Pet whisperer

One of self-described animal communicator Jackie Larocque’s most recent victories was to purportedly bring a wayward cat back to a Delta, B.C., woman’s home.

Jackie Larocque calms Duncan while grooming him at her Sylvan Lake studio Wednesday.

Jackie Larocque calms Duncan while grooming him at her Sylvan Lake studio Wednesday.

SYLVAN LAKE — One of self-described animal communicator Jackie Larocque’s most recent victories was to purportedly bring a wayward cat back to a Delta, B.C., woman’s home.

Larocque, a 45-year-old wife and mother of three who runs a dog- and cat-grooming business in Sylvan Lake called The Garage Dog Grooming Shop, says that through a meditative state in which she combined feelings, sounds, mental pictures and words, she was able to convince Smudge to return home despite the temporary presence of three kittens who he felt had usurped his place.

“A lot of it is like dealing with kids,” Larocque said on Wednesday while taking a break from grooming a chihuahua-yorkie cross named Vanna in her garage.

According to media reports, the Delta woman is happy with the service and is planning to take a course in animal communication herself.

“You know some people call it animal communicating, some people call it intuition, there’s all sorts of different names for it. There’s always been people out there who have a way with animals,” said Larocque, now in her third year in Sylvan.

Larocque has been grooming animals for 15 years, and has been a professional dog trainer and behaviouralist for 24 years, she says.

These days, she does 20 to 30 cases a year and finds clients through referrals from some friendly vets in Calgary or through word of mouth, as was the case with Smudge, she says. Her work is a mix of in-person get-togethers with pets and wildlife, and what she describes as long-distance telecommunication.

“It’s just basically a radio wave . . . I’m just tuning into a particular individual signal,” Larocque said, adding that she’s communicated with clients’ pets as far away as P.E.I., the Northwest Territories and Mexico.

Her home boasts quite an array of pets, including one dog, two cats, snakes, fish, gerbils and chinchillas. Her dog, a trim-looking Belgian sheepdog, is quick on command to leap on and off a bench.

But it’s not just furry four-legged household friends with which Larocque holds sway. Her experience extends to bees, wasps, birds, snakes, and cows. She’s even dealt with fleas, mentally communicating to a group inhabiting a client’s trailer the threat of toxic gas, she says.

“Horses are really interesting. A lot of the training has been really harsh and brutal, so a lot of the time horses have a lot of issues. . . . They withdraw, or they get angry or aggressive,” said Larocque.

“Ants are a no-go. They’re conquerors.”

Larocque is well aware that people are incredulous of the unique abilities she says she has, especially regarding the long-distance communication. But, she says, the world needs skeptics to keep people accountable and she’s not trying to push anything on anybody.

mgauk@bprda.wpengine.com