We had the good fortune of connecting with Dawn Brunke and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Dawn, is your business focused on helping the community? If so, how?
This is a question that continually simmers in the back of my mind as I write books or articles — or even emails and social media posts. For me, the question is rooted more as: how can I help others and the world? Am I offering information that is honest and invites a thoughtful pause? Are my words inspiring and uplifting — not as platitudes but as encouragement and support? If I disagree with someone, can I invite meaningful dialogue rather than belittle or preach?
I like to share stories and dreams that nudge us all to find center, to listen to our own small still voice within, and to shine the unique qualities of who we are with others and the world. That way we all shine!
On a practical level, my books offer ways to deepen in dreams and open communication with animals, nature, self and spirit. And my animal talk sessions help those who live with animals to better understand their animal’s needs or point of view.
I truly believe we are all in this together. By giving our best, we bring out the best in others.
Please tell us more about your work. We’d love to hear what sets you apart from others, what you are most proud of or excited about. How did you get to where you are today professionally. Was it easy? If not, how did you overcome the challenges? What are the lessons you’ve learned along the way. What do you want the world to know about you or your brand and story?
My husband and I moved with our then 2-year-old daughter and two dogs to Alaska over 20 years ago. We had no jobs, no home, no big idea of what we’d do. I was soon hired as an editor for a health and wellness magazine based in Anchorage. I mostly helped healthcare professionals tell their stories in print, and one day came across a submitted article from a woman who talked to animals. What?! I was very intrigued and yet skeptical too. But after talking with the woman, I felt a strong push to investigate this idea of humans talking with animals. I wondered: if we can really talk with animals, what would they tell us? What would they want us to know?
These questions led me on a search to interview animal communicators, which became the basis for my first book, Animal Voices. Response to that book was good, though mostly the questions were: How can I do this myself? This led to my second book, Animal Voices, Animal Guides, which is a basic how-to of animal communication. From there I wanted to explore other subjects: animal teachings, spirit animals, animals in dreams, and so on. This resulted in nine books about animals, nature, dreaming and more.
There are ups and downs in any adventure worth taking. So, in answer to: Was it easy? No, not always. Was it rewarding? Most definitely yes, and it still is! Overcoming challenges is one of the best learning experiences we can have. The struggle is real and yet, I think, it is that which allows us to deepen in ourselves, to call upon all of our skills, many of which we may have forgotten or tucked away. By drawing upon the energy of our deep self, by opening to the signs and intuitive nudges around us all the time, and (in my case) by asking for guidance from animals, we learn. And we become more aware, not only of ourselves but of others and our world.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Well, best friend, if you visit in the summer I will take you fishing! We’ll wake up early, pack a picnic lunch, get on my husband’s boat, and visit the Knik, Little Su, Willow, or Deshka river. We’ll fish for salmon — kings, reds, and silvers — or trout. And if the fishing is not great, we’ll play with the dogs, listen to the ravens and eagles, rest on the bank and immerse ourselves in river sounds, and watch the clouds pass by.
If you visit in the winter, we’ll snow machine, following remote trails up snowy hills, or speed across frozen lakes, and have a cold-weather picnic on the trail or in the wild. When we get home, we’ll have hot chocolate and cuddle with the dogs with a good movie.
Alaska is most definitely a great state to immerse yourself in the great outdoors! There’s so much to do but those are two of my favorites close to home.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
So many people and animals, healers and teachers, fellow writers and dreamers, have shared in wonderful (and often surprising) ways to inspire and support. My husband and daughter, family and friends offer ongoing encouragement and humor to keep me going. And animals have especially been incredible teachers for me — from all the dogs who have lived with us to the eagles and ravens who soar overhead, to the bears and moose who live nearby and sometimes pay a visit; to the butterflies, spiders, and dragonflies who flitter on the deck; to spirit animals such as Cat and Coyote and Polar Bear who visit my dreams. I am thankful and grateful to all these beings, and more.