COLUMBIA — Columbia residents will have a chance to learn more about animal behavior Thursday from self-described animal communicator Joan Ranquet.

She will give a free public presentation at 7 p.m. in the Kimball Ballroom of Lela Raney Wood Hall at Stephens College.

Animal communicators are hired by pet owners to solve behavior problems, find out what animals need, help with pet-owner relationships and other issues.

The ability of an animal communicator is based on six primary talents, according to Ranquet's website:

  • An intense love of animals.
  • Compassion for the animal/owner relationship.
  • Telepathy.
  • Medical/practical knowledge.
  • Common sense.
  • Hands-on healing.

To understand an animal’s language seems almost impossible, but Ranquet seemed to communicate with about 15 to 20 animals, including dogs and horses at Stephens Equestrian Center on Wednesday, telling their owners what the animals were thinking.

Ranquet said she communicates with the animals by picking up pictures, words and feelings.

When somebody calls her about a problem with a pet, she looks at it as a play, connecting all the characters.

Ranquet used a simple example to explain how people’s thoughts can affect their animals at home.

When you tell a dog to get off the couch, the dog obeys. You assume the dog will get back on the couch when you go to the other room. So the dog is likely to do that, she said.

“Because it picks up what you are thinking,” said Ranquet, who wrote "Communication With All Life, Revelations of an Animal Communicator."

“The most important thing I do is to get people to change how they think, so they don’t expect bad behavior," she said.

She was previously featured on "Animal Planet" and "Good Morning America."

Ranquet graduated in 1982 from Stephens with a bachelor's degree in fine arts for theater. She was an actress and playwright before becoming an animal communicator.

“Acting was totally my life," Ranquet said. "I was in the business for about 16 years.”

She was first introduced to animal communication when she was acting in Los Angeles.

“When I was in Los Angeles and I was acting, I ended up getting a horse,” said Ranquet, who now lives in Seattle. "I used an animal communicator, and it was very cool.”

She decided to learn about animal communication after her horse died. She bought a colt about 15 years ago.

“I ended up with this young baby horse that I had to raise by myself,” said Ranquet. “I learned a lot, and I ended up needing to use animal communicator on point.”

Ranquet went to a class held by a communicator, thinking it would be fun and helpful and to find a new career path.

“I kept taking classes cause I was good at it,” she said. “That’s how I ended up leaving the (theater) business.”

Ranquet said her background in acting is helping her as an animal communicator, though the two fields seem different.

“The biggest thing I’ve gotten from acting is the ability to connect,” she said. “I connect with the animal; then I have to connect with the person to tell what the animal thinks.”

Now she has two dogs, four cats and three horses. She also has some suggestions for pet owners.

“My favorite one is to mean what you say and to say what you mean,” she said.

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