What do service dogs, therapy dogs and emotional support dogs all have in common besides being…well…dogs?

By MANETTE KOHLER, DVM

Word is out around Milwaukee. There’s a cute new gal with blonde, curly hair working at the Hilton Milwaukee City Center. It’s Millie, the canine concierge. At just one year of age, Millie, a mini Goldendoodle, is very popular and regularly receives emails and comments via the hotel website, great Trip Advisor reviews, and dog treats, sweaters and toys from adoring fans (aka hotel guests). Her proud owner, Rusty Dahler, the human concierge at the hotel, was thrilled to share Millie’s story with FETCH readers.

“Last fall the idea for a ‘hotel dog’ began to circulate,” says Dahler. “A great idea never happens easily,” he adds. “It takes a lot of determination and hard work.” He set to work finding just the right dog for the job, researching breeds and talking to breeders and decided on a smaller, non-shedding dog with a phenomenal temperament. Millie, whose name represents Milwaukee (first and third syllables), fit the bill perfectly. Born September 13, 2016, Millie went home with Dahler at eight weeks of age and by ten weeks was spending a few hours at a time at the hotel. She now spends 40 hours a week in the lobby and hotel, brightening the day for guests and employees alike.

As one would guess, training has been and continues to be a focal point for Millie. Dahler explains that it’s been a lot of work to train a puppy in such a large hotel and to teach her all the things she’ll need to learn including not jumping on guests and coming when called. Holly Lewis, a Certified Professional Dog Trainer and owner of Cold Nose Canine, has worked one-on-one with Millie as well as in group classes. “Millie’s private lessons are focused on specific skills that Millie utilizes at the hotel,” says Lewis. “Millie learned to stay out of specific areas of the hotel as well as showing guests where the restroom is from the concierge desk.” The “say hello” cue directs Millie to the check-in line where she greets guests. She may even bring along her favorite ball for someone to throw.

Other important tasks include riding luggage carts up to the rooms for deliveries and standing proudly on the podium at the front door, smiling and wagging her tail as guests arrive. “On the flip side,” adds Lewis, “it is really important for her to remain in tune with Rusty so she does not wander off and get distracted with a guest. Recall and focus are important points of Millie’s training.” The need to be able to easily adapt to the fast pace and changing environment of the hotel lobby is the biggest goal, according to Lewis. “There are always people and animals breezing through the lobby and it takes a special dog to be able to handle the activity,” says Lewis.

“Millie has changed the environment in our lobby by 100 percent,” shares Dahler. He knew she’d have an impact on the guests, but he never guessed the impact she’d have on the employees. They stop by the desk to share phone pics of their dogs and love on Millie as if she were their own. Fellow co-worker, bellman Jack Wood says, “Being able to experience Millie’s friendly and playful personality is the reason both myself and the guests keep coming back to see her every day.” Millie takes all the attention from guests and employees in stride, and that’s part of what makes her so special. “She gives a lot to her work,” says Dahler. She’s petted hundreds of times per day, often awakening from a nap because an eager guest really wants to say hello.

Like any hard working employee, Millie deserves and enjoys her time off. “Home is her restful space where she can do what she wants to do when she wants to do it,” says Dahler. “She enjoys walks on Brady Street, playing with dog friends at Pulaski Park and dog training classes at Cold Nose Canine,” he adds. She also enjoys the company of Oliver and Rose, Dahler’s two cats. “Oliver and Millie love to hang out and tussle together while Rose enters in only when she thinks it appropriate.” As for toy preferences, the more squeakers the better, but long toys she can play tug with are also preferred.

Dahler explains how rewarding it’s been to see her progress and to hear guests comment on how well-behaved she is. “She has brought smiles, laughter, and even tears to many within her short time here and we can’t wait for more of this to come as she grows older with the Hilton Milwaukee,” shares Dahler.

For more info check out “Millie At The Hilton” on YouTube; on Instagram at “hiltonmilwaukee” and on Facebook at Hilton Milwaukee City Center.

By STACY KRAFCYZK

It is very difficult when our animal friends leave their physical body and leave us here on earth without them. They form such a deep and healing bond with us that once they’re gone, they sometimes leave a hole and void in our homes and hearts. It is important to remember that animals come to us for healing and teaching as much as we go to them. More and more people are sharing their experiences, visitations and dreams of their animal companions coming back to them in the spirit form to say hello and make their presence known.

From the animal communication perspective, the soul never dies. It continues on in the spirit plane—some call it heaven—where it continues to help its human friends on the earth. Some even choose to be reborn into another animal body down the road, whereas others may remain in the spirit plane assisting us from that level.

Animals have shared that being in the earthly form of an animal is very heavy, dense and challenging for them to fully assist their human companions in their life. In the spirit form, they are limitless—evolving and helping us in so many ways—so it’s hard to be fully aware of “how” they’re assisting us.

It almost seems like they can move mountains for us, sending us the perfect new animal friends to join our pack, to make amends with friends or family members that were once estranged and even helping us find the right home. There are so many powerful validations of animal friends still helping from the other side.

One client shared that they waited until their dog passed away to move because they didn’t want to stress their dog out. Once the dog passed on, they moved within six months. The woman swore it was her dog that helped! The husband, a non-believer, saw footprints in the snow that started and ended in such a weird place that even he knew it had to be his dog. That night, the husband had a dream in which his dog said telepathically that he liked the new house and then happily trotted away. The husband woke up in tears with a heart full of love knowing his buddy saw the move and chose to visit the new house. This was all validated in the communication session, but the best part for me was that the people “knew” it before they even contacted me. I was able to validate that for them by what their doggie companion relayed to me. Beautiful!

Ways They Visit Us

One way is in dreams. We are the most open and least skeptical in our dream state. That’s why so many people receive “visits” this way. People tend to wake up very emotional and touched knowing in their gut that their animal friend came to them. Even people who don’t believe in an after-life will become believers once they’ve had an experience that I call “visits” from the other side.

Other experiences may be hearing their toe nails on the floor when no other animal is around or seeing a flash out of the corner of your eye. A person may even experience being touched, poked or even feel a pressure next to their body that can’t be explained. Some may hear tags jingling but no animals moving or walking around them. Or perhaps you just wake up and feel the animal’s presence next to you where they once laid. If a person keeps their animal’s picture displayed, or if they have a memorial set-up in the house, sometimes those objects move without anyone touching them. There are many amazing stories of this happening.

Another great example is in the vehicle:
You might hear noise in the back but have an empty car. A song may come on the radio that reminds you of them. Their leash or collar may be moved somewhere in your vehicle where is wasn’t prior. Sometimes your current animals won’t jump into the car because the spirit of the previous animal isn’t letting them in.

I’ve had several readings where people wonder why their animal is no longer jumping into their vehicle. Well, it’s because their previous animal used to do that when he or she was alive. So we would have to tell them to “stop” and allow the current animals into the vehicles. It’s the old analogy of “play nice guys.” It’s been quite comical and touching for clients because they feel funny saying those words out loud.

Some clients have also found feathers, coins and other weird items along their walking paths, at the dog parks, doggie daycares, vets and other locations that make them know their animals are still present. Other people have had magical experiences with butterflies, hummingbirds, dragonflies and birds acting strangely around them. Even landing on the tree or bush they planted for their deceased animal where they have never seen one there before.

When people who are grieving ask for signs, they come in many forms. We just need to be more aware and present in the moment, but it is hard not to feel like your drowning in the grief and pain. Each day, little by little, the pain will lessen, and you’ll begin to see signs regularly. Try to write them down when you begin feeling lonely or down, read the paper and warm your heart all over again. Savor these magical moments for years to come.

I’ve seen, felt and experienced great reunions of animals and souls, known or not, helping animals transition to the light (or heaven) that it brings tears to my eyes to witness such love, compassion and healing. Plus, it gives their human companions great comfort knowing that their transitions weren’t lonesome and that they were greeted by loved ones in the spirit plane.

There are so many examples of our loved ones and animals coming back to visit, and I’ve shared just a few. So pay attention when you receive little nudges from heaven. Remember that once our animal friends leave the physical, earthly realm, there is a grand celebration and reunion on the other side. Even our animals and human friends who have previously passed greet the new animals.

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By STACY KRAFCZYK

Animals come to us for healing and teaching just as much as we come to them, however it’s on a much deeper scale than we know or can imagine. These animals are able to reach us at a depth that most humans are unable to access. Why? Because we feel safe with animals—safe to love them and safe to be loved back. This is an unconditional love that is very challenging to find and keep between human beings. That’s why when we lose our animal friends it is such a devastating loss and can be even more painful than losing a human family member.

Many of us have closed off our hearts due to hurt or betrayal caused by another. Sometimes even a devastating loss of a beloved animal or family member can cause us to “shut down” and deter us from wanting to love again.

However, when a new fur friend comes to us or we go out seeking one again, we slowly begin to open ourselves up. And depending on the demands of our new furry friend, we may need to stop what we’re doing and squat, sit, lay down or figure out what they’re trying to tell us. That’s when the magic begins to happen.

Not only do they look at us in our eyes, but also into the depths of our soul. No matter if you think you’re intuitive or not, it doesn’t matter because anyone who shares their life with an animal companion is already communicating with their animals subconsciously. It’s the energy you feel when you look into their eyes and your heart overflows with love. It’s the animal’s smirk that makes you laugh. That’s the magic.

First, make yourself open and ready to receive the message. Our animal friends are constantly trying to help us and heal us simultaneously. Other times, we are doing that for them. For instance, if they’re sick or not feeling well, we try to cater and baby them back to health. If they’re mad at us, and we all know when they’re mad at us, we try to sweet talk them by promising extra walks, treats, etc. The connection is so deep and so important to us that we don’t always realize what exactly we’re doing for them, but if we slowly begin to observe how we’re responding and/or behaving towards our fur babies, that opens up the door allowing the magic to seep in.

When it’s our animal friends’ turn to heal their humans, they turn on the healing magic when they lay by us while we’re sick or happily greeting us at the door if we’ve had a bad day. For example, a cat may lay on someone’s chest purring away day after day until their human is up and moving. Or a dog may lay by their person’s feet on the bed until they feel better. Some animals may lick the tears rolling down their humans face. Animals just know how their humans are feeling, physically and emotionally, so it’s no secret. They always know!

And we usually always feel better once we see, hug and kiss our fur friends. That’s more magic! Every little instance and interaction has a touch of magic for you both. You may not even see it at the time. Even when they chew up your shoes or get into the garbage, they’re trying to speak to you. So just sit down, breathe, close your eyes and take a second to pull yourself together so you may calmly figure it out. I’m not saying it’s easy, but it will help you to observe, reflect and possibly understand the animal’s message in the good and or uncomfortable situations that may arise.

Secondly, accept the message. Animals are great at pushing us to change. If you’re a hermit and don’t like to socialize but then get a very active and social pup, the pup is helping you to get out and mingle. Or if you’re an uptight person and you get a funny, comical and humorous animal that makes you laugh a lot, it’s for your own good. Maybe you have sworn off all animals and even people, but this little critter shows up at your door and slowly weasels its way into your heart forcing you to open it up again. Our journey here on the earth is to love and be loved, and our animal companions are able to assist us with that.

Keep in mind that if you have multiple animals around you, each one will have a different lesson it’s teaching you or will be helping you to heal differently. Most of the time, it’s going back to heal your heart and soul on many different layers. Take a few moments to observe, not judge, your animal friends, and begin to think of what that particular animal companion has taught you or helped you with.

You may know immediately their purpose on why they came to you, and with other animals it may take a few days to reveal itself, especially if you have intense and nervous critters. So be patient and allow the universe to bring you and your furry friends together in time. There may be a lot to learn and much to heal.

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BY STACY KRAFCYZK

Animals are very sentient beings, like little psychic sponges, they are very sensitive and in tune with their environment and their people. It is very common for animals to pick up and take on their human’s emotions, the energy of their environment and begin to take on physical ailments that are not their own, whether intentional or unintentional.

A lot of times people will contact me because their animal companion is acting out or acting strange and they want to figure out what’s going on. While I am communicating with the animals, they quickly turn it back to their human companion and help guide them to what’s going on within or around them that is the true issue or cause of the animal’s behavior.

For example imagine they are like a child. Negative attention to them is attention, and they need it for the next step of their growth and healing (so do the humans in the house).

If their human companion has health issues, their animals can “mirror” that. If the owner gets cancer, the animal gets cancer. If the owner has diabetes, the cat gets diabetes. Their human friend has an injury; the animal has an injury similar to their owner. Sometimes the human and animal have the same disease, but the animal eventually succumbs to it whereas the owner lives. The animal took on its human’s illness to save them so their human companion can live out their purpose. “Mirroring” the energy or emotion of the human or environment is how the animal communicates what needs attention and this happens very frequently in the animal communication sessions.

Witnessing this as an animal communicator, it’s very common that the dog will mirror emotional issues such as fear, abandonment issues, distrust, anxiety, worry and other common negative emotions. Animals are brought into our life for healing and teaching us as much as we are for them. So they are capable of highlighting an issue and mirroring back to us what needs to be healed. As their humans, it’s important it begin to correct and heal that pattern. Sometimes we need professional help to change that pattern or just need to become more mindful of it while beginning to make necessary changes.

It’s not a reflection of us being “bad humans or companions” to the animal but more of an awakening that the animal is able to give us, whereas if another human brought it up to our attention it’s less likely to make as big of an impact on us. We’ve all come to this planet to help each other heal, grow and evolve. Animals tend to reach places in our heart and soul that we would not allow other some people access to. They’re helping us to wake up and point out what is not working right now. It may be a little uncomfortable to hear at first, but then after that it becomes a very empowering experience and deepens our bond to our animal friend.

Another important note is that therapy dogs are very in tune and sensitive to the people and the environment they will be visiting, including in-home therapy dogs. Whether it’s for hospice care, veterans, any type of rehab, visiting children, all that energy adds up and takes a toll. Over time it can weigh on them physically and energetically almost like they’re depressed. The glint in their eyes disappears, and they no longer want to jump in the car to go. They dig their paws into to the ground as if you can only drag or carry them into the facility, or they hide under desks.

If we can learn to clear their energy field before and after the therapy session, the dogs keep their energy clear and light and then are able to be a dog and let their work go.

One client’s therapy dog said it no longer wanted to work in hospice and now wanted to work with children. The dog said it’s happier energy and lighter and the dog felt more in alignment on its purpose. Death and dying was too hard for the dog. It was too heavy and sad.

How we process and release energy is by going for a walk, a drive, calling a friend, yelling, crying, screaming, breaking things, etc. Animals don’t have as many options. They’ll process and release their energy or frustration by being destructive, excessively licking, chewing, running and eating things they normally don’t. With animals it tends to build and build until they ultimately do something very destructive or have a health crisis. That’s why it’s important to clear your own energy, the animal’s energy field, their environment and your vehicle (if they go to work with you).

This comes up a lot in animal communication sessions on a regular basis. Your cars, home and work environment all need to be energetically kept clean so that your animal friend doesn’t have to take that on, whether it’s by choice or not. You should communicate to the animal exactly what is going on because they know but would like details.

Examples of When to Clear

After doggy day care, the dog park, the vet, a death in the house, a dog fight, a job change, a move, a divorce, adding on to the human or animal family, health crisis and the list goes on. Anything that feels like there is a lot of negative energy or chaos needs to be cleared. A chaotic environment can make for a chaotic animal.

How to Clear & Shield the Animal’s Energy Field

There are many ways, but here are a few tips. You can use a spray bottle with an essential oil to mist over and around them, in the car and at home. Some animals don’t like the misters so you can spray it on your hands, rub your palms together and gently stroke down their body with the intention of clearing their energy field. Play a cleansing CD at home and in the car by Mitchell Gibson from iTunes or Amazon.

Play soft and soothing music for your animals and visualize a protective bubble of light around them from nose to tail, from tips of ears to the bottom of their paws. State the intent, “only love and light may penetrate this bubble” and use prayer while burning sage.

Cleansing all of those on regular basis is very important for a healthy and balanced animal. Depending on what’s going on for the human or animals it may be needed more frequently until things begin to calm down. It may seem silly, but clearing energy for the animals will make a big difference. It helps both the humans and animals.

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