Do pets grieve?


A friend emailed me after her much-loved dog had crossed.

“Do the other dogs miss her?” she asked.

I thought about this for awhile, because, you know, death and grieving don’t really have words. They are States of Being. And I wanted to honor those States of Being. I went to my guides for information.

I told her that at this time*, I believe that dogs live in the present moment. They are very much aware of “now.” And in her household, her other dogs could still smell Lily, but they could not see her physical presence. When I checked in on them about this, they expressed confusion. “Lily is not here, but we smell Lily.”

My friend was disappointed, because of course she was heartbroken over Lily’s death. She wanted confirmation that this loss was also felt by the other dogs in her house.

“They will be able to see Lily when she is present in spirit-form,” I told her. You’ve seen dogs and cats just stare off at something, they have a more refined set senses than we do. So for them, it is not the same emotional trauma. They understand loss, as in “not here” but they do not dwell on that.

This is a tough subject – well, death is always so, in our culture – but with pets, we really want to imprint human characteristics on them. Believe me, I do it all the time. In many ways, they are so much more advanced (spiritually) than we give them credit for.

I wanted to reassure my friend that everything and everyone was ok, (they were and so is her beloved pet in spirit), and that she shouldn’t judge her other pets’ behavior based on her very raw emotions.

  • This is my disclaimer: My beliefs are always evolving. This is what I believe now, based on my experience up to now. Someone else’s experience may be very different, so please honor everyone’s perspective.


Penny from Heaven

Many years ago, I lost a beloved companion animal, one that took my heart – she was my heart. She was just a special soul, in a special way, at a very important time.

Her presence was so meaningful for me, and the loss so keen, that I contacted another animal communicator to reach her and see if she would one day return to me.

The conversation was a long one, and the upshot was, when I learned the lesson of Lassie’s life, and death, then she would reincarnate with me again.

So. There was work to be done to see what those lessons were. And they are irrelevant to this post. What is relevant, is that the bond of love never dies, whether it’s a pet or a person.

Several years ago, I felt it may be time to touch Lassie and see if she was ready to come back to this plane. In my mediation, she showed me a dog that had half of it’s face shadowed by darker fur, and she showed the tail as short or darkened somehow at the base.

I really really wanted her to come back.

Rhett Butler and me in 2009

We currently had a senior rescue coonhound that we loved dearly, Rhett Butler, an amazing soul who would probably have tolerated another dog. Rhett was so afraid when he came to us – and me being me, I wanted him to have a name that would give him dignity and respect when uttered. So, Rhett Butler he became.

Rhett collapsed in our house during the Super Bowl last year. He couldn’t use his back legs at all, and it was a horrible Monday morning that we released him to spirit at our vet’s.

Meanwhile I was caring for my dad with cancer, and my mom with dementia. And working. So why was I trolling through rescue sites looking for a dog, when the last thing I needed was another soul to care for.

I journeyed to my Wise Tree. “Why am I obsessed with this, what can possibly be a good outcome for bring a new dog into our home in winter?” And Tree showed me playing in the yard with a small dog.

Playing. Something I hadn’t even thought of since my dad had gotten sick, when my days were spent at hospitals or my parent’s home and my nights were filled with worry and anxiety and tears.

A month after Rhett crossed, I applied for a beagle at a rescue. They were so sorry! that dog had been rescued, could they interest me in a little mix? Cattle dog and Rat Terrier?

We emailed information back and forth, and almost didn’t consider her, even though her picture, well, it was really close to what Lassie showed me.

Penny Lane


She had been abused, was dog aggressive, her previous owner said she tore up stuff. Almost the exact opposite of Lassie’s behavior. But the rescue *knew* we could help this little girl. They tested her at their house for destruction – there was none. They let us have a trial run. So of course, we fell in love. Her name was Penny.

There was a lot of synchronicity in this story and I’m afraid I haven’t told it well. You may ask, well if this is Lassie, why is she different? My answer at this point in my understanding is, there is part of the soul-of-Lassie, and other parts of SOUL as well. Lassie was a shy dog, one who went nutsy during storms. Penny is not shy, very protective of her (and our) space. So, I see balance – for and for me.
In the end, it doesn’t matter whether you believe in reincarnation or not. But I know a lot of people who grieve for their pets so deeply and so badly want that pet to come back. This is my story, and I hope it helps someone.


Losing a pet

Today’s Blogging 101 assignment is to compose a post, based on a comment I made yesterday.


Cammy’s furkid transitioned to spirit. When I read her post The Dignity and the Mystery, I was really touched, because we lost our Rhett Butler this time, last year. He was a gentle soul, a rescued coonhound of middle age back in 2009, and dearly loved.

Rhett Butler, October 2009

There are no greater optimists, then those who love an animal and bring them into their homes. You know they will leave you one day. And despite this heartache, we do it again and again.

Why is this?

Everyone will have a different answer. For me, it is because I cannot imagine life without a dog.Their love is unconditional. And a rescue dog, well, you save a life and that will allow another dog to be rescued and find their forever home.

I was with Rhett at the end, and before him, with our basset hound Aerosmith.

Aerosmith, summer 2008

This is sacred time. And through the tears, we told each of them how loved they were, and how we would miss them, but that we understood. When Aero passed, I felt his spirit lift and a sense of a gold/yellow presence ran off to go chase a scent. Through the tears, I realized he had given me a great gift, the gift of feeling his spirit run free, and the knowing that life never ends, it just changes.


And from their lessons, I learned to cherish the sacred time I had with my dad, before and as he transitioned. We should all have this gift, this reverence for life, as it comes in and as it transitions forward.