In my last post, I shared a story about having to say farewell to a four-legged love of my life … a heart-wrenching decision, but one I was fortunate to have Spirit help me with, bringing me peace.
But it raises the question … what is it that happens to our pets when they die? What exactly is this “Rainbow Bridge” people speak about?
Not surprisingly, this is a question that comes up frequently, and many sources I’ve read or heard over the past several years have tackled it.
In fact, I just took a break from writing this post to tune into a podcast discussion between two internationally known and respected mediums, and voila! They too started talking about pets in Spirit.
And I must say, I get it. Because this journey has taught me something super important …
At the end of the day, life is really only about one thing … Love.
Yes, yes, I know it sounds corny, however it actually seems to be true. But why is this relevant here?
Because where we experience and express love is in relationships. All kinds of relationships, with all kinds of people, including ourselves.
But not just with people ….
In fact, one of the more important relationships in the lives of many people is their relationship with, you guessed it … their pets.
So naturally, we want to know more about these loved ones, both while they’re here and … well, afterward.
Our understanding is limited
Even with all the information I’ve come across over the years, I have to say I haven’t found the details of what happens to our pets after they leave this physical life to be all that clear.
But I realize this shouldn’t be a surprise. What we know about animals in the afterlife is understandably limited.
Heck, it’s limited enough about humans in the afterlife, and there are many people who have actually personally glimpsed it … you know, when they, um, died … temporarily … and then returned to tell us all about it.
Not to mention the thousands of kids who have memories of past lives … many of which have been scientifically validated, some of which have also included memories of life … between lives!
And then there are the thousands of people who have undergone hypnotherapy, taking them also to that space between lives … revealing stunning consistency across accounts.
And this is before mentioning all the experiences from evidential mediums … people who can communicate directly with those on the Other Side to get first-hand reports of what goes on there.
If you’ve been following my blog, you’ll recognize each of these experiences. (A good place to catch them all is in the Kid Wisdom posts … a seven-part series.)
Yet, even with all of this, our understanding of what happens to humans after this physical life remains … well, limited.
And now we’re wondering what happens to animals … and in particular, our pets? Hah! Good luck with this one ….
Okay, yes, the challenge is that much greater, so … should we even bother?
In my opinion, absolutely. And here’s why …
The grief that some of us feel for the loss of our pets is comparable to … and sometimes even greater than … the grief we feel for the loss of people in our lives.
So, exploring this question is important. Certainly, it doesn’t change the impact of the physical loss when they’re gone … nothing really does, except time, I guess.
But it may provide some comfort, to help ease the grief, if we could better understand if and how our pets fit into the Bigger Picture of life.
The question is … how do we do this? I mean, our sources of information about this are naturally more restricted. Obviously, we can’t ask an animal about a near-death experience, or interview their offspring about past-life memories, or regress them in hypnotherapy … right?
Exactly. However, there still are a few sources available to us that do offer valuable insights.
Who can shed light on what happens to pets “afterward”?
First, the most prolific source of information about this topic comes from psychic mediums … those who can describe what they’re directly sensing on the Other Side. Do they detect any animals? Can they perceive a person’s pets?
Second, reports from hypnotherapy clients who are taken back to their time in between lives in the spirit world can be a valuable source of information as well. After all, if animals also go to the spirit world, then somebody there should be able to see them, right?
And third, we can draw on our own personal experiences with our pets … those we have with them after they die.
I expect some of you have personal stories such as these, whether your own or those of friends or family … stories about “experiencing” pets in some manner after they’ve died.
Here are a few of mine …
Satchmo … a beloved black Lab
When I met my husband Greg, he came with a black Lab, Satchmo … a beautiful, friendly dog (although my two cats might disagree, but that’s another story!)
When Satchmo was almost 13, we realized he was ready to go, and we gave him the gift of release from a failing body.
The following morning, Satchmo made an appearance at home ….
Yes, it gave Greg quite a start to actually feel this 95-pound hulk pass by him on the stairs. However, it’s a phenomenon I’ve heard is not all that unusual … this sensing of a physical presence after a pet has died.
Two days later, we received an email from a close friend who knew Satchmo well, and who has a strong, powerful connection to Spirit. She related what had happened to her on the day we let Satchmo go …
“Thursday afternoon I had taken my head-cold to bed and drifted into a deep sleep. I had a dream where Satchmo was standing in front of me, wagging, smiling … I was kneeling and put my arms around him.
“After a short time there was a burst of light like you read in books about people dying and going into light. It was so bright that it almost hurt. It felt like Satch had said goodbye on his way, and it was so good. I have never seen light like that before.”
And another …
She continued on to relate another experience of hers from years earlier, when she lost both her beloved Rottweiler and two friends, all within a few weeks. She went to see a medium friend of hers for some comfort, without disclosing to her the reason for coming.
As she walked into this friend’s office, her friend said, “Well, you didn’t come alone. There is a big black beast at your side, and a man and a woman on the other.”
Reconnecting with Chigger and Callie through a medium
Yes, mediums of course do have a direct connection to the Other Side, and pets often come through in readings.
I’ve visited mediums several times as part of my learning about this greater reality. In one session with a gifted medium, Dianne, I asked her whether she was picking up anything about my two cats, Chigger and Callie.
She “tuned in” to see what she could sense, and immediately began speaking …
“I have a white cat. Male, quiet nature, very laid back, soothing.”
Yup, that was Chigger to a tee.
“Now a much darker cat is here.” Sure, that would be Callie.
“Beautiful, a different character, more … “
As Dianne searched for the right phrase to describe what she was sensing about Callie’s character, the obvious descriptor leapt into my mind … “in your face.”
Dianne found the words to complete her thought, “ … in your face.” Hah!
She continued, describing Callie perfectly …
“She has a very beautiful coat. She comes around you … when she was alive, she came around, on her own terms.”
She then reinforced Callie’s ongoing existence …
“She does the same now, on her own terms. She’s been trying to make her presence known. She nestles right up beside you.”
Dianne patted her right thigh, exactly where Callie used to snuggle.
“They’re here together. You sure miss them.”
Boy, do I ever. It was absolutely lovely to have that reconnection, brief though it was.
But seriously, are these experiences actually real … ?
As I said, I expect many of you have had similar experiences, on your own or perhaps through a medium, but …
If you’re anything like I was, you may second-guess them, wondering if they’re real … or worse, completely dismiss them, chalking them up to imagination, a lucky guess, or wishful thinking.
I’m here to say from experience … not so fast!
But yes, I know that personal anecdotes don’t hold a lot of sway with some people. So, let’s turn to internationally renowned experts and see what they have to tell us on this subject.
Starting with the most fundamental question of all …
Do animals have a soul … and does it survive death?
Hmm, I guess that’s actually two questions, but they’re closely related.
As I understand it, some religions still maintain that animals don’t have souls, but I have to say … this is NOT consistent with a large and growing body of experience.
A peek into animals on the Other Side through hypnotherapy
Let’s start with master hypnotherapist, Michael Newton, PhD., renowned for being able to help people recall details of their “life between lives” (in other words, their time on the Other Side, between death and rebirth).
In this blog, I’ve frequently referenced Newton and his work because of the credible, analytical, comprehensive, and meticulous approach to his research into the realm of the afterlife.
Research he had NO intention of pursuing, by the way, when he first entered hypnotherapy because … he did NOT believe in life after death.
However, that changed when during his sessions, many clients began to land in this “place” … over and over … and he started to see consistent similarities in their descriptions.
After decades of working with thousands of clients and keeping detailed records, but telling no one what was happening (lest he be carted off and locked away), he finally summoned the courage to write about it.
His first book, “Journey of Souls,” was an absolute game-changer for me.
And its sequel, “Destiny of Souls” also holds a treasure trove of new insights.
Insights into Animal Souls
In this sequel, Newton addresses the topic of “Animal Souls,” sharing what he learned during his client sessions about whether or not animals do have souls. He offers this concise commentary …
“ … some of my clients declare they do see animals in the spirit world between their lives. … I have been told by clients who have had connections with a variety of animals in the spirit world that all of them do indeed have some sort of soul energy. They are not like human souls and also differ from one another.” (pgs. 296-297)
Ahh, so they are seen in the “vicinity” …. And with their own unique soul energy, it seems.
Sidenote: For those who may be interested in delving further, the transcripts from client sessions that Newton conducted and includes in his books, especially in “Destiny of Souls,” contain some fascinating insights into just where it is that animal souls may reside in the spirit world.
The view from the world of psychic mediums
Let’s check out another source of information, one that seems to be the most pervasive, or perhaps simply the most widely published … the realm of psychic mediumship.
By the way, if you’re still skeptical about the legitimacy of mediumship, let me refer you to a recent post. It describes a non-profit scientific research institute which has made it a mission to investigate whether mediumship is actually valid. (Spoiler alert … the answer is yes.)
Every medium I’ve encountered answers this question about whether animals go to the afterlife pretty much the same way. Let’s look at one example … John Holland, an internationally renowned American psychic medium, teacher, author, and speaker.
In Holland’s book “The Spirit Whisperer,” he says …
“As a medium, I know that animals do have souls, and they do cross over to the Other Side. … Whether human or animal, the soul is eternal, and our loving companions are not separated from us by distance, time, or even death. … Animals are just like us in that they’re souls that inhabited temporary bodies.” (pgs. 185-188)
Holland has a full chapter in this book devoted to the subject … “Animals – Our Spiritual Companions.” It addresses the bonds we have with the animals in our life, animal communication, and loss of a pet … all subjects that naturally enter a psychic medium’s experience.
And seriously, he’s just one of many, many psychic mediums who will say the same thing … based on their experience communicating with animal spirits.
WAIT A MINUTE!! What do you mean “communicating” with animal spirits?? Um, hello?? Don’t you know that … ANIMALS CAN’T TALK??
Oh, hi. I remember you … hmm, in fact, I was wondering when you were going to show up.
Yeah, well, I was hanging back, kind of following along with what you were saying. It all sorta made sense … UNTIL NOW!
I mean, EVERYONE knows animals can’t talk, so you lost me on this whole “communicating with dead animals” idea … yeah, right. Like, how would THAT work??
Hmm, I get it … it’s a great question. And as it happens, you’re not the only one to raise it. So, hold that thought and let’s plan to explore it … when we continue with Part 2.
Stay tuned ….