Jailene Fontaine has a sixth sense when it comes to understanding and healing animals. Her secret? She “talks” with them and reads their energy.
“All living beings have an energy signature – people, plants, animals. Everything is made up of energy and matter,” said Fontaine, an energy therapist, certified herbalist and animal/interspecies communicator.
Recently, Debbie King of Scarborough, the owner of Farmer, a sluggish, 16-year-old Australian Shepherd with cancer, was debating whether to euthanize her dog. She also struggled with her other dogs, Titan and Attitash, known for being anxious and aggressive.
But one day, with Fontaine’s help, she got her answers.
Fontaine could read Farmer’s energy and knew that he wasn’t ready to cross over, said King. Fontaine recommended spraying lavender oil on and around the dogs to produce a “calming effect,” said King.
Over time, the dogs have become much more friendly and social, especially Attitash, she said.
“This is the first year where I can actually bring her into the store and the employees can touch her,” said King, who works at Pet Life in Saco. “Before, if you looked in her eyes, she’d lunge right at you. She wouldn’t connect. My dogs are completely different now.”
Fontaine, who lives in Alfred, has been communicating with animals since she was a child. She says she also has the ability to read the energy of plants and can understand – and recommend – certain herbal remedies depending on an animal’s needs.
By working with a person’s energy, an animal’s energy, her own energy and the energy in nature, Fontaine can determine the best path for healing an animal’s mind, body and spirit.
Her goal, as an animal communicator and herbalist, she said, is to get to the core of the issue, whether it’s behavioral, emotional or physical, and to get humans and their animals “thriving in a balanced, cohesive state of wellness.”
Sue Yarmey, a Biddeford resident who has known Fontaine for about 10 years, has worked with her on several occasions.
“She has the ability not just to attract animals, but to understand the very nature of whomever she is working with,” said Yarmey.
According to Yarmey, who says she has been a psychic for more than 25 years, interspecies communication is about understanding the relationship between animals, the environment and people.
In addition to herbal remedies, such as lavender, chamomile and milk thistle, Fontaine also uses a variety of therapeutic essential oils – or aromatherapy – as part of the healing process. Fontaine said it is one of her most powerful tools, describing it as “a very condensed, concentrated flower or plant oil” that overtime helps animals to relax, look younger and act more vibrant.
For example, Fontaine was working with a horse from Kentucky with a bad liver and, she says, she was able to improve it by giving the horse doses of milk thistle as part of the healing process.
“It’s an understanding of the plants and the animals, and it’s just knowing which plant and which animal will work best in any given condition,” said Fontaine. “It’s not a quick fix. It’s a very long and thorough process.”
While some animals respond to treatments within a week, others take months to get better, she said. It depends on the animal’s overall needs, said Fontaine.
“It depends entirely on an animal’s state – where they are at physically, emotionally and spiritually,” she said.
Dr. Mike Bukowski, a veterinarian and owner of Down Maine Veterinary Clinic in Sanford, expressed some skepticism about animal communicators.
Animals communicate with humans through their posture, attitude and facial expressions, he said, and through a thorough physical exam, which helps convey how an animal is feeling or what is ailing them.
“It is never perfect, but in my opinion, is the best means of helping our furry friends,” said Bukowski.
The Animal Refuge League of Greater Portland, which provides temporary care and shelter for more than 4,000 stray, abandoned or relinquished animals every year, has worked with Fontaine for the past five years, said the shelter’s executive director, Patsy Murphy.
“Often, when an animal comes to us, it’s a stray and we don’t have any familial history or there is no detail about the animal,” said Murphy. “We may notice certain traits, temperaments or certain behaviors, but oftentimes we just need more information to be able to advocate for the animal.”
That’s where Fontaine comes in.
“Over the years, pet communicators have been a valuable resource for us to change (an animal’s) food or put them in a different place in the environment – a more quiet setting – or if they like a particular type of toy,” said Murphy.
Animal communicators are helpful in gathering important information from animals, so the shelter can find a home for them as quickly as possible, she said. She admits while animal communicators aren’t always 100 percent accurate, their services, which are donated, are “complementary” to the shelter’s own mission.
“There’s a healthy dose of skepticism,” said Murphy. “When we get the information we validate it to the best of our ability for what we’ve already seen from the animal. We are going to use all of our resources to make sure we’ve done everything in our power to get that animal a new home.”
“Are they always right? No. Are they in the ballpark? Sometimes,” said Murphy, of animal communicators. “But when it does work, it’s really rewarding.”