Animals have souls too. Domesticated animals can be highly evolved and very wise, and they reincarnate as we do. Just as we often have strong soul links with people in our lives, such as family members or certain work colleagues, so those pets which join us, sadly, for just a few years may well have been with us before as animal companions in lifetime after lifetime. So, your cat may have been a hunting dog, or a favourite horse of yours, even a parrot. These animals are part of your spiritual team, and they return time after time to be in service to us like faithful retainers, and it is our responsibility to care for them and value them as we would a loyal servant
These special creatures appear in our lives for a purpose and at a specific time. Although their appearance may be different from the last time they were with you, you may recognise something familiar about their personality, and you may sense a bond immediately as you look in their eyes. Look closely when a new pet comes into your life, and you will know.
A month before Orlando, a magnificent wild marmalade cat decided to join us, I woke I the night and saw an enormous orange cat's head filling my bedroom, rather like the Cheshire cat from Alice in Wonderland. I did not know it at the time, but it was the harbinger of his imminent arrival in our lives. Being feral he did not move in immediately but took food from us outside until it was time to move in permanently, when a much loved cat, Bilbo, was preparing to leave after 17 years with us. Orlando was taking over the role of guardian, and he performed it wonderfully until his time came to go too. His soul was strong and ancient, and three days before he died I saw that special soul leave us, moving purposefully in an etheric body up the path into the woods without looking back. He has a new job now, still a part of us but ever more evolved: he played his part well.
Bilbo, who I have mentioned, joined us as a kitten, a young tom, full of life and very territorial – and joined Ben, another cat who was much older, and who died in her sleep two months after we moved, which was a great sadness. About a week later, a black cat walked down the drive as if he owned it: Bilbo strolled out of the front door, rubbed noses with him and led him into the house. And so Lodger came to us, with Bilbo's full knowledge and blessing, to take Ben's place. Lodger lived with us for eleven years, and was a remarkable and much-loved cat. His service was in protection: if I had a client who had particularly strong or difficult energies, Lodger would wander in unobtrusively and lie on the floor next to them, shielding me and taking upon himself what could harm me, or my husband. He did so much to relieve us of harm, pain or suffering, and as a result he was quite often ill, and used up all his nine lives for us without complaint
When any animal dies, it is only the body that is no more – the life, the light goes on, just as it is with humans or any living being. While we have a responsibility to honour and care for all that is in our environment, particularly that which is in our charge, it includes recognising and accepting when the time has come for a pet to leave us and go back to the light, and allowing it to go with love and gratitude for all that it has done and given. Just like us, the time and manner of their departing is pre-determined, but because of their love for us they will stay longer if we ask them to.
However much we understand their immortality and the gift, for them, of their going, it is often desperately hard to accept that it is time for them to leave, and we can sometimes try to hold onto them for too long. I have seen one or two loving and well-meaning owners delay euthanasia so long that the animal is suffering quite badly, or they prolong the life with so many pills, injections and operations that the pet is in great distress. Even our own longing for a miracle to occur, for them to stay longer, may hold back their departure as they pick up on our emotions and, being the loyal servants that they are, they try to do our bidding even in this. So, if you are in the sad position of having to decide that the time has come, then tell them directly that you release them from their service to you and that they are free to go. You may wish also to thank them for the gift of their love and support. They will hear and understand, and will often indicate to you that it is time, and they are ready.
The night before Ben died, even though she was quite ill she found the strength to tour the house, sit in my lap, and do many of the things she used to. She was saying good-bye. When we realised one Sunday night that Lodger's cancer had returned and that he would have to be put to sleep as soon as possible, to prevent any further suffering, he knew at once what was going to happen – and he was happy. Like Ben, he said his farewells, did his favourite things and died in peace and with dignity in his favourite place at home. For our part, we tried not to distress him with our sadness, but told him of our love and gratitude and released him into the light when the time came as best we could.
When our wonderful animals return to the world of spirit, they are healed and looked after perhaps by a family member or indeed by other animals who have passed over, or by angels and devas whose role it is to care for the animal kingdom. Just as our own human loved ones visit us on earth from time to time to check up on us and watch over us, so also do our departed pets, and this may occur in a number of ways.
Sometimes they will remind us they are around through making a noise that was their trademark, such as clawing a carpet. They may be visible out of the corner of your eye, or you may feel them around. When our dog Keeper – another great gift, with the same sense of humour as Orlando and Bilbo – died, I would quite often feel him jump on the bed where he used to lie, particularly while we were going through the initial grieving period. Three days after Ben left, when I was still feeling very sad, I woke in the middle of the night to find her lying next to me, purring very loudly. She had returned to tell me she was fine and very happy. I stroked her for a while and then she went back to her spiritual home having given me her message and comforted me. They can also return in dreams. If you have a very vivid, strong dream which leaves you with the memory of your feelings and snatches of what was going on in your dream the following day, then your meeting with your pet almost certainly took place on the inner realms while you were in the sleep state.
Some mediums specialise in re-uniting pets with their owners, and it can be a great comfort to know through this spiritual process that there is life after death for animals as well as for ourselves, and that they really are in a better place.
Because of the comparative shortness of their lives, and their closeness to us, some pets may be with us in our lifetime several times, perhaps one time as a dog, next time as a cat, or even a horse. It can be very reassuring when one leaves us to know that you will be together again at a later date, and that it is au revoir and bon voyage, not goodbye forever.
Since Atlantean times, it has been forbidden under spiritual law for animals to enter the human kingdom, and so procreation between man and beast cannot occur (as happened at one point in our earth cycle, resulting literally in animal-man) and animals cannot reincarnate in human form. However, as many of our domesticated animals are reaching a higher and higher level of evolution, the law is to be changed to enable those animals of the right level of soul-consciousness to be reborn as a man or woman. This is an indication of the wisdom and greatness of spirit that so many of our pets have.
Herd animals such as cows or sheep, which do not normally have individual or unique personalities but are part of a group, share a common soul and will not usually be of a very high evolutionary level, though this is not always so. Occasionally you may come across an undomesticated animal with a huge personality or innate power which sets them apart from their peers: they are leaders in their own way and, just as some trees will be governed by a strong Spirit and others will not, their souls are distinct and visible if you choose to see.
I have been talking in this article of the place of animals in the bigger picture, and in our lives. It would be remiss of me not to mention their place in some of the great spiritual traditions of our world. You will be aware of the place of the sacred cow in the Hindu religion, and of cat worship in ancient Egypt, for example. You know too that one of our spirit guides can sometimes be an animal, often one that is our companion through many lifetimes, and which literally continues to guide us from the world of spirit when it is not in incarnation.
Additionally, power animals play a highly significant part in Shamanism. Part of this tradition involves "journeying" to the Upper, Middle or Lower Worlds on a quest for information or enlightenment, and the shaman is invariably accompanied by one or more power animals to support and protect him or her. These animals –which can be birds, fish or insects as well as mammals – represent a certain quality and symbolism to strengthen the shaman in those areas they represent, and are very powerful.
So, if you remember nothing else about animals, think of this: they have chosen to be in service to us and we have an absolute obligation not to abuse that service, nor that love. There is a contract between us, and it is our duty and our privilege to honour it.