When Eric and Andrea took their two children to the animal refuge, they found love at first sight. After passing many dogs, they came upon Ruby: two twinkling, black eyes looking back at them, surrounded by her soft curly black Poodle hair. Instantly, they knew Ruby would be a part of their family. They scooped her up, excited about their new addition, but when they got Ruby home she was very quiet and rather anxious.
With their loving care and patience, however, Ruby soon proved to be the most energetic and playful member of the household. Ruby, along with Eric and Andrea’s two children, would play for hours. She adored her new home and her family, so it was tragic when, after only five wonderful years of sharing their lives, Ruby was diagnosed with liver cancer. It was devastating for the family, who were left with only a few weeks with their dear pet before she deteriorated to such a point where there was no other choice but to euthanise.
The vet came to their house and Ruby was farewelled by her loved ones.
At this dreadful time for all of them, Andrea contacted me as she felt it was important to know where Ruby would like her ashes kept. She told me that the family was finding it very difficult without her. Ruby had always been a part of the most important events of the family’s lives, and beautiful soul that Andrea was, she wanted to make sure that Ruby was involved in deciding where her ashes were to be laid to rest.
When I connected with Ruby, I understood what a sense of humour she had. She immediately began chatting away and I could feel the electricity of her energy. Ruby made me think that I should already know the answer to the question of where her ashes should be placed: In the living area of course. I want to be right in the middle of everything—so that’s the ideal spot.
Andrea began setting up a small table against the livingroom wall where everyone could see her photograph and her ashes. Each day she’d place a fresh rose there, and she reported back later that this had helped the family enormously.
When Bianca lost Milo, her German Shepherd of fourteen years, the grief was overwhelming. Milo had been ill for some time but this hadn’t prepared Bianca for when he finally passed away. Milo had always been a carefree, playful dog, even into his senior years, and it was only in the final months he became quiet and listless, until finally passing silently one night whilst everyone was asleep. Bianca asked me to communicate with Milo to learn of his wishes, whether he wanted to be buried or cremated, and just where he’d prefer his final resting place to be.
Milo was clear: would I tell Bianca to bury him under the old almond tree in the backyard. He remembered Bianca always commenting on the beautiful pink flowers in spring, so it would be perfect. And he knew Bianca would need a physical location to visit for a time, thus allowing the healing to begin.
As many people are at a loss without the physical contact, a grave or shrine seems to help, just as it does when we’re grappling with the loss of a much-loved person. It gives us a point of contact, although these honourings are more for our benefit than for our animals’. And they know that, but even in death and beyond animals consider how they can assist and give us love.
When animals are gravely ill and you know time is short, don’t hesitate to express your love for them completely. Animals are amazingly intuitive, and they can hear your words and feel your heart.
Brigitte and Paul had been married three years when they had Bonnie join the family. Bonnie, a very energetic King Charles Spaniel, brought fun and laughter into the house, sharing in everything they did—holidays included. When Bonnie was struck down with pneumonia, Brigitte and Paul were frantic with worry. She wasn’t responding to the medication and, at the vet’s surgery, began to deteriorate rapidly.
The vet came to them with the bad news that it was unlikely she’d pull through, and this was when Brigitte and Paul came to me in the hope of conveying all their love and certain other thoughts to Bonnie.
Bonnie’s message back to them was very clear. She reminded them how much fun they’d all had together.
That this illness had been such a short part of their shared existence, so they must not dwell on it; they should think instead about the amazing memories she’d take to the spirit realms with her. And that if she knew they were happy, this would help to ease her transition.
As hard as it was, Brigitte and Paul brought a stack of happy photographs into the veterinary surgery and talked to Bonnie about the great times they had, depicted by each photo. They swear they saw a hint of a smile and then, with her paw resting on Brigitte’s hand, Bonnie was gone.
Don’t wait until your wonderful companions are sick or deceased before you truly express how you feel. This is also true of the people in our lives. When was the last time you said, ‘I love you’ to someone you love? Or spoke of how appreciative you are that this person is a part of your life?
I sometimes think it’s easier to say and show this to an animal than it is to other people in our lives. Usually because animals accept these gestures without question or suspicion. They won’t ask us why, or ask us to tell them more, they will just lovingly take whatever we are offering with gratitude.
There’s a lesson there! We have our beloved animals for such a short time. Make every minute fulfilling and joyful. They are truly a blessing each and every day. If you have never shared your life with an animal then you have certainly missed out on some of the most amazing experiences of love and learning.