If you could pick a superpower, what would it be?
If you pick “being able to talk to animals” then your childhood fantasy has just become a reality with animal communication mentor Doris Lam, who is more popularly known to her clients as Ms Doris.
“‘Animal Communication’, by definition, means ‘talking to animals’. But the way we ‘speak’ to animals is not by speech; it’s by telepathy,” says the real-life Newt Scamander or even Dr Dolittle.
“Telepathy is the transmission of information, thoughts, emotions, and ideas across two brains — we call it brain-to-brain communication,” she says.
The difference, however, is that it’s not all magical like J.K. Rowling portrays it to be in the movie Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.
In fact, this form of communication is backed by science, says Ms Browny. An experiment conducted by the Harvard Medical School and published in an article by National Geographic proved that while further research still needs to be done, telepathic functions do exist to an extent.
“Nowadays, more and more people are open to the idea of engaging an AC (animal communicator) — or even learning to be one,” says Ms Doris. Her students hail from all parts of the pet industry, from veterinarians to those working in the military K-9 unit.
TheHomeGround Asia sits down with Ms Doris to find out what it takes to be an animal communicator, the misconceptions about animal communication, as well as its very practical applications.
TheHomeGround Asia (THG): How did you come across Animal Communication?
Doris Lam (DL): One of my previous dogs had gotten very sick. The vet suggested that he undergo a spinal operation, but it came with risks. I couldn’t decide if we should go ahead with the surgery. So my vet told me, “why don’t you ask the dog?” I wondered, ”How in the world was I supposed to do that?” I am a dog trainer, so I believe in what I see — understanding an animal by its body language. When the vet told me about animal communication, I was very, very sceptical. But he had been with us since my dog was a puppy, so I trusted him. Not only was he a very experienced vet, but he was also a scientist.
So I engaged an AC from Hong Kong, and it was a mind-blowing session. What she told me was a hundred percent accurate. I had goosebumps because she said things no one could have known about. They were things that only my dog and I knew — what we used to do, what toys he played with, what he did at my wedding — things that no one would know about except my close friends. It was unbelievable, and that was the first time I came in contact with an AC.
Eventually, my dog died before the surgery and I was very depressed for a period after that. My AC saw that and she pulled me out from the depression. That was when I decided to pick up the skill with her. She was one of the most respected teachers I’ve ever had in my life. Sadly, she died a few years ago, and that was when I started teaching animal communication. I hope I can impart the skills she taught me to those who want to create a deeper bond between themselves and their animals, and at the same time, help those who need help as I did at that point in time.
THG: How does animal communication work?
DL: “Communication”, by definition, means “talking”. But the way we talk to animals is not by speech. It’s telepathy. Telepathy is a function in the brain — I’d say everybody has this function. It’s just a matter of whether you know how to make use of it. It is the transmission of information, thoughts, emotions, and ideas across two brains. We call it brain-to-brain communication.
In fact, there has been quite a lot of research done on telepathic function. Most prominently known is an experiment conducted by Harvard Medical School, published in an article by National Geographic. They experimented on a man and a rat, where the man tries to instruct the rat to wag its tail with just his thoughts. They had stuck a set of electrodes to his scalp to detect brain activity, and an ultrasound machine to detect that of the rat’s. The rat wags its tail 94 percent of the time. They managed to conclude that telepathic functions exist, and that information can be transmitted between animals and humans telepathically.
THG: Why do people engage ACs?
DL: Different owners engage ACs for different purposes. Most of them just want to have a chit chat with their animals. They want to understand more about what they are thinking, whether they like to eat a particular type of food, or whether they liked a toy that was recently given to them.
On the more serious side, people sometimes engage ACs when an animal goes missing to find out where they could have been to. We are not psychics — we will not know the exact location of your lost pet, like, “Oh, your dog is at Pasir Ris Street 5”. That’s not possible. But we are sometimes able to find out the landmarks that the lost animal had seen from its point of view, and pass the information on to the search party.
You can also make use of an AC during the final stages of an animal’s life. The owner might want to know what last wishes the animal has during those critical moments.
THG: What’s something that often comes as a surprise during a reading session?
DL: A lot of times, we realise that animals are not afraid to leave. They are more afraid that the owner is not able to let go. Often, they will tell the AC, “I will hang on because I think my mummy and daddy are not ready”. So we would usually tell the owners that if they are ready to let the animal go, to let them know, and they will go naturally.
I once did a reading of a dog at a boarding facility. The owner of this boarding facility engaged me because she found it strange that the dog was still hanging on to life despite not being able to move or eat well. She felt that there must be something that the dog wanted to do before it died.
After communicating with it, I realised that the dog wanted to meet a person. That person turned out to be its former owner, who, due to health reasons, was sent for medical treatment and separated from the dog. After putting up posts on social media, the dog was eventually reunited with its former owner. It died shortly after.
THG: What are some common misconceptions about animal communication?
DL: Many people think that ACs are psychics. This is a wrong perception. Psychics are those that can probably predict the future or know the past. We cannot. We are merely the middlemen between the owner and the animal, and can only convey messages between them. It’s nothing magical at all.
THG: So then, can anyone become an AC? What is required of an AC to do a reliable reading?
DL: Simply put, as long as a person is able to focus fully, he or she is able to “talk” to the animals. Nowadays, we are occupied by a lot of different things. We might be stressed or emotional at times. These are all obstacles in telepathic communications. This is why I focus a lot on calming the mind using meditation sessions during my AC training workshops.
THG: As an AC, how do you “receive” a reading? What’s the experience like?
DL: The moment your mind is calm and you’re connected with the animal, all the information will come to you, and you’ll know that it is coming from the animal.
It can be an idea or a thought that flashes across your mind. It can be in the form of an image — you will see pictures flash across your mind. It can be an emotion, or it can be sensational. You could feel happy or sad, or you could feel pain, ticklish, cold, or hot. It can be any form of information.
THG: Some people are sceptical about ACs. Has there been a case where an AC reading is inaccurate or unreliable?
DL: Just like with any trade, there will always be black sheep. When an AC reading is not accurate, it could be due to a lot of factors. It might be that the AC is not fully there yet, that they’re trying to pick up on how to concentrate, focus, and receive information.
It could also be a misinterpretation of the answer that comes in. For example, an AC friend of mine once shared about a reading she did. This woman wanted to know what her dog’s favourite activity was, and the image the AC received was that of a red sports car. So the AC told the owner, “I believe your dog loves to ride in your sports car.”
But the owner didn’t have a car, much less a sports car. The AC maintained confidently that that was the image she received from her dog. The owner was quite puzzled by the answer, until one day, she saw her dog and her husband on the sofa. Her husband was flipping through a sports car magazine and on the front page of the magazine was a red sports car!
She finally figured out that in fact, cruising in a red sports car was not her dog’s favourite activity, but the time spent with her daddy flipping through magazines was.
THG: Can an AC speak to any animal?
DL: Yes. I get approached by owners of dogs, cats, bunnies, hamsters, guinea pigs, chickens, fish, turtles, birds, and many more. The way you connect is the same regardless of the animal, but the answer you get and how you interpret it is different because different animals have different habits.
For example, if you see a dog tapping its feet quickly, it is probably excited and happy. But if you see a bunny putting its foot on the ground — we call it stamping — the bunny is angry.
THG: Are people more open to ACs nowadays?
DL: In the past, you could count the number of ACs in Singapore with both hands. But nowadays, more and more people are open to the idea of engaging an AC — or even learning to become one. It’s because they have tried it, and witnessed that it works, and found that it improves the bond between owners and their pets.
My students come from different parts of the pet industry. We have pet shop owners, pet boarding staff, veterinary students, doctors, and nurses, pet groomers, hydrotherapists, bird trainers, physiotherapists, nutritionists, and even those from the military K-9 unit. They believe that if they are able to pick up the skill of an AC, they would be able to connect with their animals and that helps with their daily work.
But one thing to note is that you cannot use an AC reading session to replace a trip to the vet, a trainer, or a behaviourist. For example, I had an owner ask, “Doris, can you ask my dog to stop biting people?” I told her that I can convey the message, but that this is not the correct way. Rather, I will ask the dog why he bites, and the owner can address that underlying issue with a behaviourist or trainer.
THG: Is there anything else you do not do as an AC?
DL: We have our own code of ethics and we do not do readings without owners’ permission, because many times, a lot of secret information will be passed on to AC from the animals.
For example, I was once told to ask the dog whether she has any messages for each member of the family in the household. So, when it came to the father of the house, the dog told me to ask him to stop smoking. To the family’s knowledge, the man had quit smoking a long time ago. But in actual fact, he had still been smoking in secret, especially when no one else was home but him and the dog. Because of my session with the dog, his secret was out!