Witnessing our companion animal transition to spirit is unquestionably one of the most painful experiences that a human can live. It is far worse than losing human family. Perhaps it is so because we are unable to ask our animals if they are ready to exit, if they are in any pain or how badly their pain hurts. We are unable to ask them if they loved us, if they had a good experience under our care and if we could have done anything to make their lives better or more comfortable. Perhaps it is because our animal companions were far more loyal and trustworthy than any fallible human could ever be. Perhaps it is because the love of a companion animal is truly unparalleled.

Whatever the case may be, the single most painful aspect of living with such a loyal spirit is that the end of the experience is inevitable. As little as we want to think about it, we know that one day, their end will come and that we will be absolutely devastated. What’s more, to add to the devastation of the loss of our best friends, we are left with so many unanswered questions. We wonder if we made the right decisions at the right time to let them go. We wonder if our animals were angry or hurt or sad that we had to let them go. We wonder if they felt afraid, alone or how badly they were suffering. These questions, to us, are paralyzing at best.

As if the grief we experience at the time of their transition wasn’t enough, in every situation in which we must say goodbye to our loving animal family members, we experience a tremendous amount of guilt. Humans can spend years, lifetimes, rerunning the circumstances of their beloved animal friend’s life and death, time and time again. They often wonder if they could have managed the lives of their beloved friends any better. They wonder if there was anything that they could have done to prolong the lives of their animals or to lessen the suffering at the end of their lives. It is easy to get lost in what we ‘could have done had we had more information’. In almost all cases, we can take comfort in the fact that we did the very best we can with the knowledge we had at the time. We cannot go back in time and change the knowledge that we had. It is in our best interest to accept that we did the  very best we could with the tools that we had at the time.

Whereas in living through the transition of a human family member we can ask all of the above questions, we are generally unable to do so with animals. We are unable to ask for their forgiveness and be sure that their forgiveness of us is granted. We are unable to ask them if they are in pain and if there is anything we can do to help. We are unable to be certain that our animals are truly cognizant of how much we love them and how grateful we are for their place in our hearts. If only we were aware of what animals think during the final moments of their lives.

The animal’s concept and thought processes at death vastly differ from that of the human. Whereas humans tend to make death a dramatic experience, animals do not. Whereas humans tend to want to be surrounded by family members and loved ones at their time of passing, animals tend to want to transition on their own. This is also how their wild ancestors chose to pass. When wild cats and dogs get old or sick, they break away from their pack or pride and go off and die alone. This is not sad. This is the way of the wild. Companion animals are no different in this way. In fact, many humans will find that their animal chooses to pass on their own as soon as they leave the vet clinic or home. This is animal nature. This is not to be taken personally by humans, it is not something to spend the rest of our lives regretting – that we were not present with our beloved family member when they passed. Make no regret about it. Your animal did this on purpose so as not to let you see them die.

What may surprise us most is what animals do think about as they are transitioning. They do not feel alone. In most cases, they do not feel afraid. They certainly do not feel angry or unforgiving of us for the choices that we have made. They do not begrudge, blame or feel that they are in an unjustified situation. No. When they are in their final moments of life, no matter what the circumstances, companion animals really only have one concern. Whether their life’s end was imminent after a long journey with terminal illness or whether their passing was sudden and unexpected, their end of life thoughts are the same: Will my person be ok without me?

Companion animals are completely selfless beings. They have been gifted to very fortunate humans from the Universe in order for us to help us and to heal us along our healing journeys. From the moment we adopt them until the moment we have to say goodbye, these selfless beings feel that it is their role to care for us in a way that nobody else can. They feel that it is their role to provide the kind of love for us that we have been missing. It is their role to take away our pain and suffering in any way they can. In their self-sacrificing way, even as they are transitioning from life to death, their only concern is the fact that once they have left the physical world, they will no longer be available to us to take our pain away. Even at their time of dying, in the last moments of life, they are very aware of the suffering that their death will cause us. At the time of their passing, in their final moments, they wonder who will take care of us if they are gone. They feel sad that they are responsible for causing us to suffer. Sometimes they even feel that they are letting us down. And in their final moments, of course they know we love them with every fibre of our being. After all, we have told them innumerable times throughout our time together. And they have intently listened.

Sometimes these last thoughts that our animal companions have can keep them stuck. Sometimes, even when their bodies give out and pass away, the souls of our animal friends can become stuck between Earth and the afterlife. The afterlife is not “heaven” per se, but a beautifully bright space of unimaginable unconditional love. It is a healing space to which all souls, both animal and person travel upon the death of their physical bodies. But before they allow themselves to leave,  sometimes our animals are so concerned with how we are going to feel without them that they are unable to fully cross over into the afterlife and continue their soul’s purpose as the Universe intended.

While it may seem altruistic of our beloved animal companions to want to continue their loyalty to us even after their souls leave their bodies, it can be harmful. This can trap their souls in an Earthly realm so that they are unable to go into the afterlife to continue their soul’s purpose. We may be glad for this because it means that our animals are “still with us”, however we must remember one integral notion: the animals whom we were gifted by the Universe in order to heal were just that- gifted. They, in the grand scheme of things, do not belong to us. We did not create them. They are gifts. They are individual beings with individual souls on individual healing journeys of their own and we must respect that. We must let them go.

This is not to say that grieving the loss of our beloved friends is wrong. Ensuring that we thoroughly grieve is an essential part of moving on. Learning to forgive ourselves for any mistakes or discrepancies we made is an crucial aspect of healing from the trauma of losing our best friends. True, we will never be the same. But it is necessary to take the time we need to heal. It is necessary to take the time we need to deal with our pain. However it is necessary for their safe and peaceful journey into the afterlife that we do not to dwell on it for longer than necessary.

After every lifetime, the soul leaves the body behind and ascends to the afterlife to begin its healing journey. Life on Earth can be hard. It is often full of pain and suffering. All souls who have lived on Earth will thereafter undergo many healings in the afterlife. Your animal companion is no different. After living their lives on Earth, your companion animal’s next destination is the afterlife. And you have the blessing of being able to help them get there.

It would be a lovely sentiment if we could keep our companion animals with us for an eternity. However, this is not in your animal’s soul’s best interest. It is your animal’s soul’s best interest to live out their life with you and then go into the afterlife to heal. In order to avoid trapping your animal on the Earth plane and stopping them from going to their next Heavenly destination in the afterlife, you must take one simple action. To allow your animal’s soul to be free to ascend, you must tell your animal that you will be ok without them. Even if you feel you will not be, you must tell your animal that you love them with all of your heart and that the healing will be hard but that you want your animal’s soul to be free to ascend to the afterlife and heal. Your animal is so concerned with your well being that they feel responsible for it even after they die. Do not prevent them from moving on. Be inspired by their selflessness, give back to them and let their soul be free.

If your goal is to invite your animal companion to visit you after they have departed, there is a healthy way to do so that does not involve keeping their souls Earthbound. All companion animals love to come and visit us once they are healed. After their souls leave their bodies, they ascend into the afterlife and embark on their healing journeys. Their journeys can last anywhere from several days to several months (earth time) according to how much pain and suffering they had in life. Once their healing journeys have been completed, all companion animals love to come and spend time with us again. They miss us as much as we miss them.

Even after they transition, our beloved soul-animals are always with us. Though we may not be able to see, hear and smell them, they are with us. They just exist in another place. If we are fortunate to believe that they are always with us, we can establish a valuable and valid relationship with them from wherever they are. As even in their spiritual state, they feel responsible for our well being. And we are grateful, as on a very deep level we understand that the reason that we love them so much is because they remind us of from where our souls came. They are little pieces of heaven who were sent to us to remind us of the space our souls go once we transition to Spirit. They remind us of Home.





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