She talks to the animals

A telepathic journey to the center of a blind dog’s brain

Raphaela Pope “telepathically communicates” with Max.

Raphaela Pope “telepathically communicates” with Max.

photo by R.V. Scheide

Raphaela Pope, telepathic animal communicator, had a helluva week. Tuesday, a common house cat told her it was the queen of Egypt and deserved to be worshipped. Raphaela explained to the cat that even though it may have once been the queen of Egypt, people look at animals differently nowadays. The cat was not happy to learn this.

Thursday, another cat, this time from clear across the country via telephone, tried to pull the same routine on her, filling Pope’s head with images of pyramids and sphinxes. It seems the cat’s persons, otherwise known as its owners, had a multi-denominational altar set up in a small room of the house, and the cat felt that it belonged in that room.

“Don’t you get it?” the cat said. “We are gods.”

Raphaela shook her head. Two in one week. Amazing. And now this, a blind, diabetic miniature schnauzer named Max. Max’s person had called her a week ago, explaining that the dog was depressed because it had recently gone blind.

“I don’t want to put him to sleep,” Max’s person said. “But I don’t want him to suffer, either.”

But how to tell if the blind dog was suffering? Enter the telepathic animal communicator.

Raphaela offered to give the consultation by phone. “Telepathy is telepathy,” she said. All she needed was a description of the pet. But Max’s person insisted upon her physical presence. So here she was, in a strange house in the Pocket, with a blind, diabetic miniature schnauzer named Max barking like all get-out at her.

“Give me a minute to get settled in and make contact with him,” she told Max’s person. A heavy-set woman in a white knit blouse, black polyester slacks and comfortable brown shoes, she sank deeply into a leopard-patterned easy chair in the person’s den. She closed her eyes and a look of calm settled over her face. The blind dog growled at her feet, then looked up at her. Contact was made. She opened her eyes.

“I asked him to look at me, and he did,” she said, adding that naturally since the dog is blind, it doesn’t ‘look’ in the normal sense, but merely turns its head in the direction she has telepathically suggested. “What would you like to ask Max?”

Max’s person wanted to know three things first. How does the dog feel about being blind? How does it feel about its twice-daily insulin injections? And, most importantly, does Max want to carry on in this condition?

Raphaela closed her eyes again and projected the questions into Max’s consciousness. How, and if, this is actually done, is certainly open to debate. Many levels of doubt are involved. For one thing, no one has been able to scientifically prove that telepathic communication between humans exists—let alone between humans and animals. For another, no one is certain that dogs sense consciousness in the same way humans do. How can you read something that may not even be there?

“Can you read a dog’s mind?” questioned Sacramento veterinarian Karl Vance, DVM. “Absolutely. If you’re standing at the counter and you open a can, I would say you could read a dog’s mind at that point.”

Like most members of the medical profession, UC Davis-trained Vance is skeptical of paranormal claims that can’t be repeated in experiments. But not all doctors are unbelievers.

Dr. Robert Sheldrake, a Cambridge and Harvard educated animal researcher, theorized that there is “an invisible link or psychic bond between people and their animals, through which influences can be communicated at a distance.”

Sheldrake claimed that an experiment in which a dog appeared to successfully predict when its person was coming home proves that such a link exists. Of course, the journal Nature called Sheldrake’s 1981 book on the subject, “the best candidate for burning there has been for many years.”

But Max’s person, like thousands of people across the United States, was willing to give telepathic animal communicators like Raphaela Pope the benefit of the doubt. Americans are obsessed with their pets, and the opportunity to learn what’s on the minds of their animals—for a fee of $50 per half hour phone consultation in Raphaela’s case—is irresistible to many.

Raphaela discovered her gift 20 years ago, in a class taught by famed telepathic animal communicator Penelope Smith. In the class, which students attended with their pets, Smith explained that all living creatures have telepathic capabilities. She then asked her students to enter the minds of their pets, and to tell their pets that if they heard their person’s telepathic communication, to give them a sign. Petey, Raphaela’s 90-pound golden retriever, walked across the room and put a paw in Raphaela’s lap. Her hair stood on end, and she’s been talking to the animals ever since.

She talks to cats, dogs, horses, birds, reptiles, you name it. Fifteen to 20 clients every week. Sometimes she receives images, sometimes the animal’s thoughts are verbalized. Parrots are especially interesting. “They use language cognitively,” she said. “It’s scary.” She doesn’t say whether Max uses language cognitively, but the dog appears to be quite the conversationalist.

“I’m not completely blind, you know,” Max said. Well, actually, Raphaela said it; Max only thought it. It’s true, too. He’s not completely blind. The vet said Max’s vision is akin to looking through a glass filled with ice cubes. Max said it’s misty, and he can only see movements, he can’t distinguish details. It’s OK, though. “I have other senses,” he said.

“I feel out of control,” Max said in regard to the diabetes. The dog is not happy about the insulin injections. “When he picks me up, I don’t know if I’m going to be petted or get a shot.”

Max’s person was a little upset at this remark. Max had never complained about the injections before. The dog seems to even crave the needle, showing up in advance for each shot. And Max’s person never picks the dog up to give it the insulin. Why would Max say this?

“Little man,” Raphaela cooed at Max. It’s uncanny. That’s exactly what Max’s person’s wife calls the dog. “What is the thing that bothers you the most about your situation?”

“I just don’t feel good,” Max said. “I just don’t feel good a lot of the time.”

Max’s person fidgeted. This didn’t sound like a dog that wants to live.

Sometimes, Raphaela spoke for Max. Sometimes she just repeated what Max was thinking. Max has had many past lives. The most recent one was as an owl. Many lives ago, Max was a big cat.

On information that can be verified, Max’s person was astounded that Raphaela hit the mark more often than not. She described his wife as tall and lean. Of course, he had told her that she was 5’9” and a dancer. But how could Raphaela have known about the special relationship between his wife and the dog? Max said he feels true love for her, and anyone who’s seen the schnauzer jump into her lap the second she sits down would agree.

Max said he is nervous about going on walks, according to Raphaela. He wants to go, but he wants to be put on a leash. No doubt this has something to do with the fact that on a previous walk, the unleashed blind dog had broke into a run and barreled headlong into a tree.

Max said he can’t live without Snapper, his female schnauzer playmate, but she’s “too pushy.” Totally true. Snapper has always bullied Max. She pushes him out of the way and steals his food. Max doesn’t like this, Raphaela said.

Does Max know his owners have been contemplating putting him to sleep?

“Yes, he knows. He feels downhearted; downhearted is the word he uses,” Raphaela said. “He feels like he is a burden. He will accept whatever decision you make, but he doesn’t feel as worthless as he used to. He feels like he’s over a crisis, but he also feels that he doesn’t have a long life ahead of him. He doesn’t want to give up.”

Raphaela noted that the half-hour consultation was up. If Max’s person wanted to know more, he’d have to pay more. Max’s person would like to go on, but he already spent $50, and found out what he needed to know—Max wants to live. He paid Raphaela, and she motored away to a meeting of the Japanese Chin Society.

“Maxie,” he said, rubbing the blind dog’s head after the telepathic animal communicator departed. “Don’t you know we would never put you to sleep?”