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Soulful connection: Young boy feeding rabbits on a farm, symbolizing the heartwarming moments of shared empathy.
Soulful connection: Four cats on the sidewalk, capturing the essence of shared moments and feline companionship.


Sharell Benson as a child with her horse, illustrating the early bond and love for animals.

 My horse was an orphan. She was born when I was five years old, so we played and grew up together. Oftentimes, I felt like an orphan too on the family farm. As the Artist Child, my empathy for all living things sometimes got in the way of farming. My horse, Soudi, provided the companionship that I didn't find within my family. She and I explored the woods, ravines and creek next to our farmMy friends at school talked about boys; I talked about animals.


All the pets that have adopted me since my horse have all been "special rescues." These animals asked me to love them first, without any guarantee that I would get anything in return. I have to admit that I was afraid of the beak and claws of a couple of them in the beginning. I determined to make this work, these animals were too unpredictable for a family to adopt, so I was their last stop. We had to create a livable situation... at the very least!


Despite mistakes and do overs, it didn't take long to discover that I was the rescued one. The Amazon parrot that hated everyone, was docile enough for a baby to touch within eight months. My trust in my unadoptable animals had paid off with dividends! And I loved them exponentially because of our deeper bond and the knowledge of where we started...together.


I was learning fundamentals of animal communication by telepathically sending them pictures of what I expected from them and getting behavioral changes, but I had yet to "hear" their voices.

Sharell Benson demonstrating animal communication with her orange cat Ted.
Oil painting of Monarch, a horse, capturing the essence and soulful connection in Sharell Benson's animal portraits.

Monarch-a horse I never met who changed me. Her spirit totally wrapped around me like a blanket. I cried, no actually, sobbed, when I delivered this painting. She had this same affect on all of her people...


I am a painter. I have been painting landscapes for many years, but plein aire painting was losing some of its luster. Kayaking became more fun.


When my interest turned back to painting, I wanted to paint my own animals. I wanted to show something more than form and color, I wanted the painting to peek into their personality.  I started showing my paintings to friends, and got commissions! Was it possible to get paid to do something I loved?


​The photo for the first commission was a fuzzy snapshot. If I was to make a portrait of that specific dog,  I needed more information. I  shouted at the painting, "You have to tell me something about yourself!" Wow, I heard an answer from the animal. I was connecting with them intuitively. I started writing the information down and getting confirmation from the pet parents. Now painting is still about making marks on canvas, but the connection is the juicy part. I love being able to combine my two passions. Animals and painting!


I didn't start following Danielle MacKinnon to become a certified Soul Level Animal Communication Practitioner®, but after a couple of classes, my confidence grew and I was making a difference in the lives of animals and their owners. I was easing anxiety over puzzling behaviors and helping the pet parent create a deeper bond with their animal. Now when I ask questions of animals, I am not surprised to hear mind-blowing soul level wisdom that I could not make up. How cool is that?

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