Q&A With a ChicagoNow Blogger: Denise Norberg-Johnson, Animal Communicator and author of Animals Know: What Animals Teach Us. What does an animal communicator do and how she can help in your divorce?
Do you have a dog or cat? Was this beloved pet caught in the middle of your divorce? Or is your pet acting strange and you do not know why? I recently learned that one of the bloggers here at ChicagoNow provides services to help.
Denise Norberg-Johnson whose blog Animals Know reflects her love of animals and how she helps owners communicate with them. I had never heard of an animal communicator, before this assignment. Although I had initially met Denise during another ChicagoNow event at the Laugh Factory in April 2013. I found out that animal communicators are pretty well known in the pet world. For example, I have learned they are frequently in attendance at the events sponsored by the animal rescue organization PAWS.
I sent Denise questions last week and then met her yesterday for coffee at a Starbucks. Below are her answers along with my comments from our meeting.
Denise is a petite woman of a "certain age" with short blonde hair and a friendly smile. Two purple streaks almost look out of place. "They are a conversation starter," she told me. "Plus they show my clients that I am part of the 'New Age Movement.'"
How long have you been an animal communicator:
I began studying in late 2001, but didn't really claim the right to do it, so to speak, until several years later. One day, when I was listening to someone describe a situation with a beloved pet, I heard myself say, "I'm an animal communicator, maybe I can help." Once I declared myself, it was easy to provide this service.
What is the reaction from folks who meet you and learn that you are an animal communicator?
This is the most gratifying part of my work. I begin inserting anecdotes related to my practice into business seminars and keynote presentations to test my credibility. Amazingly, no one every questioned the validity of what I was describing. Just the opposite occurred. When people came up to me afterward, they all wanted to share stories about their own experiences with their animals. They often had the sense that they know what their companions thought or wanted.
Can you give me an example of an interaction that was successful?
Here is a very simple story: I was asked to communicate with Chief, a Great Pyrenees, which is a large white dog with a gentle demeanor. Chief expressed a desperate loneliness. He was often left in the yard by himself, and missed the rounds with one of the teenage daughters. The mother and her daughters seemed to fawn over the small dog in the family and he felt ignored. When I conveyed this information to the clients, they experienced a wake call. They hadn't even realized that these changes in routine had caused such sadness for this beautiful and beloved dog. Building this kind of awareness in the start of better relationships that influence many behavioral changes. I consider a session successful whenever the human clients gain understanding, and have the desire to change their own behavior.
You have several other degrees, including a BA in Science, and are a Reiki Master. Do those help with being an animal communicator?
The biology degree has been useful in building my credibility with skeptics, and following the most advanced research in science. For example, physicists are now exploring the possibility of 11-14 dimensions, and we are forced to acknowledge that our puny five senses only a tiny portion of the workings of the universes in which we exist. Knowing the limits of science helps me accept the realities that aren't captured within the experimental protocols we rely upon when we conclude, for example, that "dogs understand 50 words" --in fact there is a great deal of research on sentience [meaning that animals have feelings like humans] and my own experiences have taught me that other species have a consciousness far beyond what science can "prove" in terms of human filter.
Do you prefer cats or dogs? If one or the other, why?
Each species has its own delightful perspective. Dogs tend to be more willing to please their people, and cats are often out of their bodies doing work in other places while we sleep, and also more stubborn about whether they are willing to change certain behaviors. Actually, one of the most beautiful messages I ever received was from a tarantula, and another was from a dying leaf--both of these occurred during training classes. Horses are very spiritually connected, and birds are extremely intelligent. animals we are often afraid of, such as reptiles and insects, are sometimes monitoring parts of the energy in the environment and even helping our species. Some communicators have said that one of the purposes of whalesong is to help reduce conflict between human beings. There is a lot to learn from every other species if we simply ask and then remain open to the answers.
If someone is going through a divorce and fighting over the family pet, should one use an animal communicator to help decide which person the animal should go to?
It would certainly be the fairest thing for the animal. I have never quite forgiven myself for walking away from my first marriage and leaving my Irish setter behind. Knowing what I know now, I would have greater pains to explain to her what was happening. Animals will often have distinct preferences for where they want to live after the divorce. There is usually one particular person who is the primary focus of the animal's work in this life. The saddest and most despicable situations involve an animal losing its entire family--being "dumped" because everyone involved has some selfish excuse. Animals are the unwilling victims in our inability to work out our relationship issues, and they've done nothing to deserve this punishment.
You have written two books: Defyning Moments and Animals Know. Did the first book inspire the second book?
Actually, Animals Know! was supposed to be the first book, but I'd had the memoir in my head for a decade and it was ready to be written. Defyning Moments is a memoir about why our lives don't follow the intended plans we make, and why that is actually how each of us discovers our true path. Animals Know! is being published this year, and it is the result of the patterns I've noticed in my sessions with animals. Animals have wonderful lessons to teach us, and the book will enable me to help a much wider audience than I can reach through my individual client sessions. My goal is to be of service in helping improve the relationships between people and other species.
Can you sum up your life in nine words or less?
An exhilarating learning experience for my soul.
I can attest to her abilities: I brought my daughter's dog, BiBi, to our meeting. BiBi had been reluctant to get in the car and then when we got to our destination, I handed the leash to Denise in order to get my coffee. BiBi looked confused. When I returned, Denise explained that BiBi thought that I was taking her to a kennel or to the doctor. Her "mom" had just left on a trip [and that is why she was with me] and she was worred that I was now giving her to Denise. Then Denise went on to say many other things that BiBi was thinking, which I could confirm. BiBi had visibly relaxed and readily went home with me after our meeting!
If you want to meet Denise, she will be at the Peaceful Parlour in Geneva, IL on June 26. She will be doing 15 minute sessions on how to establish a connection with your pet and get answers to their behavior. Call 630-232-6300 to reserve a spot and for more details.
Sign up to read Denise's blog here.