Communications from Across the Grave
By Dr. Michael
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 bed.
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
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
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,
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!
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 rescue.
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”.
I 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.
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 OK.
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
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
Fort Worth, TX
Dear Dr. Fox, You know, nobody ever loved anybody more than
(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 yard.
We know we haven’t been experiencing
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 hallucinations.
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
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 box.
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,
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
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
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
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
My other cat was sound asleep by my side. Although I did
“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 buddy.
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.
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
(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
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
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.
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
oldest 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.
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.
same 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
DEAR DR.FOX: 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
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
Please know that I am not a “kook,” but am a practicing,
licensed psychotherapist who raised two wonderful, very intelligent,
successful, and well- adjusted daughters, and am in a happy 33 year
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
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 bark.
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 now.
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
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 TV).
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
week I woke from a mid summer night
most peaceful feeling while lying in my bed
beside with his head near my side I saw him in the dim light
his presence, looked deep into his eyes and knew it was him
Waits For Me
really him or am I dreaming I wondered
was him, no doubt, he came back to check on me
turned to look at the ceiling, to comprehend my find
back in a flash to call his name, he was gone as suddenly as he had appeared
Waits For Me
there that night, he came to me, to tell me he was o.k.
dark of the night he came to me
the softness of his eyes, he was free from pain and age, I knew it was him
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
I like to think the scenario between Michael and Blakey when they
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 kingdom.
St. Louis, MO
DEAR DR. FOX: I write this with a very heavy heart, but I wanted
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,
DEAR DR. FOX, I took in my mother’s dog Charley, at her
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
DEAR DR, FOX: I can relate to
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.
P.C., St. Charles, MO.
DEAR DR. FOX: I just
finished reading a woman’s story about her beloved cat, Coco who crossed the
rainbow bridge, but still visited her frequently at night.
This made my heart
smile. My own beloved, mixed calico Poco passed a little more than 2
years ago. Though my heart is still broken, I often hear her running up
and down the stairs at night. Ours was a friendship deep rooted in mutual
L.P. Stroudsburg, PA
DEAR DR.FOX: My wife and I read
the article about the dog owner who said he saw his dog after he passed away.
We had a cat, Junior, for 22 years. He passed 8 years ago now. For a few years
after, my wife and I would wake up having felt Junior walking across the bed at
night just like he use to, going around our feet from her to me. He would split
the night with each of us. He always slept on the outside and never between
us. We miss him still and I would never thought such things occur but it
did. After a time it stopped. I am sure someone will say it was grief. I will
not try to argue that, but it was very real to us.
T.S., Palm Beach Gardens, FL
DEAR L.P. & T.S., This
phenomenon and question of life-after life is important to me because we, as a
culture, are becoming so embedded in materialism-consumerism and the addictive
virtual reality of social media and entertainment cyberspace. So we no longer
have communion with Nature, talk to the trees, listen to the birds and cannot
see the stars because our energy-consuming night lights have brought the end of
darkness across all densely inhabited regions of the planet.
Where is the place,
space and time in our daily lives for most us to engage with Nature and the
Great Mystery of Life and to explore and experience our "sacred
connections" as native American Indians refer to all our relations with
the Earth community.
regardless of their human-created genetic anomalies and dependence on their
care-givers, provide countless people with such a spiritual connection of love
and trust. Those who neither understand
nor respect such mutual affection between humans and other species are sadly
disconnected, many doing great harm to the environment and other sentient
The bond you had with
your cats lives on in your hearts and minds.
You could let go and wish them to be free to move on, some metaphysical
advisors might suggest. Their
manifesting to you in sound, running up and down the stairs at night or
snuggling in bed as they did regularly when alive is possibly a projection from
your own memory that your grief keeps awakening.
Another possibility is that
your grief keeps calling them back because they loved you so much. Either way,
let go. I find that reflecting on the life of a
beloved animal companion through writing, poetry, or putting together a photo-album
through the tears helps alleviate the sense of loss and often incapacitating
grief; and leads to celebration and gratitude for that living presence in your
life that is no longer.
L.P. REPLIES: Though I miss
Poco every day, I feel as though I have let go. I connected with Poco
like I never connected with anyone before. We were special to each other.
We had her for 7 of her 8 years. She was diagnosed with large cell
lymphoma. She received treatment for nearly 2 years. She let me
know it was time to say goodbye. Her ashes sit on our mantle. I
celebrate her life and am thankful for our time together.
DEAR L.P., Then I would say
that the power of love can indeed transfigure and transcend our mortal lives.
THESE PHENOMENA & CLOSING THOUGHTS
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 MD
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 Dr 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
The attitude or state of mind that accepts these spirit-visitations
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.
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
Some say that to make a living
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
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
In 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