Let the picture do the talking

1. This scene makes me feel _________             ©Dr. Penny, Kauai

Will this winter ever end?  If you are beginning to wonder if it will, I would invite you to take a ‘MINI VACA’ and play this quick, easy, simple connection game: 

Have a look at the following photos (that I took recently from a lovely warm place).  Check out the vibe of the picture by tuning into how you feel as you look at it.  Notice any whiff of emotion or physical feeling that arises in your body. 

2. These flowers are busy _________.           ©Dr. Penny, Oahu

Keep your analytic mind at bay, like you would an overly excited child that wants to jump the gun and steal the show.  Gently and persistantly, (and with great encouragement) delegate the ‘mind child’ to the most important skill of the entire game:  Open, curious, observing, noticing, listening, exploring – without bias, judgement or preconceived notion – like a true scientist. 

Wherever and whatever arises, pay attention to it.  Focus in on it.  Follow it.  Give it your complete attention, in a curious investigation.  Simply notice what you notice in a sharp, present, yet effortless way.  Your job is to be open to receiving and let the picture do the talking.  Easy, breezy… 

3. This crab seems _______ to me. ©Dr. Penny, Kauai

Let your eyes soften and relax.  The picture may come alive in some way.  There may be a pleasant sensation within you.  Sometimes a sound or a smell may be associated with the photo.  Or you will hear a word or receive an entire block of understanding. 

For fun, once you have explored the feeling elicited by the photo, translate it into a word you already know, or if there isn’t one that will do, make one up. 

4. This forest is _____ . ©Dr. Penny, Aiea Heights, Oahu

If you practice playing the game, you will feel the warmth of this ‘MINI VACA’ place, (that has nothing to do with ambient temperature).  You will also be a step closer to truly appreciating great works of art; and how gifted writers can translate huge chunks of wisdom into words.  The picture, the words, the painting … that is the condensed communication tool … providing the portal into the greater, infinite understanding.

5. What these two are enjoying is ____. ©Dr. Penny, Oahu

In playing this game you will also be a step closer to understanding how animal communicators work; and be empowered yourself to have a deeper, more intimate connection with animals and nature.

6. A picture replaces a thousand words. ©Dr. Penny, Ko ‘Olina

Play along and share what you experienced while looking at the photos (in comments below).  How would you translate the feeling elicited by each photo?  How would you best describe the essence of pictures 1-6 into a word, phrase or paragraph?

Going To The Movies

“Tenzin Gyatso (Gatzie)” ©Dr. Penny. January 9, 2014 at 25 years of age.  That is like 150 people years.

I make it a practice to tune into the animals I am treating prior to or after a vet visit.  The sessions go something like this:  I get quiet and check into my own body and do some stretching or breathing or whatever I need to do to get comfy and stress free.  Then once I am relaxed with a quiet mind (a blank slate), I remember the animal in their surroundings (or say their name if I haven’t met them yet).  Often I will have several animals to check in with before hitting the road, so there is not a lot of time for extraneous chit chat.  But the more I practice ‘animal communication’ what does come through keeps me AMAZED and AMUSED.

“Outside Adventures” ©Dr. Penny

Today I had a chat with a 25 year old cat I have been checking with every two weeks.  “Are you still with us?”  I asked.  She beamed her tolerant wise smiling self back with a look that said “Like really, could you rephrase your question?” And I was reminded to ‘get real’ and up my game to a level I am more capable of playing at to match wits with the wise sage, no BS friend I was talking with.  She continued “You already know, whether it is this side or the other side, I am with you in the way we are interacting now.”  My understanding of how the Universe works expanded a bit more with the comprehensive wisdom that floated in along with her words. With a satisfied grin I asked “This side?”  The answer was “Yes” and I was immediately shown some of the work she was doing.

“We are all magnificent teachers” ~ ©2014Tenzin Gyatso

The glimpse into what she was currently doing came in the form of a visual.  There were two opposing segments of short dancing grass, one above and one below – with lovely colors and an interactive swaying rhythm that felt delicious in my energy field.  But what was most remarkable was the beautiful stillness and profound sense of tranquility.  I was being shown a glimpse into her dance between the two worlds.  It was not all of it, for I would have to be her to be all of it and experience the fullness and creation of it moment to moment.

“Drinking in Life as a Cat” ©Dr. Penny, Duvall, WA

Our conversation lasted less than a minute ‘real’ time.  It took longer to scribble a few notes in my journal.  When I saw her later that day she was up taking a brisk walk outside and having a bite to eat before heading back to bed.  Her caretaker shared that the cat had been coming to her in dreams to ‘wake’ her and visit similar remarkable places at night. 

“Can you hear me now?” ©Dr. Penny & Rocky

After visiting with several animals that day, I had a new rounded sense of how to approach animal communication.  Checking in with animals was not just something on my ‘to do’ list before heading out on vet calls, to gain insight into the roots of physical issues.  Nor was it just something I needed to practice regularly to get better at.  It was not an extra chore, it was fun!  It added to my well-being.  It grounded me, expanded me, and spiced up my energetic field.  But it was not just for me.  It was also for them.  ALWAYS FOR BOTH.  It was an indulgence sweeter than chocolate … a treat, a healing, a creation, a joyful romp. What a great way to start the day.  Not to ‘help’ or ‘fix’ them.  It was an equal power dance – like the grasses swaying back and forth to bring harmony and light between the worlds … a visual and energetic extravaganza.

“Going to the Movies” ©Dr. Penny & Rosie

Approaching animal communication is like sitting down in a comfy chair with popcorn and a good friend in anticipation of seeing a GREAT movie for the first time.  Rubbing shoulders to see, hear, and feel something beyond what you have ever experienced before.   Then, walking out of the movie theater larger than before and forever changed.






Christmas Avalanches

“Rear View Mirror” ©Dr. Penny, Oregon Coast with Big Red

This one is for you Cami, me, and everyone else getting hit with several challenges all at once this holiday season.

I have a very wise friend who said to me “We are all approaching portals that will not let us go through unless we drop the baggage.”  Translated, that means that we all have big dreams.  In order for them to manifest, the life lesson currently limiting us, is smack dab in our face, upsetting us more than ever.

A week ago, Big Red (my vet truck) was in an accident.  (Well we both were, but Big Red gallantly took the hit.)  After 225,000 miles together, it was our first ever.  Funny enough, the experience was strangely beautiful.  It all happened so fast.  But I had enough time to know there was no avoiding it, hit the brakes, held the wheel straight, and braced for impact.

“It DOES snow in WA” ©Dr. Penny, Snohomish, WA

At the same time I became acutely aware of the space around me and just how big and strong Big Red was, and had a huge sense of knowing just how safe I truly was … all in that fraction of a second before impact.  Everything went flying (except that new $$$ x-ray plate Dr. H) and my brain was a bit scrambled as I called 911, but at a whole new level, I knew ‘all was well’.  I even felt an odd sense of excitement, because I knew this event would somehow line up everything better than ever to work out for me.

Well, that initial euphoria disintegrated pretty fast once I started dealing with rental car and insurance company recordings.  And a system, without a brain, with people trapped in it to the point where they may as well be machines (***see comment below).  Add to that emergency duty, no wheels, offices closed for the weekend, ‘no show’ insurance agents, slippery roads, planes to catch, animals to care for, and Momma’s home cooking calling me home for Christmas … and not being able to budge a decrepit system or move Christmas Day to January … and well, shall we say, you have a pressure cooker!  With me backed into a ‘no win’ corner, struggling to see a way out.

“Laughing Buddha” ©Dr. Penny.  Not a religious statement. I keep this guy in my garden cause he makes me smile.

Have you ever heard that story about the old man who had a son who won a horse?  Who then reared causing the son to fall and break a leg?  Who then couldn’t go fight in the war?  At each turn of fortune or misfortune, the old man had no comment other than “Too soon to tell.”  Remembering that little story got me back on track.  Now I would add “All is well and working out the best for me and everyone around me” to the old wise man phrase.

So how to make it home for Christmas AND have all our big dreams finally come true?  The clue to clearing the present avalanche (many of you are probably in the same one as I just came through) is in our reaction that is upsetting us.  It is not about fighting harder against a system that won’t budge OR wracking your brain for a clever solution when there isn’t one in your current state OR taking another hit.  The solution comes softly as soon as you stop resisting – as soon as you quit trying harder and harder to do the same thing you have always done. CHANGE ‘THE WAY YOU ARE BEING’ WITH THE SITUATION.

“Northern Flicker Tuxedo” ©Dr. Penny, December 20, 2013, Skykomish River, WA

That is my Christmas present from the Universe this year – take a load off!  Of course I may slip now and then, but there is less chance of finding little ol’ me struggling out there all alone against crap.  There is an easier way that feels MUCH better.  With the Universe behind me, we are unstoppable.  (And the Universe gets to take care of all the details – our job is to quit stressing, trust the Grand design, show up, talk, sign papers, do what seems right in the moment, enjoy our dreams as we realize them, create new ones, and most importantly, eat, drink and be merry along the way.)  HO HO HO!!!


***Funny how as quick as I made the switch, all of the people I was then dealing with were friendly, efficient and even somewhat caring.  I actually found myself having fun dealing with this ‘inconvenience’.  Another layer of seeing things ‘good’ or ‘bad’ was wiped away from my existence, just like the wise old man in the story.


Healing Places

“Going to Church On The Ridge” ©Dr. Penny, Whidbey Island, WA

I LOVE this place and it loves me.  Sometimes it takes awhile to unwind and really feel it, but it is true every time I visit.  That is me up on the ridge – hat, scarf, vest, down jacket, blanket, steaming mug ….  Where are all the people???  I don’t understand – the best show on earth is right here sunrise and sunset and yet I have the place to myself.

“It must be 7 am” ©Dr. Penny, WA State Ferry

If you love a place, it is a healing place for you – period.  This can be your home oasis, with things you appreciate over and over – continually falling in love different and deeper.  Or it can be that dream vacation spot that keeps whispering (or screaming) your name. Or it can be your favorite weekend getaway spot. 


“Great Blue Heron” © Dr. Penny biking near Coupeville WA

Tune into your wisdom.  The things you long deeply for can heal you.  What is it you crave the most?  Are you longing for the dry crisp, clean air of the desert and the simplicity of one patch of colorful flowers in the midst of a wavy sand dune?  Or would sniffing salty sea air and hearing the gulls be more to your liking?

“Healing Places” © Dr. Penny,Whidbey Island

If you love a place, everything you love about it, loves you back.  This can be the robust red berries or the gently waving grass or the clear blue sky.  It can be the sound of the waves lapping on shore, or the sea lions surfacing to breathe.  The deeper your appreciation goes, the more humungous the healing potential.  The more connected you are, the larger your appreciation is, and the greater the flow of healing energy between you.

“Hiking The Bluffs” ©Dr. Penny, Ebeys Landing, WA


1.  If you just take a quick look at the vista and THINK “ah, yeah, nice place” and feel a brief flicker of appreciation, that is a start, and as far as many people take it.  Why?  Because they are continually restlessly on their way to something better – around the next bend – or back at the cabin – and when they get there – somewhere else.  How do I know?  Cause I still do it too.

“Friendly Farm Lands” ©Dr. Penny, Ebeys Prairie, WA

2.  Forget ‘trying’ to appreciate a place.  That way of being is a gratitude limiter.  Carry the more effortless frame of being open to being wowed.  Forget what you enjoyed yesterday – that keeps you locked into the past, when everything (yourself included) has changed overnight. 

“Home on Wheels” ©Dr. Penny, Whidbey Island Snail

3.  Still feeling like a restless spoiled brat?  Try this little trick.  Trade places with your nature hosts.  Your ‘hosts’ are excited to show off their ‘best’ place on earth (the one they have invested their whole life in) to their special visitor (that would be you).  They are extremely pleased that you have come and have been busy preparing for your arrival.  They have proudly brought out their ‘finest china’ with the climate and resources they have to work with.  They have dedicated their very lives to prepare a unique splendid feast of the senses for you to appreciate.

“Sea Lion Eating Fresh Salmon” ©Dr. Penny, Ft Casey, WA 

Okay, so get real, everyone in the picture before you is out to serve themselves, first and foremost.  It cannot be otherwise for the grand design to work.  So, the show will go on in its entire perfect splendor, whether you have any appreciation for it or not.  The ocean will continue to exhibit an endless array of exquisite frothy lace patterns with 100% enthusiasm, whether you join in or not.  The birds will continue to freedom soar and look for tasty treats, for the pleasure of their own satisfaction. 

“Whidbey Island Extravaganza” ©Dr. Penny & 100%Blue Heron

4.  So no SILLY, the show is NOT just for you.  Or could it be?  Is this a fleeting moment in time, in an ever changing world, never to be exactly the same, ever again.  A set of circumstances perfectly set up for you, (by you in your greatest wisdom as a participating member of perfect universal design) to give you an opportunity to play the game in life that matters the most to you in this moment in time – guaranteed to change as you do.  Are you barely conscious and noticing (say 5% enthusiastic) or are you 100% in (Tom Cruise in Top Gun ‘choosing to engage’ moment), alert, engaged and ready to play ‘the highest stakes game’ of your life – your life.



Treasures of the Fog

“Colorful Character” ©Dr. Penny, Whidbey Island

Through the warm cozy windows of my hibernation den, I saw him out there in the grey drippy drizzle.  Actually it would be hard not to notice him with all the flashing lights and neon.  He was bundled up in a bright orange vest with matching scarf and helmet, with big yellow neon stripes on his back.  Below that was a row of flashing red lights and above it a piercing red laser beam on the back of his helmet.  As I stuck my head of my den long enough to throw some seed to the birds, “beautiful day – well a little foggy” he brightly flashed as he bicycled on by.  With all his modern gadgetry, I wondered if he had tiny windshield wipers for his glasses as well.

 It was a good reminder from a bright spirit on a grey day.  Get out and enjoy the fog, or get in and enjoy the fog – either way, enjoy.  Having lived most of my life in semi-arid prairie and mountains boasting over 300 days of sunshine a year, I was still adjusting to West Coast living.  I had made one key switch … changing from constant sunglasses, visors, and shade seeking … to pointing my face up to worship the sunshine every time it broke through the clouds.  It is one thing to say that “every geographic location holds different treasures” and “every day is a perfect day”, but it is quite another to actually get out on a cold grey drippy morning to embrace the unknown.

“Foggy Mystique” ©Dr. Penny, Wrangell, Alaska

The most obvious thing fog does is make you want to stay in where it is warm and cozy, instead of go out.  As such it is a wonderful cradle for inner work and new creative streaks to emerge.  But when you do eventually go out, fog helps cultivate very cool inner spaces for outside ventures.

“Perfect Day to Play” ©Dr. Penny, Northwest Equine Stewardship Center, Snohomish, WA

There is a hush to fog, that cultivates stillness.  I will always remember the night I first saw a candle lit outside in the fog.  There it stood, just a bare naked candle, with no protective canister.  Surrounded in grayness, the flame seemed incredibly bright, tall and unwavering warm.  There was not a breath of wind.  It was so quiet you really could have heard a pin drop.  I had never experienced such a still space in the great outdoors.  As dark descended and the fog rolled in thicker yet, the flame did not even flicker.  Friends were all gathered and hearts were wide open, in final tribute to a gallant horse.  The tiny little bell lovingly braided into his mane tinkled into the absolute silence of fog, as he lay down in his final resting place.  It was a special surreal beautiful moment of suspension that I will always cherish.

“Treasures of the Fog” ©Dr. Penny, Snoqualmie Valley Trail, WA

Fog cultivates sensory awareness.  It is a window into ‘the blind man who can finally see’.  Instead of being inundated with visual stimuli to the point you become deadened to it all, you gain new appreciation for every little speck of color that you CAN see.  You become fascinated by every hazy shape peeking out from the shrouds to reveal its mysterious depths. 

Other senses leap to compensate when you can’t see past your nose.  Entire shows play out in sound.  Just what was that bleating sound out on the water that got the gulls so excited?  I have no idea, but if I ever hear it again, I will instantly recognize it because it made such a deep auditory impression. 

“Colorful Fog Jog” ©Dr. Penny, Snoqualmie Valley Trail, WA

In fog, what you can see, hear, and smell pops with new aliveness.  By obscuring far vision, you better see what is close.  Who knew (before a simple walk in the fog) that ferns, moss, trees, everything was so eagerly alive and rocketing in response to your gaze?  Who knew nature was so thrilled to feature a new fascinating show absolutely everywhere you turn?

“Color Treat” ©Dr. Penny, Monroe, WA

So yes Mr. Neon bicycle man, I see and agree.  Get in or out, or in while out, to enjoy and cultivate foggy treasures.


“Checking out the Tourists of Frederick Sound” ©Dr. Penny

It started with a young juvenile breaching repeatedly.  Even those with the slowest shutter fingers were able to get a shot.  Now everyone on the boat had a photo of a breach – something you can go tourist boat whale watching year after year without having a chance to see, let alone photograph (speaking from personal experience).

“Humpback Whale Tail” ©Dr. Penny, Frederick Sound, Alaska

It continued with the sun peeking out on a day when the forecast was for solid rain.  We were so busy enjoying great scenery and many whale tails that we hardly noticed the weather, other than feeling the need to peel off a layer of fleece and drink a big glass of water now and then.

“Humpback Whales Gathering” ©Dr. Penny, Frederick Sound

That would have been a mighty fine day whale watching in Alaska.  But the fun was just beginning.  We were watching a few whales when suddenly the energy changed – like when you know something big is going down, but you don’t really know what it is.  Excitement was in the air, like a drum roll at the beginning of a spectacular performance.  You are about to witness something so magnificent, that it is impossible to put into words.

“A Feast For The Eyes” ©Dr. Penny, Frederick Sound, Alaska

The whales were gathering.  Not at a distance where you need binoculars, not even at regulation whale watching proximity of 100 yards, but right where we were.  Soon we cut the engine, because we were surrounded by humpbacks.  Not one or two … about 50.  Not for a brief glimpse of a fluke disappearing below the surface … but non-stop surface feeding action for 4 hours.  The current must have brought the krill in spectacular numbers.  Talk about being in the right place at the right time.

“Sneak A Peek Whale” ©Dr. Penny, Ventro-lateral view of head

What can you say about seeing a whale choose to surface right next to your boat in a trumpeting exhalation?  Any words I can think of seem woefully inadequate.  Seeing these giants of the sea surface a half mile away is exciting enough.  But there is no way to describe the magnificence of 45 tons rising up through the depths to part the sea with its mouth wide open.  And watching the water rush back out as the giant jaws slowly close to filter and feed on krill. 

“Grace in Motion” ©Dr. Penny, Frederick Sound, Alaska

Then watching the huge mouth slowly sink below the surface into the depths and disappear.  Then catching a glimpse of white pectoral fin below the murky depths, and realizing the whale is still right there below you.  Every movement so slow motion, graceful, powerful and elegant, that you cannot help but become it at a new level yourself.  (Well after you pause from racing from one side of the boat to the other, totally oblivious to bruising your shin and elbow and countless other places … in a frenzy of overwhelming excitement being surrounded with an energy so powerful you don’t know how to encompass, embrace, or quite what to do with all of it.)

“Bubble Net Feeding” ©Dr. Penny, Frederick Sound, Alaska

As the convention began to disperse, the whales began to work together instead of feeding individually.  We got to see the spectacle of bubble net feeding, where a group of whales swims in a shrinking circle below a school of prey blowing bubbles.  Strategic body position, a wall of bubbles surfacing and vocalization are used to concentrate prey into a tighter and tighter cylinder.  Then the whales swim up through the bubble net, surfacing to feed together as a cohesive unit.

“A Good Day Indeed” ©Dr. Penny, Frederick Sound, Alaska

Then some more breaching to celebrate the bountiful feast.

“Shy Curious Steller Sea Lions” ©Dr. Penny, Frederick Sound

Happy and exhausted we were on our way to a secluded bay to anchor for the night.  But first, a quick stop to see the sea lions.  Not accustomed to much company in this remote location, the sea lions were extremely shy yet curious at the same time.  They reminded me of young children peeking out from behind momma’s skirt to take a quick look at us as they climbed and swam and hid over top of each other.

“Exuberant Joy” ©Dr. Penny, Steller Sea Lions of Alaska

One particular sea lion was especially brave and caught and held my eye for a quick game.  It was pure joy to feel him stretch high above the water for a better look, sink back down and then see him burst through the surface in a playful expressive leap that tinkled my heart with laughter. 

“Energy Synch” ©Dr. Penny in Frederick Sound, Alaska

As we motored away from our new friends, one gregarious sea lion followed and thought about jumping into the life raft trailing behind the boat.  At the same time, I had the urge to jump in the water to stay and play awhile.  But both of us exercised better judgment, turning back to our own species.   

“Miracles of Nature” ©Dr. Penny, Humpback, Frederick Sound

Do I ever expect to see all of this again?  No.  Of all the experienced professional photographers and naturalists on board, had anyone ever seen or did anyone ever expect to see such a spectacle again?  No.  Do I ever expect to have my breath taken away by such a miracle of nature again?  Absolutely.  What is the best way to set up another best day ever?  Holding an attitude of expecting to see great things and catching the spiral up by appreciating every little thing that shows up like it is the biggest bestest show on earth – cause it is!  Miracles of nature are everywhere.

“Til We Meet Again In Hawaii” ©Dr. Penny, Frederick Sound

Upcoming Event



Driving directions from MONROE WA (5 miles): 

Heading East on US 2, Stevens Pass Highway – as soon as you see the Safeway Sign, get in your left hand turn lane (no light).  Turn LEFT between Safeway and Albertsons ontoWOODS CREEK RD.  Go for 2 miles.  Turn LEFT ontoWAGNER RDfor 1.9 miles.  Turn LEFT onto108th ST SE for 0.2 miles. 108th St SEbecomes215th AVE SEfor 0.8 miles. 9812-215th AVE SE,SnohomishWA is on the LEFT, just after the power lines.  Look for white “Cedarbrook Vet Care” sign.


Driving directions from Snohomish WA (~8 miles):

Heading East onUS2-Stevens Pass Hwy, turn LEFT onto WESTWICK RD for 1.9 miles.  Westwick Rdbecomes 171 Ave SE for 0.5 miles.  Turn RIGHT ontoS SPADA RDfor 0.7 miles.  Take the second RIGHT ontoTROMBLEY RDfor 0.4 miles.  Take first LEFT ontoMEADOW LAKE RDfor 2.8 miles. MeadowLakebecomes215th Ave SEfor 0.3 miles. 9812-215th AVE SE,SnohomishWA is on the RIGHT.  Look for white “Cedarbrook Vet Care” sign.


Why the Human-Animal Bond Heals

Dr. Penny, from what you know from your own experience and research you’re aware of, what is it about the human-animal bond that confers health and well-being benefits to people?  (Excerpt from interview with Andrea Thomas)

1.  First, we love them.  Animals are easy to love and love is a healing state of being.  This may sound overly simple, but the more you study life and various forms of medicine, the more you realize how true it is.

Do you remember how great you felt the first time you fell deeply in love?  Everything was fresh, new and exciting.  Colors were brighter.  Food tasted better.  Nothing bothered you.  Brilliant ideas flooded your mind.  You had so much extra energy you barely needed to sleep.  There was a spring in your step.  The simplest thing was fun.  All was well.  You were at ease – the opposite of “dis”ease.

Being in love … with life, with another, with yourself … promotes health and well-being.

2.  Second, when we are around animals we can be ourselves.  There is no need to impress or do something our heart is not really into.  There is no agenda.  We are free to enjoy.  Therefore, we can relax and drop the tension that we carry with us through much of our day.  As our concerns melt away, we reduce the work load on our body and give it a chance to get everything back into balance.

Health is our normal state.  The body works 24/7 through a process of homeostasis to maintain health down to a cellular level.  When you study various forms of medicine (Western, Mind Body, Acupuncture, Chiropractic, Homeopathy, Energy Healing etc.) you begin to realize they all have one thing in common.  All methods aim to remove obstacles that get in the way of the body’s innate ability to maintain a healthy state.

Anytime we find a way to reduce stress, tension, anxiety, irritation … we drop resistance … we allow our bodies a chance to return to a normal healthy state.  Being at ease around animals promotes health and well-being.

3.  Third, animals help us get out of our heads and into the moment.  Have you ever driven somewhere and been so absorbed thinking about stuff that you didn’t notice anything along the way?  Not even how many red traffic lights you stopped at?  This is the opposite of how animals exist.

Animals live in a state of constant presence.  They are not worrying about tomorrow, or thinking about what happened yesterday.  They are tuned into what is happening now.  Their senses are alert, aware and responding constantly to their surroundings.  They see, hear, smell and perceive things beyond what most humans are capable of.  For example, birds feel the impulse of the flock to take off in flight, before the movement starts.  With practice, we humans can too.  For example, we can begin to sense when someone will switch lanes in traffic, before they put their turn signal on.

This heightened awareness increases our capacity to enjoy the moment.  It raises the quality of our existence because we become capable of seeing, hearing and feeling more.  Spending time around animals expands our awareness of the well-being available to us in each moment.




Bird Watching

“Morning Mist on the Skykomish River”, WA ©Dr. Penny

For a second I wondered, “Is it a bird, is it a plane, is it superman? Ha no silly, Christopher Reeves passed over.  Is it a bird, is it a plane?”  My heart quickened, anticipating joining a graceful dip or banking soar.    But quickly realized it was a plane.  What first clued me in?  The difference in energy between a bird and a plane.

The energy was flat, linear, destination driven, A to B, on course, predictable, motoring through on target … yes, a manmade miracle to be certain … but energetically rather boring to watch compared to a bird.

Skykomish River Sunset, WA ©Dr. Penny

Missing was the dimension of being tuned into and responding to absolutely everything in the environment.  Also missing was the complete lack of resistance that is a bird in flight.  The plane didn’t feel as good and spacious and free as bird.  Absent was the harmony that is soaring in its purest form.

Sure there was joy of flight in the aircraft, but not the same as a creature fully in the moment … playing on the unfolding winds … flowing with change… catching a thermal one moment … lacer vision diving on target the next … peaceful … awareness dancing to all of it all at once.

“Band Tailed Pigeons of WA” ©Dr. Penny

Living on the river this summer, bird watching has become my new hobby.  Interesting that the energy clued me in before my eyes did.  I could definitely use a new pair of glasses.  But perhaps my primary sense is no longer sight, but reading energy through connection.

Picking up on the energy of animals is part of what I teach.  My veterinary & mentoring practice is all about empowering animals and caretakers to participate more fully in the healing process … through a connected state of being.

“WA State Bird Willow Goldfinch” ©Dr. Penny

In the olden days it was all up to doc.  Now, a more synergistic team approach is possible.  Everyone contributes and everyone walks away feeling better.  How is this possible?

  1. Caretakers are taught animal connection and healing interaction skills.  With these skills, people can better understand what animals need.  These skills also foster a state of being to help (instead of hinder) the healing process.
  2. Animals are treated as equals.  When honored as such, many animals ‘come out of their shell’ and choose to more actively participate.  Given the chance, every one has special unique perspective, qualities and gifts to share.
  3. Prescriptions include therapeutic games specific to each human-animal team, to benefit both the animal and person.  Contrary to what many think, healing is NOT serious business.  Getting swept up in a fun, light, friendly, party atmosphere is conducive to healing.

    “Bird Watching with the Boys” ©Dr. Penny

Stay tuned for upcoming workshops to learn skills for the next level of what is possible in partnership, training and healing with animals.  Or get a group together and give me a call.


I certainly did not expect it.  Tears filled my eyes at my first Liberty Training Clinic as an enormous sense of pride of accomplishment swept through me.  Winning my first trophy, landing a dream job, becoming a doctor, getting married, building a log home, saving a life … did not compare.  For this was a ‘lifetime achievement award’.  Something so big you can’t even consciously plan for it.  It can only be recognized after it is done.

But there was no public prize or monument to be awarded for this lifetime achievement … only the most incredible heart expansion to acknowledge a job well done.  For the first time I realized … after spending 30 years with my horse … her entire life … having seen and done it all with her …. I had not ‘broke’ her.

I had this realization after Robin Gates, Liberty Training Instructor, showed us photos of what a willing engaged horse looks like.  I recognized that look because I had seen it in my own mare.  On euthanasia day there was a moment when it had shone with such brilliance that it took my breath away.

There was no vacant resigned expression in her eyes that you see in many compliant well-trained horses.  There was no fear or resentment.  There was only the deepest most peaceful trusting warm open loving engaged gaze you could imagine.

Honestly examined at a stark soul-searching level, she was not shut down … not even an iota.  (And I know shut down because I still partially am in certain situations.)  She had not lost anything by being with me all those years.  We had both gained.  It was a rare and special balanced partnership.  And was what liberty training was all about.

Liberty is defined as freedom from despotic government, foreign rule, bondage, captivity, or physical restraint; freedom from external control, interference, obligation, etc.; freedom to choose; independence.  Many years ago ‘liberty’ was the vision upon which nations were founded.  Now, as reflected in our interactions with horses, it is finally becoming a reality.  It is evidence of our progress as human beings.  To witness such changes in consciousness restores my hope for mankind at a very deep level.  We are making our way.

It gives my heart great joy to see this new way of being with horses emerging.  It is hard to imagine what is now becoming possible, as our noble equine friends are finally being given a voice.  We have come a long way from “kids are to be seen and not heard” and “just a dumb animal” one way dictatorship days.  We are also getting past the more recent “child on a pedestal” and “horses rule” generation to find a new balance of power.

“Horse & Human at Liberty”  ©2005J. Navarro

For the first time in history we are becoming capable of a balanced partnership with another species.  This is brand new territory.  First we must learn to speak each others language.  This takes animal communication skills and energy awareness skills.  It also means that we must learn how to foster an egoless state (no greater than, no lesser than …) while we work with horses.  These are the same skills necessary for self empowered healing with animals … now also becoming possible.

Congratulations to all my new liberty friends – the front-runners in this new way of being.  Liberty training goes beyond working with horses.  It is stimulation to a more evolved, conscious, present, expansive, joyful, peaceful, healthier way of life.