Animals are talking all the time - it's just a matter of listening, says animal communicator Bill Northern.
They can be so insistent on telling him something that they keep him awake at night, he says, tears of laughter rolling down his cheeks.
The 70-year-old has been visiting New Zealand from the United States since 1989, mostly talking to horses, but also lost dogs and a cat or two, although he prefers not to deal with felines.
Horses are his favourite because they are straight talkers. Dogs can be too politically correct because they do not like to hurt people's feelings, while cats are fibbers and will say anything to get their way.
"I don't talk to plants because I don't have the patience," he says.
All animals speak to him in English no matter what country they are in, and have distinctive voices, he claims.
"They wake me up a lot in the middle of the night to tell me I missed something (during an examination). It's terrible. They keep me up until I get up and write it down," he says.
A plastic horse, kidneys and bladder included, sits on the living-room table of the Rolleston house where he is staying with an old friend.
He uses it to examine horses all over the world by phone and find out what ails them.
Sometimes it is something physical like a sore foot or a stomach ulcer, but other times they are unhappy with their jockey or with the horse sharing its field.
He says he has examined up to 400 horses over the past year, charging about $90 per animal or about $275 an hour.
Brought up in Virginia, he lives most of the year in the United States but has found a second home in New Zealand, where he has built up a stable of regular clients.
By using instruments such as a pendulum or divining rods, he claims to be able to find water, move underground streams and detect negative energy lines.
An American Indian taught him how to look through an animal's eyes- a skill that allows him to check a horse's vision and find lost pets, he says. MORE>>