One of my favorite true stories about animal communication involves a chinchilla named Jasmine who turned out to be an astute teacher of using images when communicating with animals. The first thing she wanted to discuss was her discomfort about her humans picking her up to love on her. “I don’t mind being picked up, but they…um…. smell”. She said. (which of course they didn’t to me, but to her their scent was foreign). She asked that they ‘wash’ their hands before handling her. She sent me an image of their hands covered in what looked like cake flour.
When I asked them about it, they chuckled and pointed to a box on the floor which contained a chalky-like substance and told me how domesticated chinchillas role in ‘chinchilla dust’ to clean themselves. Jasmine was asking them to clean their hands first by rolling them in her dust, thereby neutralizing their scent and removing the natural oils on their skin (which were the carriers of their scent). I drove home that evening thinking “And people say animals don’t talk!”