“The food is dull,” my two-year-old cocker spaniel told me through pet translator Katy Sainty, a research nurse from a village just outside of Hungerford, in West Berkshire.
“Forget the biscuits. I’d like something more meaty,” she added.
I must admit that at first, I felt a bit silly sat on my living room floor having an online conversation with animal communicator Katy – as she connected with my dog Tia’s energy, almost like a form of telepathy. I was glad my husband had gone out or he might have thought I’d lost the plot.
READ MORE: Battle of the Bracknells: Berkshire vs Tasmania
Before our consultation, 39-year-old Katy simply asked for a photograph of my chocolate brown pooch. During our session she didn’t need to see Tia or me face-to-face; we chatted in audio-only to keep distractions to a minimum.
Katy was part of the team that organised the trial stage of developing the Oxford AstraZeneca Covid vaccine and began studying animal communication six years ago.
It was her science background that made me incredibly intrigued by her claims that she is able to communicate with animals.
She admits to me that she’s come across a fair amount of scepticism about her skills, even from her equine vet husband who didn’t know what to think when she started studying the art of animal communication a few years ago.
But it was when she came home from work one day and asked him why he’d allowed their dogs to have cheesecake for lunch, that he couldn’t quite believe what he was hearing.
There was no way his wife could have known that he’d allowed their pets to lick the bowl after a neighbour had gifted him a special dessert while she was at work, after all, the cake was all gone by the time she got home and feeding sweet treats to the animals wasn’t something they routinely did.
But, it turns out that their 17-year-old terrier Cash was to blame for revealing the secret.
She had enjoyed the cake so much that she excitedly “told” Katy as soon as she stepped through the door.
“I could see the cogs turning in my husband’s head,” said Katy. “He’s an equine vet and has always been very sceptical of my animal communication skills, as many people are.
“Although he still thinks I’m nuts, this occurrence did make him wonder if there’s actually something in it.”
Signing up to the BerkshireLive newsletter means you’ll receive our daily news email.
It couldn’t be simpler and it takes seconds – simply press here, enter your email address and follow the instructions.
You can also enter your address at the top of this page in the box below the picture on most desktop and mobile platforms.
Changed your mind? There’s an ‘unsubscribe’ button at the bottom of every newsletter we send out.
You can also sign up to our website and comment on our stories by pressing here and signing in.
Katy began our consultation with a verification question – she likes to ask the animal a factual question which helps create trust between her and her clients and also confirms that she has developed the connection.
“Tia’s showing me a brown chair that she likes to sleep on. She says she used to sleep in a dark place but likes this more because it’s near the window.”
Now she had my attention. All of this is true. When we first brought Tia home she used to like sleeping in a crate in a dark corner of the room, but now prefers a comfy brown chair next to a window looking into the back garden.
Katy continued: “She feels very loved. She almost feels like she’s another one of the children. She has loads of energy. She never wants to sit still. She says she wants you to play with her but you’re often working on your computer.”
Katy also describes an incident in which a “big white dog, maybe a Golden Retriever” took a dislike to Tia and wouldn’t leave her alone. Since that day she’s been a bit wary around other dogs.
Now I’m a natural sceptic, but the factual detail, in particular describing the colour and breed of animal that scared Tia was quite astonishing.
The method adopted by most communicators involves going into a meditative state and having a two-way conversation — this can be done face-to-face with an animal or simply by using a photograph.
Katy explains animals share words as well as pictures, which she then “translates” for her human clients.
Katy stresses that she is not a psychic, although some communicators do describe themselves in this way.
She says it’s like tuning into a radio station: “You just have to find the right frequency,” she explains, adding that we are all born with the ability to communicate with animals, but most of us don’t nurture the skill and so we lose it.
There is no centralised animal communication body in the UK, or indeed the world, to estimate the number of people operating professionally, but a quick Google search reveals pages upon pages of people offering these services to the UK’s growing number of pet owners.
Some owners get in touch with a communicator when a beloved animal has died.
Aimee Wallis, the founder and manager of the Corvid Dawn wild bird rescue centre in West Berkshire, reached out to Katy when one of her favourite crows, Bocelli, died recently because she felt guilty that he had died in the aviary without her.
From a photograph, Katy was able to connect with Bocelli’s soul, sensed that he had been blind, and described him as “an ambassador”.
Bocelli reassured Aimee that she had nothing to feel guilty about and that he loved her and had had a wonderful life.
Aimee says: “Bocelli and I had a really incredible bond, he slept on my nightstand and came everywhere with me.
“Katy said during the communication that he liked parties. And he did. When it was one of my nieces’ or nephews’ birthday parties he would come along and be really sociable. And I always introduced him as the ambassador for crows.
“For Katy to come out with something like that, I mean, there was no way she could have known. It made me laugh and it blew my mind. I felt emotional and like he was right there with me.
“I think if anyone wants to know their animal, really, truly and deeply, you should have this experience.”
Sign up for our newsletter and get the top stories from BerkshireLive delivered straight to your inbox