IMAGE: Solly being a typical dog―freshly rolled in mud and fox shit! © Louise A. Shilton
I have just finished reading the wonderful book Pets Have Souls Too by Jenny Smedley―an animal communicator and past life therapist based in the UK. I was delighted to find this book recently, as pets and other animals having souls is something I have started writing about myself.
Smedley compiles a range of stories sent to her by people from around the world who have witnessed some remarkable behaviours by their domestic animals, as well as a few reporting experiences with wild animals. These stories indicate that our pets and other animals not only sense and ‘see’ things that we often cannot, but also that they will sometimes go to great lengths to communicate to us what they are witnessing.
The stories compiled by Smedley address topics such as telepathic communication with animals, pet souls returning to the same people in another animal body after their original pet passed over, pets seeing spirits, and pets acting as guardians―warning their human companions of unseen dangers.
Smedley provides a short introduction to each story, as well as a synopsis of the phenomena described by each author. While I don’t agree entirely with Smedley’s perspective―such as animal souls inherently being less advanced and on a learning trajectory to be a human in a future life―I recommend the book for anyone wanting to understand animal behaviour and pet soul connections. (I will be writing much more about my own understanding of souls incarnating in animals and other life forms in the future.)
Six years ago I got my gorgeous Staffy Cross, Solly, from a wonderful animal rescue shelter in Cairns―YAPS. I had wanted a dog for a few years, but I was determined to secure my permanent residency in Australia before I made that commitment to an animal, otherwise I might have had to return to the UK. I had also decided that I wanted my own place with a fully-fenced yard. Once the circumstances were right for me, I looked at the YAPS and local RSPCA websites every day for six months―checking out all the new dog profiles, as well as revisiting some of the older ones. I knew that I wanted a Staffy or Staffy Cross adult dog. I also had a slight preference for a boy, and was particularly fond of the brindle colouring. So I resisted the temptation of going to the shelters until I saw a dog something like I was looking for, as I knew that some puppy eyes would pull on my heart strings and I would probably end up taking one home!
When Solly was advertised I knew that this was the fella I had to go and see. What I didn’t know at the time was that Solly had been in the shelter for six months as his original owners had checked him in for long-term kennelling. He was only advertised by YAPS when it had been established that his owners were not collecting him. His initial profile picture was of a very sad face, and the text said he was “depressed” because he didn’t understand why he was there.
Meeting Solly was love at first sight for me, although he seemed a little nonchalant at first when I walked him along with my then partner and her Kelpie to see if they got on okay. My partner held Solly on the lead outside while I completed all the paperwork, and he was more interested in the much peed on telegraph pole than either her or her dog. But when we signalled for him to jump in the back of the car he was like a completely different dog! His face lit up and we got to see his big Staffy smile, and while this was my partner’s car, and she had spent more time with him up to this point, she remarked on the journey home “He knows that you are his owner―he hasn’t taken his eyes off you!”
And that was the way it was from day one―Solly’s eyes watching me, connecting with me, twinkling for me, and looking distressed if I went out of view for a moment. Friends and strangers often remarked how devoted he was to me, and how protective he was of me. Indeed, there was an incident early on during which some shady characters were hiding behind some trees in a park just as it was getting dark. Solly was off the lead, bumbling around in the creek behind me completely unaware—or so I thought. Just as I noticed movement behind the trees a few metres in front of me, and felt a little fear, Solly suddenly jumped out from the embankment of the creek, raced in front of me and raised up on his hind legs while letting out a few of the most threatening barks I have ever heard from him to this day! At that time I had only heard a little squeak of a bark from him once or twice before. (One of the many things I love about my boy is that he hardly ever barks!)
The three guys hiding behind the trees in the park stopped in their tracks―terrified of my dog―while I casually put him on the lead as if I had known all along that he was my protector, inwardly thinking “How on earth did he know and get to me that fast? He was completely out of sight in the creek!”.
From that moment on, I knew that my gentle, sweet natured, roll-on-his-back-for-belly-rubs-from-anyone boy was indeed my protector. And when we completed obedience training, the stern assessor declared “You are the right owner for that dog―he absolutely adores you and wants to please you!”, as she wrote and circled “Top Dog” on his certificate. While I was super proud, I was again a little amazed as he hadn’t performed quite that well during the classes, and that evening we had been the last to be assessed. When it was finally our turn I was thinking to myself “Why did I let all the others go first?”. All the other dogs were by then running around off their leads, chasing birds across the playing fields, and Solly was understandably distracted and wanting to join them―or so I thought! But under scrutiny he performed perfectly, leaving no doubt in my mind that he absolutely understood that we were being assessed. He has since proved again and again that he is a very smart and sensitive dog―which has not entirely been without its challenges, but that’s another story!
Something else I noticed about Solly early on was that he would just stare off into space, or at a wall, completely transfixed by something that I could not see or sense. It was on beach walks that I first started calling him “spiritual dog” because, while he was certainly excited to be at the beach, he would generally wade into the edge of the surf so that only his paws were getting wet, and stand motionless, looking out across the horizon―as if mesmerised and in awe of the expansive wonder and beauty of the world.
To put this into context, back in 2008 I wasn’t what I would call “spiritual” myself. As I have mentioned in other blogs (e.g. Telepathic Communication from a Soul… and I’m Not Ready to Go Yet!), I had at this time had a number of traumatic and life-changing events that were ‘wake-up’ calls―including the relatively recent loss of two loved ones. But I wasn’t yet on board with the soul being eternal and immortal―I hadn’t even visited a psychic medium at this stage!
After some initial challenges, Solly and I readily settled into a great companionship. In those days I was working in a full-time ‘9 to 5’ job, but he had a doggy door and access to the fully-fenced back garden during the day, and would always greet me at the front door when I got home. The first thunderstorms happened while I was away for work, when friends were checking on him, and I learned that Solly was very storm phobic―he escaped repeatedly during the storms by digging under the back section of the fence. When I got home I escape-proofed the back garden as best I could―I added height to the only low section of the fence so that the entire perimeter of the garden had a fence at least six-foot high, and dug pavers under the area of fence that he could dig under. This worked, and there was no more escaping for a long time.
But then, in early September 2010, Solly started acting up big-time. I myself was experiencing some strange and emotionally tumultuous things, the result of which was that I was suddenly catapulted into profound and acute grief―the like of which I hadn’t experienced for a long time since my dad completed suicide in 2005. While he had always been my shadow around the house, Solly was suddenly extra clingy, trembling like he was scared, and was hugging my ankles so much I accidentally banged into him and tripped over him a few times. He also started curling up on the shower mat for those few minutes while I was behind the shower curtain, and thankfully I didn’t stand on him or have a fall getting out of the shower, despite my blurry-eyed vision without my glasses. But I confess, I did start getting extremely frustrated with him! My emotions were fraught enough as they were—I didn’t need a stressed-out and emotionally needy dog to boot!
Of course, I was aware enough to know that my own distress was affecting Solly, and I felt terrible about this. But I was being flung around in an emotional cyclone that I didn’t understand the source of at the time―I didn’t know what an empath was, let alone that I was one back then! (See You Say I’m Emotional Like It’s a Bad Thing!).
Concerned about my own health, and sanity, I saw a GP whom I had also socialised with in the past, but had never mentioned my dad’s suicide to before. I burst into tears when I mentioned my dad’s suicide to him during the appointment―surprising myself as I hadn’t felt that raw for a very long time. He suggested seeing how I went over six weeks, and then maybe considering anti-depressants. I just remember a voice inside saying “This isn’t me―this is coming from outside of me―this grief isn’t mine”. And then, more determined, “I'm going to beat this spiritually…” (And as it happens, I never went back for a review with the GP.)
At this time Solly also escaped while I was at work―on a sunny day, not even a hint of a thunderstorm, and no disturbance that I was aware of―he had scaled a six-foot fence for no obvious reason, for the first time in more than two years. After I got a call about his whereabouts, my manager let me go to collect him from the local Newsagents that he had wandered into. When I arrived, the lady at the Newsagents informed me that he had been very scared―terrified even―and that he had wandered in, cowered under the counter and stayed there shaking the entire time. I had no idea what was going on, but at this time I had only just started my new part-time job, and I confess I had thoughts of “I hope this escaping when there is no storm is not going to become a pattern!”.
A day or two after this escape, I remember cleaning the house and Solly was getting under my feet so much I put him in the garden and closed the back door so he couldn’t come back in until I had finished. He escaped within half an hour—no storm, and his mum was home. Thankfully he was once again unharmed, and found by someone who read his collar tag and called me after I had already begun the search. But while I was relieved to get him back safe, I was also distraught. My own nerves were frazzled. I didn’t know what was happening to me, or what on earth was going on with Solly―but I knew that we were in a catch-22 with my emotional state affecting him, and his aberrant behaviour affecting me―how was I going to keep him safe if he was willing and able to scale a six-foot fence just for the hell of it?!
I felt like I was falling apart, and not coping with Solly’s behaviour on top of what I was experiencing, so I called YAPS. I spoke with Dorothy, who knew Solly well, about my concerns and frustrations with his sudden change in behaviour―I was at a loss about what to do, and open to any suggestions! She recommended a “dog psychologist” called Sharon. I phoned Sharon, and we arranged for her to come round early on the Sunday morning, mid-September.
I was out late on the Saturday night, and Sharon turned up an hour early―I was still in my pyjamas! Intuitively I felt Sharon had arrived early intentionally to see how Solly was being kept, but I was okay with this, as it was her role to look at how the dog was being looked after. I let her into the back garden to hang out with Solly while I got showered and dressed. The shower pepped me up, but emotionally I still felt a mess, and I confess, I was slightly concerned that Sharon might think that I was the problem for him!
When I joined them outside, Sharon told me that Solly had steadfastly avoided the Carambola (starfruit) tree the whole time she was watching him. This wasn’t something I had ever observed, so I told her that I had never seen him do that―on the contrary, he would often lie under the shade of that particular tree in the garden. She then asked me if I knew anyone who had passed recently. It seemed like a bit of a curve-ball, but I said no, not that I was aware of. She said there was a woman’s spirit around the Carambola tree, and it was this spirit that Solly was avoiding. The only woman reasonably close to me who had passed over was my nan, but that was 14 years earlier―besides, Sharon indicated this was a younger woman. I had no idea, but said I guess it was possible someone I knew in the UK had died and I hadn’t heard about it yet―recalling how an old friend from England had managed to track me down online to tell me of Jon’s passing a week or so after the event. But Sharon suggested another scenario―maybe the woman was linked with the house. “How long have you lived here? Do you know if anyone has died in this house?” she asked me. I had owned the place for nearly three years, and while I hadn’t spoken directly with the previous owner, I had diligently forwarded all her mail and received a nice thank you note, so I said that I would try to find out…
Sharon was very impressed with Solly and she also referred to me as a “calm and patient owner”, which at the time I recall wondering if she was just being polite and encouraging as I felt anything but calm and patient! I never saw Solly avoid the Carambola tree, but I did have a reinforced understanding and perception that he was literally seeing things, and responding to things, that I could not see.
Within a week of Sharon's visit, while I was away for work, I read about an event that I knew intuitively was somehow connected with experiences that I was having. Gradually, experience by experience, memory trigger by memory trigger, I pieced together an understanding of an agreement I had with two of my closest soulmates―one who was the woman who had recently passed over, and who was now one of my spirit guides (although I didn’t understand that this was the nature of her contact with me at first), and another who was still alive (and who I much later learned is my twin flame). (I have touched on this in other blogs, such as Practising the Art of Letting Go and On Heartbreak and Soulmates.)
As I worked out that I had contact from the spirit of one of my soulmates, and grappled with trying to understand why this was so, I started to recognise when Solly could see her―one time I recall most vividly was when he was sitting, somewhat nervously, in the corner of the bathroom with his right paw raised in a position that suggested his paw was being held, and his eyes and ears showed that he was looking at and listening to someone whom I could not see or hear. (At this stage, I have seen her manifest in full form only once―the night after Lesley, a psychic medium I trusted, had confirmed this spirit's contact with me was real and that I was her messenger―she woke me up in the middle of the night, and was sitting on my bed so clearly, it was like she was completely in physical form again. I was spooked and literally pulled the doona over my eyes―but this is another story!)
It seems funny now that it was several months before the penny dropped regarding Solly’s sudden and dramatic change in behaviour in September 2010, and what Sharon made of it back then. Once I was reasonably comfortable with the ongoing contact of my soulmate’s spirit, and long after I had moved south to Brisbane, I suddenly had the realisation “Oh my God! That was you! The woman by the Carambola tree in my back garden in Cairns!” Yes. That was her. And Solly―bless his white dog ‘socks’―was trying to alert me to her presence with his freaking out and scaling a six-foot fence antics!
Once I had made that particular connection, I sent a text to Sharon, who I now realise is a skilled animal communicator―I explained to her that I finally knew who the deceased woman was whom she asked me about when she visited my place that Sunday morning. I received a lovely message in reply, thanking me for letting her know that it all made sense―and she was pleased to hear that Solly had since relaxed into this spirit’s company, much as I had.
I don’t always do it as quickly as I might, but if Solly is behaving strangely these days I do consider what he might be seeing and experiencing differently to me―I see him as more sensory, and in this way, more intelligent and advanced than me. I trust his instincts.
These days I believe in a multi-dimensional universe and I am increasingly able to discern experiences energetically and intuitively, rather than relying on my primary ‘physical’ senses. Something Lee Harris, channelling “The Z’s”, recently touched on in a Q&A live broadcast is that dogs typically experience up to six dimensions, and cats up to nine dimensions―this is why cats appear more aloof, because they are literally having experiences in a range of other dimensions! As humans we are generally having a three-dimensional (3D) experience, but many of us who have awakened are increasingly also having experiences in 5D. (I will write more about this in another blog.)
As I have mentioned in other blogs, the last few years―since I first realised I had direct contact with Spirit, and could no longer resist embracing that our souls are eternal and immortal―have been an amazing but immensely challenging journey for me as a scientist, and former skeptic and atheist.
Recently I was prompted to re-read some emails I exchanged with Nadene―a wonderful woman and beautiful soul in New Zealand whom I met on the plane during my work trip from Cairns to Sydney in late September 2010. Nadene and I chatted throughout the three-hour flight, and during the latter part of our conversation she admitted to having some psychic ability, and told me what she could see with regards to my work situation (which was in flux at the time). Following our meeting―which I later learned was guided by Spirit, and not by chance―Nadene supported me remotely as I tried to understand, and trust in, the paranormal experiences I was having. These experiences ramped up immediately after Nadene and I said goodbye at Sydney airport. Thankfully, she had given me her email address, and I contacted her about a week later reporting some bizarre things that I had experienced during my overnight stay in Sydney and since I returned to Cairns―I told her I believed the spirit of a woman who had recently passed over was trying to reach me, and it felt like I was to be a messenger for her.
Reading a few of the emails I wrote to Nadene back in 2010 and 2011, for the first time in three years, I have been reminded of what a confusing and scary, but also quite magical period in my life this was. I shared with her one of the scariest conversations of my life as I was gently guided to tell my then housemate about her friend's spirit being in contact with me―I knew my housemate was someone who was likely to create quite a scene and move out in a dramatic fashion if she did not believe me. Then I wrote to Nadene again, several weeks later, about my confusion and surprise that neither of the two scenarios I had imagined had eventuated. My housemate did not disbelieve me and move out, but neither did she follow up with further questions to get me to prove Mandy's contact, nor ask to see the email correspondence between myself and Nadene―which I had told her about and said I was happy to show her as evidence of this spirit’s contact with me. Also, intuitively I felt that my housemate had not passed on the messages and information I had relayed for another friend of hers―our living soulmate (my twin flame). No, my housemate continued living downstairs for several more months, and subsequently demonstrated that she believed in my contact with Spirit as she asked me for help and information from my spirit guides seven weeks after I had provided her with messages from Mandy—but she never spoke of my soul connection with her friends again.
One of the last times I contacted Nadene, I spoke with her on the phone about my confusion, pain and dismay—I felt I had done my best to follow my guidance, but that I just seemed blocked at every turn as a messenger trying to reach our living soulmate. She then imparted to me a message as she channelled a higher source—I was told “You are The Message―not the messenger”.
What a rollercoaster of a journey it was! And with me throughout the highs and lows―sometimes actively helping me to ‘see’ behind the veil―has been my amazing, sensitive and courageous dog companion, Solly. He was always going to be the right dog for me.
Have you ever noticed behaviour among your pets or other animals that suggests that they can see the presence of something or someone that you cannot?
Have you been protected by an animal guardian in a seemingly miraculous way?