When a beloved pet passes on the grief can feel overwhelming. Each relationship is unique and there’s no one else who understands exactly what you meant to each other and how the loss affects you. For this article I spoke with a group of spirits of deceased pets to ask their advice on how people can best move through their grieving process into a state of peace. I extended an open invitation to any who wanted to speak on this topic. The group of a few dozen volunteers included dogs, cats, horses, gerbils, guinea pigs and other pets who appeared in spirit form without showing me what their bodies looked like on earth. I’ve included quotes from many of them here and omitted their names and species as the pets felt their messages are universal.

Right from the start the pets wanted to stress that the most important thing to remember is this: “When we leave (our body) we don’t LEAVE YOU. You should know that by now.” The pet’s spirit lives on and remains connected to us.

They understand that this knowledge feels like small consolation for the deep loss we feel over missing the physical presence of the pet in our lives and daily routine. After a pet dies “Oh, they’ll feel sad alright. That’s ok, that’s normal. There’s no getting around that.” However “They’ll see us and touch us in a new space/realm.” They show you can learn to touch the energy of the animal rather than the fur. One way to do this is “You can hold us in your hearts” – literally. They show to do this, hold your hands on your chest, one over the other, as if gently pressing something to your heart. Begin by imagining you’re holding your pet’s body there, and what you’ll actually begin to feel is the energy of your pet – the pet’s spirit will come join you and you’ll be able to hold the spirit of your friend against your heart center, and tangibly feel it there. It will be real – not your imagination or a memory. When you feel the pet’s energy with you “Then they’ll know we go on and they shan’t be alone, not ever, not for infinity.”

The pets know some people feel they shouldn’t admit how sad they are over a pet. The first step in moving through grief is to accept that it’s normal. They suggest “They can sit by us and say ‘I’m sad over you’. Admit that they’re sad too and move on.” They show going to a place where you miss the pet’s presence the most, such as their food bowl or the favorite chair you’d sit in together. Talk to your pet as if they’re right there in front of you. Admit how you feel. “You don’t have to ask forgiveness.” Some people hold on to guilt and regrets and that holds them back from healing; the pets want you to know it’s all forgiven as soon as they cross over.

Ask your pet for help. Pets are a source of emotional support when they’re alive and it’s natural to continue to ask their help after they’ve transitioned. They’re happy and willing to assist. “I’ll help you come over your loss.” They ask you to lean on them for support, admit to them that you’re weak and struggling with the loss, they’ll help. You can simply talk in your head or out loud to your pet with the intention that they receive your message.

When you’re grieving your pet can visit and console you. “I can hear when they’re crying and put thoughts in their head, like ‘you’re mine’. I whisper gentle thoughts to make them cry.” This pet explains that tears are not all bad. He gently and intimately talks to his people to bring their emotions to the surface and transform the deep grief into healing tears. In this way he helps them move out of a state of pain, anger and denial over his death to one of feeling happiness and love at having shared a wonderful life together. “Whenever you need me I’ll come help you. You don’t have to ask for that.” The pets will sense your need.

The animals want to remind us there’s no way to rush through grief, it takes time. They feel it’s helpful to become aware of and understand your individual pattern or habit of dealing with grief and loss, which is different for each person. “You have to let your heart heal gradually.” To do this, “You wait patiently and you make plans. You make mantras in your head of ‘I will let it go. I won’t let this hurt me. Tomorrow will be better, I will see clearer, it will hurt less.’“ Going through periods of feeling distraught is a normal part of the process but then bring yourself back to a calm emotional state. It’s more difficult for the healing to proceed when in an overly agitated state of mind. When the grieving person is in a calm state of mind, their intuition is more receptive. The pet who died and other spirits will put thoughts and plans in the person’s head, healing thoughts, many tiny messages that all relate to each other and help the person get through everyday tasks. “They must let it go. Tomorrow they can let it go a little more.” They describe that the healing “has to happen slowly, build up. You’ll feel a pressure like a release button going off, then you know you’re healed and can move on, and make better decisions (than you had been during your grieving) and see a brighter day.”

The pets shared some of the ways they can visit their people from the other side. They commonly visit at night when you’re thinking of them. “We’ll wake you and lick your face. We’ll wipe your tears away. For real. You’ll really feel it. We come to you at night, when you’re in your pajamas, or reading, or knitting. We’ll make you understand.” The pets are persistent in trying to show you they’re actually with you and will teach you how to notice their visits, if you’re open to it. “We’ll make you know it’s us. Like a breeze blowing (the hem of your skirt) – I walk around your legs.” One little pet says “If you have a hat on I’ll make you feel it”, the brim will feel weighted down as if the pet is sitting on it. A horse says “I’ll squeal” a greeting and the person will hear it, plus “I’ll bring hay” – she’ll inexplicably find bits of hay in her hair after her horse has visited. “There’s multiple ways you can hear us shine. You’ll know when it’s us.” The sign they give you will be one that you recognize. “You’ll know it’s me when I’m sleeping next to you.” The weight and warmth you feel next to you on the couch will feel exactly as it did when the pet was alive.

People can also invite the animal to visit. “Put a space for us by your pillow.” When you go to sleep, pat the pillow next to you to invite the animal to come, just as you would do if inviting your pet to come, jump up. The pet’s spirit may join you.

Grief is a process with many stages. The pets have some practical suggestions for turning your sadness into peace:

  • “Take a pen and write it down, what you liked about us, something we did, something we pretended”, their make-believe way of playing.
  • Maintain your regular routines and as you do “Pretend we’re there. Talk to us. Make-believe.” You may feel silly doing it but if you tell yourself it’s just pretend it’s easier to allow yourself to try it. The visit you experience will be real.
  • “Make us help you.” When you’re doing housework, feeling sad over the loss, ask the pet to be there to keep you company.
  • You can listen for the pet’s quiet invitation to know they’re around whenever you need them. “You can hear us in your ear whispering ‘I’ll help you’.” They come to us frequently to offer support.
  • “You can touch our hair and lick our ears.” They show you can pretend the pet is in person with you and virtually pet them, following the actual size & shape with your hands. It will begin as your imagination and then the pet’s spirit will visit and you’ll be touching their energy field. The pets say you might later find hair or their feather on the floor, which they brought and left behind for you. When you think of your pet and touch their energy field in this way they can feel it in their realm. “It’s like touching our skin, our hearts. We’ll feel it ALWAYS and come and visit and play and sit on your lap and cozy up to you.”

Sometimes the pet in spirit initiates this contact by putting a strong thought in your head. One way is to draw the person’s attention to the pet’s brush and give him a strong urge to touch the hair, turn it around in his hand, examine it. One pet tells that he does this so he can feel his person’s touch through the hair and also to send the message that “I want you to know I’m still with you; I’ll always touch you.” Another pet causes his person to play certain music which helps her relax, de-stress and think things through. The pet joins her and helps her by taking over her thought process, directing her thoughts like a moderator to help lead her to resolution, understanding and peace.

People often dismiss the signs of visits as imagination, a trick of the eye or wishful thinking, yet when we accept and believe the visits from our deceased pets are real, we can receive greater benefit from them. The pets explain the paradox that “You have to hear us to believe” yet “If you’re not ready, we won’t be heard.” The trick is to learn to distinguish your own thoughts from those emanating elsewhere. “Their animal will whisper in their ear things they thought they knew.” The person may feel this is their own emotion or idea coming up to surface yet it was placed there by their pet’s spirit. If people are able to hear, “They can hear great things this way” including helpful information that relates to your plans or life purpose. “They must listen, and watch, and learn, and not pretend they can’t hear us. Because they can.”

“We all get used to things easily that we have seen.” It’s easy to believe once you’ve experienced, yet takes trust to allow yourself to be open enough to have the experience. The pets say people “don’t have to MAKE it happen, it just DOES. It’s the magic of the earth, of the (energy) waves that go around it.” Sometimes their messages are placed in our subconscious while we’re asleep. “Their brain waves connect with us. All you have to do is ALLOW.” In order to allow yourself to be open: “Be at peace with yourself, and your heaven, and your earth, and all in between. Be like a new heart – open to yourself, to your beliefs. It will all be possible.”

A visit from your pet on the other side can be like a pinprick of light piercing the darkness of your grief. “The light comes to a dark place in your life then you believe.” It can be easier to notice the signs of their visit and to trust that it’s real because you become aware of the tiniest light when all around you is dark. “We can see many things when we’re AWARE.” Awareness helps you admit your true feelings over your loss, accept that what you’re experiencing is real, and most importantly to allow their messages and the healing to come to you.