There are references to dogs that have (or haven’t) reincarnated in dozens of articles. There are personal accounts posted in online forums about pets and online pet support groups. There are blogs about dogs. There are hundreds of websites put up by pet psychics and animal communicators who offer to help find lost pets and “connect” with dead ones. I surf from one site to the next, fascinated. Other people loved their dogs as much as I loved Mike.
Other people mourned their dogs, just as I was mourning Mike . Other people believe their dogs will reincarnated, just as I believe that Mike would reincarnate. And many of them have done just that.
Not everybody believes in reincarnation. Most of the nonbelievers turn up in discussion threads that have been started by someone whose dog has died, and they tend to be dismissive and scornful rather than persuasive.
There is also a lot of nonsense, including a quiz that tells you what kind of dog you’ll be in your next life.
One of the things that strikes me is that most of the people who post descriptions of how their dog or cat has reincarnated are women. Most of the pet psychics and animal communicators are women, too. On the other hand, most of the people debunking these stories – and the very idea of reincarnation – are men.
I read through dozens of postings about dogs and cats and birds and horses and even a ferret who have reincarnated and returned to former owners. Quite a few of these accounts are disjointed and full of repetitions and misspellings, the work of individuals who are clearly unaccustomed to expressing themselves in writing. Yet it is these accounts that I find the most moving and convincing. You feel that these people have had to struggle with every word, but are so convinced that what has happened to them is wonderful and so important that the story has to be told, no matter how difficult it is for them to tell it.
I’m convinced that every single one of these people is absolutely certain that the animal they loved and lost has reincarnated and come back to them. I don’t think any of them are making it up. Why should they? Why would anyone go to all the time and effort to write such things and post them on the internet if they weren’t true? (I don’t mean true in the scientific sense, but true in the sense that the people who write them believe they are true) What would be the point of inventing such painstakingly detailed accounts of things that hadn’t happened?
None of these pet owners seem to have any philosophical knowledge of
Hinduism or Buddhism. They make no effort to explain what has happened to them, or to justify their belief in reincarnation. They simply know that their dog died, and then somehow, often through a series of amazing coincidences, came back to them.
Besides being overwhelmingly female, the authors have other things in common. All of them describe being utterly devastated by the death of their dog. Many describe experiencing the same kind of psychic presence that I’m observing. All of them describe a process of mourning that continues for weeks, sometimes even years. All of them find themselves constantly thinking of their dog, even dreaming about him. Many also describe an inability to dispose of the dog’s toys, or bedding, or collar.
Some of them seek help from a pet psychic and their accounts tell of a detailed and explicit process of consciously searching for – and ultimately finding – their dog. But many others do nothing of the kind. They are somehow guided to a place or an event – and there he is! The dog knows them, and they know their dog. When they bring him home, he knows where his water dish is. He recognizes his toys. At night, he happily curls up just where he always used to sleep. It’s the same story, again and again.
I’ve heard of pet psychics, but I never dreamed there were so many of them. And not just pet psychics – animal communicators and medical intuitives, as well. All of these people (again, mostly women) claim to be able to communicate directly with your dog and tell you what he is feeling and thinking. They don’t need to meet your dog in person. Some of them don’t even need a photo. You just tell them your dog’s name and they’re usually able to “tune in” to him. Of course, the dog has to be willing to communicate. This is why it is so difficult for pet psychics and pet communicators to find lost dogs. Often, they tell us, lost dogs want to stay lost.
There doesn’t seem to be a lot of difference between pet psychics, animal intuitives and animal communicators, although different individuals offer different services. Some simply offer to communicate with your dog.
Others run classes to teach you how to communicate with your pet yourself.
And a few specialize in finding lost or missing animals.
Brent Atwater, Medical Intuitive, Animal Reincarnation Authority and founder of something called The Global Pet Loss Hope Initiative does it all.
She hosts podcasts, runs classes and offers private consultations. She’s also written several books about her dog Friend – who reincarnated and came back to her on no less than five separate occasions – lengthy excerpts of which are posted on her various websites.
According to Atwater (and other pet psychics) every living being vibrates at a certain frequency, and these vibrations are as individual and unique as fingerprints or snowflakes. So it literally is a question of being able to tune in, and some people – like Atwater – seem to be born with the ability to do this. 5000 years ago Vedic philosophers determined that the universe vibrates, and identified 108 separate frequencies. Modern theoretical physicists agree. Our universe – and everything in it – vibrates. The smallest constituents of matter are thought to be tiny, one-dimensional “strings” of energy which vibrate at different frequencies, creating a background hum pitched many times lower than human hearing.
So when pet psychics or animal communicators talk about tuning in to
the subtle energy that pervades the universe, it is a reasonably accurate
description. The term “subtle energy” refers to the invisible, indestructible
vibrations that animate our both our physical bodies and our “subtle bodies”.
This is sometimes called the universal life force, or bioenergy. It transcends time and space, and permeates everything in the universe. You might say it is what causes the vibrations. No matter what name you give to these vibrations, their existence forms the basis for many ancient and modern medical interventions, including acupuncture, acupressure, bioenergetics, polarity therapy, reflexology, reiki and therapeutic touch.
You can’t see bioenergy, or hear vibrations that are below the human threshold of sound, or photograph the subtle body. You can’t measure such phenomena. They do not readily lend themselves to scientific analysis. But that’s okay. We accept many things we don’t understand, from why aspirin works to Einstein’s theory of relativity. Einstein suggested that our notions of time, space and mass were relative – rather than absolute – and actually coexist as a four-dimensional continuum. It was Einstein who came up with
The Twins Paradox. If one twin gets on a space ship that travels at almost the speed of light and travels to a star twenty light-years away, when he returns to earth his twin will be twenty years older than he is. Reality itself is relative. “Logic will get you from A to B,” said Einstein. “Imagination will take you everywhere.
What all this means is that consciousness – with all the thoughts and feelings that encompass it – is ultimately vibration, produced by complex chemical and electrical change that continually takes place in the brain.
Imaginative neuroscientists have harnessed thought vibrations and used them to power machines that follow simple “thought” commands. The implications for medicine – the most scientific of sciences – are momentous.
Neurosurgeon Dr. C. Norman Shealy writes: “To be truly effective, the practice of healing in the future must merge traditional medicine with a deeper understanding of the human energy system.”
But you don’t have to be a neurosurgeon or a psychic to harness thought vibrations. Hammacher Schlemmer’s “Mind Controlled UFO” is described as a device that “uses your focussed brain waves to remotely control its flight … using theta wave activity produced by your brain.” The Mind Controlled UFO is not a scientific instrument. It’s a toy, albeit an expensive one, with a price tag of $229.95
So far, so good. Bioenergy resides in the body. Vibrations emanate from the body. But when the body is gone, what happens to the bioenergy and the vibrations? What am I to make of pet psychics who claim to be able to communicate with dogs and cats who are already dead? Does consciousness require a brain? Or are our brains merely an interface between our immortal, indestructible souls and our bodies?
If what we call the soul is ultimately energy, and indestructible, why shouldn’t psychics be able to connect with the souls of departed human beings – or for that matter with animals?
It surprises me to learn that many pet psychics and animal communicators come out of more or less conventional scientific backgrounds. Former wildlife biologist and environmental scientist Marta
“I didn’t start out this field believing that animals could reincarnate and come back to you in a different body, but after years of talking with animals and hearing people’s experiences, I now believe this to be the case. I know many people find this hard to accept, or it is contrary to their beliefs. I am not trying to convince anyone, but merely presenting what I now believe to be true about life after death.
The idea of Dougal wanting to be a small dog in his next life makes me smile. Many dogs apparently do have specific ideas as to who and what they will be in their next life. Big dogs sometimes want to be small dogs, and vice versa. Some dogs want to be the same breed as they were in their former lives, but others want to try something different. A Maltese might want to be a Pit Bull. An Australian Sheep Dog might want to be a Chihuahua. A white dog might want to be black. Mike had been a beautiful dog, and he knew he was beautiful, and he loved being beautiful. I suspect that he wants to be beautiful again, and that’s why he’s coming back as a Shih Tzu.
No matter what their background, pet psychics and animal communicators insist there is nothing magical about what they do. Many of them believe that all of us are capable of communicating with animals, that this is a natural ability that we’ve somehow lost along the way to modernity. I was struck by the matter-of-fact tone of most of this material. There was nothing mysterious or mystical about communicating with animals, according to these people.
One of the many people author Arthur Myers interviewed for his insightful book about aniaml communication is clairvoyant and animal diagnostician Nancy Regalmuto. She explains: “We can all do it, these are divine rights. We’re all coming from the same Creator, the same place. We’re all the same essentially in our makeup, we all have the same abilities, the same rights. But a lot of people have given up their rights. They don’t even know what their rights are. You have a right to be able to communicate with all things that God created. This is our divine right. A lot of people think,
You can do it, Nancy, because you’re gifted. Well, you’re gifted too, it’s just tht you don’t recognize your gifts. Those gifts are under all our Christmas trees. I just opened mine.”
Many animal communicators include testimonials from clients whose pets have reincarnated on their websites. These long and meticulous accounts of dog reincarnation are well-written and – as you’d expect – go into great detail about the kind of assistance the pet psychic has provided. But basically, the story remains the same. Someone mourns and grieves inconsolably for their dog, refusing to believe that he is gone, somehow knowing that he will come back. At the end of each story, with the help and encouragement of the animal psychic, dog and owner are finally reunited.
Most of accounts I read are about dogs who are reborn as puppies and subsequently reunited with their owners. However there are a handful of other versions of the story that initially puzzle me. In these cases, the deceased dog and his grieving owner are reunited almost immediately, often within days or a week or so following the dog’s death. How can that be? I’d always thought reincarnation obeyed the laws of nature. Since the gestation period for dogs is about 62 days, how can it be possible for a woman who’d lost her beloved dog on Monday to find him again at the local pound the following Saturday morning?
When this what happens, it isn’t – technically – reincarnation. These kinds of events, I learn, are called “walk-ins”. The deceased dog’s spiritual essence takes possession of another, living dog’s body, not by force but by mutual consent. The dead dog wants to resume life in this particular time and place, and the living dog – for whatever reason – is ready to move to a different realm. So they agree to a swap, whereby spirit of the deceased dog literally walks in and takes over the physical body of the dog who is ready to leave.
Apparently, if you’re a dog or any other kind of animal, being a walk-in is relatively easy. The trickiest part of the process, I suppose, is for the deceased and newly disembodied dog to find a reasonably young and healthy dog who lives somewhere near his owner and who is willing to consent to the swap. The biggest disadvantage is that the “walk in” dog has no memory of anything that happened to him in his present life up until the moment he walked in. Still, if he can find his owner and resume his former life, it doesn’t matter.
I admit that the idea of a “walk-in” is harder for me to accept than simple, straightforward reincarnation. But it does explain reunions of dogs and owners which would otherwise be inexplicable. If I accept the accounts of people who claim their dog reincarnated, then it seems to me I must also accept the accounts of people who manage to find their dog mere days or weeks after his death.
Of course, anyone can write anything and post it on the internet. Just because it’s on the internet doesn’t make it true. I remind myself that pet psychics and animal communicators are also business people, offering their services in the marketplace and seeking customers for their recordings, books and consultations They aren’t hobbyists. They expect to be paid. Their websites are advertisements for their services and should probably, I think, be taken with the proverbial grain of salt.
But what about the dozens of other accounts I’ve read? What did any of these people have to gain by telling their stories in such detail? If what they are saying isn’t true, why would they bother?
This is a whole new world, and I am intrigued. I even consider contacting a pet psychic myself. It isn’t all that expensive. And it’s easy enough to do. They’ve all set themselves up with toll free numbers, and informative, recorded messages. No charge, no obligation. You leave your name and number, and they get back to you.
And then what? I already know Mike is coming back to me. So why contact a pet psychic? For verification? For reassurance? But won’t that be the same as projecting doubt into the universe? No, I don’t want to do that. I already know everything I need to know.
One week after Mike’s death, I recite the ritual prayers to help him progress towards a good rebirth. I didn’t think he needs them. He is already on his way back to me. He is in his mother’s womb, a tiny embryo nestled with his brothers and sisters. Still, prayers never hurt.