Six weeks ago a new foster baby was brought into our home…a frightened, sandy blonde and cream-colored mini-Schnauzer, Maltese mix named Cletus. Riding home in the car with my friend, Lyn, another foster parent, I held little Cleet…Cleet in my lap. Each time I touched him, he cringed. He would not look at me. His eyes shared such a dreadful fear that I wanted to hold him closer, and when I tried, his horrified little body trembled. It was easy to see, Little Cleet…Cleet had been mistreated, abused and never cared for like animals deserve.
Arriving home that Saturday afternoon, he sniffed at our animals, Shakespeare, Sandy Bear, Shadow and Shasta. He rushed outside, watching us to see if we were coming after him. When I moved my arms out to pick him so he could come inside, he darted away. My husband watched him. “This little guy has been beaten,” he said. Cletus had such sadness in his eyes. Looking at him I wanted to scream at the person who had been so abusive to him, but I could not. Cletus had been removed from a puppy mill, emaciated, sick, covered with fleas and an eye infection. The infection was so bad the veterinarian caring for him was afraid he would lose his sight. Thanks to the loving care of the veterinarian’s office his eye sight was saved, but nothing could treat or remove the sadness those beautiful brown eyes expressed. Every day was a challenge with Cletus. I was told by the vets office that he might not eat around people, but in the dark of night, he would eat every bite, wanting more.
Week one of caring for Cletus was a challenge. That Saturday morning, I let the dogs outside early knowing my husband and I were scheduled to pick up another foster that afternoon. I poured a cup of coffee and went outside to get the dogs. All of our family of schnauzers and a Maltese rushed inside. I looked for Cletus. He was nowhere to be found. It was 7:30 in the morning. I had to get dressed and leave to drive to Charlotte. My heart ached for Cletus. I looked in every corner of the back yard. The shed door was open, so I rushed inside. No sign of him. I noticed a hole, freshly dug. My heart stopped. Cletus had escaped. I rushed outside, “Here Cletus…come here baby…” but I knew he would not respond. Cletus had made the decision to make his own life, away from humans. After all, in his little world, humans were mean…abusive, and they hurt him. He was taking a stand to his independence. He wanted freedom!
That afternoon we had another foster to add to our little family. We had fostered him before, so when he walked inside the house, he rushed to the water bowl and the toy box. Noting how familiar he was with us, I phoned Schnauzer Rescue of the Carolinas, to report that our new foster, Hank, was home…and I had some bad news to report. Tears filled my eyes as I told the director that little Cletus ran away. We called Mt. Pleasant Animal Control, but they were closed. A report was filed, but nothing could be done until Monday. 24 Pet Watch was called since Cletus was micro-chipped. The animal shelter was called. I made flyers, posting them within a five-mile radius of Mt. Pleasant. I felt so guilty. I have never lost an animal before. The independence of Cletus was teaching me a lot about what to do when an animal is lost.
For years, I have been an advocate for animals, especially abused, neglected, mistreated animals. In 2001, I was introduced to a giant schnauzer at a rescue center. He was scheduled to be euthanized because every time someone was interested in adopting him, they stopped the process because he growled. Meeting this giant beauty in June 2001, I moved closer to him. He growled at me. I moved closer, huddling on the floor to get to his level. Surprisingly, he moved closer and stuck out his paw, as if to say “Pet me.” My heart melted. Thus began my interest in rescuing schnauzers.
For 11 years, Prince Marmaduke Shamus touched my life. The day I adopted him I took off his leash in the foyer. Although he was not familiar with the surroundings of his new home, he marched into the hall, rushed towards the master bedroom, plopping his body down in the shower stall. When I found him, he wagged his tail, as if he was saying, “I’m home. This is my new bedroom.” We lost Shamey-Pooh on May 2, 2012, after a terminal diagnosis and illness. Words cannot express how empty I have felt since his passing.
My giant Shamey-Pooh taught me so much about rescuing animals and how to treat them. Now I am a volunteer foster for Schnauzer Rescue of the Carolinas. My life is blessed with richness when I see these scared little animals grow with love and trust with us. When they leave, I share a tear, knowing we have done our job well and a new home will be blessed with their new baby.
On Sunday, I received phone calls from neighbors saying they saw the little lost dog. He was on King Street. Next report was McCants Drive by Mt. Pleasant First Baptist Church. I searched. I walked. Deciding it might be easier to find him if I walked with my dogs while searching, I added Shadow and Shakespeare to the search, finding nothing. At night, I placed food and water on the front porch, hoping Cletus would find the scent of food and Shakespeare and Shadow and come back.
A few days later, Schnauzer Rescue suggested an animal communicator. I was totally unfamiliar with an animal communicator, but I wanted to find Cletus. An animal communicator was located and would assist SRC pro bono. Phoning Karen, the animal communicator, she spoke with kindness and compassion, telling me not to blame myself. Funny, she was picking up on my vibes, just speaking with me. She encouraged me to send a bit of history about Cletus in an e-mail. She would review it and phone me at 5pm today. I shared the history and photograph: Cletus is 14 lbs, a Schnauzer/Maltese Mix, and is missing. He is VERY timid, has been abused, and will run if frightened. He has never bitten but will growl if frightened. Speaking to him in a comforting voice and approaching from his level is the best approach with him.
I did a bit of research. According to the website, http://rainhummingbird.com/blog/animal-medicine-part-4-how-you-can-communicate-with-animals/
1. “Be Present, Calm and Emotionally Peaceful
The first step to communicating with any animal is to quiet your mind, relax and be fully present in the moment. Many people find it helpful to get themselves grounded by closing their eyes and gently focusing on their breath. Take a few deep breaths, relax, breathe normally and when you feel calm and present, begin.
2. Be Open and Receptive
Having an open heart and mind, free of judgments or attachments, is essential to receiving messages clearly and accurately from animals. It is important to recognize that all animals are sentient beings with intelligence, emotions and awareness, and when we are open to receiving their wisdom, there is much we can learn from them. Animal communication is not something to ‘try’ to do. It is something we allow to happen. Being open and receptive to whatever comes, in whatever way the information comes to you, will foster greater opening of your intuitive abilities and your ability to receive and transmit messages will expand and grow with practice.”
On the phone Karen shared how animal communicators use universal language, sometimes clairvoyant. The information comes in the form of pictures, stories, feelings, emotions, information. The communicator may get quiet for a few minutes to get the information soul to soul, an element of translation, If something is confusing or untrue, give her feedback. When quiet, be patient.
For hours I anticipated the phone call. Is Cletus still alive? What if this doesn’t work…what if he refuses to communicate with her?
The phone rang at exactly 5pm. She explained in detail what she would do. Then, she became quiet. I listened.
“Cletus took a talkative route from the front yard, took a turn to the right, walking along sidewalks. He said he was a bit curious; wanting to know what was out there. Cletus stated he isn’t doing so good. He’s confused. Lost. Curious as to what was out there, he walked on sidewalks. After two blocks, he ran from a boy. (I believe this was the boy who phoned me on Sunday at 4pm, telling me he saw Cletus at 3pm.) Now, Cletus says he is so lost. He is sleeping and hiding in shrubs, against a building.
Cletus showed her a big yard, or maybe a park with a bunch of grass. There are lots of trees, grass, kids. He hears machinery, maybe a lawnmower around. Maybe a groundskeeper doing yard work.” This could be Mt. Pleasant First Baptist Church!
Karen continued: “He hears voices. He says he’d like to go back. He said his curious nose got him in trouble because he smelled things and was so curious and ran away. He was a bit surprised that people are looking for him.” I encouraged her to share with him that we’ve posted flyers with his picture all over the area. He said he will look for them and he appeared a bit surprised/touched that we are looking for him. He liked the house, the people, and the other dogs, but he was so afraid. He said, “the people cared about me. The other dogs were teaching me, and I was watching all their actions.” He also said he really liked Sandy Bear.
Karen became quiet again. A few moments later, she said: “The big yard is mowed and immaculate. Kids were around earlier but they aren’t now. There is a little building around and a stream or a creek. He hears noises. Kids laughing, but he’s hiding in the bushes. He stated he has eaten. He found a sack with food in it. He ate a little. He found water from something dripping.” I asked her to tell him his foster mom is placing food out by the front porch of the house and other places so if he is hungry, come back.
We were encouraged to be flexible, when looking for him. If he runs, we might consider using a trap. The problem is I don’t know where to place the trap. I’ve placed a bag of food in the shrubs by the church. This morning, I did not see Cletus and no one I approached has seen him.
Karen stated that animals are visual. They see things as a movie camera in their heads. She encouraged me to get a leash (I have one in my bag when walking, searching for him). Let the dogs take me by leading the way. Each time I walk I use the command, “Let’s go find Cletus.” This morning, my dogs were searching in the shrubs with me. Obviously, my dogs understand what I expressed. Karen encouraged me to be open with my dreams. I mentioned that I have visions and fully believe in what she does. It was an amazing experience speaking with an animal communicator. If you lose an animal you might consider contacting one.
A week passed. Something was eating the food at night-time. Perhaps Cletus was coming back, just to eat. Another week passed. I stopped receiving phone calls from neighbors, although they were still looking. One neighbor asked for some of my flyers. She delivered them to grocery stores, hardware stores and community bulletin boards.
Every morning the food bowl was empty, but no sight of Cletus. I was losing faith. During this time I was sick with bronchial asthma. I was so weak, I could not walk the dogs or search in the community. Much to my surprise, we received a phone message while away. I didn’t have my cell phone with me, so I didn’t get the message on my phone until returning home. Phil’s cell rang, Mt. Pleasant Animal Control had found Cletus — three blocks away from our home. He found shelter in a woman’s yard. She left the gate open and Cletus rushed into the back yard. For three days he refused to leave her yard. She fed him and called Mt. Pleasant Animal Control. When animal control came to the house, we weren’t home, but our neighbor saw them, rushing outside. Cletus was inside a trap, emaciated and hungry. She agreed to keep him until we got home.
The joy and relief I discovered when we got home was priceless. Cletus looked up at us, allowing us to pick him up. Cletus was home. Emaciated, dirty, but home! All to the credit of an animal communicator named Karen, Mt. Pleasant Animal Control, my wonderful neighbor, and the precious little lady who allowed him to stay for three days in her back yard.
With each day, we see a bit of improvement with Cletus. He doesn’t come to us willingly — yet, but we are hopeful that with our love and kindness, Cletus will grow into a trusting little guy deserving of love from humans, not abuse. He doesn’t want to go outside now, in the dark of night. Perhaps he is discovering that home is a special place, filled with love and kindness. Welcome home, little Cleet…Cleet!