The process of placing our energy within a body, and in so doing forgetting that we are vast, majestic, Divine Beings made literally from the energy of Unconditional Love, is akin to being struck on the head by a heavy tree branch and rendered unconscious, only to awaken with no memory whatsoever. What would happen if you actually had such an experience? All who love you, each member of your family, every dear friend, would come to your side and express great love for you. Though you would recognize none of them, their powerful outpouring of concern and affection would touch you deeply. You would conclude that only a truly loving person could be so beloved. And in that instant of realization, you would know, beyond any doubt, your true nature.
Such is the role pets play in our lives. In my book Your Soul’s Gift: The Healing Power of the Life You Planned Before You Were Born, I share the story of Marcia, who chose before coming into body to be a dwarf. In this lifetime Marcia is but 1.4 meters (less than 5 feet) tall. Marcia knew before she was born that people would reject and dismiss her because of her height, and she chose this difficult experience to foster her spiritual growth. She then built into her courageous plan a safeguard: she would always have the unconditional love of her pets. These animals are part of her pre-birth planning session. Her future dogs (Dusty, Brutus), cats (Snowflake, Goofy, Willie), rooster (Crooked Beak), and horse (Cheetah) all pledged in her planning session to support and care for her even when her fellow humans do not. Because she also planned to be clairaudient in this lifetime, Marcia has always been able to hear her pets’ thoughts when they communicated with her.
Just as people with amnesia do not remember those who were in their lives before the forgetting, so, too, do we not recall the pets who were with us before we were born. Yet, our pets come to our side and express their great love for us, reminding us daily that only we who are love could be so beloved. And they remind us not only that we are loved but also that we are worthy of love. When Marcia came home from school and cried over the cruel words from the other children, Dusty was there to tell her she was perfect, that she “could always come home, and I would be there, and I would love you.” Cheetah also reminded Marcia that she was worthy of love: “It doesn’t matter what they say. Look what you and I can do together! Get on! Let’s go!” And so they would ride like the wind, the smallest of children on the largest of horses, both free and safe, in love with life and each other.
Too, pets bring healing. Indeed, our animal companions are master healers, in part because they embody love in an entirely non-threatening form. The clear absence of threat creates within us a willingness to receive healing. We may fear accepting love from another person, but Marcia had no such fear with Brutus or Snowflake. When Marcia’s mother lay ill in the hospital, Brutus, tail wagging and big ears flopping, was a healing balm for Marcia’s heavy heart. When Marcia’s mother returned Home, it was Snowflake who healed Marcia’s grief, saying, “My job with her is done. Now I need to take care of you.”
How do pets heal us? There is no greater healing power in the Universe than that of unconditional love. Yet, beyond unconditional love, pets heal by transmuting energies. Even when we feel weak and small, our pets still come to us for care and so remind us that we are strong enough, capable enough to provide it. Even when we are enmeshed in anger or blame, they sit joyfully at our side, radiating contentment and instilling peace within us. When we feel shame, guilt, or unworthiness, they look at us and see only perfection. Our pets see us as light, the light of which we are literally made, the light we knew ourselves to be before we were born. When we lose sight of our magnificence, they remind us of it.
Sometimes a loved one, even a spirit guide, will incarnate as a pet because it is the best, and perhaps only, way to share a lifetime with us. I have a close friend who planned not to have children in this lifetime. A soul she loves and who loves her dearly incarnated as her dog so they could complete the mother-daughter relationship they shared in a past life as Native Americans. Both had been healers in other past lives, and they continued their healing work together in the current lifetime. My friend often brought her dog into healing sessions with clients, many of whom commented that they felt healed by the animal’s presence.
Ultimately, whether it’s Willie reminding Marcia to have fun, Goofy caring for Marcia and so healing her grief after Snowflake’s death, Brutus teaching compassion and kindness, Snowflake modeling independence, or Dusty, Cheetah, and Crooked Beak loving a little girl who just needed acceptance and friendship, each of these animals came to Marcia to love her and to receive her love. When we choose to take human form on the physical plane, our primary intent is to learn how to give and receive love. We select Earth as the school in which we will learn this lesson because here there are teachers who have mastered it. We call them dogs and birds, cats and horses. Yet, love by any other name is still love.