Saying goodbye is never easy; to have faith is an enormous comfort; to actually be warned by the animal is another thing altogether. I will tell you how it all began.
Christmas 2020, boxing day to be precise, I was sitting on the floor by the fire that I had just lit and one of my dogs, Marge, came and sat next to me. Nothing unusual there you may think, but Marge was not a cuddly dog, deep feeling yes, sensitive yes, loving and caring yes, but hug her and she would up and walk away. She was always there in the back ground just holding space for everyone.
On this particular day not only did she sit next to me, she buried her head into my neck and I in turn hugged her and hugged her and hugged her and told her I loved her – she was unflinching. Speaking with the language of the soul, something as an animal communicator I like to think I am well versed with. She told me that this was to be her last Christmas here with me.
I thanked her, we continued to have our rare moment of physical togetherness. That moment stayed lodged in my head and as the months passed I kept an eye on her, she was getting older, but she still enjoyed a game with her housemates, she still loved her food and whatever of mine she might find on the kitchen counter! She was slowing down, but so was I! I can’t do what I did physically 20 years ago.
The year ticked by, a strange year of lockdowns and new rules to adjust to and so we made it to October. I began to think to myself that one of us had been mistaken. Had I misinterpreted her message to me? But it was so clear and so profound.
A few days into October one of my dogs became ill with a sickness bug, he got over it fine and then I found that Marge had begun to vomit. Keeping a close eye on her I hoped that it would be a 24 hour thing, but I could tell that she felt unwell.
To cut a long story short I took her to the vets and tests and scans began to happen. It was then that I found that she had a tumour on her spleen that had started to leak, the vet told me that it would be sure to rupture and this would be deeply distressing for the dog. He told me that action should be taken swiftly to ensure that this didn’t happen and so it was arranged that the following morning he would perform a home visit to put her to sleep. I went home with high doses of pain relief to make her last moments as comfortable as possible. She had 3 small meals of chicken and rice for her dinner, each time waiting for the previous one to settle before offering the next.
She was able to go for a gentle walk in the morning, I had a pocket full of sausage and then the time came for the vet’s visit. He could only come to the outside of the house because of rules around the pandemic and so I had arranged a thick layer of blankets. The sun shone, a rare window in a very rainy week. I was meant to stay far away, but she would not settle without me and pulled the cannula from her arm.
I was then allowed to cuddle her bottom and whilst doing so gave her healing, she immediately settled and drifted away from her body, I felt her old housemate come to greet her. A moment full of sorrow but at the same time beauty.
There is nothing that can overcome the sharp pain of loss, my animals are family and so I had to grieve the loss of a family member. My loss. For weeks I continued to get 4 biscuits from the tin when there should have been 3, I still do sometimes!
I wondered when, or indeed if, she would come to visit me and I am pleased to say she has. Several weeks after she crossed over I was walking through my kitchen and out of the corner of my eye I thought my other Retriever was licking the dishes in the dishwasher. How strange I thought, he never does that at which point the dish licking dog faded away. Ah Marge! One of her favourite hobbies was ‘pre cleaning’ the dishes in the machine.
Another time I felt her walk through my lounge room and my other Retriever also felt her as I saw his head follow where my eyes were drawn.
I have also felt her come to me whilst meditating and have reached down to touch her head. I have found her hair (there was a lot!) on the carpet just after I have vacuumed and I take this as a sign from her to say she is around.
From the moment she passed I continued to tell her that I loved her and I still do and I know that she knows and hears me.
I am sharing this very personal story because for me it is one of great comfort to know that our loved ones continue after their physical bodies have reached the end of their purpose. I wrote about it a few years ago after seeing a Labrador walking with his guardian only to find him fade as he got closer to me. You can read that blog here.
I had a similar experience only a few weeks ago when out walking and watching an older dog trotting along with a puppy and a couple. The dog faded as it got closer to me, whilst the couple didn’t know I am sure the puppy did.
I was forewarned, for that I am very grateful to my girl. My faith allows me great comfort. Do I miss her funny ways? Yes! She may not have liked cuddles, but sing a song next to her ear and she would wag her tail and sing along. I believe that all animals enter our lives at exactly the right time they often come to support us, teach us or shine a mirror to us so that we might travel our journey all the richer for having known them.