Ever wondered what your pet is thinking? Does it have a particular request for dinner, or stories to tell? Well, here’s your chance to gain some insight.

On March 9, there is a workshop on animal communication instructed by Andrea Schlupp and Alison Zeidler at the Heart of Riverdale Community Centre.

We tend to anthropomorphize our pets, but most would agree that they do seem to have a way of communicating with us that we often don’t understand. Years ago I realized that while I was training my dog, she was also training me. Some days, I think she’s done a better job, too.

When I meet with Zeidler, she tells me a few things my dog would like to communicate.

“She says she likes salmon,” says Zeidler. “And she says she’s a bit lonely sometimes and would love to have another animal.”

I point out that she was a service dog for my wife who’s deaf.

“She says a cat would be a good compromise,” says Zeidler.

I haven’t broken down regarding my dog’s salmon dinner order yet, but I agree with her idea for a cat. I doubt management would agree, though.

As a veterinarian, I’ve heard people say that pets don’t lie about their health, so they must be easier to diagnose.

The reality is that animals lie all the time.

They know what will get attention. A little limping may get a good rubdown, or feigning hunger will get an overweight pet extra treats.

My dog will sit in front of the fireplace and shiver until I finally break down and make a fire for her. It’s her way to communicate and one that I’ve learned to recognize. Sometimes she’ll do this on a warm day, just to keep my training up.

You’ll learn that there’s a huge medical benefit to learning pet communication skills. When is an animal in discomfort or pain? How do you recognize when this is happening? How can you tell how effective your treatment is? A simple dilating of the pupil of the eye will give a huge clue about what your pet is feeling. Vocalizations can mean many things and while the words aren’t there, the communication certainly is.

They can let us know how they feel, what they like or don’t like, and even comfort us when we’re down. There are amazing stories about this.

They can even tell some stories about us that we’d rather not be re-told.

My favourite book is The Silent Miaow, translated from Feline by Paul Gallico. A manual for kittens, strays, and homeless cats, it tells how to train your human and live in a human world. Cat lovers already know the power of The Silent Miaow.

The Introduction to Animal Communication takes place from 9:30 a.m. until 5 p.m. on Sunday, March 9 in Riverdale at 38A Lewes Blvd, second floor. For more information or to reserve a spot, contact Alison Zeidler by phone 335-0078 or by email elementalholistictherapies@live.com.

And no animals allowed at the workshop – we don’t want them to know we’re onto them.