Animal Sniffers and Sixth Senses 
By Allen and Linda Anderson 



We live in a houseful of sniffers. Anything new, in a different place, or that could possibly be food, gets sniffed by our two cats and dog. The birds check out the new and unusual with their calls to each other and screeching. As we observe how the animals who share our home carefully inspect and analyze objects with their noses, it’s a reminder that we’re living with a different life form — one that doesn’t approach life as humans do. 

Animals have their own ways of viewing the planet. No matter how hard we might try, we’ll never experience the world as they do. We can’t imagine what we’d understand if we explored life with the noses and licking tongues of dogs and cats, the ultrasound of dolphins, or the pecking of birds. 

And then there is the sixth sense. The mystical, spiritual, extrasensory sense that many animals seem to have in abundance. Anyone who lives with an animal and has an open mind and heart has to admit that there are just some things animals seem to know. 

To Catch a Thief
Every day, we receive stories from people who have read our book or articles, heard us being interviewed, or attended one of our workshops. Through the accounts our readers send to us, we have the constant blessing of discovering animals from around the world who are angels —messengers of love and protection. 

Esther Avah wrote to us from Accra, Ghana in West Africa. She tells about her dog Maxi, an animal with a special love for his human and doggie family. Esther says that whenever she had extra food, she gave it to Maxi and asked the dog to take the food to his mother who lived in the family’s outer house. Maxi would carry the food in his mouth with great care, deliver the plate to his mother, and return it empty to Esther after the older dog had finished eating. Esther calls Maxi, “The pride of the house.” 

One day, Maxi showed his understanding of Esther’s needs in an astounding way. Esther says that the family had hired a man to come to their house every week to wash and iron clothes. Each time the washer man entered, Maxi would bark so loudly that the family knew he had arrived. The dog would follow this man until he left. Esther noticed that Maxi seemed to have an animosity toward the washer man but she didn’t understand why. She was soon to find out though. 

Each week, Esther’s husband gave the washer man a packet of soap to use for doing his chores. Esther thought this man needed less than the one packet of soap he always requested but she couldn’t prove her suspicions. Esther writes, “I decided to take action. I called Maxi, my confidante, and told him that I’d like to find the truth about how much soap the washer man actually used.” 

The dog dashed off after listening to Esther’s problem. A short while later, Maxi came running back to Esther, carrying a packet of soap in his mouth. The washer man followed the dog in hot pursuit. Maxi dropped at Esther’s feet the soap packet that Esther’s husband had given the washer man. Then the dog stood beside Esther and waited for her to figure out what was going on. 

When the washer man saw Esther picking up the soap packet, he fled from their house in shame. Maxi had done good detective work. Esther examined the packet. The man had used only one-third of the soap. He’d been stealing the rest of the full packet each week. Esther writes, “My suspicions were confirmed. Maxi had helped me prove my point. The washer man was exploiting our generosity. Maxi knew the truth. He showed a lot of imagination and communicated with me spiritually.” 

What Mittens Knew
 Norma Cable from Cottage Grove, Oregon wrote to us about an angel animal named Mittens, the resident cat at the Coast Fork Nursing Home. When his human companion, Amy, moved into the nursing home, this calico kitty with unusual black markings on her face, came with her and occupied Room 10. Mittens could always sense when Amy was having difficulty breathing. The cat would gently tap or paw at Amy’s face and glasses to keep her from falling asleep when she was short of breath. Amy credited Mittens with saving her life many times. 

One early morning, Mittens went to the nurse’s station and stood there, staring at the nurse on duty. Unlike her usual friendly behavior, Mittens wouldn’t let the nurse pet her that day. Each time the nurse came near Mittens, the cat moved farther down the hall and looked back at her. But Mittens wasn’t leading the nurse to his friend Amy. Instead, she walked past Amy’s room, directly to Chester’s door, another resident of the nursing home. Mittens stopped at Chester’s room and wouldn’t move. Because Mittens was acting so strangely, the nurse decided that she’d better check on Chester. This is when she found the old man in severe distress and unable to breath. Mittens had led the nurse to Chester and saved his life. 

Although Amy has passed away, Chester still lives in Room 10 of the Coast Fork Nursing Home. Now, she spends most of her time on Clara’s bed with the new human occupant of Room 10. 

What messages are the sniffers of the world trying to deliver? Could animals sense much more than humans think is possible? Do God or Divine Spirit use animals as vehicles for letting us know we’re loved and guided with more care and attention than we could have ever imagined? 

Allen and Linda Anderson are co-editors of “Angel Animals: Exploring Our Spiritual Connection with Animals” (A Plume Book, 1999) in local and Internet bookstores.  Angel Animals plush toys are available at  or call (305) 532-3111 to order. The Andersons co-founded the Angel Animals Foundation to increase love and respect for all life — one story at a time. Their website is .  Tax-deductible donations and story submissions are gratefully accepted at P.O. Box 26488, Minneapolis, MN 55426 or on the website. For more information call (952) 925-3309.

Return to the March/April Index page