Dogs That Know When Their Owners Are Coming Home
by Cynthia Sue Larson
September 21, 2000


I felt extremely fortunate to see Rupert Sheldrake in person at Copperfield's Book Store in Santa Rosa, California on September 20th. Rupert had come all the way from his home in England, to help promote his most recent book, Dogs That Know When Their Owners Are Coming Home.

Rupert's quiet demeanor belied the profound effects that his thoughts and ideas have had upon the world since he published his first book, A New Science of Life in 1981. Sheldrake's concept of morphic fields and interests in "radical research" have rocked the world. Sheldrake began his evening talk by stating,

Sheldrake explained how his concept of morphic fields is that nature is organized in series of levels, in which higher levels incorporate lower levels. There are organizing fields for everything we observe. There are crystal fields for crystals, tissue fields for tissue, society fields for society. Sheldrake explained,

Sheldrake elaborated that there were three main areas of unexplained behavior exhibited by dogs that showed up in his analysis of more than 2,500 case histories:

Sheldrake proposed that the well-known ability of animals to predict earthquakes and other natural disasters could easily be harnessed, by setting up a toll-free phone number where people could report any unusual animal behavior they observe, along with their geographical location. Such a reporting system would be simple and easy to set up, and could potentially save thousands of lives. There are numerous accounts of wild and tame animals behaving in very peculiar fashion prior to earthquakes in China, California, and Italy... yet few countries are taking advantage of this natural reporting system.

Some of Sheldrake's most interesting findings are that dogs and cats and other pets frequently know when their people are coming home, from the very moment the people make the decision to come home... even when it is an unusual time, and they are traveling in a different mode of transportation. Sheldrake videotaped dogs waiting by their front doors, and noted that when their people were not on their way home, dogs would spend only 4% of the time by the door. From the very moment that their people began the trip home, however, the dogs would spend an average of 78% of the time by the front door. Even more interesting, these results were reproduced when skeptics were the ones to conduct the experiment!

While cats do not wait by the front door as often as dogs do, they are able to know in advance when their owners are planning to take them to the veterinarian. Sheldrake contacted veterinary offices in London, where he lives, to find out if they had observed any problem with cat owners keeping their appointments. Not only had 64 of the 65 offices noticed such problems, but some were no longer making appointments for cat owners, explaining, "cat appointments don't work". It wasn't simply a problem with cats noticing their baskets... they would actually hide as soon as they sensed their owners were on the way home.

Cats have also been known to react to phone calls, in extreme cases by knocking the phone off the hook and meowing into the receiver when their beloved owner phones home... even from across the world. Many cats seem to know when their owners are on the phone, just as many people report they can tell in advance who a caller is.

Cats have another interesting talent -- they often seem able to inspire their humans to open the door at precisely the moment they are ready to walk through it. Sheldrake speculated that they don't like to be left waiting in the cold or rain outside! I pondered this, noting that just an hour earlier, I'd opened my front door precisely as the babysitter walked up the step. We were both amazed by this, and now I wondered at the connection between us that may have inspired me to go to the front door (hands full of dirty dishes and trash I'd collected from the floor) and open it.

Sheldrake pointed out that since humans are animals too, it stands to reason that our psychic abilities may be dormant or atrophied... not as well-developed as in animals... but "are part of our animal inheritance". Sheldrake expressed his disappointment that a lot of parapsychology research deals with experiments that do not emphasize emotional bonds and significant things... which is a shame, because most psychic communication is between those who deeply care for one another and involves important information (not symbols on cards).

Sheldrake invites people to come visit his web site at:

dogs that know

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