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Rachael Millikan works mainly out of her Lynwood studio. (Image: Julie Austin Photography)

"Real Doctor Dolittle" says she knows what your pets are thinking

Like many only children, Rachael Millikan found companionship with her family's dog as a child. But unlike most young girls, Millikan learned she had the ability to speak with animals and understand what these creatures were really thinking beyond simply wanting a treat or needing to go on a walk.

Dr. Dolittle

Nicknamed the "real Dr. Dolittle," Millikan didn't realize she had a unique gift until she was an adult. She recalls being with a friend and correctly figuring out the age of a stranger's dog without asking (something she thought everyone could do). Her friend explained to her that she was differentshe was an animal communicator.

In 2010 Millikan started her business Beyond Barking, and started to promote her services professionally. Since then she's helped owners confirm a vet's diagnosis of where an animal was feeling pain, figured out why a dog didn't like certain people, and helped pinpoint what caused one woman's pet to start acting out.

How does she do it?

Millikan says she can speak to animals by coming into a meditative-like state and receiving images (clairvoyance), feelings (clairsentience), and words (clairaudience) from another creature. She also uses taste (clairgustance) and smell (clairscent).

"I may be talking to them about food, and ask 'Do you like your food'? I can get a really easy yes or no. In a situation where it's a no, working down to what kind of food they like, I may have them share a smell with me," Millikan said. "Smell is the least strong of everything [for me]. If I can't get a clear auditory, picture, or feeling, then I move into smell and taste."

Preferably with the help of a photo, Millikan is able to connect with an animal remotely without needing to physically be in the same room.

"There's not thinking involved at all. I just have a feeling--what does that feeling mean? What does my gut tell me?" Millikan said.

Although she feels she has a special connection to dogs, she says she can speak to any animal including cats, goats, horses, donkeys, and even fish. She has also communicated with animals that have passed away on several occasions.

Animals are just like people

Any pet owner knows that animals each have their own unique (sometimes pain in the you-know-what) personality quirks. Turns out, animals can be chatty or shy during Millikan's sessions as well, so she never knows what to expect or how much information she'll receive.

"These critters vary in personality, intelligence, willingness to communicate--shy not shy--all the things you know of people, they are just like that," Millikan said. "Sometimeswith a written session I'll have four or five pages. I'll ask a question and they justanswer the question then keep going. Others are very one sentence responseand don't want to interact. Like working with people, such a huge variety."

Become an animal communicator

Millikan believes that anyone can become an animal communicator with practice, and plans on offering classes to help others connect with their pets in the future. Here are a few tips she suggests:

  • Start by putting both feet on the floor to get grounded and connect with the Earth. Then, similar to when you go into Savasana (yes, corpse pose!) at the end of yoga class, you want to get to a state where you can let go and focus on your breath. This way, you're more open to receiving information, whether it be images, sounds, or smells.
  • To start, try asking your pet if they want to go for a walk or to bring a toy to you without speaking. Instead, send a picture of a harness or a leash. Open your eyes, and see if he or she responds like they normally would if you verbally asked them to go on a walk.
  • Are they running to the door excitedly? Success. If, on the other hand, they are happily snoring on the sofa, then you may want to try testing out one of the other five ways of communicating (pictures, sounds, smell, feeling, and taste) and see what works best for you.

How does your pet really feel about you?

Want to get inside your pet's brain and find out if they really love youor just that snack you're holding? Millikan is available for sessions via email, telephone, or in person at her studio in Lynwood or at your home. Learn more at her website Beyond Barking.

Millikan will also be available for animal communication sessions at Natural Pet Pantry in Kirkland on February 28 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Each 25-minute session will be $45.00, with $10 of the proceeds going to New Moon Goat Rescue and Sanctuary. Email her at to register for your preferred time slot.