Guides and Teachers
by Dawn Baumann Brunke
forth into the light of things.
Let Nature be your teacher.
There are all kinds of teachers. Some are clever and
some are funny; some are unconventional and some favor
rules and order. It is not so different with animals. If
you observe several mother dogs or cats with their pups
or kits, you will see a wide range of teaching styles.
Some moms are task oriented and won’t tolerate
dissension, while others are easy going. Still others
have no seeming interest in teaching whatsoever.
Animal guides and teachers are those animals that
come into our lives with lessons to share. Sometimes, we
hold lessons for them as well. Some animals teach other
animals – not only their young, but fellow creatures,
no matter the species. Some teach individually and some
teach large groups. Conversely, you may be taught by an
individual animal or by a team of animals. There are
also spirit-based teachers who work both with humans and
animals from a different realm.
Within the grand plan, we are all teachers in some
way for one another. And so, of course, we are all
students too. We may seek out our teachers or they may
find us. We may know when we are being taught or we
might not suspect it until much later. Similarly, we may
think we are teaching someone else, when we are really
the ones gaining the lesson. The flow of the
teacher-student relationship bounces back and forth like
a cosmic game of table tennis. And sometimes – when
that little white ping pong ball is poised just above
the net – we find ourselves teaching and learning at
the very same time.
A Teaching Partnership
Author and teacher Tera Thomas co-leads her classes
in animal communication with a group of animals who live
with her at Hummingbird Farm. While some animals are
permanent residents, others (such as deer and squirrels)
come and go. When Tera asked the animals to share their
thoughts with readers, they answered as a group:
We come to speak to you on our role as teachers. We
begin this discourse as a collective because we often
work as such. Each of us came here with purpose,
answering Tera’s call for teachers to assist her in
her own life and in the teaching of others.
People often ask if we "know" we are
teachers. We assume they are wondering whether we
consciously participate as teachers or whether we are
just there in the form of llama, cat, deer, squirrel,
etc. and the teaching happens by default. The answer is
a resounding Yes! We are conscious of our role. With
great purpose, we each answered the call and came to
partner with Tera and with each other. It is blessed and
fulfilling work for us.
We work with students as individuals. We tune in to
each student and find where he or she needs support and
advice. Most often we are very gentle with people, but
occasionally we have to cut through a great deal of
resistance, and we can be razor sharp. We do not mince
words and we always tell the truth even when it is
painful. Because we tell the truth with no judgment or
malice, it can be received and understood on a very deep
level. We came into our physical forms (as various
species) with the express purpose of working with
humans. Non-human animals have a unique ability to take
human animals beyond their perceived limitations. It is
with great reverence that we offer our services to the
people who come to open their hearts and learn.
This is not a unique situation. Animals all over the
planet are partnering with humans to teach others. Some
of these partnerships are conscious and purposeful,
while others are not so conscious. Rather, they are
partnerships formed by a human who has an open heart
with animals, and the animals come to work with that
person in more subtle ways — perhaps as therapy
animals, assistance animals, sometimes as a silent
partner with a human healthcare provider, or even as
neighborhood dogs and cats that have a special
relationship with their person. There are many
animal/human partnerships on the planet at this time and
they are all powerful components at work to bring the
awareness that we are all related, that we are not
It is through these partnerships that our basic
message is spread — we are one. Give this message a
space in your heart and open yourself to your powerful
connection with all of life. We call you to claim your
birthright. When you commit yourself to partnership with
other species and the earth, a world of incredible love
and beauty awaits you.
The Life of an Animal Teacher
Many animal communicators request and enjoy their
animals’ assistance with classes. For example, author
Penelope Smith feels the animals living with her came
specifically to be teachers. "That’s what we do
here," said Penelope. "They don’t come to me
otherwise. And, then, they expand in their mission. As
they get more experience with the body, they expand on
what their mission is and everything else."
So, what does it entail to be an animal instructor,
assisting humans in the stirring ways of animal
connection? Yohinta, a 15-year-old tortoise shell cat
living with Penelope, agreed to share her experiences in
helping teach humans to deepen, heal and communicate.
Through Penelope, this is Yohinta’s story:
When I first started out as a kitten with Penelope,
people were lots of fun. Then I realized they had all
kinds of emotions that hurt them. I focused on the
people who had the most emotion and I would comfort
them. They would cry all over me and get my fur wet.
That’s when I was a kitten.
Then people would come and they had other things –
heavy, dark masses of energy. Sometimes I didn’t like
it because they weren’t so interested in becoming
lighter as they were on blaming other people than
themselves. I got tired of those kinds of people.
Fortunately, there were only a few.
But mostly, I’ve had a lot of fun with people. I
choose the ones who have a lot of emotion that they don’t
know what to do with, and I act as a sponge. They put it
into me and they get relief. First, I soak it up and
then I eat it, like a fire eater. It feels good –
being fulfilled and doing what you’re meant to do.
When people feel better, I feel great. I’m able to
handle a lot of their stuff by burning it up. They want
me to do that because they are oftentimes younger souls
who don’t know how to handle emotion like I do. So, I’ve
helped many people that way. I’ve sat on their laps
and told them to cry it all into me and scream it out,
and I would burn it up.
As I got older, I could no longer take so much
emotion. And people who were coming didn’t do the same
things with emotions as they did before. They didn’t
seem to need quite as much work, which was fortunate
because I wasn’t as available to them as my body got
weaker. I couldn’t handle their energy and so I got
frightened and kept to myself.
Then, as people got lighter, I was able to come among
them and give them comfort. I no longer have the
capacity to burn up emotion as I did when I was a young
cat. I can no longer handle that kind of energy. So, now
I just comfort them, and they comfort me too.
Teaching By Carrier Wave
Another animal educator who lives with Penelope is
Sherman, an orange cat quite popular with students. As a
spiritually aware teacher, Sherman works in his own
unique way with the people who come to Penelope’s
When I asked Penelope if Sherman had any advice to
share, Penelope paused and said, "He says, ‘Relax,
feel the sunshine’ – like a cat, of course! But,
he wants people to know that this is how they feel the
love – by relaxing, by feeling. And he wants them to
know that he is there for them. He says that from his
place here, he contacts all those who are coming into
awareness of connection, and he is quite willing to
help. He is not so much a teacher as people used to
think of teachers, as a carrier wave.
"Sherman shows me an image of how he sits here
and makes connections. When people get on a certain
wavelength or vibration, they automatically hook in. He
is showing me very clearly that he holds this vibration
and as people come up to him – whump! – they got it!
He says that all his wisdom, all his knowledge, all his
love is available on that vibration – as is everyone
"It’s a tuning, isn’t it?" I asked.
"Yes," said Penelope. "You just lift
your head out of the muck of illusion, out of the daily
news of what’s bad in the world – just lift up,
breathe, get some tea, get out in nature, listen to some
good music or whatever it takes. Then you’re on that
vibration and then you’ve got it. Then everything is
available, all of these dear, wonderful animals, and the
rocks and the plants – they’re all there; they are
all vibrating their love."
Tuning In To The Universe
It sounds easy, doesn’t it? Simply "tune
in" to the deeper universal flow and all you need
is instantly available. But it’s been a long time
since humans have really breathed deep and let go in
this way, allowing ourselves to open to a more expansive
version of our consciousness.
A very articulate and out-spoken cat named Maya had
the following advice to offer for all those interested
in such a journey. Here are her words, through her
person, communicator Gretchen Kunz:
I am attuned to the energies of all kinds of spirits
and thoughts around me. There is a group of cat-spirits
that I connect with to share information and talk about
what’s going on in the world. We share information, so
if I want to know something that’s happening on the
other side of the world, one of the other cats will have
some contact with the energies there, and hook me into
Can humans do this? Of course you can! The more you
practice, the more you can tune into the feelings and
energies of all the beings and things around you, even
if you can’t see them. Is it easy? Well, I think
humans are more easily distracted than we are, and not
as used to it.
How to practice? I’d say, meditate. First meditate
on little things, like clearing your mind and relaxing.
Then, get to know what you and some of the energies
around you feel like. This is especially good to do if
you have animals near you who will do it with you, and
respond to your energies with theirs.
Continue to expand your feelings until you feel –
or imagine you feel (sometimes you have to pretend
before it works and you believe it!) more space and
energies around you, over a wider range. This may sound
hard to believe, but anyone – and I mean anyone –
can tune into the wider energies that encircle the earth
and our universe and connect to any other being.
If you want to know more and experience it, spend
time learning from people and animals and things without
words. Like staring at the stars, or meditating with
people who do it a lot, or just lying with your favorite
cat, listening to her purr.
The more you relax into it, the more you can feel
that vibration behind everything. It’s like in doing
nothing, you can feel the something behind it. Once you
tune in, you will start seeing forms in the something,
and then the fun really begins!
The Subtle Silent Way
Whether our guides and teachers are living animals or
spirit animals, individuals or groups of animals, our
lessons are uniquely suited for our particular needs.
Some teachings may not make sense to us at first. Or,
perhaps we think we understand in one way, though find
we haven’t opened to the fullness of the lesson until
much later. In addition, many of us – students and
teachers alike – are not fully aware of the energetic
lessons we hold simply by being who we are.
Inka, a llama who resides with Tera Thomas at
Hummingbird Farm, notes that the way we understand our
lessons corresponds to our own unique ways of perceiving
the world. For example, if we think in terms of subtle
energy fields, we may understand an animal’s teaching
in those terms; whereas if our worldview does not
include such things, we may simply note that we feel
better being around a particular animal. Through Tera,
Many llamas are teachers, some in very quiet and
subtle ways, and others in quite specific ways like me.
All llamas carry the wisdom from the stars and balance
it with the earth. We offer that gift of balance and
knowledge to all who are open to receive it.
We work with the subtle energy fields of the earth
and of specific physical bodies. For example, when we
work with the humans that come to our home, we view
their energy as a map of colors. If one of the colors is
missing or if there is too much of a color in a person's
field, we assist that person to correct their balance.
This is usually done without the person's conscious
awareness, but often we will mention in the workshop
that a specific color would be beneficial for that
person. Also, we assist others to bring the energy of
spirit through their bodies and to connect it and
manifest it on the earth.
For people who don't want to think about energy
fields or manifesting spirit, I would say, we just make
others feel good. Many people who live with llamas could
not tell you specifically what the llamas do, but they
will say that when they spend time with llamas the
people feel more relaxed, their stress level decreases
and they just feel good. Who needs to know why? That's
what some people think and that is okay with us. We are
very pleased to do our work in that subtle, silent way.
It is a lesson to remember. For when we peer beyond
the fur, feathers, scales or skin, we recognize in
spirit our friends, family, teachers, cohorts, fellow
voyagers in this incredible world. When we meet at these
deeper levels, engaging in the teachings we share with
one another, we open to a much larger vision – a much
more expanded state of awareness in which we might
celebrate and savor the beauty of diversity within the
inherent connection of All That Is.
© Copyright 2004 Dawn
Baumann Brunke. All Rights
Reserved. This article
has been partially excerpted from Awakening to
Animal Voices: A Teen Guide to Telepathic
Communication with All Life by Dawn
Dawn Baumann Brunke is the
author of Animal Voices: Telepathic Communication in
the Web of Life and Awakening to Animal
Voices: A Teen Guide to Telepathic Communication with
All Life. She is
also the author of Who Lives Here?, a series of
animal and nature books for children. She has published
short stories in LadyBug (for children), Leviathan
(anthology), and Rosebud (literary quarterly), and has won
both Grand Prize and Editor’s Choice in the 1997 and
1998 Alaska Daily News/University of Anchorage creative
writing contest. She has also published book reviews and
nonfiction articles on a variety of subjects, and
contributed to a book series regarding the healing
benefits of essential oils. For more
information, see www.animalvoices.net.
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