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April 20, 2012: Tuning in to a Universal Language

Today I had my friend Dawn Brunke come and talk to the students in my class. The subject was animal communication. It seems to me that one of many purposes of college is to expose students to a wide variety of thoughts related to given subject matter. I think that John Dewey would agree, and probably give me a pat on the back.

There are the more scientific theories as to how humans and animals communicate, and we’ve talked about them at length. Students are now familiar with operant, classical, collaborative, and rival learning.

Alys and herd out for morning walk

Interestingly enough, the focus of these learning modalities is on how animals communicate with us, not necessarily how we co-communicate. The latter seems important to me.

Dawn spoke in an eloquent and forthright manner about how she came to be an animal communicator, noting that this began with her compiling material for a book on this subject. Then Dawn, in a manner of speaking, moved from a third, to a first person stance. She did acknowledge that she was initially skeptical about her being able to communicate with animals, but later on, less so.

I became all ears when Dawn acknowledged that it’s important to ask animals what they’re thinking about given situations. This is, I thought, something that I’m not very practiced at. What came to mind was an image of me dragging Ranger and Rover (the goats) home the other day. If I’d gotten down on my knees and stilled myself, I might have had better results. As I have discovered, goats, when given the chance, are ridiculously easy to communicate with.

What Dawn was alluding to here was the notion of respect. Asking an animal something, as opposing to insisting they do things our way is acting in a nonhierarchical fashion. I am now wondering if I ask Raudi to take up certain gaits instead of insisting that she do this, if I will have differing results.

Signy still hasn’t had her foal. I am momentarily going outside, and asking her what’s up.

It’s quite easy for me to embrace the ideas that Dawn espouses because I’m adept at right brain intuitive-based thinking. Some of my students, who are more adept at left brain logic-based thinking had a harder time of it. I reminded them, and will remind them again, to remain open to all possibilities. This is what makes the universe such a glorious place.

I would not have even entertained having someone like Dawn visit a class of mine ten years ago. Acquiring Raudi has actually opened my eyes to previously unknown communicative possibilities. Spend as much time with a horse as I have this one, and this is what happens.

Coincidently, this morning I finished Raudi’s Story, which is her account of her first five years of our life together. It’s an as told to story. Some will say that I’m really pushing hard on the boundaries of memoir writing, which is actually my intention.

Yes, I will stand by my belief that Raudi dictated this story to me. It came in bits and pieces, as we worked, lived, and played together. My introduction and afterwards are the bread, and her story is the peanut butter.

Her story will be popular because Icelandics are on the verge of becoming a well-known breed. They were recently on Good Morning America, and will soon star in the movie The Hobbit. And the June Icelandic Horse Quarterly cover will feature Martha Stewart. I have countered Raudi and my fear that these horses will become too popular for their own good by writing about how these horses differ from their larger counterparts.

Signy – soon to foal. Maybe tonight. I get the sense that she thinks that things are going to be just fine.

Next: 134. 4/21/12: Spring is in the Air