Life isn’t quite the same when a furry spirit enters or a pet dies.
I had a morning paper route when I was a kid. One freezing winter’s morning, I was trudging through a foot of snow and pondering the meaning of life. Suddenly, I saw something moving in the predawn darkness ahead. As I got closer, I saw it was a little mixed beagle puppy that was trying to eat frozen poop. She was emaciated, shivering, and looked like she wasn’t long for this world.
I scooped her up and took off my glove to pet her. She licked my hand and stole my heart. (That would be a good title for a country-western song) That dog knew a soft touch when she saw one. My new best friend spent the rest of my route bundled up under my coat and became part of our family.
But she almost didn’t. When I got home, my little brother and sister were all excited that we had a new pet. My mom and dad . . . not so much. They said ‘No, absolutely not. We are not getting a dog.” My siblings’ shrieks of joy turned to crying and, as tears ran down my cheeks, I sobbed, “If she goes, I go!”
That approach worked but, fifty years later, my mom still jokes that she could have gotten rid of both of us at once.
And so began our life with Snoopy. She became, alternately, our rescue project, friend, protector, and longtime companion. If you’re reading this article, you no doubt have your own story about a favorite pet who entered your life.
Understandably, some people are closer to their pets than other humans. Many furry friends are loyal, loving, grateful, and always there. Those are qualities often lacking in humans. So it’s no surprise that many people grieve deeply when a beloved animal passes on.
The stages of grief and questions can be similar to those when a pet dies from this world. Nearly every day, I’m asked by someone around the world: “Is my cat still alive in another form and place?” “My dog died; is he still happy and peaceful?” And, invariably, the biggest and most important question: “Will I see my dear beloved pet again?”
Here’s a recent one from Susan. . .
Q: I’ve always wondered if animals join us in the afterlife? It would seem an awful waste if our pets were just unconditionally loving and accepting props for us to enjoy while on Earth and then that’s it—nothingness.
A: Yes, as you say, it would be an incredible waste of energy for any life form to cease existence after physical death. Universe/ God/Source Energy can certainly do better than that. There’s good evidence that the spirit/ consciousness/ energy of all life – people, pets, and plants – continues on into the next page of life’s never-ending saga.
This evidence comes from:
1. Documented near-death experiencers who report seeing departed pets during their visit into the Light
2. Authentic mediums who communicate the presence of pets who have passed on. These gifted people often relay detailed and accurate information that they could never know.
3. After-death contacts (ADCs) can involve beloved pets who have crossed over. At least some ADCs are “real” as shown by evidential and shared experiences.
4. Miracles that occur and involve pets.
5. Scientific laws that show energy cannot be destroyed, but merely changes form.
And, as you know Susan, truly unconditional love and acceptance are so rare and so sweet that surely Life recycles it.
Pets can show up when they are most needed. After my big “first love” break-up, I was feeling pretty alone and sad. A good friend brought me a beautiful kitten she had named “Liebe” a German word for love. Liebe was a very loving friend who spent many hours resting on the shoulders while I studied and wrote. She brought companionship when I was alone a lot. She gave me someone to talk to when I couldn’t afford counseling. She was my first cat and I learned why some people love cats so dearly.
Interestingly, shortly after I was in a good relationship, Liebe disappeared. We looked and looked for her, but with no success. Maybe her mission was completed?
Decades later, “Miss B” — who looked exactly like Liebe — blessed us with her presence and spirit for many years. And that great cat — the best I’ve ever been around — just now assisted with a technological mini-miracle. Let me explain.
WordPress is a software platform I use for the Soul Proof website. I’ve added new articles many times so was perplexed when this one — When Your Pet Dies — wouldn’t open correctly. I checked my directions, even though I knew I was doing it right but still no success. A third try . . . no luck. I was just about to email my tech guy when a subtle voice or thought came in: “Maybe it’s not working because you haven’t mentioned Miss B in the article.”
The article was already fairly long and I couldn’t think of any impressive timing or meaning about her. She was just the coolest, most loving, and kick-butt cat I’ve ever had the pleasure of owning. So I discounted the idea as ludicrous. I added a different new article “Are You or a Loved One a Sensitive or Empath?” and it worked just fine. Hmmm, maybe I could just try it. I silently resolved to tell this story if, indeed, adding a bit about Miss B cleared up the problem.
I added just one sentence, “Decades later, ‘Miss B’ — who looked exactly like Liebe — blessed us with her presence and spirit for several years.” Then I went through the very same set of steps as before and . . . voila! It worked perfectly. A skeptic might call it coincidence. I believe it was a message from her so I can add yet another bit to the many tons of evidence that life is never-ending.
Departed pets can visit from “The Other Side” as illustrated by the following story that blessed several people over time. Heidi Armbruster had a cat named Lucky that passed over at age twenty-one. She states:
I wasn’t a religious person and never really believed in life after ‘death’ but the following experience in 1990 changed my beliefs. I had just laid down in bed for the night. I was still awake when I felt that someone was calling for me. I sat up and thought, “I can’t go. If Bill (her husband) wakes up, he’ll wonder where I am.” That didn’t seem to matter because before I knew it I was going down our hall. I didn’t make the conscious decision to go and I actually do not remember getting up and walking.
I noticed a very bright light coming from our son’s bed- room. I looked in and saw my cat Lucky who had passed on about four months earlier. She was rolling around on her back the way cats do when they feel good. She appeared young and didn’t have her arthritis anymore. I was amazed at how bright it was in the room. I looked at the window and thought, “the sun isn’t out and the light in the room isn’t this bright.”
I knew that someone was behind me. It seemed like the person was dressed in a white robe; I felt it was Jesus. I remember thinking how warm and peaceful I felt—I had never felt anything like it. I looked down at my feet, but it was like they weren’t there. I reached for my cat with both hands to touch her but a man’s voice said, “No, don’t touch her.” I immediately pulled my hands back to my chest and realized, “That’s right, I don’t want to ruin it for her.” After a while, she started to fade away. I felt sad that she was going, and then it was over.
I didn’t tell anyone about this until my husband and I were watching a TV show about near-death experiences a month later. I told Bill because my experience was so similar and he felt it was from ‘God.’ I also eventually told my father. Dad asked me to tell him the story again four times during the week before he passed on even though he wasn’t ill and his ‘death’ was totally unexpected.
Our son Mike was killed in a car accident on January 13, 2001. I cannot begin to put into words how difficult that was, but the experience I had with Lucky eleven years ago helped us through this terrible time. We KNOW Mike is still with us because we have had several contacts from him. We miss Mike’s physical presence very much, but we have the peace of mind that he is alive and well in another place.
Pets can also help us when we are facing a fork in the road. In the early 1980’s, I was trying to decide whether to become a D.C. (chiropractic physician), D.O. (osteopathic physician), or M.D. One day, a stray cat arrived at our isolated home in the country. She was starving, had severe mange, and walked with a limp. Upon closer inspection, I noticed that there were many hard lumps under her skin and her paralyzed tail was covered with feces.
I had worked with vets for several years and was a skilled dissector so I went to work. The bumps were shotgun pellets just under the skin and I removed those. I gave her a haircut and started treatment for the mange. But the paralyzed tail, weak back legs, and chronic diarrhea continued. No bargain wiping off her tail several times each day. So, despite having little money, I took Daisy to a veterinarian.
My girlfriend was driving and I had the cat on my lap – on top of a towel, of course. The vet said the cat was probably hit by a car and her nerves were permanently damaged. He said we could euthanize her or keep lots of toilet paper around.
On the long drive home, I was reading a book about chiropractic that showed how the nerves from the lower back supply the bowels, legs and, in an animal’s case, the tail. It described how specific spinal adjustments could remove slight nerve pressure and allow normal functioning of associated organs and muscles.
All at once, the proverbial light bulb went on. I didn’t know how to adjust the spine, but the cat’s tail provided a way to traction the lumbar spine. I stabilized Daisy’s pelvis, took a deep breath, and firmly tractioned her tail. She meowed loudly and her tail moved spastically. I repeated my crude spinal adjustment every few days and, within a month or two, her bowels, legs, and tail worked normally.
We took her back to the vet for some shots. He said it was a miracle and he had no explanation for how such serious paralysis and bowel dysfunction could heal.
I took that as my sign about which physician training to pursue.
Here’s another question from a subscriber to the free Soul Proof newsletter:
Q: My beloved dog died recently. I was closer to him than most people. Will he continue on in some fashion or is that only for people? – Elle
A: Great question, Elle! The energy or consciousness in all life—humans, animals, and plants—is indestructible and eternal. After physical death, it moves on into another time and place.
Much clinical evidence clearly indicates that when your pet dies:
1. Your beloved animals will be present when you pass on during a wonderful reunion. The movie Talking to Heaven beautifully portrays this.
2. They may appear to you as you knew them before—in physical form—or in a more ethereal form of multi-colored light/energy. But you will recognize them and know that you are now seeing their full essence.
3. They may come back to you as another pet during this earth-experience. Circumstances, markings, and mannerisms may strongly suggest this is so.
4. As with humans, you may detect the presence of your “departed” pet who really is very near and reminding you that no one really dies. You may feel their presence, hear them bark or move about, or have a sudden and vivid memory that warms your heart.
5. You need not worry about death stopping your connections with beloved people or pets.
I was gone from “home” a lot as I went through pre-med, theological, and psychology training in other cities. But I always enjoyed petting Snoopy and getting dog kisses when I visited my folks. When I was 27 years old, Snoopy was the equivalent of nearly 100. Funny how that works. My veterinarian grew up on a farm and his dad was the dean of the OSU vet school. I asked him why animals age so rapidly compared to humans. They have very similar anatomy and physiology and most live healthier lives than people. He had no idea.
Whenever I find a puzzling situation like that, I consider “spiritual” possibilities. Maybe pets live shorter lives to prepare us for our own death and that of human loved ones. Perhaps our furry friends don’t have lessons to learn like we do and thus don’t need as long a visit to this earthly classroom. One animal communicator shared her view that, as beings of unconditional love, pets can only handle the lower energy on this planet for a relatively short while. Could be.
Back to Snoopy . . .
Nearly blind, very arthritic, and totally deaf, she walked with a slow hobble but still enjoyed visits from the three now-grown children. I hadn’t been home for several months since I was wrapping up a thesis and master’s degree several states away.
When I came home, I noticed how poorly Snoopy was doing. She was moving very slowly but still came out to get and give some loving. Later that day, as we ate dinner on the back patio, we heard the screech of a car’s tires on the road. Running out, I saw Snoopy lying in the road. The driver felt so bad, “She just walked right across the road like she couldn’t see or hear me” he said. She couldn’t.
My dad started to call the vet, but I told him it was too late. I could feel that her spine had been broken in two. She laid still for a few minutes as everyone petted her and told her how much they loved her. Then she closed her big brown eyes and took her last earthly breath on this time around the wheel.
I buried her beside the big maple tree in the back yard, the one with such magnificent red and yellow colors every autumn. I swear those colors were brighter and bolder each year after. Thirty-five years later, we still talk about Snoopy with love and gratitude for having such a fine friend in our lives.
So if you, like me, have loved and “lost” a furry friend, know—without a doubt—that life and love are forever. Beloved pets help us remember some of the meanings of life: to love unconditionally, to accept others for who and how they are, and fully enjoy life’s precious moments.
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Disclaimer: This information is not designed to replace medical or psychological care. Dr. Pitstick’s recommendations are based on forty-five years of training and experience in hospitals, pastoral counseling settings, mental health centers, and holistic chiropractic practice. Some of his statements are supported by clinical and scientific data while others are based on empirical evidence and his best current understandings.
Mark Pitstick, MA, DC is an author, clinical psychologist, chiropractic physician, frequent media guest, and workshop facilitator. He is the director of The SoulPhone Foundation and board member of Helping Parents Heal. Mark can help you know and show — no matter what is going on around you — that your earth-experience is a totally safe, meaningful, and magnificent adventure amidst forever. Visit Soul Proof for free articles, newsletters, and radio shows with top consciousness experts. Email your toughest questions to him at email@example.com.