Dignified Pet Services presents 'People in the Neighborhood'
Raised in Cologne, Germany. “I was always interested in the unusual,” Ute says. “Unusual children . . . and then, pets. I’ve always been curious”
Teaching special ed and working in holistic wellness practices for years, today Ute is known and loved by those in the pet community for her work in TTouch, hospice teaching and support, and animal communication. Ute radiates a gentle intelligence and fierce love of animals — especially seniors.
Her love of animals is remarkable, considering “I had a very traumatic experience at age 11,” she says. “I was attacked by a German Shepherd that bit me in the face — badly. It sealed my belief that I would never, ever have anything to do with dogs.”
“I was afraid of dogs because of that childhood experience and because you can train them. You can mistreat them and train them to become edgy and aggressive — I recognized that as a child. Dogs posed danger because you don’t know whose hands they’ve been in.”
Then, about 20 years ago, “a black kitten showed up on my doorstep. It happened at a time when one of my closest friends had died and another was leaving the country. I was so surprised — she was a catalyst for me. Every trepidation I had [about dogs] went out the window — just . . . left me — gone,” she says, waving buh-bye.
Working with special ed kids, Ute began doing energy work with adults — “which is the same as animal communication,” she says. “It’s a combination of spiritual work with self and people,” she explains. “I studied Eastern philosophies and did a lot of meditation — which informs all I do now. Everything that has a heart is a sentient being — has a soul. I don’t believe, I experience,” she says.
“Animals have karma, we have karma, so we’d better get to work.”
Upon realizing these things, Ute says she had to ‘come out of the closet’ spiritually, “out of frustration from being in the closet.”
The kitten who started everything was not the first black cat to “choose” Ute. When she moved to Portland 20 years ago, another showed up, Moopy the Resident Goddess.
Then Ute says, “I noticed my computer was leading me to shelter websites, and I’d look at stray dogs. I’m drawn to the shy, older dogs.” A friend urged her to go to the shelter. “I said no.” But she talked with her vet, “who said ‘cats are your friends; dogs are your children — do you really want to have a child?’ Great way to talk to a dog virgin,” she laughs.
“Because of my background with special needs kids I felt if I ever have a dog I need one that really needs care — and the universe listened,” she laughs.
“I ended up visiting Clackamas Dog Services. All the dogs were crazy for attention . . . except one — he didn’t move, didn’t vocalize. If he’d been human he would’ve been on suicide watch or the ward for the clinically depressed,” she says. “I was sobbing. I couldn’t read his name or information.” Staff noticed her crying at this kennel and “we ended up in the exercise room.”
His name was then Grub, and he was a Pit Bull. “Then, stray Pits didn’t have a way out of a shelter — he was f*k@d and he knew it.”
Ute drove home, crying, “No, no, no!! I won’t have a dog!” She returned to visit Grub several times. “One shelter worker kept him alive because I kept coming back . . . we’re still friends.”
Grub was stray, scarred, unneutered and middle-aged — not a good business card,” says Ute, with her characteristic knack for quirky, endearing and spot-on expressions.
“He told me his name was Shiva,” she says, “which is the Hindu god of Destruction and Resurrection.”
“I never cried more in my life. I thought, ‘this IS crazy — he might’ve been a fighter, a bait dog. . . .”
Ute says she got a lot of good advice, and, “in spite of the advice I took him home,” saying until she did she couldn’t sleep or stop crying.
“So then I downloaded dog — learned dog. I had no preconceived notions or previous experience or training, so I just gave him love and medical care.”
Shiva feared everything, Ute says, “I spent six months after 4th of July dragging him to the car to go to a park to do his business. I had to do something besides homeopathy, food, etc. I started TTouch.”
“TTouch can act like PTSD treatment for veterans,” she explains. “Over time it reduces stress and trauma in the nervous system.”
Ute says people — friends, trainers — who saw her and Shiva together and how they interacted urged her to take up animal communication. “I was like, ‘La La La, I can’t hear you!”
Then Shiva became very ill, declined rapidly, and died. “I had all these ideas about what I was going to do [next in life professionally]. I literally experienced his last breath — in it, he said: ‘Okay girl, get to work.’”
And she has. Rather than calling it psychic or even animal communication, Ute prefers “animal listening.”
“My journey with children, then Moopy and Shiva, led me to work with big dogs, scaredy dogs, bitety, fighty dogs.”
“Shiva led me to work with special needs animals,” she says, “with emotional, not just physical needs.”
Ute’s work in TTouch grew to include communication, and eventually hospice. It’s been a very busy few years keeping balance in her workload and the demands of administrating her growing business, and when asked what a perfect day would be, she answered, “sleeping!”
That may be awhile yet. Happily, in the meantime, Ute says, “I love nothing more than facilitating a peaceful process for animals and their people; helping an animal release stress and worry. Most animals are very lonely for their people before, during and after death. I’m not corporate; I cater to the spiritual needs. And I love it. I totally, totally love it.”
About our Sponsor
Dignified Pet Services has served the Portland-area community for 13 years. In addition to their core business of cremation and memorial services, Dignified co-sponsors the beloved annual Service of Remembrance at The Old Church in downtown Portland, as well as serving as wonderful supporters and friends of pets and those working in animal welfare. Proprietors Michael, Randy and Avani live in Sherwood.
Kristan Dael is a freelance writer and the alter ego of Jennifer Mccammon. She lives in Portland with her 3-pack, and strives to produce articles that inform, edify, engage and entertain.