ETHICAL MATTERS TOPICS
Code of Ethics
Animal Isn't Yours
Other Ownership Issues
Talking with Animals in Spirit
Animal Has 2 or More Owners
A Code of
Formulated in 1990
by Penelope Smith
Adopted by Nedda Wittels in 1994 when she
began her practice.
is compassion for all beings and a desire to help all species understand
each other better, particularly to help restore the lost human ability
to freely and directly communicate with other species.
honor those that come to us for help, not judging, condemning, or
invalidating them for their mistakes or misunderstanding but honoring
their desire for change and harmony.
know that to keep this work as pure and harmonious as possible requires
that we continually grow spiritually. We realize that telepathic
communication can be clouded or overlaid by our own unfulfilled
emotions, critical judgments, or lack of love for self and others.
We walk in humility, willing to recognize and clear up our own errors in
understanding others' communication (human and non-human alike).
cultivate knowledge and understanding of the dynamics of human,
non-human, and interspecies behavior and relationships, to increase the
good results of our work. We get whatever education and/or
personal help we need to do our work effectively, with compassion,
respect, joy, and harmony.
seek to draw out the best in everyone and increase understanding toward
mutual resolution of problems. We go only where we are asked to
help, so that others are receptive and we truly can help. We
respect the feelings and ideas of others and work for interspecies
understanding, not pitting one side against another, but walking with
compassion for all. We acknowledge the things that we cannot
change and continue where our work can be most effective.
respect the privacy of the people and animal companions we work with,
and honor their desire for confidentiality.
doing our best to help, we allow others their own dignity and help them
to help their animal companions. We cultivate understanding and
ability in others, rather than dependence on our ability. We offer
people ways to be involved in understanding and growth with their fellow
beings of other species.
acknowledge our limitations, seeking help from other professionals as
needed. It is not our job to name and treat diseases, and we refer
people to veterinarians for diagnosis of physical illness. We may
relay animals' ideas, feelings, pains, symptoms, as they describe them
or as we feel or perceive them, and this may be helpful to veterinary
health professionals. We may also assist through handling of
stress, counseling, and other gentle healing methods. We let
clients decide for themselves how to work with healing their animal
companions' distress, disease, or injury, give all the information
goal of any consultation, lecture, workshop, or interspecies experience
is more communication, balance, compassion, understanding, and communion
among all beings. We follow our heart, honoring the spirit and
life of all beings as One.
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Ethical Issue #1:
The animal is not yours.
is it appropriate and when it is inappropriate for a professional Animal
Communicator to speak to an animal who is not part of the immediate
family of the human client who is making the request?
Nedda comments: As expressed in the Code of Ethics, the goal of
interspecies communication is to promote greater understanding and
harmony, using compassion and non-judgment, and maintaining
When called upon to speak with an animal who used to
live with a client but no longer does, or an animal that belongs to
another adult family member, or an animal that lives with a neighbor and
seems unhappy or badly treated, the Animal Communicator must decide how
to apply the Code of Ethics.
I make it a general rule not to speak to an animal for
a client unless that animal is part of their immediate family. It
is then my job to help the client understand why I am taking this
I always assume my client has the best possible
intentions in making the request. However, I usually ask them what
their goal is in speaking with the animal and how speaking with the
animal will help accomplish the goal. Then we discuss whether my
talking to the animal will realistically help the client accomplish
their goal. If the client insists that it will, then I ask them to
secure the permission of the person whose animal companion it is.
If that permission cannot be attained, then I refuse to have the
For example, I recently was asked to speak with an
elderly dog belonging to the parents of my client. My client, a
young man, was concerned about the dog's health. When I asked the
young man how he would use the information, he admitted that his father
and mother would not be open to hearing what the dog had to say about
how he, the dog, is feeling, and that there was no way to help his
parents become more open to this information. His parents are also
not open to alternative healing and my client admitted that he was just
trying to allay his concerns about the dog's well being. I helped
him recognize that the dog and his parents probably had a spiritual
agreement to be together in this lifetime with all the limitations that
were built into the situation. My client then dropped his request.
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Issue #2: Other Ownership Issues
What if an animal had been placed with another
person and is now deceased? Is it okay to talk with the animal in
spirit without the previous "owner's" permission? Would
you have the same answer if, for instance, I wanted to talk with my
mom's or friend's dead cat without their knowledge?
me [Morgine Jurden], it would totally depend on "what" they
wanted to know. This subject came up with another student and I
several years ago on a animal communication chat group that I left. She
and I had been in Penelope's class together. We really disagreed
on this issue. I felt you had the right to talk to any animal walking
down the street, without the person's permission, IF you were asking
questions for yourself. "Can you tell me how to improve my skills?
Is there anything you would like to share to help me understand animals
better?" Things like this. My code of ethics prevents
me from asking questions about their home, their people, what they do,
if they are happy or mistreated, and so on, or personal questions about
their people's lives. I personally feel here I am invading someone's
privacy. I would not ask these questions of their own children in
general. Some people might, I would not. The breeder might
just want to know if they are happy now, where they are or if they will
return to them. I would not answer questions about their life with the
person in question, were they well cared for and things like that. I
would feel that was inappropriate myself. And that is just me.
comments: While I am in
agreement with Morgine's response, there are some additional aspects to
consider. I believe that animals are
sentient beings that nobody owns. Therefore, I have as much right
to speak with them as I have the right to speak to any human adult.
an animal answer a question just because I ask the question? I
have found that, during consultations, animals will often choose what questions they want to
answer. For example, when a rescued animal is asked about their life before
coming to a new home, they often do not want to speak of it. This
may be because it is an unpleasant memory, or because it is a happy
memory that is private, or because it may bring up sadness, grief, and
loss of that happy time, or because they want to live in the
"now" and consider the past as over and done, or there may be
some other reason. I
find that animals, like humans, just aren't readily to give me a core dump of their
feelings and other information just because I ask for it, even though
their current human caretaker wants the information.
What will I or
my client will do with the information the animal provides?. If
the information is likely to cause conflict between or among humans, it
should not be shared, not with my human client and not with anyone
else. Sometimes animals request that I keep certain information
confidential from the human who is paying me. To maintain the
animal's trust I
must honor that request. When someone asks me for
information that I anticipate may be sensitive, especially if the animal
has already said s/he doesn't want to talk about it, I let the client
know my policies. I believe in establishing
clear boundaries around what I will and won't do from the very
beginning. If the information requested is be to used to help with
emotional/physical healing for the animal, it may, indeed, be useful,
but confidentiality must be maintained. Of course, if I can
persuade the animal to share the information, I do share it.
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Issue #3: Talking with Animals in
what point it is appropriate for an animal as a spirit/soul to talk with
us freely, if ever? After they pass over, are they fair game for
anyone who wants to talk with them, and no need for anyone's permission?
I think it depends on the person asking the question [says Morgine
Jurden]. I have had a few times [when] someone wanted me to ask about their
life with a certain other person. They wanted to know how the
person treated the dog, cat, bird, if they were nice, if they ever
abused them and so on. I refused [to do the session], without the
other person knowing, whether the animal was alive or in spirit.
This has happened with divorce and separation cases. Once I explain,
most people tell me they can understand.
also cannot claim 100 percent accuracy. Some of what we receive is
"subjective" and we could be giving information which might
wrongly impugn someone. A dog, for instance, might think he was be
wrongly punished, not understanding his person's anger for tearing up
the entire home, while he [the person] was gone, while he [the
dog] was just "having a good time"....big grin!
if I am the communicator myself and I am not working for anyone else,
then it is my own call. I tend to believe whatever I "do"
comes back to me, so I like to honor privacy when possible simply
because I appreciate my own being honored!
comments: I , personally, have very strong
feelings about the right to privacy. I find that many animals also
have ideas about what is private and what isn't. This is one
reason I suggest to new clients that they verbally tell the animal we
are going to have a session beforehand. This gives
permission to the animal to speak to me freely and not to feel they have
to protect their human friend. Of course, some still do tread
lightly, not wanting to create controversy and/or wanting to protect
their human. Part of my job, then, is to reassure them that their
human does want to know the "truth" about their feelings and
to share them with me. I tell them that I have no judgment in this
and that my job is to help them and their human companion to communicate
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Ethical Issue #4:
Animal Has 2 or More Owners
What about when an animal is co-"owned" (as is done in the
show world), and one owner wants to talk with the animal but doesn't
want the other owner to know, or the other owner isn't okay with this?
honored colleague replies:
[Morgine Jurden] have dealt with this when one person owns the dog and one person
shows the dog for them. It was a sticky place to be.
this case] the
trainer was really attempting to resolve a behavior problem she thought
was manifesting at home and not in the ring as the owner assumed. She
wanted me to ask the dog some personal questions about its life at home.
I refused, since they did not know about the consultation (nor believe
in this kind of thing), and it was not her dog.
Eventually I was
able to come up with a resolution. I talked to the dog and asked it
about its life at home in very general terms, nothing personal. In
this sharing I discovered a fear. I did not know where it originated
from, the dog just shared it with me. I was then able to share the
fear alone, which helped the trainer resolve the issue. She was not told
where it came from, who was responsible or anything like that. She
just needed to know what might be causing the problem so she could help
address it and know if her intuitive hit was right, which in this case it was.
I just would ask myself... can I truly remain in
"integrity" doing this? If I were either one of these owners,
how would I feel if this was done and I did not know about it. To
me it would be like one person wanting vaccinations and the other not.
So one goes ahead and gets them without telling the other person.
What you communicate to the animal and the person is going to
"change" something ...smile. If it feels good, then you
can proceed. However if there is doubt, go with the doubt.
great deal of what professional Animal Communicators do is facilitate a
process between the human, the animal, and sometimes other people and/or
animals. The abilities to be compassionate and non-judgmental are
essential in this work. These qualities mean that everyone
concerned must be treated with the same respect and fairness. Many
professionals, such as myself, work with Higher Guidance in all aspects
of their service, and therefore, maintaining the highest integrity is
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