Companion Animal Communications from
Across the Grave
Dr. Michael W. Fox
The after-death physical manifestations
of dogs and cats to their human companions point to other realities beyond this
mortal plane. Such manifestations, documented in my two new books DOG BODY,
DOG MIND, and CAT BODY, CAT MIND, (The Lyons Press), are sometimes
visual, either as an aura of light or even a clear image of the animal, or are
often purely auditory or tactile, as when the deceased animal’s footsteps are heard,
a cold nose is felt on one’s leg, or the deceased cat is felt jumping onto the
These phenomena suggest that there is
more to the states of life and death than we fully comprehend. There is some
form of being, not non-being, after physical death, possibly in a transitional
form or state for some time after separation of the physical body from the
supra-or metaphysical, that some call spirit or soul.
This phenomenology of life after life is
significant to me because I believe that it is an antidote to the prevailing
materialism and ultimate nihilism of these difficult times. The sad state of
the natural world that mirrors the human condition that is responsible for so
much violence, destruction, and animal suffering, are in large part attributable
to a nihilistic attitude that has no regard for the sacred; for the sanctity of
and nihilism essentially deny the spirit, the existence of realities other than
the purely physical. ‘You live, then you die, and that’s it. There is simply being
and nothingness, so make the most of it, and take all you can, because you
can’t take it with you,’ are typical nihilistic statements.
But there is no evidence of non-being in
nature. How could there be? The existence of non-existence cannot be proven,
nor can non-being. But a being can be present or absent. Absence from the
living present and presence of others does not mean that the absent one no
longer exists in some other place in the world, or in some other dimension. He
or she may be absent from, and ‘dead’ to the present, but as these deceased
dogs and cats who have manifested in the presence of their witnessing human
companions from their former existences, death does not mean non-being or
nothingness: Separation, yes; and a sense of loss.
uncounted numbers of deceased dogs and cats, as I have documented in the above
two books, were able to manifest physically and communicated their continuing
existence to their grieving human companions, is surely the affirmation of
love’s blessing that a living universe of being and becoming, that some call
God, Brahman, Allah, Great Spirit, or their Higher Power, can bestow upon all
of open heart and mind. The gifts of fellow creatures great and small are
indeed subtle and profound, enriching our lives from life to life, and sharing
with us part of the great mystery, the mysterium
tremendum, that is beyond our worldly realm of comprehension.
Below are several accounts sent to me by
readers of my syndicated newspaper column Animal
Doctor from around the U.S. of their beloved animals coming back and
communicating their presence through one or more of these peoples’ senses after
their animal companions have died. They can be manifested as a light, or a
familiar sound, a touch, or ephemeral physical form.
I think these accounts, that together
make a kind of testimony of truth, attest to the veracity and wisdom of all
deep faith traditions and societies that are founded on the ethics and
spirituality of compassion in recognition of the universal and universalizing
quality we call love or devotion. Some human-attached animals seem to be able
to will themselves to be with their beloved human companions after they have
died---or perhaps more correctly, left their physical bodies.
overarching aspect of all the letters that I have received on this subject of
animals’ spirits is this unifying, space-time transcending emotional element
that we call love.
I hope that these letters will be worth
reading in times of companion animal loss, not with the wish to make the deceased
loved ones manifest in some way, but to let them go with love and gratitude.
Dear Dr. Fox: My
Yorkie, whom I loved dearly, died in November of 2005. I have his ashes
on a table in my bedroom (because he always was with me in the bedroom) and
kept his collar, special sweater and special toy. Shortly after he died
my daughter and I both would hear him barking or yelping. I even thought
I heard him walking through the hallway. I still feel his presence
greatly even though we have moved from the home he lived in and still miss him
so very much!
KSM, Springdale, MD
Dear Dr. Fox: For
Christmas in 1982, my husband and sons gave me a beautiful, registered, male
Cocker Spaniel puppy. Although he was purchased from a “reputable”
person, he became very ill, and we spent almost as much as we paid for
him, just getting him well. In 1992, he, again, became ill. I took
him to our vet, Dr. Jed Ford, who told me that he was very ill due to kidney
failure, and that we might consider radical measures. I told Dr. Ford
that I could not put him to sleep and was there no other form of
treatment. Dr. Ford gave me a 10 day supply of antibiotics and asked that
I call him the next morning. I gave Skipper two doses and by the time
that I called Dr. Ford the next day, Skipper was his old self again. Dr.
Ford was amazed and advised me to continue the medication. In
further checkups, Dr. Ford again advised that his kidneys were failing and it
would only be a matter of time. Skipper lived almost exactly two more
years, until he began having seizures and I could not see my beloved dog
suffer. We put him to sleep on November 8, 1994.
Being a Cocker Spaniel, Skipper had a
“shedding problem” and we, for the whole time that he was alive, would find
“Skipper hair” throughout the house. Strangely enough, after he was gone,
we still continued to find “Skipper hair”. We have done renovations on
our home in the years since, but continue to find it in drawers, closets, under
the bed, etc. Perhaps the most unusual thing happens many mornings when I
step out of bed. Skipper slept beside our bed (on my side) as he became
older. The floor on my side of the bed (incidentally, he is buried just
beyond our bedroom wall, in our garden) is warm. I, my husband and our
sons, have no doubt that Skipper still inhabits and guards our home. He was and
is still a most beloved member of our family.
Richland Hills, Texas
Dear Dr. Fox, Our cat Sissy was twenty
years old when she passed on, and she was the Queen of the household. She ruled
over Dante, our Boxer dog. Her favorite ploy was to sit in all her fluffy
glory, tail wrapped around her legs, casually licking her paw, in the doorway
between the kitchen and the den. She knew that as long as she sat there, Dante
did not dare to pass her, and thus she blocked his entrance to the kitchen as
long as she wished, usually until his pitiful whining brought someone to his
After her death, I saw her sitting,
licking her paw in that same doorway. She appeared for a fraction of a second,
almost every day for about two weeks. I thought I had lost my mind at that
time, and have kept this ‘vision’ to myself since then.
Fort Worth, TX
Dear Dr. Fox, A year
and a half ago we had to put our beloved rescue dog, Penny, to sleep. Penny was near death from starvation when found
by my sister living in a pile of tires on an empty lot. She was a loving, gentle, yellow lab. We always said that
she was a person in a dog suit. We were devastated when we had to put her down after 14 years and we were crying for two weeks.
One morning after wishing for a sign from her that she was happy, I was on the phone and I was looking at the clouds in the
sky. For some reason I was drawn to a nondescript small wispy cloud. It changed before my eyes into a smiling face of
a dog with two eyes, a nose and 5 round puffs that formed a smile. My husband was sitting and reading the paper and was stunned
when I said. “Look there is Penny”.
was so thrilled that I couldn’t move to get my camera. It was there for at least 10 seconds. I drew it on paper
and I will paint it to keep that happy feeling in my heart.
M., Fresno, CA
Dear Dr. Fox, I want to share our experience with our Boxer dog Gretchen. She was in the habit of sleeping down stairs
in the living room in front of the fireplace and would wait until she thought my husband and I were asleep before coming upstairs
to check on me first and then walk around to check on my husband after which she would go downstairs to sleep. We became accustomed
to this---but we knew even after she was gone that she still did this because we could hear her nails clicking on the steps
as she came upstairs.
But what really convinced
me was when our four grandchildren came to spend the night and slept down in the living room. The next morning the two oldest
were talking about what happened after they had gone to sleep. The younger of these two was awakened by a sound like Gretchen’s
claws on the hardwood floor. She poked her older sister who sat up, told her that it was only Gretchen and to go back to sleep.
She had said “Hi Gretch,” on seeing her at her usual spot by the
fireplace, and went back to sleep. When questioned further, both girls said that they had actually seen as well as heard Gretchen,
who had died several years earlier from cancer.
L.DuV. St. Charles, MO
Dear Dr. Fox, Re the item from Naples,
FL in your syndicated
Animal Doctor column about a couple hearing their deceased dog’s collar
jiggle for three months after the dog’s death.
My husband and I had a similar experience
after our dog died. We have both heard our dog bark, usually when we were
in different parts of the house. This occurred maybe once or twice a week
for about four months after her death.
Boca Raton, FL
Dear Dr. Fox, My husband and I both read
your syndicated newspaper column in the Asbury Park Press. Today’s
article touched on something that has happened to both of us,
independently. We both “saw” a fleeting vision of our cat who passed away
January 12, 2008, in our house in NJ.
I have always believed in the spirit that
lives on, both in humans and animals. My husband, not so much until it
happened to him. Our beloved pet of 16 years, Jezebel, passed away in
January while we were in Florida. We had her cremated and brought her
home with us to NJ. After we were home, I could swear I saw her in the
house on several occasions. I never said anything to my husband. In
June, I went to a friend’s house with several others for a psychic “reading”.
I showed Cathy a picture of Jezebel, and the first thing she said was Jezebel
wanted to know when we were getting another cat. The second thing Cathy
said is that Jezebel was still with us. Had I “seen” her, just a motion
out of the corner of my eye; I said yes.
When I got home, I told my husband what
she had said, and he then told me he had also seen Jezebel, but didn’t say
anything either because it just couldn’t be true. We both thought it was
just our grief for her and we missed her so much we wanted to see her.
Now, I’m pretty sure she was here until she knew we got another cat and were
spirit does live on. We just can’t “prove” it, but we can sense it.
Dear Dr. Fox, For six years I was the
joyous and totally captured owner of a male ferret who had the run of the
house. I was amazed at his affection, intelligence, persistence, ingenuity, and
the delight he took in ambushing my girlfriend’s socked feet as she walked by
in the dark, and in chasing my whining male Shih-Tzu around the house, not
trying to hurt either of them, just enjoying the response he was getting.
Often while the dog was eating out of his
bowl, the ferret would stick his nose into the bowl causing the dog to jump
back startled a couple of feet and then growl at the intrusion. I would then
call the ferret over to me while the dog watched and peace would descend over
the feeding station.
Alas, the little guy passed away from
cancer while my son and I held him, broken hearted. He was laid to rest in my rock
garden with his favorite toy. For the next three or four months I would hear
rustling noises at night under the furniture although they sounded far away. My
dog would jump up and whine while staring at my darkened doorway and while
eating would occasionally jump back and growl at his food bowl at which point,
with the dogs eyes following, I would call the phantom ferret over to me and
once again there would be peace. I guess he was so loved and happy it took a
while for him to leave.
Fort Worth, TX
Dear Dr. Fox, You know, nobody ever loved
anybody more than I loved (and always will love) my big, sweet beauty---a
female Newfoundland dog, Candy, who had to be euthanized in 2001 after she
developed bloat after eating dinner. Candy’s spirit has manifested in numerous
ways in the seven years since she had to be put to sleep!
The night after her death I saw her
spirit appear as a cloud of mist in my bedroom at around 1:am. The same thing
happened the following night. Since that time I have smelled her perfumy aura,
spotted fresh paw prints on carpeting, heard her bark; I found clumps of her
black hair around the house. Candy’s spirit came to live with us the night
after she had to be put to sleep. And she continued living [manifesting] with
us for the next 21/2 years.
Then these signs began to reappear when a
young, medium-sized black dog came to live in the area and often comes into our
We know we haven’t been experiencing
grief-induced hallucinations because what we really longed to see was a full
physical manifestation of Candy---which we never have seen. Therefore it is
unlikely that what we saw were simply grief-related, wish-fulfilling
Dear Dr. Fox, In 2003, my 13 year old
orange Tabby Hobbes, began to waste away and weaken. The vets could not
find what was wrong with him and on October 21, I had him sadly put to sleep.
My birthday is October 23 I had no desire for festivities.
Hobbes was strangely attached to
me. He always wanted to be with me. After his death, I felt
emptiness in the house. Although I have other cats, I just felt the lack
of his presence. I told my husband I wanted to go to the local
animal rescue facility “just to look at kittens.” So, not long after we lost Hobbes,
we went to the facility.
The minute I walked in, I saw a cute
little bundle of orange fur. The kitten was so tiny and adorable.
Gently my husband tapped me on the shoulder and said “Look up there.” I
had been oblivious to any other cat. There, in a cage above and to the
left was an older orange kitten, about 6 months old. He was rolling
around, sticking his paws out of the cage and mewing. The name on the
cage was Hobbes. He was the only cat with a name on his cage.
I asked the shelter workers about
him. He had been brought to the shelter on October 21 (the day Hobbes
died), by a family who had found him as a tiny kitten. They said he was
too active and that he used their sofa as a litter box. They also said
his name was Hobbes. My husband and I stood there, speechless. Was all this a
coincidence? No way, really.
proceeded to adopt Hobbes. When I brought him home my three year old son
said, “Look mommy, Hobbbes went to the doctor old and came back a baby.”
Incidentally, Hobbes has a strange
attachment to me. He is eerily like his predecessor. (He even
dislikes my cat Askim just like his predecessor). And he always uses his litter
Dear Dr Fox, I read your recent article
and just had to write to you to let you know I have had a beloved deceased pet
“haunt” me as well.
beloved 5 year old tri-colored beagle named Sasha started to fail, (after being
very inbred) when I was pregnant, back in 2001. He suffered to my horror (and I
blamed myself) and I had him put down on Sept 16, 2001, 5 days after 9-11, (in
which I lost 3 friends).
I was not there for him during his last
days due to my own loss, and I did not know he was actually dying. He passed,
and I was 5 months along in my pregnancy and utterly devastated! I held his
collar in my hands and bawled for hours, and days. I began to hear him around
the apartment. I heard the clicking of his long nails on the hardwood floors...
I heard him grunting and moving his chunky little body under my side of the
bed, (where he slept in life all the time). My husband, who is deathly afraid
of ghosts, heard all this too, but would NOT talk about it.
night, we were sitting up in bed watching TV, and we both heard Sasha doing his
routine at the foot of the bed in which he sounded like an 18 wheeler as he
settled down and snorted, for the night. We looked at each other, and I asked
him “did you hear that!” MY husband was terrified and said “yes and shut up!”
I said-“go see what it is!!” he refused,
adamantly, and we sat there and did nothing, too afraid to go look and perhaps
see a little ghost dog lying there.
I heard Sasha less and less over the next
2 months or so, then he stopped coming. When I had open-heart surgery in 2003,
and another major operation in 2007, and was near death both times, I and only
I heard him again, just a little bit. I longed for him. I have forgiven myself
for what I think I had done wrong in his care, because I think him coming to me
was him trying to comfort me, so he didn’t blame me!
Years later I went to the doggy day care
place I had spoiled him with when I had to work, (which he adored) and I told
them about his ghost and I asked the girls there if anyone had ever heard this
happening before. They immediately launched into stories of little ghostly dog
noses being placed in the hands of workers at night when they are at the desk
doing paperwork in the office, (which was always open to the babysat dogs). His
vet, I also asked, and he was not surprised, and said he had heard of such
things happening many times.
S., Ocean Township, NJ
Dear Dr. Fox, I read your article today
about life after life and our dog Misty died August 19, 2007 but never
left. She was 16 years old with diabetes with shots twice a day for three
years and hip dysplasia. I kept her alive for about 2 weeks by making her
favorite foods and carrying her out to the bathroom. She finally stopped
drinking and eating and two days later Charles, my husband, made the decision
to put her to sleep. A couple of days later Charles took her bed to the animal
shelter since it was an actual mattress and figured it could make another dog
happy. I was watching TV in the bedroom and heard a dog come in and throw
themselves down. We have another dog - a pit pull/shepherd that is very
light on his feet and doesn’t do that. I turned on the light and there
wasn’t any dog. I went to look for Ray and he was in another room
sleeping. In the fall, she would come and throw herself down in front of
the fire place. Ray would go over in that area and wag his tail at thin air.
Now the really weird part: She has been shedding real fur. I have
been finding it all over. Ray is white and Misty was a black lab so there
is no mistaking the hair. Charles said I was nuts until he came
across tufts of shedded black hair.
I also vacuum a lot because I have a
couple of parrots that are always throwing food so there is no way this could
have been overlooked for over a year. After seeing your pictures, I’m
going to take a picture of the fire place the next time I hear her throw
herself down. I think she always laid down in a crash
was because of her hip dysplasia. Ray is so light on his feet - you
never near him coming.
Cedar Run, N.J.
Dear Dr. Fox, I had one ‘spirit’
visitations 20 years ago. I had a little 10-month old Birman kitten that
I was very attached to. I had no choice but to have him put to sleep
because he had “kitty AIDs” and finally went into seizures. (Shame on the
breeder who sold him to me, because I’m certain she knew he was sick when I
bought him! And I was too young to know this at the time). Several
mornings after his death, I was just waking up in bed and felt him jump onto my
legs and walk around a bit. I know it was his spirit or whatever, because
he did this every morning like clockwork.
My other cat was sound asleep by my
side. Although I did not “see” anything, the feeling of his presence was
so strong, I’m certain it was his spirit coming back, maybe to say goodbye to
me. This never happened again. Also, my other cat had mothered him
when he was sick, and she searched the house for days looking for her little
St Louis, MO
Dear Doctor Fox: My family, on my
mother’s side, has been on this side of the pond since 1614, Jamestown, before
the massacres. After the Civil War, my great great grandmother decided to
leave her plantation, called Ditchley, and move to southeastern Virginia.
Eventually a house was built in Portsmouth in 1885 (called the small house as
it only had about 30 rooms, to differentiate it from the big house up the
street). Only my family has lived in this lovely Art Nouveau-style house,
and it is well known for being haunted. Stories about our house have been
written in several books on Virginia ghosts, and the posters for the annual
Halloween walk in Olde Towne features our house. Footsteps heard are
two-footed as well as four:
My great grandmother, Edmonia Maupin, had
forbidden the marriage between her son and my grandmother, Florence
Brailey. They waited until after she died, and then promptly
married. Edmonia came back to haunt my grandmother and all her
descendants, and all while I was growing up, we were never to utter Edmonia’s
name in her presence. Edmonia has been seen again and again coming down
the spiral staircase, and on the second landing. It is said in the South
that unless you are born to see, one cannot see ghosts. My father can,
and also saw Edmonia, and I inherited my second sight from him. My mother
and aunt, identical twins born from the forbidden marriage, have tried very hard
over the years to catch any sightings of their grandmother, but they we not
able to, and had to settle for the stories they heard from others. My
sister also was not born to see.
During this period through the Civil War,
my family had a slave named Miles Portlock. When the war was over, he
declared he had no intention of leaving, indeed, because he was part of the
family and was dearly loved. He moved with the family to Portsmouth, and
in the early 1930’s, when my mother and aunt were children, they remember him
well. He was very old by this time, and my family provided him with a
pension. Still, he insisted on coming each day to the house, to tend to
his beloved garden, poking out weeds with a special silver-topped cane my
grandfather had given him. His fierce loyalty to the family extended
beyond death and he is still seen wandering in the garden with his silver
topped cane. Other times he can be found sitting on an ornately carved
wooden chair warming himself by an unlit fireplace in the front hall.
brings me to the animals. There is a corner of the garden where family
pets have been buried. As you can imagine, for almost 125 years, that
amounts to many beloved pets. You can see gentle depressions all over the
area, where the soil has sunk in over time. My grandmother raised dogs,
and in my own family, we have gently buried 4 dogs and 4 cats.
Over the decades, I, and others, clearly
hear the sound of canine footfalls, always behind us, but then always stop when
we turn around. They don’t bark, but there is no mistaking the sound of
the dogs. The cats we have never heard, only the dogs. One of the
dogs I know is Simon, a dog who, when I was 5, sacrificed his life in order to
save mine from a vicious dog attack. He died in that garden saving me.
Dear Dr. Fox, I was given in the first
year of my marriage a Dalmatian (almost) pup for Christmas. She was a loving,
active, smart dog. My husband was seldom at home and Christy was our defense
and protection. She was seldom away from the children and made me feel safe
alone at home.
It was her habit to sleep on the floor
next to my bed. At night I would hear her flop down and sigh and we would both
go off to sleep. When she died in her 12th year I would hear her
flop down and sigh each night for months. As you can imagine she was sorely
missed but her staying close at night was a great blessing. It went on for some
months and then stopped.
Dear Dr. Fox, Here is my pet ‘beyond the grave’ experience
tucked in my memory
for 56 years. The year was 1952 and I was working for the U.S. Government in
Washington, DC. I lived in a boarding house, rooming with two other girls. One
of them had a little Chinese Pekingese dog named Wang-Chu. At night he slept
under a dresser. There he would make smacking sounds. To me, away from home, it
was a comforting sound. Poor Wang-Chu die suddenly.
The night after his death, his smacking
sounds woke all three of us. We were spooked as we lay there in our beds
discussing this strange phenomenon that just happened. I jumped up and turned
on the lamp next to my bed. The light flickered very rapidly and went out.
Doubly spooked, we didn’t sleep that night. Needless to say it was the main
topic at the boarding house table the next day.
NEW EVIDENCE OF LIFE AFTER LIFE
Collated by Dr. Michael W. Fox
I received several letters in the summer
and fall of 2016 from readers of my syndicated newspaper column Animal Doctor
following the publication of this account along with a photograph of the
mysterious appearance of the deceased dog’s fur:
DEAR DR. FOX: I want to thank you again
for your help over the years with our German shepherd Markus’ health problems
that eventually reached the point where we had to decide on euthanasia because
he was suffering so much.
days after his departure, which we deeply mourned, we seem to have received a
“sign” from him (photos attached). We are skeptical about things like this, but
we found pieces of fur on the carpet runner last Thursday morning where Markus
used to lie down before coming down the stairs lately. This area had been previously
stepped on but the pieces of fur (obviously from an animal) have not been
stepped on or scattered around this area.
They are really noticeable to the naked eye and are displayed in a
certain way like a dog’s paw. One more detail: the whole runner has been
covered with newspapers for the last 2-3 weeks. Newspapers were removed after
his departure and there was no sign
of these pieces of fur at that time. I
decided to take pictures because nobody will believe me and perhaps think that
I’m getting a little crazy.
thought I would share this experience with you and hear your comments. This
is beyond our comprehension.
M.S., Washington, DC
DEAR M.S.: I was so saddened to hear from
you about the necessary humane decision to euthanize Markus.
detail many instances of apparent after-life communications or manifestations
by people’s beloved animals in my books Dog
Body, Dog Mind and Cat Body, Cat Mind.
I would like to hear from other readers who
have had comparable “visitations” which can be in various modalities such as
seeing the animal’s form, hearing the
claws/paws on the floor, the jangle of tags on the collar, feeling the familiar
touch of the animal and finding the animal’s fur around the house. While
grief and trace-memories of aspects of
the living animal’s physical presence may trigger brief sensory hallucinations,
there is evidence, as when two or more people in the home experience the same
physical presence/sensation at the same moment that there is indeed more to
life and death than we ever dreamed of!
I like the metaphysical statement that the spirit is not in the body,
the body is in the spirit.
DEAR DR. FOX: Having just read your
column about a deceased dog seeming to have left traces of fur on a cleaned and
paper-covered carpet where he used to regularly lie I thought you might be
interested in 2 cases where our dead dogs came back to visit us.
Woodrow was a
black Husky mix with a sweet and loving personality. As he reached the
age of 13 or so, he found it difficult to get up because of arthritis.
One had to gently pull him from the front to help him get to standing position.
daughter and her husband kept him for us while we went away for a few
days. Our son-in-law (who doesn’t like dogs in general) was impatient
with Woodrow who was under the dining room table while they were eating.
He couldn’t get out on his own, and my son-in-law became impatient with him
(even though the dog wasn’t begging for food). Consequently, the dog was
yelled at and pushed and shoved at his backside where he was in pain. The
dog bit him severely. Given an ultimatum by our son-in-law, we had to put
Woodrow down. About 2 days later his smiling face (head only) showed up
to both another daughter of ours and me while we were half asleep. It was
like he was letting us who loved him know that he was happy and OK.
For years I
thought maybe we both were just dreaming this until our next dog, a sheltie by
the name of Alex came back to visit. At about 15 years old, Alex, who
also had the most loving personality—and arthritis—died while being boarded
while we were on vacation. I’d had a premonition about it happening, but
still wasn’t prepared for it when it happened. About 3 days later we came back,
picked up his ashes and a paw print mold that the vet had ready for us. The
next night, I think it was, I heard his slow footsteps walking in to the
kitchen and his drinking of water from the bowl we had for our other dog.
His chain was clanking the whole time against the bowl while he drank. I
thought it was our remaining dog; but he was sleeping on the sofa, curled up
against my wife. Then I heard Alex walking back into the room where the
rest of us were.
thing happened the next night. While I felt he was showing his love for
us in his former life with us, I told him how much we loved him and what a
wonderful dog he was, but that in death he was supposed to be able to run and
play and be without pain or any limitation—so if he saw that he was able to do
that if he didn’t remain with us, he should know that we still loved him
greatly, and that he didn’t have to stay with us. My wife also heard all
of this. We never heard from him again.
Thanks for your work and your articles.
Glenn Dale, MD
I am a fan of yours,
especially of your understanding and acknowledgement of our wonderful pets in
the after -life. I would like to share my experience.
As a young girl, I had become very, very
ill with pneumonia. During the night, a “monk” in brown robes came to me
as I found myself standing in my room looking at my body in the bed. I
felt beautifully calm and bathed in a very loving light. I seemed to
recognize him and knew that I was to go with him. We began to travel very
fast, there was a loud rushing sound of wind and the sensation of being in a
soft, warm, tunnel as we moved rapidly. We stepped from the tunnel to a
place of which I was very familiar. I not only saw deceased relatives but
the place was filled with singing birds and animals of all kinds, especially
dogs who greeted their owners. Shortly, I was told that it was not my
time to stay there permanently and was returned to my body on earth. This
was the most real experience I have ever had. I know that I experienced
it. As a lifelong animal lover, the current owner of two dogs and a cat,
I have been joyous ever since at the knowledge that animals have spirits and
join us in the hereafter.
Please know that I am not a “kook,” but
am a practicing, respected licensed psychotherapist who raised two wonderful,
very intelligent, successful, and well- adjusted daughters, and am in a happy
33 year marriage.
Thank you for providing an accepting
forum for me and others to share our wonderful experiences.
LCSW, Naples, FL
DEAR DR. FOX: Wanted to share my
supernatural dog story with you. In truth I’ve had 2 spectral appearances—one
human visual one, and this one which happened first. It was sometime between
2006-2008, can’t recall which. I’d lost 2 dogs previously, 1 Scottie, one
Westie, but at that time I had 2 more sleeping dogs in my room, again, one
Scottie, Kira, and a Westie named Silby. My Mom had been ill and was asleep up
the hall. I always kept my bedroom door slightly ajar so I could hear her if
she needed me, but I never left it open wider than an inch as light
disturbed me. Kira, however, had been known to open it the rest of the way as
she liked to sleep on the bathroom tile.
Sometime about 1 a.m. I was awakened by
the clickety-clack of little dog feet on the hardwood floor, heading toward my
Mom’s room. I didn’t turn on the light at all but said “Come back in here which
ever one of you is out there—leave Mom alone.”. I didn’t want to risk her
getting up in the night and falling over a dog that she didn’t know was there.
The steps stopped, so I assumed the dog had come back into my room which was
carpeted. I fell back to sleep. Sometime later, I was again awakened by the
same sound of doggie nails clicking up the hall. I sat up in bed, and turned on
the light, furious that one of them had started up the hall again, only to
discover both of the living dogs sound asleep in their beds. I was sure that
what I’d heard was not a mouse, or some other creature, because mice scurry,
they don’t sound like dogs –never mind I hadn’t seen a mouse in the house in
years. I turned the light back out and smiled, grateful one of the deceased
dogs was on patrol.
The second spectral event happened
10/2010, when I was wide awake, but that one involved the vision of my Mom
who’d died in 2009, so I won’t bother you with that.
University City, MO
DEAR DR. FOX: My husband and I have
raised rescued chocolate and black labs. I read your recent article about
signs from pets. Three years ago, we had to say, “Good bye” to our 17 yrs old
chocolate lab, Snickers. While the vet sent her to heaven in our home, our 12
years old black lab, Pepper, sat by her side. That night, Pepper slept in
Snicker’s bed. During the night, we heard a scratching on the wall, a habit of
Snicker’s in her late years. Thinking that Pepper was taking up this habit, we
went down to investigate. What we found was Pepper sound asleep, snoring.
Pepper looked up at us as soon as all both heard the faintest of barks.
Snickers was letting us know she was OK.
Recently we had to say goodbye to Pepper.
Bone cancer took her at 15. Again we had the vet come to the house and Cocoa,
our 5 years old chocolate lab sat by Pepper’s side. That night Cocoa and I were
sitting on the couch next to Pepper’s bed. We both heard a scratching sound
near the bed. Cocoa jumped down to stare at the bed. She shook her head up and
down when we both heard a soft bark. Cocoa then laid down in the bed and went
to sleep. Pepper was letting us know she was OK. I agree with you that
there is indeed more to life and death than we ever dreamed of.
DEAR DR.FOX: I read your column regularly
and often visit your web site. In today’s column you asked to hear about others
who had “visitations” by deceased pets. 2 years ago we had to put down our
little Yorkie due to renal failure that we’d been treating for over a year.
When she started having seizures and had 7 within a 12 hour period we knew it
was time so that she wouldn’t suffer. We got her as kind of a rescue and had
her for 12 years. During that time she had many health problems and by the end
her vet file was as thick as a book. She was a feisty, cute and brave little
thing that loved us as much as we loved her. She was like a little child. We
were very closely bonded and at night she would sleep in bed with us and when I
came to bed would curl up against my shoulder for the night. Several nights
after we had to euthanize her I would wake up during the night for about a week
feeling her curled up against me like when she was alive. Also several times
over the few weeks after her death I would swear I could hear her distinctive
It wasn’t just me. About three years
before her death we adopted a Beagle/Jack Russel mix (head and personality of a
Beagle with a short, compact muscular body of a Jack Russel) that was saved
from a kill shelter. When I heard the barking she would look up and pick up her
ears. The few years they had together they weren’t particularly close in that
they didn’t play together but they would curl up with each other and sleep
together during the day. After the Yorkie’s death (her name was Gabby), Chloe
(beagle/Jack Russel mix) has been even more clingy than before and always wants
us near her.
Wappingers Falls, NY
DEAR DR. FOX: Just read your article
about reports of contact after death with a pet. Several years ago we had to
put down our dog. She was a part of our family for many years. For many months
prior to her death, she would walk up the stairs to our bedroom where she slept
on the floor. Her dog tags would jingle as she came up the stairs. Shortly
after her death, I was lying in bed late at night. I heard the jingle of her
tags coming up the stairs. I thought I was hearing what I wanted to hear and
did not mention it to anyone. A few days later, my wife mentioned that she
thought she had heard the jingle of the tags and the dog come into the bedroom.
Since this was after our dog’s death, she did not mention it to me before
because she thought she was just hearing things. I asked her if it was
Tuesday night. She looked astonished; it was Tuesday. We both heard the jingle
of the tags the same night and time but could not believe what we heard. We do
Many months later our oldest daughter
visited our home. We told her of our experience that Tuesday. I think she
almost fainted. She said that she had heard the same sound one night at
the house. She had not said anything because she, like us, thought she was just
hearing things and we would think that she was crazy. We moved from that house
several years ago but, before we left, we made sure to tell our dog
that we were leaving and she should come with us. Although we have not had
any such experience since then, we like to think that she did.
DEAR DR. FOX: I just read your article
about pet visitations after death. I too have had that experience. Our beloved
Shepard mix Ginger passed to early. That first night in the house without her
my daughter and I were sitting on the sofa. We both heard the sound of a dog
exhale and lie down on the floor (where Ginger would lay as we watched
in the middle of the night I heard the jangle of dog tags coming down the
hallway towards the bedrooms. I like to think it was her way of making sure we
were OK one last time before she left.
I wasn’t ready for another dog for a good
year or two. Then one day I was talking out loud to Ginger and said if
you see a dog that needs help I guess it would be OK if we got another
dog. A week later my daughter rescued a puppy that was abandoned on the
side of the road. I like to think Ginger had something to do with that.
DEAR DR. FOX: I read the “Dog’s
communication after death” column in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch on 09.01.2016.
You asked for other stories of “visitations”, and I have one you may find
interesting. My dog had passed nineteen months earlier, but he paid a
visit one night, for this I am sure. I post this yearly on my Facebook page as
well as send it to any friend who has recently lost a pet. His name was King.
Dog Lover in St. Louis, MO
Last week I woke from a
mid summer night
With a most peaceful
feeling while lying in my bed
Standing beside with his
head near my side I saw him in the dim light
I felt his presence,
looked deep into his eyes and knew it was him
He Waits For Me
Was it really him
or am I dreaming I wondered
No, it was him, no
doubt, he came back to check on me
I turned to look at the
ceiling, to comprehend my find
Looking back in a flash
to call his name, he was gone as suddenly as he had appeared
He Waits For Me
He was there that night,
he came to me, to tell me he was o.k.
In the dark of the night
he came to me
I saw the softness of
his eyes, he was free from pain and age, I knew it was him
I closed my eyes to try
to sleep as tears ran down my cheeks
DEAR DR. FOX: This may be a little long
and I apologize for that, but I feel I need to share the entire story. On
August 25, 2014, we tragically lost our only son, Michael when he was 22 years
old to an accidental heroin overdose. He had been battling addiction for
several years and had stayed clear of heroin for over a year which is why I
questioned how he died. When I found him there were no signs of drug
use. A small part of me wondered if he had taken his own life even though
I didn’t really think so. Several weeks later on the day we got the
medical examiner’s report and found out it was heroin, that night Michael
visited me while I was dreaming. He appeared to me not in a dream but
interrupting a dream. I felt his presence as solidly as you feel the wall
your leaning against yet there was no physical substance. I knew
instantly that he was there with me and I said “Michael, it’s you, it’s really
you. I don’t know why you’re here but since you are can I give you a
hug?” I tried to look at him and see him as he was in life. It was
difficult but I finally was able to see his face and when I did, he gave me a
sweet smile and nodded his head yes. I wrapped him in my arms and he said
to me “I didn’t want to die”. I then said to him that each of us is on
our own journey. He then said “and I know what mine is.” He
then began to try to tell me excitedly about his journey but our connection
faded. Anyway, this story does continue as he contacted me two more times
since then, but for the purpose of the dog story which is this whole point I
will end Michael’s story here. Two months after Michael’s passing, our
beloved little dachshund mix Blake (Blakey) was tragically struck by a vehicle
when she ran into a busy street by our home. She figured out how to
escape from the backyard weeks earlier and we kept trying to figure out how she
was doing it. We would think that we figured it out and then fix it so
she couldn’t get out again but yet she just kept finding a way.
One evening in October of 2014 she
escaped again. My husband and I were standing on our driveway looking for
her and calling for her. I suddenly felt strongly and said to my husband
that this was going to be the night that her luck runs out. Just then we
heard tires screeching and the impact. We ran and saw her lying in the
street. She died before we got to the animal hospital. It was very
difficult for us as we loved her so much. Several weeks later, Blakey
appeared to me when I was dreaming just like Michael did. She was at my
feet so excitedly wagging her tail and so happy to see me. I was so happy
to see her too. I said, just as with Michael, “Blakey, it’s you, you’re
really here.” I got down to her level and I let her lick me all over my
face. This was something she always wanted to do in life, but I never let
her because of dog germs and all. But this time I thought what the heck
and I let her and It was wonderful. I was holding her head between my
hands when she suddenly became very quiet and serene. She looked up at
me, closed her eyes, put her ears back then put her cheek up against
mine. I couldn’t believe it. I knew instantly that she came back to
give me a hug, first the way she always wanted to, then the way she must have
known I always wanted to.
I like to think the scenario between
Michael and Blakey when they met went like this. Michael says to Blakey,
hey, I know how you can give Mom a hug, want me to tell you how? Then Blakey
says very excitedly, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. They’re visits to me have
helped me immensely in my healing process. I want to thank you Dr. Fox
for giving all of us this forum for sharing our stories and for all of your
wonderful information and advice concerning the beautiful and wonderful animal
St. Louis, MO
DEAR DR. FOX: I write this with a very
heavy heart, but I wanted to share my experience with my 2 beloved cats that
passed away within one month of each other, first my cat Tiger Woods passed on
July 5th, he was only at best around 9, they said he had lymphoma,
it was as if my sweet cat woke up one day and he was so ill, he had no signs of
it before that, and my cat Stripey passed on August 1st I found him
on my kitchen floor as he had been failing for 2 years and I am ashamed to
admit he did not see a vet as he did not want that, I was basically keeping him
alive with holistic care and he was very happy, until a few weeks before the
end, he was emaciated, and had been very weak for a time, but still eating
until the last 2 days...my story is that a few times after Tiger Woods I saw
things peripherally and I am not imagining this, I had this happen in 2012 when
my 18 year old cat Toby passed, I would see the black shadow of a cat walking
by me, this time it was the rubbing on my leg as I sat on my couch as Tiger did
this and bit my toes a lot. He loved to crawl under the blankets in my bed, and
I felt and saw the blanket move a bit one morning and I said oh what was that?
and then I realized it had to be him.
There have been other things such as
siting at my computer desk and feel the rubbing of a cat on my leg and saying
okay wait as I have 4 other cats, and no one is there....so this is my story
and I am so sure it is very, very true.
DEAR DR. FOX, I took in my mother’s dog
Charley, at her request, when she died and I loved Charley for many more years.
At some point after he died I began seeing cloud formations that---believe it
or not---looked exactly like Charley. The exact shape of his head and ears, the
thick fur over his back especially; the exact proportions of his extremities
and always he looks as though he were running, an activity that he enjoyed in
life. I generally see him in the sky every 5-6 months. To me, this entire
phenomenon is unbelievable.
DEAR N.N., The mind can play tricks
indeed especially when auditory, tactile and visual memories are aroused and we
then hear, feel or see what seems to be an authentic manifestation of some clear
aspect of a deceased animal ( or
person). But as I emphasize in my three books dealing with this issue in dogs
and cats, namely Dog Body, Dog Mind, Cat
Body, Cat Mind, and Animals & Nature First, after-death
manifestations do have an element of veracity when experienced by other family
members and especially when witnessed at the same time. Our postal delivery man
gave me a photograph of clouds that their young daughter pointed out to them in
excitement because it looked just like their own dog Brandie who had died from
liver cancer almost a year earlier. They all saw their dig in the sky as
daughter Lisa took photographs He told me that no one else could see the image
in the sky at his daughter’s school field day, and he felt it was a sign to his
family. Imagination, coincidence or metaphysical phenomenon, most people feel a
sense of comfort and reassurance (of life after life?) from such experiences
.Here is the photo taken on that cloudy day:
DEAR DR, FOX: I
can relate to the reader who wrote about his two deceased dogs coming back to
visit him. I, too, had that great experience with my beloved black Labrador
King. He was 10 years old when he died in November. About a week after he died
I was in my bedroom, crying. I looked out my window and saw a set of dog prints
in the snow. I went outside. The gate was closed and had a lock on it. I opened
it and saw dog prints and I followed them for about 8 feet right into the
middle of my yard! I followed them for about 8 feet and then they just
disappeared right in the middle of my yard. I knew it was King, since no dog
could possibly jump the fence, let alone leave paw prints that led to nowhere.
I came in and had the most peaceful feeling ever, knowing my King was still
here with me.
EXPLAINING THESE PHENOMENA & CLOSING
Dear Dr Fox, Religious claims aside, I
think that physics provides a better explanation for so-called supernatural
manifestations by those who passed on: If we start from two proven
premises, that 1. energy
cannot be created or destroyed, and that 2. everything in the world is a
packet of energy, whose energy field varies its form according to
the vibration frequency of its molecules—then it is only natural that there is
no such thing as death in the sense of extinction, but rather in
the sense of transformation or moving on from one shape to another after having
to shed the current shell. That explains why a loved one’s energy field sometimes lingers
around even when the shell is gone. This happened to me in the case of my
mother, who came back to me every night for two weeks, and discussed
things that happened in the past explaining them in a new light.
N.F., Ph.D. Annandale
Dear Dr. Fox, As a Mahayana or ‘zen’
Buddhist, I do not distinguish, in the conscious, between humans and fellow
animals.----We felt our Airedale dog Pickles presence in the house for about a
month after he was euthanized at the age of twelve for a cancerous tumor. When our
beloved Skye terrier Cullyn passed on at the age of 17 plus, he too ‘came back’
for about a month. We say our Wire fox terrier Willie 11 sense Cullyn also, and
rushed once to Cullyn’s bed and kissed where Cullyn’s head would have been.
Siddartha Guatama (a devout Hindu, who
was later named the Buddha), and his followers thought that human and other
animals beings are probably reincarnated after ‘forty days’ during which time
they ‘existed’ where they had died. As you probably know, several books have recounted
cases of reincarnation, (where a person alive today can provide vivid,
verifiable details of a recent past life.
should be added that many people have written to me describing vivid dreams
wherein their deceased dogs or cats appear alive and in good health. They often
greet their owners as though they were quite aware that they had been away,
separated from this life. Their lucid presence in dreams usually has a healing
quality, helping the bereaved overcome their loss.
In her book Natural Dog (published by BowTie Inc. Irvine CA) veterinarian
Deva Khalsa describes an extraordinary, supernatural event in her clinic. A
patient’s dog, an old English setter named Morgan, close to dying, was in her
clinic under observation while the owners were at work. She writes that she saw
‘an elderly man with white hair and a closely cropped beard holding Morgan’s
head gently in his lap and stroking him. When I got to his cage, however, the
stranger was gone. Then Morgan let out a small sigh and peacefully passed
away.’ After she described this event to the grieving owner she was
subsequently shown a photograph and asked if this was the man that she had
seen. It was the owner’s father who had died three months earlier and who was
best of friends with Morgan.
The attitude or state of mind that
accepts these spirit-visitations of the deceased loved ones, be they human or
non-human, is open to dimensions of what we call non-ordinary reality---the
numinous realm or noumenon, if you wish, behind every phenomenon. From this
perspective, these deceased animal ‘visitations’ give us a glimpse of the great
mystery of the miraculous that we take for granted---life, and consciousness.
the closed, rationalistic and mechanistic mentality, this is all in peoples’
imaginations, self-comforting self-delusions fabricated by the neurochemicals
of grief and remembrance.
But as documented below, and in prior
accounts published in my books Cat Body,
Cat Mind, and Dog Body, Dog Mind, very
often more than one person at the same
time, or at different times in the same home, experience exactly the same
manifest presence of a deceased animal companion. The general result is one
of great comfort and affirmation of a
love shared, which may indeed be the intent of those animals who return for a
while during their care givers’ time of grief.
Another explanation is that the astral or
etheric ‘double’ of their living, physical form can remain for a while in our
material dimension within the unified field of existence upon which the
deceased, during life, had made an impression. The disappearance and subsequent
reappearance of such manifestations
that may come back when ‘called’ or that reappear spontaneously, implies
a separate, non-material existence that I believe is evidence of a unified, quantum
field beyond our rational comprehension.
Some say that to make a
living soul you must have a body and a spirit. In theoretical physics and
quantum mechanics there is no fundamental difference between body and
sprit---all is pure, primal energy, before form and substance. We are learning
how form and substance can be influenced as much by genes and germs as by our
thoughts, feelings, appetites and actions. This is the dawning of a more
holistic approach to health and healing.
My friend Dr. Temple Grandin, the
renowned animal handling and behavior expert, who suffers from autism, uses the
term ‘abstractification’ to describe this detached, rationalistic state of
mind. I see it as mechanistic and reductionistic, rather than holistic and
empathic. These two modes of human perception and feeling account for a culture
lacking in any unified sensibility and concern for sentient life, resulting in
much inhumanity and human and animal suffering.
The dualistic nature of
reality in this material dimension leads many to believe that there are living
spirits that en-soul our bodies, and those of our beloved pets, and all living
beings. Others, rationalists, reductionists, and mechanists alike, believe that
this is nonsense because it cannot be proven. But phenomenologically and
metaphysically, it is self evident. The animating principle, the animus, in order
to be expressed, must
enjoin with the anima, like an anion
complements and balances a cation. This is the essence of dualism.
Dualistic thinking, that
has lead in medicine, for example, to treating mind and body separately, is the
predominant cognitive mode and level for the human species at this stage of its
evolution. For example, some say that the spirit is not in the body. The body
is in the spirit. Others contend that the spirit is in the body. Mechanists and
other rationalists might acknowledge some life force or animating principle in
other living beings, but have no ethical restraint or moral qualms when it
comes to destroying forests and cruelly exploiting animals and indigenous
peoples. Differences in dualistic perception, from the schizophrenic and the
egotistic to the rationalistic (or abstractionistic) and the narcissistic,
point to illusory states of consciousness, or wrong mindfulness in the Buddhist
sense. This is because there is no unified sensibility, nor can there be when
the senses lie because of the filtering and distortions of belief and
expectation, fear and desire.
the ancient Hindu texts---the Vedas and the
Upanishads, we find this illusory state of mind referred to as Maya. The Real
is veiled by the Unreal. In one of these scriptures it says ‘The immortal is
veiled by the real.---Name and form are real, and by them the Spirit is
We live in illusion when
we are unaware and have no sense or feeling for our life-space and for sentient
beings around us that are alive and sustain us all. Ultimate Reality, the
Absolute, is the ground of being and source of an emergent cosmos. The primal
dualism of this cosmogenesis is referred to as yin and yang in Taoism. The anima and
animus are the primordial, generative elements of the First Cause.
For us humans I see
these times as being Apocalyptic, a term that means to tear the veil---the veil
of Maya that separates us from the fundamental nature of reality so that we
then live disconnected from the Absolute. When we act with no sensibility or
empathy and compassion for other sentient beings, we are caught in the realm of
Maya. There the Golden Rule becomes the rule of gold.
It would seem from the
above letters that our animal companions are tearing at that veil that they
must see so clearly when they are gone as well as when they were alive, and
were even treated with indifference and contempt---because they do come back to
life and visit us. They show us that we are indeed part of one stupendous
whole; that love connects all in the miracle and deep mystery of conscious
life; of the will to be, and of matter and spirit, and of Light itself that
reflects the primal dualistic nature of manifest reality as both wave and
I thank Y.H. of
Arlington VA, who was visited by her deceased and most beloved cat Stormie for
several days, not in apparition but in familiar sounds (drinking, coming
through the cat door, and shredding toilet paper), for the following apt quote:
"He prayeth well
who loveth well
man and bird and beast.
prayeth best, who loveth best
things both great and small
the dear God that loveth us
made and loveth all."
Rime of the Ancient Mariner by Samuel Taylor Coleridge
How different the world
would be if we all embraced every living being with the same respect and
devotion that we see between so many people and their animal companions. This
kind of relationship, as these letters affirm, can endure ‘beyond this mortal
coil’, to give us a glimpse of the illimitable, universal and universalizing
power of love that ‘passeth all understanding’. The kind of closeness shared in
life with another living being that can move that being to return after death to
comfort and reassure the surviving loved one/s, is clear evidence of this power
at work. Chief Black Elk called this the ‘Power of the World’, and prayed that
all people would respect this Power by living in a ‘sacred way’, meaning to
live in harmony with nature and have reverential respect for all life.
When we treat other
living beings,--- as many people do their animal companions,---with respect and
love, they will show us devotion in return, or flourish and benefit us in
countless ways. This spiritual aspect of affection has profound implications
when it comes to our physical health and emotional well-being. This is why
animals can be our healers and teachers, as well as our best friends.
animal companions are showing us that the realm of the spirit is real. This may
not be acceptable to many for religious, political, or other intellectual
reasons, and for others it borders on the realm of the demonic and the
possessed. But fear and rationalism aside, are not our imaginations and or
dreams part of this non-material realm? Then why deny its existence? The
doubting Thomas and the healthy skeptic alike should look into the eyes of the
animals in the local shelter, and then consider what most of these animals are
waiting for. It’s not food or to be set free. It’s the immaterial of human
affection that they seek and which ignites their devotion as our spirits
connect. The bond between people and their dogs and cats is as much a spiritual
connection as it is an emotional one. The more we attend to the spirit, and
accept that the spiritual realm is real, then indeed we will bring Heaven down
to where Earth abides.