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Professional Certification

When you touch one thing with deep awareness, you touch everything.

—Thich Nhat Hanh


Professional Certification: To Be or Not to Be

By Jeri Ryan, Ph.D.

There are several practical reasons for becoming certified as a Professional Animal Communicator. Legitimizing a profession brings it into the playing field where the world is more likely to take it seriously. We want animal communication to be a legitimate respected profession. We want it to be a useful tool to enhance the personal and relationship growth of the animals and their persons. Certification study provides the ingredients for that tool.

We want the program to enhance the professional growth of the communicators by insuring they are fully prepared for whatever situation appears. While relaying information back and forth is a legitimate and useful way of doing the work, animal communication has grown to do more.

Therefore, we have developed another model, called EARS for the Animals (Empathy / Awareness Raising / Solutions). This model requires understanding and support of the perspective and goals of the animal and his/her person. It requires empathy and awareness, informing / counseling and problem solving. This model is more inclusive than other models, and it is constantly evolving. At present, it is the only such model in existence.

Maureen Ivy, of Boulder, Colorado, reports that a client stated about Maureen’s use of the EARS model, "… I have consulted at least half a dozen other people (including a few communicators) and this felt the most helpful." This client told Maureen, "… this was the first time I felt focused on the solution instead of the problem." Maureen believes the EARS model made the difference.

The certification program facilitates cultivation and development of the required attributes and prepares the communicator to work with the animals and their persons in these arenas. The program is set up to be full and very intense so the participants gain the most information, practice and support we can give them.

Certification in this field is pioneer; Assisi’s program is pioneer. Those who like to be in the "front guard" will feel at home, even thrilled, with the pioneer definition and activities of this endeavor. Those who are willing to step out and be first become leaders in their profession.

We who are willing to remain committed, and to persevere through the growth pains of a pioneer endeavor that we hold dear in our personal truth, also receive the rewards of experiencing the growth successes and joys. We become integral to the history of the pioneer endeavor.

The spiritual component is last but not least. Certification is about raising awareness, aka consciousness, about the animals. It’s about recognizing the consciousness within the animals. Webster defines consciousness very simply as "awareness of one’s own feelings" and "what is happening around." Eckhart Tolle places consciousness in all the senses, rather than confining it to the mind. Both require a presence to the moment. Communication, per se, is about presence to and consciousness of the moment, being "in the zone", taking in and relaying information between two spirits, using all senses.

I am very excited to report that science is studying the consciousness of animals. Their study includes the ability to choose, the use of body language pertinent to a specific situation, the many meanings of "meow" for cats, ability to perceive from the perspective of another, ability to develop a sense of self, and most of all, symbolic interaction for the development of shared meaning. That’s where we come in.

Mahatma, a pit bull mix, had a history that set him up for serious fear aggression toward men. His person, Amanda Merrill, engaged the services of an animal communicator. Following are two quotes from their subsequent experience.

"Very soon after, I noticed something very interesting bout Mahatma’s behavior. When approached by a stranger at the park, he’d look as though he was just about to start barking, and then would pause, think about it, and choose not to. This type of situation happened repeatedly."

"More and more, Mahatma is living up to his name which means ‘great soul’, expressing himself as a loving and gentle being with both women and men." Amanda observed Mahatma choosing to respond from a place of trust rather than fear.

Sassafras, female cat living with Terri Kelly of San Francisco, California, knows and discriminates the spiritual energy centers of the body, commonly known as charkas. Terri calls her "healer cat" because she often massages Terri where she is feeling discomfort. One day, Terri silently stated to herself, "Wouldn’t it be nice if she did chakras? My heart chakra could use some work." With that thought, unspoken, Sasssafras perked up, jumped on Terri’s chest, and sat on her heart chakra. Sassy seems to think that Terri’s left shoulder, chest and arm, all associated with the heart chakra, need quite a bit of work, and ministers to them regularly.

When Darlyn Davison of Austin, Texas, asked her cat why she stayed at the window and cried, Princess replied "I am calling to Spirit to bring Ed home safely." She cried daily at precisely the time he was leaving his office. Such a level of spiritual consciousness is not expected from animals. Let us all be amazed. Let us all be grateful for the privilege of witnessing these revelations.

Human awareness is deeply expanded by such events. Such expansion also occurs within the context of problem solving. No matter how unacceptable a behavior may be to the person, the animals always have reasons. Those reasons are very important to them. When we reveal the reason or reasons to the animal’s person; when we explain how that fits into the animal’s culture; when we explain who the animal is as a whole conscious being, we are helping humans to expand their perspective on their animal companions, and then on animals at large, bringing to them the reverence and respect that is their just due.

That is the mission of Assisi International Animal Institute, which consists of promoting the advancement of animal well being. As we do that, we also promote the spiritual movement of their persons, bringing a gift in both directions. Since all helping professionals are "helped" in their own growth through their work, the third gift is the facilitation of the spiritual growth of the animal communicator.

Thich Nhat Hanh said, "When you touch one thing with deep awareness, you touch everything." The influence of the Certified Professional Animal Communicator carries far. To be or not to be is a question of pioneering, developing, refining, and bringing respect and legitimacy to this profession, and playing a historical role in all of that. It is a question of developing oneself in practical and spiritual awareness. It is a question of contributing to making this a more conscious, humane and compassionate world.

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* The Assisi International Animal Institute has Federal and State non-profit tax exempt status. *