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Julie Stewart

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					W6                                                                                               Weekend POST PEOPLE                                                                                                  SATURDAY, JANUARY 13, 2001

    What’s new, pussycat?

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Julie Stewart
                                                                                                                                                                                                          Age 35

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Occupation Actor

  Beata Pillach will dialogue with your dog, chat with your cat or go hoarse with your horse                                                                                                              Current project For the third season,
                                                                                                                                                                                                          Stewart is playing the role of
                                                                                                                                                                                                          Sergeant Ali McCormick in the police
                                                                                                                                                                           MICHAEL JORDAN/ WEEKEND POST   drama series Cold Squad.
                                                                                                                                                                                                          Claim to fame What’s really nice is

       once had to babysit a potential                                                                                                                                                                    when people tell me how much they
       mother-in-law’s three cats. I must                                                                                                                                                                 enjoyed my character Rosemary on
       have really wanted to impress my                                                                                                                                                                   the TV series, North of 60. I was only
       girlfriend. When I arrived at her                                                                                                                                                                  on for one season. That role was
       mom’s place, I found three sheets of                                                                                                                                                               another step toward feeling
paper waiting for me — each an excruci-                                                                                                                                                                   comfortable in front of the camera.
atingly detailed psychological overview
of the cat’s habits, traits, preferences and                                                                                                                                                              What is your most treasured
vomit patterns. I never recovered from                                                                                                                                                                    possession? It sounds really corny,
that. The relationship fizzled. Until very                                                                                                                                                                but my wedding band. My husband is
recently, I thought people who were too                                                                                                                                                                   the best thing that’s ever happened to
devoted to their pets to be of dubious                                                                                                                                                                    me. That’s what the band represents.
and suspect character.
   Then I heard about Beata Pillach.                                                                                                                                                                      What’s your favourite room in your
   When she wants to talk to your horse                                                                                                                                                                   home? Oh my God, the bedroom,
or cat, Pillach apparently doesn’t even                                                                                                                                                                   and I can’t quite say any more.
need to be in the same city. The self-
trained animal communicator just set-                                                                                                                                                                     What’s your greatest indulgence? I
tles down in a quiet place, focuses on a                                                                                                                                                                  have so many. I love just hanging out
photograph of your pet and then sends                                                                                                                                                                     drinking, smoking and talking to all
out a telepathic signal. Once contact has                                                                                                                                                                 kinds of interesting people.
been made, Pillach and the animal can
have a transnational chat made up of                                                                                                                                                                      What’s the worst advice you have
words, images, feelings, sounds or taste.                                                                                                                                                                 been given? Someone once told me
“Most animals,” she says, “are happy to                                                                                                                                                                   to take a questionable role. When I
share their feelings.”                                                                                                                                                                                    think back, I guess I learned from the
   Don’t believe it? In 1491, all the smarty-                                                                                                                                                             experience.
pants knew the world was flat. In 1500,
the same smarty-pants knew the sun                                                                                                                                                                        And the best? The best advice came
revolved around the Earth. And in 1966,                                                                                                                                                                   from my husband. He said, ‘You can
music critics thought the Beatles would                                                                                                                                                                   do whatever you want.’
never surpass Revolver.
   When I first heard what Pillach did for                                                                                                                                                                How do you relax? Running. Also, I
a living, I thought “harmless delusion.”                                                                                                                                                                  love to spend time listening to all
But I couldn’t resist meeting her. Over                                                                                                                                                                   types of music.
the phone I liked the fact that there was
nothing pompous or otherworldly about                                                                                                                                                                     Did you have an awkward teenage
her. She made her work sound as magical                                                                                                                                                                   stage? Oh my, yes. I was a bit of a
as riding a bike: “A lot of children know                                                                                                                                                                 freak, an outsider. I had an
instinctively how to talk with animals.                                                                                                                                                                   effervescent nature that drove
They take it for granted. It’s not a gift. I                                                                                                                                                              everyone crazy. Until I started doing
believe it’s something we’ve forgotten.”                                                                                                                                                                  plays, I didn’t feel like I fit in
   We meet for coffee. I do discreet men-                                                                                                                                                                 anywhere.
tal exercises. “Remain open-minded. Do
not shut down. Remain open. The Beat-                                                                                                                                                                     What do you love most about
les did the White Album after Revolver.”                                                                                                                                                                  Canada? I adore the landscape across
   Born in Leicestershire, England,                                                                                                                                                                       the country. Also, Canadians are
Pillach moved to Canada at the age of                                                                                                                                                                     likeable people. I’ve been able to see
seven in 1972. She was raised in a con-         Beata Pillach, of Waterloo, Ont., claims she can communicate with animals. Here she talks on the phone with a client, trying to determine what            the country by working in various
servative Catholic family in and around         the client’s pet is complaining about. Looking on is Toshi.                                                                                               cities. I hope to see more.
Waterloo, Ont. While very young, she
felt a deep connection with animals but         salt. I’ve had clients who’ve consulted          amazed her. Pillach mentioned two                 but the problem persisted. Colangelo                   What do your friends consider your
didn’t explore it. Her queasiness about         psychics when their animals were sick.           events — Ranger’s tussle with a porcu-            arranged a chat with Pillach, who passed               worst personality trait? They get
blood prevented her from becoming a             In my experience, it was of no help diag-        pine and his being left behind when               on Cujo’s message: “I am the way I am                  really frustrated when I’m being hard
vet. Drifting through a succession of jobs      nostically.” Regarding the spaniel’s tu-         Park’s children had gone snowmobiling.            because of them.” Her owner “was so                    on myself.
in fashion, retail, fundraising and public      mour, DeForest is unimpressed: “It’s not         Ranger wanted Park to know that he                sad over so many things. I started to
relations, she decided to volunteer in an       unusual for an older dog with a brain tu-        would never play with porcupines again            feel her anger, too. She doesn’t show it.              What’s your biggest regret? I really
environmental group dedicated to sav-           mour to develop behaviour changes, and           and that he could have kept up with the           And it just hangs in the air. I want to be             don’t like it when I’m nasty to people.
ing dolphins. In 1991, she had the oppor-       that can include aggression.”                    snowmobile.                                       a happier dog, but I need permission to
tunity to swim alongside a dolphin in              Another Toronto veterinarian, Robin              Park had not mentioned either story to         release this pain, too. It has become my               What quality do you dislike most in
Ambleside Harbour near the English              Lane, suggests that animal communica-            Pillach. “I swear to God that Beata met           pain.” Colangelo said it was a difficult               others? Insensitivity and selfishness.
town of Newcastle-on-Tyne. When she             tion may have more to do with observing          and knew him. She kept describing him             message to hear but it led her to deal
showed me photographs of herself in the         body language and verbal cues than tele-         to a T.” Although Park is delighted with          with her own unresolved emotional tur-                 If you were not an actor, what
water with the dolphin, I felt a little         pathic connection. “Does the animal shy          Pillach’s work, she acknowledges that             moil. During that period, she noticed                  would you be doing? Probably
churlish at having wondered whether             away from us when we stroke a certain            the whole thing sounds bizarre. “My               that “Cujo became a more peaceful,                     working a cash register, which is
she was making this up. Eight years after       area? Is one of its legs raised [in pain]?”      friends snort: ‘Have you got nothing bet-         gentler dog. It’s almost as if she was a               something I aspired to do as a child
the swim, her delight and wonder are               Pillach’s clients counter that she often      ter to spend your money on?’ ”                    different dog.”                                        because I wanted to push the buttons.
still obvious. “There was so much wis-          does her work over the phone. So I got              I continued on the Pillach trail and              Pillach often finds herself in the posi-
dom in those eyes and unconditional ac-                                                          contacted Tamara Taylor, a Toronto ac-            tion of delivering a message that some                 What was your first job? I worked in
ceptance.” The whole encounter was “an                                                           tress living and working in Los Angeles.          clients may not want to hear. “I have to               a fabric store rolling bolts of fabric
incredibly life-altering experience.”                                                            She has a chihuahua named Big Poppa.              honour what the animals tell me,” she                  for 10 cents an hour. Also, I had to
   Essentially self-taught, Pillach’s repu-                                                      The one incident that stuck out for her           says. “They know more about us than we                 rearrange the stockroom.
tation has spread by word of mouth. Her                                                          was Pillach mentioning Big Poppa eating           do about ourselves. We don’t give them
first client was a sick cow who told Pil-                                                        “some kind of a sweet nut.” The night be-         enough credit. We’re going into outer                  If you could invite three people,
lach that she had swallowed a piece of                                                           fore, Taylor had dropped a honey-roasted          space in search of intelligent life. We                living or deceased, to a dinner
metal while chewing on a fence. “Farm-                                                           cashew on the floor and her pooch had             should be looking at our own planet.”                  party, who would be on your guest
ers are very practical. They wanted to                                                                                                                         I hate to admit there might                list? Susannah Moodie, Rick Hansen
cure their cow.” Three years later, Pillach                                                      ‘Animals know more about us                                 have been merit in those three               and Mozart.
has stopped temping. Clients are now re-                                                                                                                     pages of cat profiles from my
ferred to her by Karen Bentley, a veteri-                                                        than we do about ourselves.                                 former potential mother-in-                  Define your style. It is a
narian in Guelph, Ont. Says Bentley:
“From my perspective, it adds to the
                                                                                                 They don’t get enough credit’                               law. And indeed, next spring,
                                                                                                                                                             Pillach is scheduled to give a
                                                                                                                                                                                                          combination of really expensive and
                                                                                                                                                                                                          really cheap.
overall clinical picture. It helps to hear it                                                                                                                workshop on animal commu-                                       — Marcy Cornblum
from the horse’s mouth, so to speak,”           on the phone and had my own cross-               scooped it up immediately. Pillach said           nication to the Ontario Association of
   In one instance, Bentley told me, she        Canada chats (though using only words            he wants to eat a lot more of them.               Veterinary Technicians.
was unable to treat a cocker spaniel’s ag-      and sounds).                                        Then I talked with Estelle Gee, a pro-            I return to my notes from Lane: “We
gression. She contacted Pillach, who              I began with Linda Park, a retired             fessional organizer in Toronto, whose cat         can understand how an animal feels.
chatted with the dog. The dog told her          banker living in Whistler, B.C. Her son’s        was sick and wouldn’t eat. Pillach tuned          You can tell that it’s hungry, that it’s
there was something “wrong” with his            dog, Ranger, would not stop barking at           in to something that the cat had eaten            happy to see you when you come home
brain. When the dog was re-examined,            people walking by. She contacted Pil-            before and really liked, “chicken and             from work.” But assuming more than
Bentley found a fatal tumour: “Beata de-        lach, who asked for a photo and informa-         spices.” Gee was stunned. She occasion-           this, he says, is probably our innate ten-
scribed conditions the owners and I             tion about Ranger’s age and breed. Pil-          ally feeds her cat bits of chicken souvlaki.      dency to project our human qualities
weren’t aware of. Her physical and emo-         lach telepathically contacted Ranger,               As I talk to people who have dealt with        onto our much loved pets. “Anthropo-
tional descriptions were very good.” Bent-      who explained to her: “It’s my job to            Pillach, I cannot help but think that if          morphism is common. The human race
ley is pragmatic about the question of an-      warn them [about the people walking              none of this were true, then she has gone         is very good at it.”
imal communication: “If everything in           by]. I have to do my job.”                       to a great deal of trouble. I have one               But, he adds: “I’m not that old, but I’ve
this world could be explained, that would         Pillach suggested that Park thank              more client to contact. A hypnotherapist          been around long enough to know that if
be nice. But life isn’t like that.”             Ranger as soon he started his barking            in Stoney Point, Ont., named Judy                 you say ‘never’ about something, some-
   I began thumbing through the Yellow          warning routine. When Park did that,             Colangelo, who was concerned about her            one will eventually come around to
Pages. Dr. Martin DeForest practises in         Ranger the relentless barker stopped             beagle Cujo’s nervous and aggressive be-          prove you wrong.”
Toronto: “I’m not discounting anything,         barking. That merely impressed Park.             haviour. An animal behaviourist was                  The White Album, don’t forget the
but you have to take it with a barrel of        The next part of their conversation              able to modify the aggression somewhat            White Album. I

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