Dog psychic who can read your mutt’s mind: Don’t scoff — RACHEL HALLIWELL put her cockapoo on the couch and was given paws for thought
- Jackie Weaver discovered her psychic gift 15 years ago after she survived cancer
- Former veterinary nurse, 57, has helped celebrities understand their pets better
- Rachel Halliwell reveals the outcome of a session with her cockapoo and Jackie
An awkward silence hangs in the air as I wait for my two-year-old cockapoo, Buddy, to explain why he won’t stop tormenting the cat.
We’re in separate armchairs in the garden sun lounge of animal communicator Jackie Weaver (same name as the council clerk who became a viral sensation, but no relation).
Jackie, 57, has agreed to facilitate a heart-to-heart between Buddy and me so we can discuss this, and other bad behaviour, via her psychic ability to read pets’ minds.
This sounds bonkers, I know. But a team of German scientists recently announced that dogs seem to be capable of knowing what their owners are thinking. Researchers from the University of Gottingen conducted an experiment that involved passing treats to various breeds of dog through a gap in a transparent wall.
Rachel Halliwell reveals the outcome of trying to understand why her two-year-old cockapoo, Buddy, won’t stop tormenting her cat in a session with Jackie Weaver. Pictured: Pet psychic Jackie with Buddy the dog
Each time they’d drop them before the dog snaffled them — sometimes clearly deliberately, others as though by accident. The dogs’ body language showed they knew when they were being intentionally deprived.
If dogs are clever enough to grasp that humans act according to conscious intention, then maybe they can communicate with us on a deeper level, too? OK, that seems a stretch, but I’m a sucker for a bit of pet psychology and would love to understand Buddy better. He’s a lovely boy, but sometimes his behaviour lets him down.
He was only six months old when Covid struck and, like so many lockdown dogs, he missed out on puppy training classes. And it shows. He rears up at traffic, charges around the garden barking his head off for no apparent reason, and our poor cat, a tabby called Georgie, is so fed up with being chased that I’m worried she’ll leave home.
Meanwhile, Buddy’s presence at family barbecues has become a source of tension — if he isn’t stealing burgers, he’s trying to hump my mother-in-law’s dog, a diminutive eight-year-old Jack Russell called Minnie who doesn’t like that one bit.
My husband says Buddy needs to go back to puppy school, but with science apparently on my side, I want to try talking some sense into him first.
Which brings us back to Jackie, a former veterinary nurse, who discovered her psychic gift 15 years ago after she survived cancer — stage four non-Hodgkin lymphoma — an experience that, she says, helped open her mind.
Jackie is used to her psychic powers being mocked, mainly by strangers who post unkind comments on social media.
But she says she doesn’t care, because she’s helped hundreds of people like me — along with celebrities including the famous hypnotist Paul McKenna and TV presenter Holly Willoughby — to understand their pets better.
Jackie, who charges up to £85 for a remote experience, discovered her psychic gift 15 years ago after she survived cancer. Pictured: Jackie and Rachel with Buddy
Normally, Jackie works remotely, looking at a photo of the animal and tuning into their thoughts, which pop into her head as pictures, feelings and words.
A phone session costs £75, and it’s £85 for a webcam chat, which seems expensive for a remote experience.
Jackie even claims she has an ability to converse with dead pets, who send words of comfort from the other side. She also counsels bereaved owners who want help dealing with a form of grief society doesn’t always recognise.
Thankfully, Buddy is alive and well, and she’s agreed to dial into his thoughts at her North Wales home in person so I can see how it’s done.
Right now, that seems to mainly involve Jackie gazing skywards. Buddy appears to be dozing, but it’s clearly all going on in that furry little head of his because Jackie suddenly starts smiling as a message telepathically comes through.
‘No harm done,’ she tells me, insisting those are Buddy’s words, not hers, in response to me asking him to stop chasing the cat.
She says Buddy would never hurt Georgie; it’s all just a game to him. I’m sure that’s true, but she should point out that it’s annoying and disruptive to have my own Tom and Jerry careering through the house.
Jackie suddenly bursts out laughing. Apparently, Buddy’s just said: ‘Tell the cat off then!’ She describes him lying down, minding his own business, with the cat slowly walking around him goading him to give chase.
Jackie, who also counsels bereaved owners, claims Buddy would never hurt cat Georgie; it’s all just a game to him. Pictured: Jackie and Rachel with Buddy
Along with sending her that image, Buddy’s also declared that Georgie is five now and should know better than to tease him like that. It’s true, Georgie is five and the scene Jackie describes has played out many times in our house.
I do forget what a tease the cat can be. I’m still trying to work out how she might know any of that when Jackie goes quiet again.
Now she’s imitating Buddy pawing at something high up, and asks whether he does this while crying. Yes, daily, I tell her as I picture him at the fence at the bottom of our garden trying to look into the field behind.
‘He’s trying to see the horses,’ I explain, and Jackie asks whether that’s part of his running around like a mad thing routine. Yes, it is.
Apparently Buddy’s now showing her a horse that has an unusual black and white pattern. Which is unnerving, because the horse guaranteed to set Buddy off wears a ridiculous black-and-white zebra coat.
‘He’s telling me that’s his friend,’ Jackie explains, adding that Buddy seems upset because they can’t get to each other any more.
Oh boy. When Buddy was a puppy this horse would reach down over the fence and nuzzle him. But last summer the farmer who owns the field cordoned off a paddock, meaning Buddy can still see the horses but not interact.
I haven’t got a clue how Jackie could know any of this. This is the first time we’ve met following just a brief phone call. We live an hour’s drive apart, I don’t go on social media and she knows nothing about my life or anyone in it.
Jackie told Rachel that Buddy growls when anyone tries to lift him because someone squeezed him too tight when he was being passed around as a new puppy. Pictured: Jackie and Rachel with Buddy
Jackie thinks the charging around and yapping is just his way of saying hello to an old pal.
Wow. OK, maybe I can let that one go. But what about the unpleasantness at family gatherings? There’s no point even trying to reason with a dog when it comes to food, says Jackie.
And when I bring up the humping, all Buddy has to say about it is ‘I’m allowed’, words Jackie says he keeps repeating, along with an insistence that he’s just being playful.
We conclude that because Minnie’s coming into his garden, and he’s had the chop, he’s trying to be dominant rather than frisky. ‘Hang on,’ says Jackie, before going into another reverie. Moments later, she says she’s explained to Buddy that when he tries to hump Minnie, Minnie feels upset, the same way he does when people try to pick him up.
Earlier, I told Jackie that Buddy growls if anyone but me tries to lift him, which she said was because someone squeezed him too tight when he was being passed around as a new puppy — although he diplomatically didn’t name names.
My in-laws are due over the next day, and Jackie says putting Minnie’s feelings into context should make a difference. We’ll see.
Finally, I broach his dangerous behaviour around traffic. ‘He’s saying, “It’s their fault,” ’ says Jackie, who thinks Buddy is struggling with the noisier roads now lockdown has been lifted. Apparently, he feels me hold his lead that bit tighter on street walks and blames my tension on the cars.
Jackie suggests always putting myself between him and the traffic to make him feel safer, which seems sensible. She adds that she’s told him that picking fights with cars will only get him hurt.
On that note, we head home. That evening Buddy doesn’t chase the cat, which could be down to tiredness from his trip, but is a welcome break from the madness either way.
Rachel said Jackie is charming and makes you feel like she really is conversing with your pet, but she can’t say if Jackie actually read Buddy’s mind or not
A week on and he’s back to being silly around her, but I’m sterner when he looks like he’s about to give chase, and he seems to at least try and hold back. Unless she’s been teasing him, in which case I leave them to it.
Most shocking was how good he was around Minnie the next day, politely following her around the garden with no shenanigans. Logic says he’s just got used to having visitors after so long without anyone being allowed to come over. But who knows?
The traffic remains a problem, as does the begging for food. It looks like we will have to go back to obedience classes for help with that after all.
Meanwhile, as I write, I can hear Buddy barking loudly as he does laps round the garden. But I can also see his friend with the zebra coat is in the back field and suddenly it doesn’t seem half as annoying any more.
Would this have been worth the money? It was an enjoyable experience — Jackie is charming and makes you feel like she really is conversing with your pet, which I think would also have been the case with a virtual session.
Whether she actually read Buddy’s mind or not, I can’t say. But what she said about the horse doesn’t half chip away at any scepticism.
Either way, I’ve come away at least feeling like I know my boy a bit better which is, of course, what every pet owner wants.
Pet Grief: How To Cope Before And After by Jackie Weaver (£6.99) is out now.
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