“My name is Bozo”

bozo

This is my good friend Bozo. He was a neighbor for many years, and not only does he look a lot like Bart, he has some of the same idiosyncrasies. For example, Bart insisted on drinking water out of a dripping water faucet – so does Bozo. I have never known any other cat that does this although I’m sure there are few others. We used to get calls from the city that we had a water leak, but it was simply that Bart insisted we leave a steady stream of water running for him in the bathroom. Bozo’s mom turns it on and off for him. (she has better boundaries than we did)

And Bozo was Bart’s only friend. One day I spotted the two of them sunning together at on a vacant front porch. Had Bart seen me, he would have instantly turned on Bozo and the 19 year old warrior would have tried to have a brawl with the surprised younger and stronger kitty. Bozo has a sweeter nature than Bart did. This is where they weren’t alike. In fact in the photo of him here, he’s asking me to rub his tummy- something Bart would never allow.

When I first met Bozo, I was a little put off by his name. Who names their cat Bozo? Typically we name our animal friends with a nice noble-sounding name, and then proceed to use a variety of nicknames instead. Those of us who love our animals are reduced to puddles of love when it comes to our animal friends and silly nicknames come with that connection.

So I was really surprised that this wonderful mom who is Bozo’s human would choose such an odd name for such a great cat. She’s a writer for several of our local newspapers and asked me one day if I would interested in an interview. In preparation for the article, she wanted me to talk with Bozo – get an idea of how animal communication works, and learn a bit about his thoughts.

One of her questions was: “Do you want to be called ‘Uno’ or ‘Bozo'”? His given name was Uno, and I was anxious to find out the answer to this too as I had been calling him “Zo” for over a year. I couldn’t bring myself to call him Bozo.

I was surprised by his answer. He told me that he preferred the name Bozo. He told me proudly: “I like the name Bozo. That’s my name!” It was then that I realized that *I* was the one who needed the reality check. Bozo is a cat. He has no idea of the connotations of his name. He doesn’t know who Bozo the Clown is. He’s a cat who likes the sound of his name when humans address him. He’s proud of it.

A friend of Bozo’s mom had nicknamed him. He was flattered and felt very loved by this human. It brought a special connection between them and he liked the name Bozo better and wanted all humans to call him by this name.

Right away I felt what a snob I had been. Here I was feeling all defensive for him, when in reality he loved the feel and sound of his name. And to this day, I have never called anything but the name he prefers.

It’s a good lesson for us all. Animals are wise beyond what humans realize. And they’re not judgmental. We all have spirit names too. Animals and humans. We’re rarely given that name once we’re in a body. An example though is my good friend Zeke. He asked while in spirit that when he came into a body that he retain his spirit name. We all agreed. His name fits him and he loves it.

Now I often cat-sit for Bozo when mom goes on vacation. We have a great time and I look forward to spending time with this little sage, who taught me such a huge lesson.

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Blessings of 2010

We’re not unlike a lot of Americans in that we’ve struggled financially this past year.  But I’ve found that there are things that bring me joy instead of anxiety. When I’m not dealing with that reality, I am out on adventures with my best pal Zeke. He’s 4 legged, covered in thick black-reddish fur, and always at the ready to head out. Don’t know what I would do without him.  We have the beach and the woods close by and we often take advantage of it.

We spent a lot of time in the woods this summer.  In our small tourist town, the woods is the only place to escape an area that is swollen to capacity with humanity. So Zeke and I hiked up to our favorite stream, always finding ourselves completely alone.  We waded carefully in the cool waters – looking for rocks. I have a new found love of rocks – especially agates. Zeke is excited simply being with me in the outdoors on a quiet sunny day, listening to the birds and other animals alerting each other to our presence.. He watches over me and makes sure I’m within his sight at all times. He has a game he loves to play. He’ll hide from me in the thick ferns and pop out when I call his name.

Walking in the stream is very grounding for me – or anyone for that matter. Maybe walking in freezing water isn’t your thing.  But being in nature is a great way to center yourself and having someone to share it with – like Zeke – is even better. It’s a wonderful escape from paperwork and the problems of the planet.

We hiked in the woods all summer, sometimes bringing human friends along, but mostly just the two of us. The beauty and the peace I find behind my home makes me feel I am in another dimension. Timeless. Just my dog and me, playing in the water and discovering new things as we walk through the woods. I believe we all need a place that is timeless and away from all that “defines us”.  Zeke has known since he was a puppy that I can understand his words and wishes, so spending time with him is not simply my dog and me on a hike.  It’s also discussing the issues of our very different worlds. And Zeke always has something  profound to say. He’s a wise old soul. But he keeps it simple and sometimes that’s exactly what I need.

We also spent a lot of mornings on the beach. I love agate hunting and was gifted some beauties by the sea this year.  Zeke and I like to head out on a spring or summer morning at dawn. This way we are sure to have the beach to ourselves. In the winter, the tides are wild and will pull the sand back making large holes full of rocks in the middle of the beach. This is where we sometimes find our best treasures.  Zeke’s gotten so used to me slowing our walk that sometimes he simply lies down in the sand and waits. If I take too long, he heads out alone. If he could, he’d wave me off with his paw in disgust – but I love hunting for rocks and shells and our home is filling with the things I have found on the beach.

I have found some special agates this year.  I know there are people around here who are better than I at finding these treasures, but I’m grateful for the things I find. More timeless moments of joy. This is the beauty I found unexpectedly that was lying in the sand.  I have a few fish bowls that are filled with agates. Their golden shine when they’re wet from the rain or the sea is amazing. I’ve been walking the beach for years and this is the first time I’ve discovered agates!

Special rocks and dogs are not the only blessing I’ve received this year. I have a new kitty named Zoe. She prefers to live outdoors, even in the cold weather, and visits me twice a day for a meal. We started out hundreds of feet apart, but now she’ll sit confidently a few feet away when I put out her food. Someday I hope to in-cooperate her into our home, but for now, this is her preference. She lives by her wits and she’s really good at it. I am not sure why Zoe has chosen me or why she’s in my life. But everyday, at times we’re both accustomed to, she arrives for her meal. She’s pretty feral, but her sweet personality and picky eating habits make me smile.

Having animal friends, be they yours or on their own, who you can share your time is what life is all about for me. Zoe and I have been warming to each other all year. Hopefully someday she’ll walk though our door and unpack her satchel.  My two cats aren’t terribly thrilled she dines here, but they put up with her.  Maybe someday they’ll let her join our home. And maybe someday pigs will fly!

I’m also grateful for the new and true human friendships I’ve made this year. Many are far away, some live here in my town. But I asked at the beginning of 201o for some real people in my life, and they have certainly appeared!

My friend Michael once said to me “whenever I see Lisa, I know I’m going to hear a great story.”  It’s a huge compliment since Michael was a successful published author. He had a wonderful laugh, a quick wit, and a huge heart.  He went to spirit at the end of the summer this past year. I lost many friends this past year, but Micheal’s passing has been an interesting transition for me. I will miss him in body, but this animal communicator never thought she’d be having long conversations with a human in spirit.

I don’t make New Year resolutions. I just try to stay aware and follow the path I’m on. And 2011 looks to be exciting.

For Michael


who crossed “the day of the Dragon flies” Sept. 2010

When it comes down to it – you have to take care of yourself

Meet Zoe. The potentially newest member of our tribe here. We have two indoor “elderly ladies”, one of whom just woke me at 5:30 this morning. And we have this young kitty who, by a few handouts and her own wits, has survived the winter here in our neighborhood. Not only is she beautiful. She’s smart.

I want Zoe to stay and be our outdoor kitty. She seems to have moved under our house and asks politely for breakfast by risking visibility on our front porch in the mornings. Her eyes are the bluest I’ve seen. Her spirit looks right through me with thanks for what is becoming a routine meal. The jury is still out, but I have a feeling she’s going to join our family.

But I want to talk about someone else today. Me. I couldn’t sleep last night and when that happens it is usually an endless night of up and down, looking for the right medication I’ve been given to help with this issue. I exercise , for the most part. After all, living at the beach and having the best dog on the planet to accompany me is too hard to pass up. We’re heading out shortly. I swim. But I’ve become inconsistent. And there is no better cure for back pain.

My back has been in constant pain for almost 10 years. It’s not something surgery will cure. I’ve been to every known specialist and alternative healer I can find. Only for the most part, I’m stuck. I don’t listen. I plan to be on board with the new program, but usually I fall back into old ways. I don’t eat as I should, I don’t rest when I know I should, andI’m kinda cranky to friends and family – because I’m in pain all of the time. And, up until last night I spent a great deal of time feeling sorry for myself because NO ONE has had the answer.

But I realized last night as I tried to knock myself out, that the answer lies within me. I am the one who is going to find a way to live with this and find  healthy way to live day to day. I have to almost develop my own 12 step program.

And why would I do that? Because I am surrounded by souls that love me. My now, three felines depend on me for attention, support, and love. They certainly return the love. And there is a human in the picture too. He has tried, been supportive and returned the love I send him as well.

No one is going to do this for me. I have to take charge of me. I have to put more work and more effort into my health or I’m going to stay this way for the rest of my life. Man that is a heavy sentence. And to think of that almost bowls me over. Almost everything has to be tweaked. Not changed, but tweaked.

I know now why Zoe is in my life. She is showing me that if you take it one day at a time, show appreciation for those who surround you and eat the healthy food that you need – that you can make life without pain a reality.Or in Zoe’s case, finally have a place to relax. We can both get out of anxiety mode.

I want more than anything to help humans to understand their animals. I want to do it day in and out and I want to feel at the end of the day I’ve accomplished something that few can do. But I also need to get myself healthy. How can I help someone else if I’m not living a truth?

The light was shown very brightly to me last night and I know what I have to do. And I’m going to, for this day, do it. I’m doing it for the other human in my life, the animals that love and cherish, but mostly I’m going to try and be authentic and healthy every day: for me.

Because at the end of the day as I lie in bed,there’s really only one person I have to be with and answer to. And it’s about time I started living and smiling instead of wincing in pain as I drift off to sleep.

Thank you Zoe.

Miss Maddie made it Easy

Awhile back I worked with this lovely lady. Her name is Miss Maddie. She was a healer who traveled the quiet neighborhood in the midsection of our small community. She lived with many humans and went by many names. Loved by all who knew her, this healer masked herself as a feline. She lived for a year or two with one human, and then would move on to the next soul who was in need of her gentle healing.

Her last human called me when Miss Maddie was working her way through her final days. She had questions on Maddie’s wishes and true condition.  She had adopted her last person who made a promise to her. She would help her live out her life and then help her to spirit. Miss Maddie was 15 when I met her. She had a tumor in her belly that was bigger than she was. It was hard at first to see what this tumor had done to this tiny elderly frame. But the love that she radiated told me her heart was bigger than any tumor could ever become.

I was with Miss Maddie and her human the day she went to spirit. We needed a vet’s help and it’s not something I typically do with clients. But in this case I made an exception. I don’t regret a moment of that very hard day. I asked Bart ahead of time to please keep his heart ready to receive Miss Maddie when she arrived at her destination – the place where her spirit would live on in the heavens.  Bart received her as my client and I shared tears and a day we won’t forget. Miss Maddie had had a great life and was now watching over all from her new home in spirit.

Maddie made sure her human and I cemented a friendship before she left. And soon after, my new friend adopted two kittens. One is red. Red kitties as I’ve talked about before are very special spiritual cats. They are like little mysterious messengers from Spirit that live among us.  I had my eye on Stella from the beginning. For now though she’s a kitten who’s legs and body don’t quite co-ordinate. She’s exploring all this new body and life have to offer. She’s a “hunter-wannabe” and a great companion for her new mom and brother who is part 2 of the package adopted by my friend.

Her brother Easy is jet-black. A male kitten dipped in ink except for his yellow-green eyes. He’s more shy than his sister and lives to eat. He’s going to be one big black boy. He’s also changing  in a way that I hadn’t been ready for.

Shortly after my friend adopted her kitty kids, she went to visit her human kids. So she asked if I would take a shift feeding the two little eating and growing machines at her home. I agreed. On the first night I was watching them play and I glanced at a beautiful photo of Miss Maddie that hangs on the wall. Since I work with animal’s photos I often get messages when I’m not expecting it.

As I looked at the photo, Maddie told me she would watch over the kids so that they would stay out of trouble and then said in a matter-of-fact way that she and Easy had been in negotiations.  She was going to trade spirits with this kitty and assume his body. I was surprised. She was coming back rather quickly and this time as a male. But Maddie has always had her own agenda.

The rest of the week was fascinating as I watched what had been a shy male kitten, become a cat I had known in a different body. He spent a lot of his time eating, but he also visibly changed. Slowly he began to take on the traits of Maddie. Whenever I would arrive to feed them – he’d greet me at the door while Stella was busy hanging from a curtain rod. It was like he knew how to behave, and he knew me.  He was enjoying the young strong body and I started to think I was making it all up. That is until the neighbor stopped by.

My friend’s neighbor dropped in to chat and see the kitties one afternoon. She too is an animal lover and told me how much she was enjoying the kittens. She described some great kitten moments of Stella’s and then said “And Easy really reminds me of Miss Maddie!” I was a little taken aback. I had told no one what Maddie had told me. And this was coming from someone who knew Maddie, was watching  the kittens at play in the daytime outside, and had come to this on her own.

My friend has been back from vacation for over a month now. She is sure that Easy is Maddie, or rather Maddie is Easy. Whatever. I have seen this many times after the transition is complete, but never watched it from the beginning and followed the progress. He’s an amazing cat. And I’m sure he’s going to carry on the work that Maddie came here to do. I’m fairly certain he’ll stay with his sister and my friend. He loves them both very much.

And it should be interesting and fun to watch as Maddie/Easy performs his magic.

A Happy Ending

Just a quick post to let you know that Boy Kitty is home again. As suspected, he was most likely stuck in someone’s shed or garage. He came home for dinner 10 days after he vanished. We are SO HAPPY to report that he’s doing  really well. After several cans of cat food and some Albacore tuna, he was he old cranky self!  We never felt he had left his body, that he was always near by. Now I’m trying to figure out where he was……

In the meantime, happy days!

Missing

I hate that word. Especially when you put it with a face. This isn’t his face, in fact, this is a borrowed face so if you know this cat I apologize for the jolt. Because every time I see the words “Have you seen?….” along with a photo of someone I know, well I get a jolt.

No, this is a kitty that resembles this sweet face. He’s been a bully and a trouble maker in the past, but right now, he’s breaking hearts by going missing. When I get the call on a missing animal, I’m not always able to help.

For one, animals who can’t find their way home are tough to track. You may “see” one thing from them and an hour later “see” something totally different. And where I live, seeing trees and grass isn’t helpful at all. In fact I’ve spoken to two colleagues who believe that this feisty roamer is not only alive, but trapped somewhere in a shed or garage.  I went out myself since his home is just down the street from me and looked the other morning. Most of the homes in our neighborhood have garages or sheds behind them. And most are vacated.

I’ve mentioned before that I live in a tourist area. Over the Labor Day weekend, almost every house was filled with happy vacationers and their friends and families. It was bustling around here. But now it’s quiet. There are full time occupants in a third of the homes in our area. We believe this guy ventured into someone’s back shed, was poking around, and got shut in accidently. It’s been almost a week and we can’t figure out which one he’s in.

There are things you should do right away when your animal friend goes missing.

  • make posters and handouts with a photo of the animal on it and your phone number. Pass these out and post them where ever you can
  • call your local police (in a rural area) or shelter to make sure someone didn’t turn him in
  • post a flier (with photo) in your car window
  • check your local paper to see if anyone has reported it

These are just the first steps. Animals ( and especially cats ) will go into “survival mode” and become a little feral after a few days. You might be calling in the woods and walk right past them with no response. A watchful eye and literally no stone unturned, must be the way you approach this the more time that passes.

My little buddy disappeared a week ago today. He may have been a victim of a predator, but I don’t think so. As a friend, it’s tough for me to talk with him and know what I’m getting is accurate. As animal communicators, when we know the one who’s missing, it makes what we receive from the animal unreliable because our emotions get in the way.

The absolute-sure-fire-best way to make sure your cat (in particular) doesn’t go missing is to keep them in at night. Even in the city there are predators.  I hope we can find my buddy here soon. I’m not giving up, but we’ve looked everywhere and time is running short.

My good friend Thaddeus

This is Thaddeus.  He’s been hanging around our house for over 8 years.   At first he was this “crazy crow” that followed my husband and our cat on their daily walk. But as I got into animal communication, I realized that this wonderful (and very large) bird was actually a close friend of our cat Bart.  Thaddeus used to sit out on our tree limb and screech at Bart.  And Bart would screech right back. It sounded like they were arguing, but in fact, this is how they visited.  Sometime if you hear your cat chattering away at a bird, it can be conversation and not a prelude to an attack.

Thaddeus has hung around here every spring-summer-and fall, and goes elsewhere in the winter. He has a mate who my husband named “Nancy” after his mother, and they have a child. We named him “TJ” which stands for “Thaddeus Junior”.

Bart, my cat who is now in spirit and one of my closest friends, told me the crow’s name was Thaddeus. He encouraged me to find the meaning of the name and it means  “Gift from God” in Hebrew. How would a cat know the meaning of a name? I’m not sure. But then Bart told me many things I couldn’t make sense of – right away.  Animals will talk with you, send you messages in pictures, or send you feelings in your body and emotions.  If they know you understand them, they’ll pass on many hints of life from their perspective.

One day I went to get something I’d left out in my car. Thaddeus was sitting on his tree branch quietly waiting for Bart or waiting for me to feed him – which ever happened first. As I approached my car I found a beautiful long black feather. It was so perfectly placed, you would have sworn that the one who placed it there had hands. I still don’t know how he did it. But I was blown away. It was stunning.

I looked up in the tree and thanked him many times. I still have it and it’s still in pretty good condition. What a wonderful gift. I think it was in thanks for acknowledging him and for throwing him a little bread now and then. Well, OK. Throwing him bread every night. He has a certain way he likes it. Just a little so he can carry it in one trip, and not with a lot of fanfare so the other crows don’t get in on his action.

I will write more about Bart later. He’s been in spirit now for about a year and a half. There are little things that still remind me of him, and his dear friend Thaddeus, who is sitting in the tree as I write this, is one of them.

Problems in the hood

We have quite the cat population here in my hood. When Bart was living he had the whole neighborhood terrified of him. Now that he’s gone, his student “Cash” seems to be running things. It would make for a cute story if it didn’t involve large vet bills and upset humans.

Bart used to bully everyone. He bullied our neighbor cats until he was 19! Then he kind of mellowed and became friends with one kitty. This kitty looked identical to him and I never knew if Bart thought it he was a potential student, or if the kitty was just a nice guy. I think it was the latter because during Bart’s last summer, I followed him around since at 19 he wasn’t able to defend himself and I frequently found him sunning with this neighbor cat.

Now that Bart’s in spirit, I know he’s been teaching this other young cat just how he used to work things in the hood. The bully is causing quite the uproar right now and I am trying to mediate the old fashioned way – by talking with all involved.  I mean, there are neighbors who want this bully gone.

The funny thing is “the bully” is smaller than all the other kitties, but meaner for sure. Love and attention are the things that will keep a cat home. But this is a young guy who is the dad of the bully and I don’t know if he can switch from being a dog person to being a cat person. He loves this cat  –  no doubt. But he doesn’t know that cats rule and they need a lot of love or they’ll go elsewhere.

My neighbors are blaming this on late neutering of the kitty. But I believe it’s lack of love and attention.

This subject will probably come up again and if anyone happens by here with suggestions, I’d gladly take them.