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Code of Ethics

Animal Isn't Yours

Other Ownership Issues

Talking with Animals in Spirit

Animal Has 2 or More Owners


A Code of Ethics for Interspecies Telepathic Communication
Formulated in 1990 by Penelope Smith

Adopted by Nedda Wittels in 1994 when she began her practice.

Our motivation 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.

We 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.

We 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).

We 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.

We 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.

We respect the privacy of the people and animal companions we work with, and honor their desire for confidentiality.

While 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.

We 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 available.

The 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.

When 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 privacy. 

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 position.  

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 conversation.

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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Ethical 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? 

An honored colleague replies:  For 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. 

Nedda 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.  

Will 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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Ethical Issue #3:  Talking with Animals in Spirit

At 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?

An honored colleague replies:  Again 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.  

I 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!  

Now 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! 

Nedda 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 better.

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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?

An honored colleague replies:  I [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.  

[In 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.

Nedda comments:  A 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 essential.

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2000, Nedda Wittels.  Last modified: June 29, 2015
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