Communicating with Llamas
The ultimate point in including animals as
part of our family is to interact with them as individuals. Watching
llamas can be enjoyable, and can yield valuable information and
hypotheses, but we desire more than a different species to act
as goldfish-in-a-bowl. We desire to communicate.
We communicate with llamas on many different
levels. We observe their body language and use it ourselves to
some extent. They observe our body language, and in some cases,
llamas can and do adopt facets of human body language. We listen
to their sounds. They listen to ours and, with structured education
to get them started, learn the meanings and memorize the sounds
of a surprising number of words.
Less frequently, we use tactile communications
ranging from blunt to subtle. Llamas, too, find tactile communication
useful, though they must learn to keep their strength in check,
and they must also learn to curb their fears and trust us in
order to be able to accept and respond to subtle tactile cues.
These are all commonly used and accepted modes
of communication between animals and humans. Our experience is
that the more forms employed, the greater the accuracy and depth
of communication possible.
If you are someone who:
- strongly believes that animal communication
may even be more limited than the foregoing description, or
- has trouble reconciling that nonhumans
you definitely won't be able to digest
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Where were we? It bears repeating: in our
experience, the more forms of communication employed, the greater
the accuracy and depth of communication possible. That means
at least investigating -- if not practicing and mastering --
additional communication modes will enhance our relationships
with our llamas.
An additional and important mode of communication,
less acceptable to the majority of humans, is telepathy. The
problem with telepathic communication is that it is not considered
"real." Those who have experienced it working for them
know otherwise; we are among those who find that it works.
How do we know we're not just the victims
of our own fantasies? People who try to fool themselves with
theories and methods based on fantasy usually end up "running
into a wall" at some point. Their methods stops "working,"
and attempts to solve the problems with the fantasy-based theories
fail utterly -- if not simultaneously causing a backslide, or
worse. We deal with these problems continually in our rehab work.
The humans then often find it necessary to make excuses for the
flawed results from their theories: "Well, I decided I don't
really want that behavior anyway," "Oh, boys will be
boys," and, "I don't believe it's right to expect that
from llamas [or stud llamas] anyhow."
Funny thing -- since we stopped working with
our animals using strictly "scientific" approaches
and added telepathic communication to our repertoire, we've stopped
running into walls. Yet we don't need to make excuses. And our
show string has developed such an unparalleled reputation that
some flabbergasted (and jealous?) folks have publicly stated
that we must be cheating and have to be beating our animals in
secret to account for their fine behavior and performance.
How DID this happen? Let's backtrack a bit.
Gwen originally spent a lot of time talking to animals into her
adult life, Dusty in particular. It "felt right." (And
dancing around the truth -- even subconsciously -- when talking
to an animal really feels "wrong.") Not something you
can justify to other humans, to be sure. She wasn't really listening
for responses, but on a few occasions, she received some. Not
knowing the source and lacking the basis to support these messages
by describing them in acceptable animal-human languages (body
language in particular), she shelved them in her own mind, and
certainly did not share them with others. How do you get someone
to believe that your llama told you that he loves you?
That he appreciates being talked through the obstacle courses?
Now THAT sounds like a fantasy!
In an effort to help others better train their
llamas, Gwen tried to quantify what she was doing in very precise
language, conveyable to other humans. The results didn't work
as well for Jim. They worked even less well for others. And the
more Gwen tried to be "scientific," the more she gradually
moved away from what had been working -- talking to animals,
and making sincere efforts to put herself into their "shoes"
from their perspective as an animal, not a human. The "scientific"
approach also coincided with a period of time in which llama
training and showing wasn't working as well, either -- nor was
it as satisfying. In fact, it was becoming downright frustrating.
Through a series of accidental events, Gwen
got shakily back on track. But she didn't consider telling Jim
what she felt was going on until Sahalie complained, bitterly
frustrated, "WHY won't he TALK to me???" (You have
to know Sahalie to understand that when she wants to get something
very important across, it's like a bullet through your skull
-- no question about the source or the means.) Now, how does
one go about telling one's spouse of ten years, "Oh, yeah,
I forgot to tell you -- I talk to animals, and you need to do
it, too"? Ulp.
Fortunately, books and a timely lecture (at
the 1993 LANA Conference) by Penelope Smith helped considerably.
Books and a videotape by Beatrice Lydecker provided an alternate
approach to the same goal. When the self-imposed taboos were
gone and we could talk to each other about what we were doing,
we not only found a new facet in our relationship with our llamas
and other animals, but also found a few other llama people who
used telepathic communication with animals. The results have
ranged from rewarding to astounding.
Not everyone who uses telepathic communication
with animals has an identical approach or results. Many, but
not all, find it important to consider telepathic communication
to be closely intertwined with their religious beliefs -- from
traditional Christian to "new age." We are most interested
in the commonalities, which is where the truth -- and the means
to better our abilities -- is most likely to exist.
How do we do it? Gwen usually speaks aloud,
but sometimes only concentrates on "thinking" her messages
instead. Both of us make efforts to picture clearly in our minds
what we want to convey. Some individual llamas respond so well
to this that they breeze through obstacles they've never learned
. . . and then fail utterly when presented with the same activities
minus the telepathic support -- even after conventional training
cues are added.
Lydecker and Smith both indicate that they
receive "pictures" in return. We usually don't, although
sometimes we do. Gwen instead may receive emotions or feelings
that she can detect are not her own. She primarily receives concepts
that can be translated into words, with some care. Neither of
us are practiced enough to find any mode of reception available
to us at will. Some animals are strong communicators; others
aren't as easy to "connect" with explicitly. Most individuals
who were used to us when we relied on our old, "scientifically-grounded"
methods aren't as easy to communicate with telepathically. On
the other hand, several of the rescued llamas we've had are quite
easy to "talk" with. Perhaps prejudice about us (or
lack thereof) on their part has something to do with it.
We sure don't pretend to be experts in telepathic
communication -- just enthusiasts and amateur practitioners.
When the chips are down and the stakes are high for a particular
animal, we consult with a professional communicator for clarification
and enlightenment. Many people first encounter the concept of
telepathy through a professional communicator, either from a
media interview or through a friend's recommendation, particularly
in a crisis after all other methods have failed. We also don't
agree with everything espoused by various communicators (their
personal religious beliefs, for instance) nor do we accept everything
a professional communicator presents to us at face value and
without question (everybody can make mistakes, including professionals).
We also haven't abandoned other forms of communication
-- far from it.
When a llama says "DON'T DO THAT"
to another llama, s/he spews cud or body slams -- and similar
language works best for the same message from human to llama.
It is also important for a llama to understand some spoken commands
because s/he will not always be handled by a human versed in
telepathy or in species-specific language. In summary, telepathy
is not the mode of choice for all messages. The best results
come from using all of the valid tools at hand, not from arbitrarily
deciding to use only some and not others.
Some long-time friends and acquaintances are
probably going to be shocked -- and may well revise their assessment
of our intelligence and sanity -- after stumbling on and reading
this page. Although it is not socially productive for us to shout
from rooftops that we talk with animals, it is also not useful
or honest to deny that we do, particularly when discussing llama
training techniques and our relationship with our animals. So,
by definition, we agreed that this information is an integral
part of our website. We also feel the risk that some humans may
suddenly find us unacceptable company is outweighed by the probability
that others may benefit from knowing there are other humans having
similar experiences -- just as we benefited from the courage
of Bea Lydecker's, Penelope Smith's, and others' decisions to
make publicly available the information on their experiences
concerning telepathic communication with animals.
More stories about our experiences
communicating telepathically with our llamas
Visit a website about telepathic
communication with animals
about telepathic communication with animals
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