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News from Dr. Monica
The Pet Communicator
May 2014     
In This Issue
Living Happily Together
Adjustment in Fees
Dr. Monica Diedrich, The Pet Communicator 

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Every year around March, my husband and I go to Argentina, our country of birth. We visit family and places of interest, and I take the opportunity to present workshops and do consultations.

This year I had to travel a lot within the city of Buenos Aires taking several taxis along the way.

One of those taxis had an advertisement for a unique kind of zoo. It was called the Zoo Lujan, named after the city where it's located. But it's definitely not your ordinary petting zoo.

When I saw that ad, I immediately recalled an article one of my clients once sent me describing that zoo. The article talked about how you could interact with the animals and pet them and feed them. Oh, by the way, did I mention that the animal residents are wild... as in lions, tigers, panthers, bears, elephants, and other assorted wild animals!

The article also indicated that some people are fearful that the animals are mistreated or forced to behave in ways that are abnormal or degrading to them, and some groups want to have the zoo closed for those reasons.

Seeing the ad and recalling the article, I decided that I needed to go to Lujan and see for myself. I wanted to talk to those animals and experience their living conditions first hand.

What I found was completely surprising and delightful! And it was an incredible personal experience!

The animals who are living there are either abandoned very young, born in captivity, or they've been kept for a time as house pets, so they don't know anything about life in the wild.

At a very early age, often as young as 20 days, lion and tiger cubs are entrusted to the care of special foster mothers. These foster mothers are street dogs who are brought in specifically to "train" the big felines to act more like domesticated animals. They train by setting an example for them. In return, these former street dogs are given a safe home and regular meals.

A foster mom, who has puppies of her own, will teach the tiger and lion cubs to be submissive.  She'll show them how to gently use their paws, and most importantly their mouths, when playing with her, or with their dog "siblings."

With great interest, I watched as a small black lab (the foster mom) persistently kept after an 18-month-old white tiger until he finally did what he was supposed to do.

By the time these wild animals are three months old and no longer needing mother's milk, they're taught to get up on a metal/wood table and lie down every time they're fed. And for the entire time they're being fed, they're touched continuously, everywhere from their necks to their tails. If they seem to want it, the petting can even continue after the food is gone.

But the minute they're finished eating, or when they want the petting to stop, they know they can get off the table and go their way, and no one will touch them again until it's time for the next meal or snack.

At the age of six months, they're moved to different cages along with their foster mother dogs, but without any other sibling dogs around. From this point on, lions are kept with lions and tigers with tigers, but their foster moms are still there to continue guiding them.

Finally, when they're fully grown at about a year of age, they are moved into the huge cages with older lions and tigers. All of the big cats know, though, that the same routine still applies. When they get up and lie on the table, they'll be fed, and humans will touch them to comfort them and give them love while they're eating.

These humans are not just the trainers and staff either. They're the visitors to the zoo who are permitted to pet and even feed these wild animals under the supervision of the professional handlers. I did exactly that myself! I touched, petted, and even kissed these wild beings, and it was one of the most rewarding days of my entire life!

Of course, I took every opportunity to use my gift to communicate with them, and I found that they're such happy beings. They love their trainers and would do anything because they're asked nicely. None of them feel mistreated, afraid, or abused in any way. They understand the love that people are bringing to them.

But the most important thing of all... they know they can count on always being treated with respect and dignity. If they don't want to do something, all they have to do is walk away and their trainers understand. No animals are ever made to do something they don't want to do.

While living in captivity isn't a natural way of life for wild animals, in the case of wild animals who have been abandoned or born in captivity, or have spent the formative part of their lives being handled extensively by humans, captivity is the only safe type of environment for them. If they were released into the wild, they wouldn't know how to survive on their own. For this reason, the Zoo Lujan is a safe and welcome haven for these animals.

The zoo is only open for four hours a day, and all of the animals are rotated continuously so that no one becomes tired from being touched too often or for too long.

Click here to view some photos of my fantastic adventure!

Many of my friends who have seen the pictures of me with the lions and tigers think that I'm just sitting or standing near a stuffed animal. But I can assure you, they're very, very real! I respected and loved each one of them, and in turn, they gave me memories that will last a lifetime!
Living Happily Together

I received an e-mail the other day that included another heartwarming example of how animals of different species, who grow up together and are properly handled from a young age, can live happily together, love each other, and readily be touched by humans. In this video, the Rottweiler, the American Tabby Cat, and the little white rat are also busy showing the whole world how easy it can be to live in peace and harmony, no matter the differences among them.

You, too, can enjoy this video by using this link: http://biggeekdad.com/2012/02/dog-cat-rat/
Adjustment in Fees
On a practical note, my heart's desire is to continue helping as many people and animals who need me for as many years as I can, but after five years without any price change, it's finally become necessary to make an adjustment in the fees that I charge.

So, beginning now, a regular consultation will be $100 for each animal. Emergency and weekend consultations will be $150 for each animal. This small increase will be helpful for me, and I trust that it's an amount that will still be affordable for you, my valued clients. I sincerely look forward to being there to help both you and your pets for as long as you need me!
Until next time...

Love and Light, 

Dr. Monica Diedrich