Animal communicator Samantha Khury
When animals speak, Samantha Khury listens
by Bondo Wyszpolski
Many of us speak to our pets, and probably all of us have spoken to an animal at one time or another, half-expecting it to understand what we’ve said. However, it’s that half-expectation that implies our conversation is really just one-sided. We don’t truly believe the animal understands and can reply in kind.
Manhattan Beach resident Samantha Khury would have us think otherwise. As an an animal therapist and communicator, she contends she can tap into the minds and the emotions of other species.
Her one-hour documentary, “I Talk to Animals: A Portrait of Samantha Khury,” has aired on PBS and BBC, and can be viewed YouTube.
She’s also appeared on television shows hosted by Diane Sawyer, Regis Philbin, and Phil Donahue and she’s lectured throughout the country and in Europe.
People reach out to her because of their concern for an animal in their care, often a cat or dog, but also birds and horses and other creatures big and small.
He liked it by the window
Most commonly, a pet exhibits what we call “bad” behavior, such as soiling the carpet or chewing the pillows. To change that pet’s behavior, Khury says, it is imperative to make clear to the animal what we want it to do. People are usually focused only on the negative. “We don’t give them an alternative behavior that works for both the person and the animal.”
And to convey that message? This is how Khury goes about it:
“First I quiet myself, and then I acknowledge that this being has intelligence. I don’t know what the level of that is; all I know is my job is to acknowledge that each being on this planet is an intelligent being within its species. And because I don’t have a belief system that cuts off that communication, then this is what happens.”
She points out that we tend to associate intelligence with brain matter, but that “thought is radically different than brain matter.”
That observation was in reference to a box with a scorpion inside that a boy showed her when Khury lectured at a school in Escondido.
She could tell the scorpion was not enjoying himself, so she asked those gathered around to send a loving thought to the creature. At the same time, Khury was wondering exactly how she was going to handle this. Even for an animal communicator with four decades of experience one imagines that getting into the head of a scorpion is hardly an everyday occurance.
Nonetheless, she did, suddenly finding herself in the mind of the scorpion, which conveyed that its terrarium had been moved from the window. “You moved him,” Khury told the boy, “and he’s not real happy about being in this other location.”
The kid was astonished. Khury then told him the scorpion knew he wasn’t liked by the boy’s mother but waves aside this revelation because, after all, few mothers approve of their child’s scorpion. She pauses. “What I love is when an animal gives you something that there is no way you could have known… That is the clincher.” In this case, it was Khury’s telling the boy the scorpion loved his red-orange water dish and the bit of food that looks like ground hamburger.
She said the boy replied, “How do you know he’s got a red-orange water dish and I give him ground-up hamburger?”
When she communicates with animals, it’s not like conversing with them in Spanish, Japanese, or English. Clearly, it’s at some deeper or more encompassing level.
“I think all animals are visually oriented,” Khury says. “I think that’s how they communicate with one another.” For her to reach them, it has to be telepathically, or mind to mind, and it’s not limited by proximity. In fact, Khury says, “More than half of my clients are long distance.” Khury will be sent a clear photograph of the animal, and will focus her thoughts upon it to learn what is going on inside the animal. Then she’ll convey her findings to the client, who can take the appropriate measures to assist their pet.
Animals need assurance, but there’s another important factor: “Love connects you to the animal, soul and personality,” Khury says. She mentions a cockatiel that escaped its owner’s home and flew high into the branches of a nearby tree.
We may think, “Oh, that bird is now defiant and turning up its nose (okay, beak) at any efforts to retrieve it.” But this wouldn’t necessarily be so. The bird is likely fearful, having known only its cage or perhaps only four walls and a ceiling. And so, Khury says, “Connecting (with it) is the first step. The second step is you have to give the bird clarity on what to do.” Wouldn’t we also need the same calm advice if we suddenly found ourselves stranded on the ledge of a 20-story building?
Khury’s suggestion is to go to the tree and try to meet the bird halfway and to take its perch along, “but to keep thinking, over and over, that the bird is going to stay in the tree and start climbing down… Being able to be visually clear, action-oriented to help your animal, is extremely important.”
This is something, in various permutations, that Khury circles back to time and again. It’s a kind of creative visualization that is not only used to assist animals in peril or animals that are sick or injured, it’s also utilized, as mentioned above, to convey what behavior is desired rather than stress what behavior is unacceptable.
If we want our pet to do its business in a certain area of the backyard and not, for example, on the welcome mat, one may have to picture over and over what the correct behavior is and even put oneself in the animal’s shoes, so to speak, by visualizing the exact steps: going over to that area, squatting down, and releasing the contents of yesterday’s meal. Again, clarity of purpose for the animal, visually repeating what we want it to do, and of course patience:
“We’re impatient people and we want it now. So this exercise has to be done on a regular basis, maybe when you’re brushing your teeth or taking a shower,” Khury says. “Think about (being) Rover going outside and pooping and peeing in that location. Say the animal’s name; that’s important too. Keep doing it and then relax about it.” Also, avoid mentally dwelling on the old behavior for the simple reason that doing so could negate what you’re trying to replace it with. After this, Khury adds, picture that it’s a few years later: “Your dog has been going to that space and you’re telling your next door neighbor how you corrected the problem.”
At last, someone apologized
“What I’ve tried to create in my environment,” Khury says in “I Talk to Animals,” “is a working relationship with all species.” I’ve mentioned her conversation with a very small creature, a scorpion, so let’s head to the other end of the spectrum and find something a little bigger. How about an elephant?
For many years, Khury has been working on a book to be called “Beloved Animals: I See What You Say.” Originally, HarperCollins was interested, and they provided someone for Khury to work with. However, “The writer didn’t have the emotion,” Khury says. “And then the writer I picked, that lady wrote it in too cutesy a style. They didn’t like it, and I didn’t like it.”
This episode begins at the San Diego Zoo and Khury is in the elephant enclosure. After being in communication with the elephant she starts to back away.
“I thought our conversation was finished,” Khury says. However, “She follows me and hits me twice on the side. The keepers push her back, and they tell me to stay back. I know she’s not going to hurt me and I tell them it’s okay; she has something to say, and she tells me that I rudely walked away.
“I’m devastated that I did that, that my behavior did that,” Khury continues, “and I apologized to her for what I had done.” What happened next was that the elephant went down on her knees and placed her head on the ground.
“I knew she was bowing before me because I apologized to her. She’s 75 at the time, and no human had ever acknowledged that she was intelligent or apologized for their nasty behavior towards her.”
Crying, Khury put her arms around the elephant, “And she takes me in my mind to a place that we as a human species haven’t gotten to yet regarding forgiveness.” The animal surrendered any and all resentment. “We always hold on to some little part of it, and she didn’t. I could feel the incredible love she had not only for me but for the human species. And I thought, There’s so much we need to learn.”
After the elephant stood up, Khury asked her what she wanted to communicate, and it turned out to be that her feet were hurting badly. The keepers were stunned, but now they knew what the problem was and the animal received proper treatment.
That’s quite a tale, but few of us have scorpions or elephants. This is where the stories of Samantha Khury’s many past and present clients come in.
From skeptics to believers
Michele Fleury and her girlfriend at the time had a rescue dog named Levi. “He was amazing in most every way,” Fleury says via email, “except he would not leave the house with me alone. He would cower and shake and run back inside if I tried to take him for a walk.”
He would, however, walk with the two of them, just not alone with Fleury.
After three months of this, they contacted Khury.
“Samantha told us that Levi felt more comfortable with my ex because she looked like the first woman who had him as a puppy.” Not only had that woman treated Levi well, she was dark-haired as was Fleury’s ex. Fleury herself was a blonde. It’s not mentioned, but perhaps someone who mistreated Levi was also blonde or of a light complexion.
“Samantha explained (to Levi) that I was not trying to take him away and that I was also his mom and his forever family. He was safe and didn’t need to be afraid.
“We got home,” Fleury continues, “and after an hour I told him we were going to go for a walk. Instead of shaking and cowering and running, he happily walked to the front door with me. I put on his leash and off we went like it never was a problem. And it never was again.”
Fleury adds that after this mutual interaction with Levi and Khury, which took place in 2004, she took several other pets to Khury as well.
“She has told me things about my homes that she could never have known. She has told me about events and incidents that happened with the dog that she could never have known.
“She’s the real deal,” Fleury says. “We went in as skeptics and came out as believers.”
In December, Angel was “walking strangely” and Rutherford took her to the vet, “where she got a clean bill of health except for some kidney insufficiency which was due to her senior age.” However, at the beginning of March the cat had what Rutherford thought was a seizure, “writhing on the floor and flipping from her left side to her right.”
Rutherford gave Khury a call requesting a long-distance session. She then sent a photo of Angel, and later that evening Khury called her with her findings.
Khury discovered “a sharp, hot, stinging pain on the left side of Angel’s neck that would correspond to C3-C4 vertebrae in humans.” Apparently she had a pinched nerve, which, with an unusual turn of the head, could result in extreme agony. This explained the “seizure.” Khury also pointed out that Angel was experiencing some nausea.
Options were discussed, and Rutherford chose to take Angel to a chiropractor. The man was not informed about what Khury had found and conveyed.
“He told me that Angel’s axis (neck area) was tilted, which could cause a pinched nerve on his left side… He then told me that he found a subluxation lower on her spine that he would adjust. Knowing that chiropractic also affects internal organs, I asked him it if was related to her kidneys. He said, ‘No, it’s related to her digestive system.’”
Which explained the nausea that Khury had detected.
The result, at least as of a couple of weeks later, was that “Angel has become more relaxed and basically back to a younger version of herself.”
One more for now:
Suzane Piela’s dachshund, Daisy, was diagnosed with Suddenly Acquired Retinal Degeneration Syndrome, which is a complicated way of saying that she was going blind. “The news was devastating and heartbreaking,” Piela says. “Daisy was vivacious and fearless, the love of my life and constant companion.”
The specialist who examined Daisy said animals easily adapt to this condition, words which Piela found insensitive: “They have no human voice to express fear, frustration, worries, or anything. At that moment, Daisy and I slipped into being students learning how to maneuver through this challenging change for both of us.”
Khury spelled it out: “You’re going to have to be Daisy’s seeing-eye human, physically and energetically. She relies on two senses, visual and smelling. To navigate being blind, she has to develop all her sensing systems. You have to help her.”
And this is pretty much what Piela did.
“Crawling on hands and knees in our condo I learned how Daisy tried to mentally navigate, causing confusion, sadness, frustration, nausea and headaches. I had to learn how to feel space, when something felt close or distant. I had to perceive objects and forms differently. I had to grieve the loss of her visual freedom as well as my own emotions around it. Working with Samantha, it took about a year for Daisy to see through her senses and to return to fearlessly living her life.”
Writing through her dyslexia
“Beloved Animals: I See What You Say” isn’t quite yet out of the starting gate, but almost. Books don’t usually take two to three decades to complete, and to an extent Khury is fortunate in being able to write one at all.
“From the time I was little, I’ve wanted to be able to write,” Khury says. “I used to pray, God please give me a brain that works. I’d hear stuff and I’d want to hold onto it and put it on paper for people and I couldn’t.
“When I was teaching and traveling, people would ask me, ‘When are you going to do a book?’ And I would think to myself, I wish I could, if only I could I’d love to be able to…”
The difficulty that Khury had was more severe than most of us can imagine.
“In my 50s (she’s 75 now), I gave up asking and praying that my brain could make a change, that I could grasp what I hear in my head and be able to hold it long enough to put it on paper. I didn’t expect that would ever happen”
For instance, making a phone call, Khury had trouble dialing. In her head, she couldn’t hold more than one number at a time.
In Brazil she paid a visit to the renowned healer, John of God, and he “connected something between the right and left hemisphere of my brain.”
That’s not to say she suddenly became another Simone de Beauvoir. It was a long climb up, “taking me through first grade, second grade, third grade, fourth grade, fifth grade, in learning how to write.” Not just grammatical stuff, but literally conveying to the page the full extent of the thoughts she wanted to express.
Her written communication may have misspellings because of the dyslexia. However, her vast improvement has enabled her to write the book the exact way she’s envisioned it.
“Now I have nine chapters completed,” Khury says. “Each one starts out with a poem and then a story. The first three chapters are about my journey.” She begins with a tale about a pheasant: “I actually became a pheasant, and I had a complete out-of-body experience.” Chapter two focuses on Wags, a dog that, not knowing better, peed next to a young girl, and had to be informed this wasn’t proper dog etiquette.
“The third story is when I got angry with God,” Khury continues, because she had this ability to telepathically send messages to animals but not the ability to understand how she received them in return. For five years she’d been asking for divine guidance: “What is the mechanics of receiving? I was teaching how to send, and everybody was asking, ‘When are you going to do a class on receiving? We want to know what our dog is thinking about.’ And I’d say, I don’t know. And I would ask in prayer, ‘How do I do this? Take me behind perceptions that aren’t mine, breathe clarity upon my mind.’ So that chapter’s about how I actually do it.”
The next few chapters approach different aspects of behavior, using specific stories to illustrate how that type of problem or issue was resolved. For instance, what if your pet goes missing? What can you do to get it back, other than to staple “Lost Cat” or “Lost Dog” flyers on neighborhood telephone poles?
Another concern, which can arise when people have multiple pets, is jealousy. Human beings aren’t strangers to it (think sibling rivalry), and pets are also subject to this unhealthy emotion. It’s another case where Khury has had to step in as an intermediary, the cause of which is often a simple misunderstanding that has gotten out of hand.
“Then I’m going to do an epilogue,” Khury says, “and talk about how this book for me was working through my fear and the challenges of reading and spelling and doing it, regardless. At times, especially if I was tired, I couldn’t even write the word ‘the’. It would go backwards, and most of the stuff I did was backwards.”
Her clarity of the visual, aligned with a perception of the sensory and emotional state of her subject, has helped many of Khury’s clients. Linda Jablin explained to me that Lola, her labradoodle, was diagnosed as a picky eater by her vet. She only wanted to eat chicken, but was allergic to it. Also, she’d take food out of her black food dish and eat it nearby. Meanwhile, the dog was skinny and losing weight.
Jablin sent Khury a photo of Lola. What Khury was able to discern was that Lola, probably as a puppy, had a bad experience with a black food dish. Thus, by association, she was ill at ease with the one Jablin was using. This is what Khury saw. And so Jablin replaced the black dish with a little white one, and that solved the problem.
Jablin points out that Khury, by way of tapping into Lola’s thoughts, was able to describe her house and her mother’s house next door. She has nothing but praise for Khury, and echos what Michele Fleury had said: “She’s the real deal.”
When people are taken to see a doctor, or taken to the hospital, they usually have a general idea of why they’re going. That’s not the case with cats and dogs, who presumably sense that the vet’s office is not exactly where they want to be. So they become fearful. And then the owner often leaves.
With dogs, at least, the fear is that they are being given away because of some unacceptable behavior. What did I do wrong? And then, of course, there is that trip to the vet where the ailing and/or aging animal is to be euthanized.
“They don’t have a concept of death,” Khury says, noting that she tells people they need to explain to their pet what is taking place: “You’re going to get a shot, you’ll spin out of your body, you’ll see your body, and then you’re going to get to run around. That’s the truth… You’ll see me but I won’t be able to see you, honey. I still love you…”
Khury emphasizes how important it is to prepare the animal, to reassure it and to alleviate its fear. The animal needs to hear that although its body may remain behind, its spirit is going to get back into the car and come home again.
Khury had an Irish setter named Star. After Star died Khury, like most pet owners, was inconsolable. In the depths of her grief she began to hear “Say my name out loud.” She tried to suppress these thoughts, telling herself, “Sam, get yourself together; he died, stop this, stop it.”
“And then I’d hear, ‘Say my name.’ So finally I just burst out crying and saying, ‘Star, honey, I know you’re here; I can sense that you’re here.’ And then what I heard was, ‘It’s devastating to exist one day and the next day you do not exist.’”
What Khury is saying is that while we love our pets while they’re alive, we often let go of that love as soon as they die. There’s something, some thread, that we disconnect, whether we realize it or not. In form and out of form, the animal must be loved unconditionally.
Forever yours, love Buddy
Lastly, Khury tells me about Buddy, a labrador retriever, who told her about his life and his human family, “and how he felt like he was more of a person, not a dog, and that they took him everywhere.” One of the highlights of Buddy’s life (which ended at age five-and-a-half) was when the family — mother, father, and daughter — would make popcorn and watch television together. Later on, the family didn’t do this as often, and Buddy missed it.
Michelle Harwin, Buddy’s human mother, described Buddy’s final days to me in great detail. To begin, in medias res, Buddy was diagnosed with spindle cell sarcoma of the spleen, a very rare form of cancer.
Various remedies were attempted, and perhaps they did delay the inevitable.
“I did not know where to turn,” Harwin says. Then she recalled a friend who had taken her sick dog to an animal communicator. “I remembered my friend telling me how this lady had described everything that was going on inside the mind of my friend’s dog. The animal communicator was Samantha Khury.”
Buddy was losing weight, not eating, barely drinking. “I knew one thing,” Harwin says. “I did not want him to suffer.” She contacted her friend for Khury’s phone number.
Later, after the initial telephone consultation, Khury asked to see Buddy in person, and so Harwin, with her daughter and Buddy, drove to Manhattan Beach. “When we stepped inside the front door there was a feeling of total tranquility… She asked us to leave him with her for an hour and that she would explain to us when we came back what Buddy had said.”
Apparently, Buddy had quite a lot on his mind.
“Samantha told us that Buddy had described his life to her,” Harwin says. “He had said that he knew how much we loved him and that he never felt like he was a dog. He saw himself as our other child. He told her that he went everywhere with us. He referred to us as ‘we, the four of us.’”
From what I can tell, hearing his story described first by Khury, and later by Harwin, Buddy wasn’t exaggerating. He definitely was part of the Harwin family’s inner circle.
He also sensed that something bad, or at least transitional, was coming down the pipeline.
Khury learned, Harwin says, “that Buddy was scared and sad as he had seen how upset we were when we looked at him, and how much we had cried over the last week. She said that he did not want to leave this earth feeling like this and that he would go when he felt tranquil, happy, and at peace. He did not want us to be anxious and he did not like causing us so much pain.”
If you’ll recall, I mentioned how much Buddy enjoyed “movie night.”
After returning home that evening from Khury’s house, Harwin says, “we decided that we would do something special for Buddy and watch a movie and make popcorn. This was something we had not done for a while as we had sold our previous home and moved into a rental property. Little did we know that it was the last night we would all spend together.”
Afterwards, Harwin announced to her family that she was going to sleep downstairs on the sofa rather than upstairs in her bed. Her daughter said she would sleep downstairs as well, followed by her husband’s decision to join then: the parents on two sofas, the daughter on a bean bag, and Buddy under a table but somehow surrounded by them.
“Samantha had told us that Buddy would probably leave this earth on his own, without the need to euthanize him. She said that we would know when it was time, and that when it was time we should tell him to go into the light life and that we would see him again.”
Later, Harwin awoke with a jolt. “I had been saying in my sleep over and over again, ‘Go into the light life, Buddy, go into the light life, and I will see you again.’”
As it was still dark, she went to turn on the light in the hallway. “Suddenly I heard my husband telling me that he had put his hand on Buddy, and that Buddy felt cold. I walked towards Buddy to cover him with a blanket. It was then that I discovered that he no longer had a heartbeat and I knew that Buddy had crossed over the rainbow bridge and that my life would never be the same again.
“My beautiful boy was gone. He had chosen to go when he felt safe, happy, and at peace, surrounded by the warmth and love of his family.”
Is it possible that Khury expended so much energy helping others that she ignored her own health, and then suffered for it? After all, it’s no great secret that energy expended must be replenished, but it appears that Khury didn’t replenish herself fast enough.
“All those years trying to save the animal kingdom from physical and emotional abuse burnt me out,” she says frankly, in an online post. “I got very sick. I kept pushing myself to keep going when my physical body said stop. I ignored all the signs.”
How severe was her illness? Bad enough to interrupt her life’s work, which resulted in a lingering depression and a sense of failure.
“At 75,” she says, “I’m literally starting over. Literally. All of my nest egg is gone, it’s done, it’s finished.” During her illness, much of that nest egg must has gone towards paying rent for the home she’s lived in for a quarter of a century. And rent in Manhattan Beach doesn’t stand still; it only creeps upward.
Last summer, as she began taking stock of her situation, Khury started a go-fund-me page. She wanted the financial pressure to be lifted in order to complete her book and then initiate the dream she’s been nurturing since she was about eight years of age: to build an Interspecies Communication Institute.
This recurring dream was of an elderly woman climbing steps and approaching a big glass door with “a huge, carved, round wooden door knob, with every animal carved in the wood.” The old woman would then look at a plaque on the side of the building, and Khury would wake up crying. Was she, perhaps, seeing her future self?
“At that time I didn’t even know I could talk to animals,” Khury says. “It was just a dream I’d have on a regular basis.
“I know that I have at least 10 good years. I know my job is to get that center built and to inspire people.”
Considering that Khury spent five years setting up programs (including a school in Sweden) to train and certify people to become animal therapists, this dream of hers is hardly a pipe-dream. She knows how to do it, and she’s mentally equipped to make it succeed. “I want to be sure that intuition and sensitivity are valued as equally as reading, writing, and arithmetic.”
As she also points out, “This is a new frontier for us. We’ll do anything for the animals we love. And if we do anything for the animals we love, then maybe we’ll do anything we need to do to love one another, to change our combativeness.”
As Khury’s health has improved, she’s also been able to revisit that childhood dream.
“Now I have a new vision of being inside the building. I’m back to teaching, which I love. There are huge screens on the walls with different countries participating in animal communication. Students are learning to value their intuitive skills in order to receive information from other species as well as using these alternative ways to communicate with autistic children.”
When her well-being was at its worst, Khury stopped seeing clients, but having regained much of her strength and energy she hopes to again share her unique skills with others. She is initiating two separate workshops (as well as offering private sessions). Those dog and cat stories recounted above? Those of us with troubled pets may now know what we can expect to learn.
Khury’s “Animals Communication” workshop is a problem-solving clinic for those whose pet has a specific problem, whether it’s scratching the couch or soiling the carpet. The pet owner will learn how to convey nonverbal communication so the animal will understand what behavior is expected or desired. The class goes from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and is geared towards 10 to 15 participants. What’s necessary to bring is a clear photo of the animal companion as well as a short description of the issue that one wishes to see resolved.
A second course, this one lasting six hours, is focused on interspecies communication. It’s
in two parts — How to Send and How to Receive.
One might want to know, is there a difference between communicating with a cat as opposed to a dog or other creatures? “There is no difference,” Khury says. “About half of my clients have cats. All animals that I have worked with, I use the same skills.”
For those people who remain uncertain, there are the online videos, especially the rather thorough “I Talk to Animals: A Portrait of Samantha Khury.”
The revival of her classes and the forthcoming book should enable Khury to move closer to fulfilling her dream, that of establishing a Center for Interspecies Communication. “The Institute’s ultimate goal,” she notes, “is (to foster) peaceful co-existence with all species by expanding animal communication, compassion, love, and to value our unique difference, be it human-to-animal or human-to-human.”
Few dreams seem more noble than this.
Animal therapist and communicator Samantha Khury can be reached at (310) 374-6812 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. ER