It is always heart-breaking to lose a hound. No matter how long a life they have lived, we always wish they could stay for longer; and when we lose a young hound that seems an unbearable trauma. There is usually so much guilt in the grief we feel - we must have done something wrong; however much care we took of them, we must have failed them in some way. We should have recognised earlier that they were ill; we should have got them some other kind of treatment; we should have tried for longer or we went on too long and should have allowed them to leave earlier. If they died in an accident, we should somehow have prevented it. There is always something we can beat ourselves up about.
In France the Irish wolfhound is known as lèvrier crève-coeur (the heartbreak hound) because it seems they have such a short lifespan. In our early days in wolfhounds we had several go to double figures, one to over 12. We did also lose some at 7 and 8 years but our average lifespan was 10 years 7 months. Things seem to have changed since then. Our last hound, Elsa, was just under 8; her predecessor, Kore, was 7. We lost one hound at 2, having only had her four months; and another at 3, having had him two years.
So many heartbreaks; so much pain. Why do they stay so short a time? Why do they suffer so many health problems? Why? Why? Why? Perhaps the following will help you understand a little more clearly, as it did me. It is a channelled communication and was written for the Canine Health Concern Newsletter - CHC Update - and was published in the June, 1999 edition, Vol. 4, No. 10:
The reason animals are with you is to help you with one of the paths you are undertaking in this life; either the spiritual or the physical life path. To begin with we can look at the physical life path, which is to say what you choose to do in the material world. You do not come into this life with it all planned out; instead you make your choices as you go along depending on the ways you perceive what is going on around you and the ways you have learned to deal with things. That is, you are using your physical mind to perceive this, not your spiritual being, although your spiritual being is telling you things all the time about your spiritual thinking as well. This often causes a problem with what you create in your life, because these two parts of your total being seem to be in conflict, so that neither is creating what you really want on either plane of existence.
This means that you are struggling most of the time, driven by some need to achieve you know not what, but thinking you must do or be whatever you are thinking is correct - generally someone else's ideal of human perfection, and usually someone long gone from the Earth, or what you are told they wanted you to be. This means that you are struggling to achieve someone else's will - and this is not God's Will, because His Will for you is whatever is your will. But you are not taking that to heart because you are told you have no right to your own will but must follow what you have been told is the only right way to God's redemption.
Your animals are with you to help you to see that you are your own person, not someone else's way of being; that you have a will and you can use it; that you can do and be anything you want; that you are perfection and have no need to strive for that; that you are part of All That Is and that there is part of All That Is within you. So how are they achieving this? They are showing you, through your self-awareness, that you are spiritual beings as they are, only they are closer to their spiritual roots than a human being, because humans choose to forget their spirituality on incarnating in each life and animals do not. They are saying to you that they can achieve spiritual enlightenment and survive on Earth, so you can too.
The goal of your spirit is to be in the physical on Earth, yet to know yourself as the perfect spiritual being you truly are. To bring the two parts of yourself into the full light of day and be wholly the spiritual being on the physical plane. Not to rid yourself of the physical in order to be spiritual but to achieve both at the same time. That is what animals do, and that is how they show you the way that you can do it
At the same time you are choosing to do something on Earth to help others or to show the route to better ways of living your lives on Earth without destroying the planet or the other life forms on it, and this is another way in which the animals are helping you. They fall ill, or develop other difficulties, in order to bring it to your consciousness what you are seeming not to notice of the problems mankind is creating in the world around you.
Some of them are asking you to see the way you are seeing yourself as perhaps someone who is less than others, who deserves less, or who is not worth the care lavished on others. Some of them, whose problems will only partly resolve even with the best and most natural of therapies, are showing you the limits you are placing on your own achievements or on your own healing. Still more are saying to you "Look at what you are eating, and doing to your bodies" by becoming ill themselves through vaccination or junk food, and all the terrible things you are doing to the world and to yourselves as part of that world.
The problem of their deaths, so often at what seems to you an appallingly early age and a heart-breakingly short life span, is the main reason for these words, but their reasons to be with you in life (often going to great lengths to be with you rather than with someone else) is so important too. This is the reason for the foregoing. Animals are spiritual beings on a similar path to yours; that is, to be on Earth physically whilst being their spiritual selves at the same time, which they can achieve far more easily because they are aware of their spirituality.
When a human being communicates with animals, it is the spirit of the animal they communicate with, not the physical self. But that is what you all want to achieve: the consciousness of your spiritual essence. The reasons given to animal communicators for animals' deaths are varied and sometimes may seem petty but that is only because humans think they know what the way is to the spiritual essence. What these communications are saying to you is that you are unaware of true spirituality and can only see what you think should be there, not see what truly is there. This is not a criticism; all humans are struggling through darkness to see the light because of their choosing not to remember their spiritual roots and so the race as a whole has chosen to struggle rather than to move toward their goal speedily. But there are always those loving beings you call animals whose love for you is so strong that they come to you to save you and your world by their own living and dying.
There is so much that could be said about their reasons for being in the first place, and even more about their reasons for dying the way you see them do, but the main reason they die is to make a change in their beingness, to move on in some way; either in the physical by changing to a different form (for example, a chicken coming back as a hamster so that she could get closer to her person, as is detailed in Penelope Smith's tape on Animal Death) or to move on in a spiritual way.
It is so difficult for humans to understand this, because you are so fearful of death, but that is as it should be (as is everything that occurs on Earth, however it may seem to your eyes), because there is nothing that is or can be wrong. Nothing. What you see as wrong is just your judgement about something, which is fine, but there is nothing that is intrinsically wrong - or right. Everything is just as it is, that is all. There is no sin, no judgement of anything anyone does; just what is, as it is.
The animals know this, and they understand why you do not and they love you despite it and despite any action you can take, or not take. There is no way you could change their choices about life or death; it is their choice to take and they do just that - make their own choices based on what they see as being in your best interests and theirs. Only they see your best interests (and theirs) from a spiritual viewpoint, not the physical one. They are prepared to suffer if they can remove themselves no other way, because they see suffering as it truly is - simply the movement of energy from one point to another, not the agonising pain and misery it is to humans. Humans too could see it this way could they but let go of the need for things to be as they think they should be, rather than as they truly are.
So, when your animals don't heal, despite what you see as your best efforts, it is not that you are failing in your duty, or seeming not to be capable of healing anyone or keeping anyone safe, it is just that they see their going as the next best step, their own path to healing of the spirit rather than of the physical body. Remember that healing is not just cessation of physical symptoms, or simply a return to apparent physical health, but it can be just as well a dying, which is simply a move towards the Light, a new beginning in whatever form that takes, if form it does take.
So, don't despair at the deaths of your beloved animals, nor at the seeming plight of those you see or hear of apparently suffering elsewhere; it is not as it seems to you in your grief. Your feelings of guilt are not necessary, since there is nothing you can do that is wrong, however it may seem to you in hindsight, and there is nothing that any other human can do that is wrong, whatever it seems like to your way of thinking. The animals accept all, understand all, forgive all, and love all the human race. And there is no need to despair either of not meeting up again with your sought-after animals because you are one and there is no separation between you, not even on the physical level. Even though you cannot see or feel their presence, they are there and always will be.
This information was channelled on June 2nd, 1999
|When I'm gone, release me, let me go
You must not tie yourself to me with tears.
You can only guess how much you gave me in happiness .
Grieve for me a while, if grieve you must,
Then let your grief be comforted by trust
And then when you must come this way alone,
I'll greet you with a lick and bark "Welcome home."
| Why fear death? When I have given myself to this
Countless times and only found rebirth, I am not afraid.
Have you forgotten the ancient law
That in dying we become more fully
What we really are? You will not lose me
For my spirit is the eternity which
Rises each morning to illumine your day.
I have no journey to make
For is not love the goal?
And am I not already and forever
In your heart?
|Do not stand at my grave and weep
I am not there; I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow
I am the diamond glints on snow,
I am the sunlight on ripened grain,
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the morning's hush,
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry,
I am not there; I did not die.
This poem has been claimed by:
for if the dog be well remembered, if sometimes
he leaps through your dreams actual as in life,
eyes kindling, laughing, begging; it matters not where that dog sleeps.
On a hill where the wind is unrebuked and the trees are roaring,
or beside a stream he knew in puppyhood,
or somewhere in the flatness of a pastureland where most exhilarating cattle graze.
It is one to a dog, and all one to you, and nothing is gained and nothing lost - if memory lives.
But there is one best place to bury a dog.
If you bury him in this spot, he will come to you when you call -
come to you over the grim, dim frontiers of death,
and down the well-remembered path and to your side again.
And though you may call a dozen living dogs to heel,
they shall not growl at him nor resent him coming, for he belongs there.
People may scoff at you, who see no lightest blade of grass bent by his footfall,
who hear no whimper; people who have never really had a dog.
Smile at them, for you shall know something that is hidden from them.
The one best place to bury a good dog is in the heart of his mistress."
By Ben Hur Lampman (Journalist & Sportsman), written 1925
|I stood by your bed last night, I came to have
I could see that you were crying. You found it hard to sleep.
I whined to you softly as you brushed away a tear,
"It's me, I haven't left you, I'm well,I'm fine, I'm here."
I was close to you at breakfast, I watched you pour the tea,
You were thinking of the many times your hands reached down to me.
I was with you at the shops today. Your arms were getting sore.
I longed to take your parcels, I wish I could do more.
I was with you at my grave today, You tend it with such care.
I want to re-assure you, that I'm not lying there.
I walked with you towards the house, as you fumbled for your key.
I gently put my paw on you, I smiled and said "It's me."
You looked so very tired, and sank into a chair.
I tried so hard to let you know, that I was standing there.
It's possible for me to be so near you everyday.
To say to you with certainty, "I never went away."
You sat there very quietly, then smiled, I think you knew...
in the stillness of that evening, I was very close to you.
The day is over... I smile and watch you yawning
and say "Good-night, God bless, I'll see you in the morning."
And when the time is right for you to cross the brief divide,
I'll rush across to greet you and we'll stand, side by side.
I have so many things to show you, there is so much for you to see.
Be patient, live your journey out... then come home to be with me.
| TO JOHN, MY COLLIE
by Walter Peirce
So you have left me. Here's the end,
Perhaps they will not want me there,
|FRIEND TO FRIEND
You're giving me a special gift,
But really, love is knowing
So looking deep into your eyes,
The strength that you possess
That strength is why I've followed you,
Please, understand just what this gift
You take a stand on my behalf,
So one last time, I breathe your scent,
Cut the leash that holds me here,
And don't despair my passing,
I'll be there watching over you,
As I reach my doorway, I linger for a time,
I had to leave on the house alarm; I never needed to before.
I imagine looking into your deep brown eyes, knowing what you want to say.
When I was down you were there for me; when I was happy you felt the same.
I remember the days I would ruffle your hair, look deep into your eyes,
But though it would seem you are gone forever, I will never fear to be
By Justine Lig (14 years old)
I have done mostly what men do
Day after day, the whole day through -
Now I must go by some other round -
This poem, author unknown,
seems just as fitting for our animal friends as for the person
She is Gone
You can shed tears that she is gone
A Dog's Prayer
Treat me kindly, my beloved master, for no heart in all the world is more grateful for kindness than the loving heart of me.
Do not break my spirit with a stick, for though I should lick your hand between the blows, your patience and understanding will more quickly teach me the things you would have me do.
Speak to me often, for your "voice" is the world's sweetest music, as you must know by the fierce wagging of my tail when your footsteps fall upon my waiting eye.
When it is cold and wet, please take me inside, for I am now a domesticated animal, no longer used to bitter elements. And I ask no greater glory than the privilege of sitting at your feet beside the hearth. Though had you no home, I would rather follow you through ice and snow than rest upon the softest pillow in the warmest home in all the land, for you are my god and I am your devoted worshiper.
Keep my pan filled with fresh water, for although I should not reproach you were it dry, I cannot tell you when I suffer thirst. Feed me clean food, that I may stay well, to romp and play and do your bidding, to walk by your side, and stand ready, willing and able to protect you with my life should your life be in danger.
And, beloved master, should the great Master see fit to deprive me of my health, do not turn me away from you. Rather hold me gently in your arms as skilled hands grant me the merciful boon of eternal rest - and I will leave you knowing with the last breath I drew, my fate was ever safest in your hands.
|LETTER FROM YOUR PET IN HEAVEN
To my dearest family, some things I'd like to say.
But first of all, to let you know, that I arrived okay.
I'm writing this from the Bridge. Here I dwell with God above.
Here there's no more tears of sadness. Here is just eternal love.
Please do not be unhappy just because I'm out of sight.
Remember that I am with you every morning, noon and night.
That day I had to leave you when my life on earth was through,
God picked me up and hugged me and He said, "I welcome you.
It's good to have you back again, you were missed while you were gone.
As for your dearest family, They'll be here later on."
God gave me a list of things, that he wished for me to do.
And foremost on the list, was to watch and care for you.
And when you lie in bed at night the day's chores put to flight,
God and I are closest to you... in the middle of the night.
When you think of my life on earth, and all those loving years,
Because you are only human, they are bound to bring you tears.
But do not be afraid to cry: it does relieve the pain.
Remember there would be no flowers, unless there was some rain.
I wish that I could tell you all that God has planned.
If I were to tell you, you wouldn't understand.
But one thing is for certain, though my life on earth is o'er.
I'm closer to you now, than I ever was before.
There are rocky roads ahead of you and many hills to climb;
But together we can do it by taking one day at a time.
It was always my philosophy and I'd like it for you too;
That as you give unto the world, the world will give to you.
If you can help somebody who's in sorrow and pain;
Then you can say to God at night... "My day was not in vain."
And now I am contented... that my life was worthwhile.
Knowing as I passed along I made somebody smile.
God says: "If you meet somebody who is sad and feeling low;
Just lend a hand to pick him up, as on your way you go.
When you're walking down the street with me on your mind;
I'm walking in your footsteps only half a step behind."
"And when it's time for you to go... from that body to be free.
Remember you're not going... you're coming here to me."
Beyond the fields
Beyond the hills,
Beyond the icy moon....
When I am gone
Look there for me
Where night winds
And I shall drift
On Autumn mists
And be the Summer rain,
And I am snowflakes
In the night
And grasses in the lane.
I am the sunshine
Through the trees,
The wild sea on a shore,
And when you see
Spring's bursting leaves
You'll know I'm here
by Sonya Dann
And this quote will perhaps help those who are feeling guilty about their animals:
And when all is said and done, and I stand before my Maker
I will ask to have but one question answered: "do they forgive me?"
and he will say: "when their time came they received understanding that all the trips to the vet
and the baths, and the medicines were given out of your love and care for them,
and not out of malice. They understood, and they forgave you and do love you."
And with that knowledge, I shall truly rest in peace.
-Tony J. Podrasky
I have sometimes thought of the final cause of dogs having such short lives, and I am quite satisfied it is in compassion to the human race; for if we suffer so much in losing a dog after an acquaintance of ten or twelve years, what would it be if they were to live double that time?
- Sir Walter Scott
Just this side of Heaven is a place called the Rainbow Bridge. When a hound dies that has been especially close to someone here, that dog goes to Rainbow Bridge. There are meadows and hills for all our special friends so they run and play together. There is plenty of food and water and sunshine and our friends are warm and comfortable. Those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by.
The hounds are happy and content except for one small thing - they each miss someone very special to them who had to be left behind. They all run and play together but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. The bright eyes are intent, the eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster. YOU have been spotted and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face, your hands again caress the beloved head and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your hound so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.
Then you cross the Rainbow Bridge together.
|Canine Health Concern site|
|The Pet Loss Grief Support Website|
|The Association for Pet Loss & Bereavement|
|The Pet Loss Support page|
|The pages on etsy.com/uk for pet loss gifts|
|The 123 Greetings pages on ecards for the loss of pets|
|Anaflora site on grief counselling, animals as spiritual beings.|
|Site for Penelope Smith's books and tapes|