34. Close Encounters

Published on 3 March 2023 at 09:28

© 2023 Robert Sickles

Three short stories of a somewhat related topic.

The Retriever

I had no inkling I could share a psychic connection with a dog. It just occurred to me, in that moment, that I could mentally attract that dog over there and he'd come find the leaf in my hand.

We were observing a brown retriever from about 200 yards away. He was happily zigzagging his rounds to all the good sniffing spots in the city park. He was having an off-leash romp while his person was seated on a bench further down the lawn.

Anne and I were sitting quietly under the trees, at the top of a sloping lawn, and I was holding a small dry maple leaf in my hand. I said to her very softly, “Watch this: that dog will come over here now and take this leaf from my hand.”

Anne looked skeptical. “Oh, sure. He may check us out just because we’re sitting here… that's what a dog in a park does. But because you have psycho-magnetic power? Really?” The bet was on.

I closed my eyes and took some slow breaths. I pictured the dog coming to me. “Come here, doggie, I have something for you,” I thought silently. Then I opened my eyes to see what would happen. Immediately, the dog stopped in his tracks, looked right up in our direction as though he’d heard me whistle, and galloped a straight line to me. As he approached, he looked me in the eyes, and began snuffling around my head, shirt and hands. As if I had said "Find it," he licked my hand, found the hidden leaf, gently pulled it out in his mouth, and ran off with it.

“How was that?” I whispered. Anne's eyebrows were raised, she had no comment.

OK, that was a one-off. I have never been able to duplicate the trick. My own dog? He apparently preferred whatever he was doing than to come when I called.  


The Hummingbird

I was working in the front yard. In my garage, I saw a hummingbird bumping around the walls and ceiling, unable to find the way out. "Go on, Silly bird! Go out the same big open door you came in... right there!" I tried to direct him by waving my hands toward the door, then fanning the air with a pillowcase, but the little bug just wouldn’t stop fluttering to the ceiling. So I left him to figure it out and went on with my chores, leaving the door open for him.

By evening, all was still in the garage. It seemed like he had finally left so I closed the door, shut off the light and went to bed.

The next morning, I was back out there and I heard a fluttering sound coming from behind some boxes on the floor—that bird-brain was still there, but now he was bound up in a sticky wad of lint, dried grass and cobwebs.

I acted quickly to free him from the mess he was in, fearing he must have been starving and exhausted. I was so afraid of breaking his tiny legs that were twisted up in the tangle. Finally loosening him, I carried him in my closed hand to the backyard hummingbird feeder.

He was too weak to struggle. He must have been near death, but when I held him up to the feeder, he blinked his eyes, stuck out his long slender tongue and lapped some nectar several times. He looked around and seemed alert, so I opened my hand to see if he had any strength, and like a rocket he shot toward the trees. “You’re welcome,” I called out as he disappeared into the shadows.

The Owl

My next door neighbor's backyard fire circle was full of guests one evening. Among them was Kevin from Sedona who has many stories of his psychic phenomena, spiritual visitations, ET's and ghosts. He was talking about spirit guides, totems and the like.

I said "Maybe Barred Owl is connected to me somehow, like he's my "totem animal." It seemed that one or two were hanging around our woods and calling in the night. For some reason, I always felt they were there for me. "When I hear them, I think of it as a friendly visit."

Thomas was seated next to me. He is a keen birdwatcher and very knowledgeable about all our local species, so our conversations always include news of his sightings. He is also a science-minded guy who probably wouldn't think much of the idea of me having an animal spirit totem. 

“Barred owls? I don't think so. You probably heard a great horned owl. Or it could have been coyotes or even a cat fight.”

I was about to demonstrate the sounds I heard, but suddenly the eerie, unmistakable call came echoing from the trees out in the woods. “What was that?” I folded my arms and insisted, “That was a barred owl, wasn’t it?”

Thomas was busy talking and didn’t hear the bird. I raised a finger and shushed everyone, cupped my hands around my mouth and made a clumsy owl-like voice in the pattern “who-cooks-for-you.” A real barred owl must have heard my silly noise... he swooped across the lawn just above our heads, and perched in view in a filbert tree not ten feet away, plain to see in the fire light. We and the owl sat in deadpan silence, looking at each other for quite a while.

“Don’t flatter yourself,” Thomas whispered out of the side of his mouth, “he’s here because there are rodents in your yard.”


Click the play button to hear a recording of a Barred Owl call. When they meet and argue over territory, the sounds of their fight can get very intense. Scary grunting-growling noises have sent campers and hikers running for their cars. 

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a year ago

Animals love to connect with us humans. I think they find great humor in us.

a year ago

Love these!

a year ago

A fine threesome, Robert.

a year ago

You are very cool❣️🐕🫶🏻🦉

Carol Christiansen
a year ago

Have you thought of taking up Reiki? :-)

Patrice Donovan
a year ago

Yay for story time! Thank you, Robert 😉

a year ago

I have heard tell that we are so much more powerful than we believe. Makes sense to me that our belief gets in the way of our gifts. The doggy was on your energy wave length for sure.

Kathy M
a year ago

You are very aware of everything around you and are willing to open yourself to new thoughts and experiences. Many of us forget or bury that awareness and lose abilities we have possibility been born with. We all can learn from you Bobby!