Brushing up on my petspeak

It all started with a bottle of hair dye.

When nothing from veterinary medicine to acupuncture to herbal remedies could address her cat Victor’s refusal to use his litter box anymore, an increasingly desperate Terri Diener contacted an animal communicator and was promptly asked if she colored her hair.

She did, and it turned out the product she used was giving the cat severe headaches and depression — no wonder he wouldn’t enter the bathroom where his facilities also were kept.

Diener followed instructions to cleanse the room with coffee grounds and mint. A mere three hours after she did so, Victor returned to his old pooping ground.

“I don’t know what you did, but I want to do it, too,” Diener told the communicator. She enrolled in a workshop and by afternoon, feeling like a fly on the wall, knew she had connected with one of the test dogs, even though all she heard was “Wait for me!” Suddenly he bolted and ran after his buddies to play, and she was vindicated.

Now more than 15 years later, having long given up her day job, she too practices animal communication as well as teaching the means to others, including offering a noncredit class through Howard Community College.

“There are lots of books, but just one technique,” Diener says.

She shared that technique with students at a workshop in May:

• Open your heart to connection.
• Call the pet’s name three times.
• Make a 360-degree mental sweep for the right energy frequency.
• When you feel it, tell the animal a quality you appreciate in it.
• When the animal responds, ask what it wants to tell you.

She made it sound so simple.

Animals, according to Diener, communicate through images, feelings and thought forms.

As instructed, we came with pictures of our pets — Diener’s preferred means of contact. First we tried to connect with Mayan, the instructor’s cat, who, she told us, was at home waiting to hear from us. Then we divided into groups of three to connect with each other’s animals.

Like our instructor in her early training days, most of us didn’t know whether we had succeeded in making contact or not. Were responses, assuming there were any, coming from between our own ears or from the cat/dog/horse in question? (Diener herself also has communed with birds, a rabbit, a ferret and even a swarm of bees in the wall of her house, she reports.)

Elkridge residents Carolyn Hoskins and Tony Leicht hoped to find out why Zoe the dog reacts so positively to some dogs and so negatively to others (from which she first tries to flee and then to fight), and whether Mandy the cat is happier now that another cat brought into her household to help her socialize has moved to Grandma’s house. Leicht must have been concentrating very hard, as the whole process made him dizzy, while Hoskins wants to believe, she says, and will keep on trying.

Kathy Lester agrees that the hardest thing for her has been gaining confidence that what she receives is in fact coming from her animal Reiki patients. No startling revelation has convinced her, just continual practice, and word from pet owners that their pets had never behaved a certain way before meeting with her. Lester has taken both introductory and intermediate courses from Diener, whom she still consults for communing with her two dogs when the issue is complex and emotional.

When I was out for the afternoon some 35 miles from home the following weekend, I had a notion to “call” my own two pups to let them know where I was and when I’d be home. Speaking to Diener the next day, I mentioned my attempt.

“She got the message, and she appreciated it,” Diener said of the little Shiba Inu next to me. “But your images weren’t very clear.”

Looks like I’ve got my work cut out for me, too.

Want to try your own hand as an animal whisperer?

Terri Diener will hold another session of “Petspeak: What Your Animals Really Want You to Know” on Tuesday, Aug. 9, from 7 to 9:30 p.m. at Howard Community College’s Gateway campus. The cost is $29.

For more information about the noncredit course, go to or call 443-518-1700.  
Diener can be reached at 410-486-4849. Her e-mail address is, and her website is

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