physical sensations, images and emotions from the animal she is connected to. Most commonly used by pet owners who are concerned about a physical or emotional issue that may have arisen, her talents can assist humans deepen the connection they have with their beloved pets as they get to the reasons behind the behaviors or illnesses, which is especially meaningful for those preparing for the impending transition of senior pets.

In the spring of 2002 Rebecca was working at a farm animal sanctuary in northern Colorado, practicing the newly acquired skill of Reiki to help support the animals during illness & in preparation for their transitions out of their bodies. While working with the farm animals she began to receive intuitive ‘hits’, feelings about what specific animals needed to support their quality of life. It was during these early sessions of animal communication she was approached by a sheep named “Chili”. He had a very specific message for her: “Don’t get cocky. If you’re going to do this (work with animals) you need to listen & listen well! It’s not about you, it’s about them!” She started offering her communication services professionally late in 2004.

When asked what her favorite part of communication with animals would be she is quick to answer that her favorite part of this work is the people & animals. She has the honor of, for a small moment, becoming a part of the unimaginable, pure & complete, total love our animals have for us. Unconditional can’t come close to describing the love energy that is developed between a beloved pet & their humans. She has witnessed the literal dropping away of all the insignificant matters when the end of life is at hand, how all that is left between those about to be left behind & those about to leave is the purest essence of love.

When communicating with animals, she reminds us that we must always start with an invitation; we must not simply ‘barge’ into their thoughts & minds. When communication is initiated with respect and honor towards each respective animal, chances are much higher for success. Rebecca has found for herself that most animals are open and excited to partake in 2-way conversations with willing humans. However, she admits when an animal is strongly opposed to allowing a connection, she respects their boundaries and never pushes. I asked her if she’s ever had an exceptional experience with any animals in the wild & was entertained with a wonderful tale of whales. I will try to give you the condensed version without loosing too much of the feel for her experience.

While on a Whale Watching tour, being led by a nonprofit whale preservation group, in Provincetown MA she had an opportunity to practice her skills with some whales. This was fairly early in her career and so you can imagine the impact that must have had! As they entered deep water, a solo whale began to openly swim next to the boat of curious & hopeful humans. Rebecca sent out a gentle, silent & tentave “Hello” not fully expecting a response. Immediately she received a sense of pleasant surprise & a return “Hello”, quickly followed by an inquisitive & short conversation about the humans’ curiosity over whales and our fascination with them. Before departing, the female whale thanked Rebecca for the talk & swam away.

Soon, she was replaced by a baby humpback that Rebecca sent out a gentle & silent greeting to, hoping with more assurance for a response. The baby had ‘heard’ about the boat of curious humans and this whale was as curious of them as they were of her. Once the baby returned to its mother’s side, they were almost immediately replaced by others, especially exciting was the dancing male-he breached and dived, slapping the water happily in greeting & showing off. He seemed to enjoy the audiences’ appreciation of his maneuvers and the excited talk of the passengers at their luck to witness such wild & rare beauty.

Because I am still in the baby stages of developing my own ability to communicate with animals, I was curious about how often someone with a well-developed talent connected to her own pets. Her answer was very grounded in truth, openly admitting that for day-to-day issues and concerns, yes she is able to do so easily at will. However, a wise communicator will rely on an outside communicator to come in and ‘double check’ on more serious issues. As humans we can have a difficult time deciphering truth when our own emotions are inflamed and force themselves into the conversation. We may choose to trust the voice in our mind that says, “Of course everything will be fine!” when in reality there may be serious consequences to the events taking place. This is always the best time to call in your own support team, admitting that you may ‘taint’ what you receive is certainly a sign of wisdom, not weakness or admittance of failure.

I asked Rebecca where her dreams lay for her continuing journey with assisting animals & their humans. A solid answer shows her area of developing expertise will encompass on a larger scale those animals that may be experiencing chronic pain & also the area of Hospice care for senior pets & their humans. Not only to practice her Reiki energized healing work, but to network with a coalition of holistic caregivers who can provide specific support to the various areas needed in this work. This is the second woman I have met recently to voice a desire to bring more awareness to the value Hospice care and preparedness for coming transitions bring-especially at such a critical time in theirs & their owners lives.

To this end Rebecca recently began offering personal ceremonies for people grieving the loss of a beloved pet. Through symbolic use of incenses, essential oils, music, reading & various items that hold special meaning between a person & their pet who has crossed over Rebecca helps to create a safe & sacred place.  In this state of mind she can assist a release of the emotions & energy that may surround their loss & are no longer of helpful service. During these ceremonies she will also be able to communicate with the pet, which can offer comfort to those in active grieving. As the organizer of Colorado Fur Parents, I understand that more people are opening themselves to the posturing of ‘non-believers’ or ‘non-understanders’…those people who think we must be crazy to love our pets as much as we do our human children. Not surprising, more people who have opted to not have human children find the parent/child connection fulfilled through the love of their pets.

The grieving process is a delicate one, there is no set time schedule for when it will no longer hurt to see an abandoned toy in the yard, the uneaten carrots or grain, the hair-covered bed you never quite got around to washing…healing is a process, not a destination. Rebecca is honored to assist those who recognize the special bond created from a life spent with an animal as a family member in releasing some of the pain without losing any of the memories or love. Our animals want us to be happy; they will be the first ones to tell you they never leave. I really appreciate the way she puts it:

“As animals have explained to me, what we consider the ‘Afterlife’ is simply a new way of breathing for them: ‘When I’m here, in this physical body, I’m breathing in & out inside this body. When I pass, all of creation becomes my body; I’m breathing in & out of everything. So I never really leave my human companions, I’m always with them.”

When I asked her what ONE thing she wished all pet owners would do she enthusiastically replied she wished we would all really look at our animals’ diets & educate ourselves about nutrition. What we put into our bodies impacts so much more than how much energy we have, it affects behavior, moods & of course our physical health. Animals are no different! When we feed a highly processed diet to our pets, their bodies become stressed, leading to emotional stress, which can manifest in anything from anxiety to aggression. We need to find ways to add whole foods & remove the by-products & fillers that hold no nutritional value in the bulk of cheap food so many of us feed our pets for convenience.

If you have questions for Rebecca, are in need of an animal communicator or looking for assistance in your own grieving process over the loss of a pet, please contact Rebecca at: 303-506-3879 or email her @: rebecca.blackbyrd@gmail.com

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