Reisa Stone says she can communicate with animals through the "condensed energy" of a photograph.
Helix is a 16-pound, 14-year-old cat with no reluctance to express herself-be it using her claws or her nails-on-a-chalkboard voice.
So when an email about the Chilliwack pet psychic landed in the email inbox of Helix's owner-this reporter-it was just natural for him to wonder what Stone would say about his furry friend.
UKRAINIANS HAVE ABILITY TO SPEAK WITH ANIMALS
First, though, it seemed appropriate to learn how and why Stone does what she says she does.
Stone told the Times that animal communication is a vestige of her Ukrainian heritage. There was a time, she says, when all Ukrainians had the ability to speak with animals. But she says centuries of repression has made speaking to animals largely a thing of the past.
Stone, though, says her talents survived and made themselves known from an early age. She said she remembers her family's Irish setter Prince sleeping beside her crib.
"My first conversations, really before I could utter words, were mental images I exchanged with Prince," she said. "And I remember that very clearly."
She said the family used telepathy to keep the peace between their animals.
"The animals understood: the cats and dogs and rabbits had to get along together, and the dogs didn't harass my pony, and when guests came over they could feel free to bring their pets and there wouldn't be any conflict. There was none of this stuff you see on Judge Judy now: 'Your dog attacked your dog,' and her sitting there going, 'You're a moron.'"
Today, Stone says clients come to her seeking to solve their animals' behavioural problems or to forge closer bonds. She gives classes on animal communication. This weekend she will host a seminar at the Pet Lover Show at Tradex in Abbotsford.
Stone says she gives animals the ability to explain difficulties or annoyances and owners the knowledge needed to remedy them. That can mean explaining a horse's predilection towards puzzle-solving and back-country rides or a female dog's desire to have puppies.
She refrains from house calls because she says it would be too easy to "cold read" a situation and use knowledge gained from observing an animal's surrounding. Instead, she asks only for an ordinary photo of the animal, along with its name, sex and age. (For her reading, I sent a simple snapshot of Helix sitting on a couch, not the growling portrait seen on the front page).
"A photo is a concentrated form of energy," Stone asserts. "When I look at a photo, I go into a deep meditation and I ask the animal if they would like to speak to me."
Stone says skepticism is fine, but that people need to approach it with an open mind.
"People have the right to be skeptical because we've been so conditioned out of doing this," she said. "I think everybody has had that sense that there's another reality that's going on, that animals are trying to tell us something."
Which brings us to Helix.
I send Stone a photo and a couple days later, we speak.
"Helix is very queenly," Stone begtells me. "She's far more than a princess."
True? Well, the cat does have an attitude. But, then, what cat doesn't? We proceed.
"She said, 'I like roaring,' and showed me how she pretends she's roaring like a lion. And she feels she's in charge of morning wake-up calls and feeding times."
Stone had not previously seen the photo on the front of this newspaper. A skeptic would say she's yawning, a believer would chalk up a point for Stone. And Helix is a firm believer in punctuality when it comes to her twice-daily meals.
Stone tells me my cat would like to scratch more, would prefer a less-orderly house with fewer chemical cleaning agents. She also apparently wants a more exciting life.
Stone tells me that Helix considers me her husband. I tell her that's kind of creepy.
Stone isn't afraid to get specific, with mixed results. She asks if we call Helix a "purr-monster." We do not. She's dead-on when she says Helix "is not a reticent little kitty."
It's all very interesting. And even if I'm not totally convinced by the time the session is over, I'm at least entertained and intrigued. When we hang up the phone I'm also keeping a sharper eye on Helix. Maybe a new scratching post would do her some good-or at minimum, save my couch.