“Who’s Charlie Brown?”
The question seems innocent enough, yet it gave me a wicked case of the goose bumps.
It started when a press release came across my desk for a psychic health fair that was coming up in Fremont. The notice said there would be an “animal communicator” there, in addition to a medium, card readers and a palmist, among others.
The thought of being able to communicate with animals piqued my interest, and I decided to find out more. I made a few calls and finally connected with Laurie Smothers, of East Toledo. We were both a bit skeptical. She wasn’t sure she wanted to have a story written about her and her “gift.” I didn’t really have a firm opinion one way or another about whether or not it is possible to communicate telepathically with animals like Dr. Doolittle, but I was intrigued with the idea.
Laurie and I made preliminary plans to get together and talk. I had intended to bring along one of my two Golden Retrievers to meet Laurie, but I reconsidered based on their size and their penchant for creating a giant ruckus wherever they go.
Plan B was to ask one of my many animal-loving co-workers to bring in one of their four-legged friends to the office. After some discussion and debate, one colleague said she would bring in her Jack Russell Terrier, Charlie, who seemed to have suddenly developed a fear of boys. Good – we wanted an animal with “issues.”
That evening, I called Laurie to finalize arrangements for the interview the next day.
We talked a little about how she came to be an animal communicator. Though she always had a special connection with animals, it didn’t occur to her that she had a special gift until she was older, she said. “I never really thought about it - I just assumed it was the same for everyone.”
She said she was able to tap into the energies of animals that were with us, as well as those who had “crossed over,” adding that she has also been able to communicate with humans who have passed away.
“This is how it works,” she said. “Say we sit down for a reading and you show me a picture or you have your animal with you, I tap into the animal’s energy and I get the information – sometimes I get a mental picture.”
She recalled working with a therapy horse in Gibsonburg who had started tensing up with riders. “When I met the horse, I got a mental picture of a strap being too tight, hurting its belly,” she said. “They changed the strap and didn’t have any more problems.”
Then there was Savage the spaniel, whose family was concerned about his “off” behavior. “They were in the area visiting family from the state of Delaware, and they came to one of the psychic health fairs to see if I could talk him and find out what was going on.
“I met Savage and told the couple they really needed to stop fighting in front of the dog – it was making him crazy,” Laurie said. They admitted they had indeed been bickering in front of Savage.
“I also told them Savage really liked the new treats they’d been giving him and he wanted some more,” Laurie said. “They were a bit confused until they remembered that the dog had gotten up on the counter and gotten the pork chops they we were having for dinner.”
People who seek her services generally are looking to get to the bottom of behavior or health problems, or to find out if a beloved pet who has passed is at peace.
She recalls one woman who had to euthanize her beloved dog. “She was so torn about doing this. She knew in her heart she was doing the right thing, but when you have animals, and you love them so much, it’s hard,” Laurie said.
“She contacted me by e-mail and she wanted to know if she made the right decision,” Laurie said. “I prayed and I tapped into the dog’s energy and what he was showing me. I’ve never been to her house, but I saw the dog playing in the back yard by her shed and he was so happy she freed him from the pain.
“The message for her was, ‘Look, Mom, I can catch the squirrel,’” Laurie said.
What about the skeptics who say one can say that about anyone dog that has passed – that now the animal is happy? “That’s fine – everyone has his or her own beliefs,” Laurie said. “I’m not out to change anybody’s mind. I’m just here to be me and if I can help you along the way, fine.”
I was about to ask her another question when she interrupted me.
Don’t think I’m crazy
So if I asked you, and don’t think I’m crazy, because I’m not, who is Charlie Brown, and I don’t mean the cartoon?” Laurie queried.
“Oh my gosh,” I said after a long pause. “Well, I don’t know about Charlie Brown.”
“Ok, then who’s Charlie?” she asked. “All I know is, when you called me, the name Charlie came to me.”
Knowing there would have been absolutely no way for Laurie to know that Charlie the Jack Russell would be coming in to meet her the next day, I was speechless.
When I told her about my co-worker’s Jack Russell, she said matter-of-factly, “Oh, OK – that’s who Charlie is.”
Before we could resume the conversation, she said, “I’m also seeing a gray cat, one with long hair. Its name is Smoke or it’s the color of gray smoke,” she said.
Unable to think of any gray cats that might have crossed my path over the years, I dismissed it and we talked more about our interview the next day. When one of my dogs barked, I apologized for the interruption. I mentioned how my Melody had grieved so terribly when her lifelong canine buddy Casey died a couple of years ago.
“Do you have a brown chair?” Laurie asked. We had, in fact, just recently purchased a gigantic brown leather sectional sofa, with a comfy chaise on one end.
“The one that’s crossed over hangs out in this chair,” she said. “I’m seeing a brown chair and a Goldie is sleeping in that chair.
“She hasn’t left you.”
The next morning, when I arrived at the office, Laurie was waiting, chatting it up with Charlie. As we entered the office, I noticed that another colleague had a picture of his cat on his computer screen – a smoke-colored gray cat, just as Laurie had described the evening before on the phone.
After further communication with Charlie, Laurie said Charlie had been scared by a teenage boy. “Someone tried to kick him,” Laurie said. Charlie’s owner said she’d keep an eye for anyone who might be frightening the pup.