GivingAnimalVoice.org (GAV), a non-profit organization, was founded in 2021 to provide shelter animals access to professional animal communication services.
In 2019, our founder, retired lawyer Denise Nestel, adopted Darby, a 13-month-old dog from a rescue. Unlike the previous 5 dogs she adopted over the years, this dog didn’t “settle” into its new home. Instead, he continued to exhibit high anxiety behaviors. Efforts to alleviate his anxiety with training and various calming supplements had a nominal impact. In 2020, Denise discovered the profession of animal communication when she saw a video of a professional animal communicator who asked animals questions posed by their humans and then conveyed the response to the humans. In each case, the communication benefitted both the animals and the humans.
Based on that video, Denise hired professional animal communicators hoping to receive information that she could use to alleviate her dog’s anxiety. During the communication sessions, her dog revealed past experiences that “explained” his anxiety, including the lack of any opportunity to socialize with animals and people. That information led to intentional changes in their daily routines, trainers and training methods, and his diet, which significantly alleviated his anxiety.
Denise recognized the potential for communication to benefit animals in shelters.
- As an enrichment practice, animal communication has the potential to contribute to multiple enrichment goals such as cognitive stimulation, reduction in stress behaviors, improved behavioral and emotional health, allowing animals more control over their environment, and improved socialization.
- Animal communication can obtain information that may not be available from any other source, which may prove useful to shelter staff in making decisions about care for those animals.
- Animal communication also can improve the animal’s “adoptability” and its life after leaving the shelter by providing information useful in optimizing placement with compatible adopters.
She approached a rescue and shelter to see if each would be interested in participating in a pilot project to assess whether providing animal communication could improve the shelter animals’ well-being and could provide information that would be useful to shelter staff.
Read about the pilot projects and results here. Positive feedback from both pilot projects led to the creation of GAV.