Animals and the Afterlife

Read true stories of angelic pet experiences in this excerpt from The Best Angel Stories 2014.

By Sophy Burnham

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My friend’s beloved and aged dog died not long ago. My friend was in a state of grief and there I sat helpless to comfort her—for what can assuage the loss of a dog, a cat, a horse, mouse, parrot, or pet snake? Our animal relationships are pregnant with meaning and almost as profound as the loss of a child.

Where do our animals go when they die? I remember when Puck, my Corgi, died. For weeks afterward I could hear the click of his nails on the bare wood floors, as if he were still following me through the house.

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I missed him with a physical ache, the way he’d throw himself at the front door each noon to protest the mail that attacked through the brass slot (his ferocity succeeded, for didn’t the invader retreat after Puck’s assault, only to return the next day?). How could such life-force energy just disappear?

The fact that I could hear my dog’s nails on the floor disturbed me. Was it my imagination, forged in the fires of grief? And how was it that after two or three weeks it faded out and stopped?

In Colorado once I was giving a talk on angels, when a woman asked: “Do dogs become angels when they die?” Then she told the following story: She’d had a beautiful Shetland sheepdog in Idaho. It wore a red bandanna around its neck, a hippie dog. When it died, she fell into a depression–inconsolable.

She finally withdrew to a retreat center on the top of a mountain in New Mexico, where she spent her days reading, praying, walking, and recovering from her loss. One day she was hiking in the high mountains when a thunderstorm broke overhead. Lightning flashed. She knew she was in danger.

Some 55 people a year are killed by lightning in the United States and those deaths are most prevalent in the high mountains. The woman had a poor sense of direction, and while hurrying to reach the safety of the retreat, she got lost. She was scared. Suddenly she heard a bark. She looked up.

Through the rain she saw a Shetland sheepdog with a red bandanna around its neck, running back and forth ahead of her. When she took a step toward it, the dog ran down a path. If she hesitated, it came back, barking, inviting her to follow. As it ran down the slope ahead of her, she saw the dog’s plumy tail waving in great circles, like a pinwheel, just as her dog’s used to do. The dog led her to her own cabin at the retreat, turned, and ran away.

Was it her dog? Was it an angel? I have been privileged to know one perfect loving dog, one perfect cat, and now an exceptional horse, each one the full expression of unflinching love.

I think our animals are angels, earth-angels, pointing out for us the steadfast path of love, loyalty, optimism, faith, joy, hope. They teach us everything important about life. And when we grieve their deaths, it is love that we’re expressing in silent song–our grief being a poem proportionate to our love

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Yes, I agree with you-many times they act as agents of God.Only a few can understand.

Around 2005, I had 6 cats, 4 dogs and several small birds. Two of my cats were dying, one from old age, the other from bone cancer in her jaw. I was devastated, because my church didn't believe animals had souls. One morning, as the oldest was lying in bed with me, I was so filled with grief that I turned my face to the wall and wept with my grief. As I closed my eyes, this vision came over me that I was in this small (row) boat, and I had reached this shore where the grass was so deep a green and tall. I was standing in this boat with my beloved cat in my hands, handing her over to whom I knew was the Lord. Peace flooded my heart as I opened my eyes, to discover my beloved Peaches had died. That vision has given me hope as each of my other animals finished their course here on earth, knowing that they do go where it is beautiful, and the Lord is there too.

My pastor also has "reminded" me that cats do not have souls. But Billy Graham has written that the Bible says that heaven is a place of total joy, and for many of us, there can be no total joy without our animals. So to his mind, our animals will be there for us. I don't know if animals have a soul or not; I don't need to know. I do know the Lord loves me enough to make sure my beloved kitties will be there with me, plus many more kitties to love!

I had to put down my Tuxedo cat "Tuxedo" due to diabetes and for months afterwards I could feel his big fluffy tail on my leg. I would look down and no other cats there. So I know it was him.

A friend who recently lost her cat to cancer commented that it didn't matter since cats have no souls and will not go to heaven. It made me so sad, as we know each other from church. Moreover, we lost our wonderful bunny and our family was devastated. We feel her presence and think of her everyday. Did not the LORD create the animals and all things of the earth? We have since bought a new bunny and love him just as much as our late bunny. Just a sign that God is present in all living eyes that serve as the mirrors of our souls.

I once read that cats and dogs have stronger emotional feelings than humans. Can you imagine? But, I believe this is true. So, since these animals have such tender and loving spirits, they will be in heaven, and we will see them again one day.

Of coarse, they come back; I speak with the departed all of the time. I
lost my beloved turtle and the heartache is still very real. She does not
speak with me but with others. I have the ability to speak with animals
here and beyond and they make me laugh. They are ALWAYS WITH US. As a matter of face they travel back and forth. Animals are so pure of heart
that is why we must honor them. I really get upset over slaughter for food. I know that the Lord gave us game for food but it upsets me so to
take a life. I so wish that we live on vegetables.

Animals are a pure spirit unless they have been abused and then they need a communicator to speak with them to see what is their problem.
I think that the explanation by Sophie Burham was excellent and true.
Just wonderful

I Believe

WHAT A THRILL TO READ THIS STORY, ESPECIALLY WHEN SHE SAW THE DOG, A GREAT STORY !! UP TO NOW I HAD BEEN SURE THAT OUR PETS AND OTHER ANIMAL WERE JUST A TEMPORARY THING ON THE EARTH, NO, THANK YOU FOR CONVINCING ME THAT WE CAN HAVE PETS AND OTHER ANIMALS AS ANGELS JUST TO LOVE US !! JUST FOR WHAT WE ARE !!! I KNOW THAT THE DOG WE HAVE NOW CAN LOOK ME IN THE EYE SO STEADILY AND SEEM TO SAY THINGS (UNHEARD) TO ME THAT ARE VERY REAL !! OUR GOD IS A WONDERFUL GOD AND I AM SURE GOD LOVES US ALL SO VERY MUCH !!

Thank You for story about pets.we take in unwanted birds,and they don't leave us till the lord takes them back.we feel so blessed to have these little guys with us.It hurts so much when one passes away.GODs love is everywhere I believe the pets are angels,cause angels are love,and that's what most of us feel with them.we had one dog who lived to 14 yrs,that hurt is always there,yet we do move on,knowing we will see them again.

Great and moving story ! I have a dear wonderful calico cat who keeps me company ! A God-Send, as I am a widow. !

I don't believe that God created animals without souls. All animals tame or wild all having emotions, watch nature and you will see that God provided us a bounty of beauty with all our animals tiny souls and all! Yes, there are animal angels, that cannot ever for me be disputed. :)

I enjoyed and appreciated your story. Thank you for writing and sharing it. :). I do believe in animal angels. :)