It is not only people who experience trying times; animals have their struggles as well.
It might be a dog that refuses to eat, a cat who keeps missing the litter box or even a snake who simply can’t keep a rat down.
Whidbey Island resident Jacqueline Sowell specializes in helping pet owners figure out what might be causing problems for their pets.
Sowell is a certified animal communicator who has been working to help a wide array of companion animals since 2001.
Her charges have included dogs, cats, birds, snakes, llamas, goats, bobcats, potbellied pigs and horses.
Sowell is joining with two other trained animal communicators, Pattie Carney and Monike van Duren, for the first island Beginning and Intermediate Animal Communication Seminar. The seminar is from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, May 31 and Sunday, June 1 in Langley.
As animal communicators, Sowell, Carney and van Duren specialize in modifying problem behaviors in animals, learning about health issues, helping make end-of-life choices, contacting animals once they have passed on, and enhancing the overall quality of life of the animal and improving and deepening relationships between both pet owners and their animal companions or among the animals in the home.
Sowell also has expertise in using flower essences, nutrition and energy healing techniques to enhance the health and well-being of animal friends.
Sowell said turning from a life as a software executive to animal communication has made her life better.
“It’s a communion with all life, with nature,” Sowell said. “I feel more alive because of it.”
Sowell said her first animal communication seminar turned out to be “a date with destiny.”
“From the animals, I learned what unconditional love feels like. Since then, my life has been much, much richer.”
Sowell said that she is not what is known as a “pet psychic,” but rather is a person who can connect with animals on a level that allows her to know how to build a supportive atmosphere where the animal, as well as the whole family, can feel safe.
Often, Sowell said, there will be a dysfunction in the household or within the family that is causing the animal to act in a certain way that is troublesome.
She said she holds herself to a high professional standard and has also been trained as a counselor and therapeutic healer to people as well.
When she works with pets, she takes her direction from the family first and never oversteps her boundaries, taking care to find a balance for what the family needs.
It is common that she will seek a quiet moment with the animal, connecting with him or her to see what hurts or feels funny for the animal.
Then, she will recommend the next course of action. That may be a visit to the vet or some change within the animal’s environment.
Sowell said her story is like so many stories of other people who were once strongly connected to animals as children, but then lost those connections within the mad rush of the workaday world.
“I left behind in my adulthood that natural connection children have to animals; what we might call ‘fanciful.’ I lost the strength of those muscles I once had. Now I’m back trying to build them up again,” Sowell said.
“I see it as such sacred, deep work,” she said. “And because in my past, I have always been in highly responsible positions, it is reflective of me that I want results, results, results!”
Sowell has set up the two-day immersion into animal communication in order to give participants the chance to experience the transformative aspect of connecting telepathically with animals.
The first day focuses on how to send and receive telepathic information.
On the second day, participants are taken into deeper learning techniques for opening medical intuition, doing more complex problem solving and experiencing what it’s like to see through an animal’s eyes.
Her team includes Carney, whose working career began as a registered nurse, initially helping people to heal on the physical level, but later deepened to include healing on the emotional and spiritual levels. Over the past several years, her work has expanded to include animals.
Van Duren is Holland’s first certified professional animal communicator and is already becoming known as one of Europe’s premier practitioners of the form.
Like Sowell, she earned certification through Carol Gurney’s “HeartTalk Program” after a full year of case studies, tutoring and community service. Gurney is one of the world’s leading teachers and a pioneer of animal communication.
It was at Gurney’s training program Sowell recalled her first breakthrough.
Things had not been going well for her and she did not feel as if she was connecting to the animals.
On the third day of the workshop, Sowell said she tuned into a llama. Llamas are large-eared animals and Sowell, in her frustration, spoke very loudly to the animal.
Sowell very clearly heard the animal communicate a response to her exclamation.
“Well, you don’t have to speak so loudly,” the llama said.
It was a huge life lesson for Sowell, and from then on she “got it.” She said from that moment on she started to feel all the unconditional love that animals have for people and this is what she tries to reveal to families when working with their animals.
“There is a depth and healing quality animals have; a quiet mind,” Sowell said.
“I don’t see myself as a replacement for animal training. My job is to help create a support structure and to help lift people out of their stress for the benefit of their animals and themselves.”
In addition to the animal communication intensive, Sowell will also be heading up a new children’s “Playshop Series” in June.
“Seeing Through the Animals’ Eyes: Animal Communication and Self Expression for Children” will be taught by Sowell and Iolani Grace.
In the playshop series, the organizers said the child’s innate abilities will be awakened and strengthened through games, discovery, age-appropriate discussions, playful exercises, movement, art and hands-on practice in being with animals.
The series will encourage children’s intuition, communication, confidence, and self-trust to both people and animals.
For either workshop, call Sowell at 331-3435 or visit www.jsowell.com. For the playshop series, those interested can also contact Grace at 331-3314 for dates and registration information.