Animal Reincarnation: Love Never Dies
Animal reincarnation is one of the most tender and heartfelt topics that I work with in my animal communication practice. The death of our beloved animal friends is so poignant, so profound, and the grief of our loss can be so heart-wrenching. If we have a belief in the continuation of the soul beyond the body, and if we have knowledge of or experience with the idea of reincarnation, we often wonder if it’s possible for our animal friends to return in a new body.
People want to know: do animals reincarnate? How does it happen? How will I know if my beloved animal friend is coming back? How will we find each other? How will I know it’s them?
Over the years, in many hundreds of consultations, I’ve learned that there are as many possibilities and variations on the answers to these questions as there are people and individual animals. I’ve witnessed many full reincarnations of clients’ animals, as well as “partial” reincarnations, soul-blending, visits, “walk-ins”…the variations are endless. What I’ve learned, and what I tell clients, is that there is no “one size fits all” answer, and that if it happens, it is impossible to miss. Trust is the key…trust in the divine unfolding of the universal plan.
However…I had never experienced a full reincarnation of an animal in my own animal family. I’ve had temporary visits, where an animal in the spirit world will come in through a current animal’s form for a limited period of time…but never a full return of the same soul, the same being, until now.
This post has been months in the writing…or not writing. I’ve started, and stopped, and started and stopped, and decided not to write at all, and begun again.
How do I write about the eternal, undying power of pure love? How do I write about the unspeakable loss and unfathomable joy of the death and rebirth of my deepest soul-love in dog form? How do I even start to express what is, to date, the greatest miracle of my life?
In the end, it was Tashi, my beautiful Afghan hound love, who let me know it was time to share our story. She said,
Love is the most powerful force in the universe. And our love is meant to be shared with others. Share our story, share our devotion for each other, share our love. I want people to understand what is possible.
And so, as I remain Her Humble Servant, here is our story.
Love Never Dies
Tara Lily, my beloved Afghan hound soul-partner, Love-Of-My-Life-Forevermore, died on the Autumn Equinox, September 22, 2014, after a long and stunningly courageous journey with cancer. I’ve written about her death and the profound gifts of her life and our relationship in the post, Goddesses of Grace.
I will always be with you. We will always be together.
After her death, in the profound freshness of my grief, I wondered. There were times that I couldn’t feel her. Or I felt her very far off in the spirit world, on her own journey of healing and rest from her often difficult lifetime in her physical body. Sometimes I felt her tremendously expanded, with her spirit so big that it seemed to fill the whole universe. At other times I felt her merged completely into my heart, entwined with me like a braid, our souls united and melded together.
And life without her was so very, very hard. My grief was enormous. I missed her physical presence with every fiber of my being, even though I also was filled with great relief that she was no longer suffering in her broken, worn-out body.
Tara’s littermate, Rajah, began his own decline, as I knew he would after her death. They’d been together their entire lives and were deeply bonded, and I knew that they would not be separated from each other for very long.
In February, I attended a retreat with my yoga teacher, Rama Jyoti Vernon in Tucson, AZ. Each morning, I walked the labyrinth at the retreat center before our morning practice session, and as I walked, I felt Tara’s presence by my side. We walked the labyrinth together. I cried. I chanted. I prayed. We walked. And each morning, I heard and felt her clear communication in the depths of my heart:
I will come back to you. I will return to the Earth and to a physical body. I will wait until Rajah leaves and help him in his transition to the spirit world. And then I will return. Trust me. Wait for me.
I did trust her. And I also recognized that in my grief, my heart was longing for her in a way that was so powerful and strong that I knew it may be clouding my clear telepathic communication with her. And so I trusted…and I spoke of her communication to no one.
Rajah died on March 31, 2015. As my heart broke again with grief, I felt Tara’s presence huge and strong, as she had promised…meeting Rajah as he released from his body and joined her in the spirit world…my two Afghan hound loves united with each other, whole, healed, strong, full of brilliant love and light.
And then things began to get interesting…very, very interesting.
Signs from Spirit
On May 22, the eight-month anniversary of Tara’s death, I was wearing her collar around my wrist. All her life with me, Tara wore a dolphin collar with a whale charm on it. On that day, the whale charm fell off. I put it on the necklace that I wore in Tara’s memory which was inscribed with the mantra of the Goddess Tara: Om Tare Tuttare Ture Svaha…and I paid attention.
On June 8, I was driving to a client appointment when a clear message came in from Tara:
I’m in the belly.
(I keep trying to translate her communication as “womb”, but no, it was belly. Most definitely, clearly, BELLY.)
I asked her for more information. I saw a red-colored mama Afghan, a blonde Afghan, and five puppies. I felt the mama dog coming in through rescue, in the last stages of her pregnancy, in possible physical distress.
My heart sang. I felt the ring of solidity and clarity in Tara’s communication. As I felt her energy, she was less diffuse, less expanded…more compact and close to Earth.
I called a trusted colleague and asked her to tune in to the situation. Chills ran through my body as she told me what she got:
Caramel-colored mama dog, four, no, five puppies; mama will be coming into rescue at the last minute, in distress. She’ll be here in her puppy form by the time of the first anniversary of her death.
Dog gestation is usually 62 days. I did the math. If what we were getting was accurate, she’d be born around the beginning of August, and ready to leave her mother by the end of September-middle of October.
I went to my sacred creek sanctuary the next day. I could feel my doubt, my fear, my grief, my longing for my beloved Tara. I asked for a sign…although that felt terribly greedy. Hadn’t I already been given so much? I dove down into the cold water. When I came up, I looked at the sky.
And there, in the clouds, was a perfectly-formed Afghan hound puppy, complete with a puppy snub nose and signature curly Affie tail. The cloud appeared for just a few seconds…and was gone.
I told only those closest to me about my communication and my vision. One of them was my friend who volunteers with Afghan rescue. And I waited. As the beginning of August came around, my “waiting” intensified.
On August 4, I returned to my creek sanctuary. As I was hiking back up the trail to my car, I received another “blast” of communication:
Tashi. My name is Tashi. You can call me Tashi Joy.
The next day, August 5, I received a text from my friend in Afghan rescue.
Check your email…a litter of five puppies was born to a red brindle Afghan mom who came into rescue in Florida. See if this is your girl.
I had just come from visiting and sharing Reiki with my beloved Reiki teacher who at the time was in a coma in Phoenix. There was a powerful energy moving that day…and as I read the text, I knew. I didn’t have to look at the photo in the email.
Because Afghans are a relatively uncommon breed, there aren’t as many in rescue as other, more popular breeds. That’s a good thing, of course…and makes a litter of Afghan puppies in the rescue world kind of a big deal.
I contacted the foster family right away. What I learned took my breath away:
The puppies were born on July 31, on the Full Moon…also a Blue Moon…the four-month anniversary of Rajah’s death. Mama Clara had come into rescue just days before, very underweight. Without the excellent last-minute prenatal care and nutrition that she received from her experienced foster parents, she would have likely had a very hard time delivering the puppies.
The rescue itself was a miracle of synchronicity and divine timing, pulling together an amazing coalition of people in two countries and five states to get Clara and her unborn puppies to safety and their new forever homes.
There were two males and three females in the litter. Only one female had not yet been spoken for. She’d been the first puppy born.
Tashi Joy was here. Exactly on time. Exactly as she’d said…every detail. The sire of the litter was blonde. She’d even taken care of giving me that detail.
The name Tashi in the Tibetan culture means “auspicious.” She’d been named Tara for the Tibetan Goddess of Compassion…and when she gave me the name Tashi, she’d also honored this connection of name and our spiritual tradition.
I had to meet her. Two weeks later, I got on a plane to Florida.
As I flew over the Gulf of Mexico, I listened to a beautiful song recorded by Deva Premal and Miten:
This is our aloneness
this is our time
this is the mountain we all have to climb
this is our destiny wild and free
we’re all holding a master key to the empty sky
into the wind into the wind we fly
this is our aloneness
this is our time
this is the mountain we all have to climb
this is our destiny beyond the small family
i see no boundary between you and i
As I listened, I felt Rajah’s energy surrounding me, and I turned my head to look out of the airplane window. My eyes filled with tears as I saw a beautiful rainbow, and behind it, a cloud formation that looked very much like an Afghan hound.
When I arrived the next day at the foster home, my heart was in my throat. I was greeted by a wonderful pack of adult Afghans, and then I saw Clara and the puppies. I picked up Tashi, just three weeks old, and held her in my arms. I felt our connection instantly: the same feeling as Tara, the same depth, the same melting into each other that is like nothing I’ve experienced with any other being on this earth.
Tashi snuggled into me and didn’t move. For three hours, this tiny puppy slept in my arms, with no wiggling, no boredom, no fussing. We were home. My heart had never known such joy…what a miracle it was to hold her again.
On October 9, I flew back to Florida with my friend in Afghan rescue who had brought me Tara, Rajah, Leah, and now Tashi…and who had decided to adopt Tashi’s brother, a beautiful black and tan hound she named Rocket.
We rented a car and made the Mother of All Road Trips home. I agreed to keep Rocket for a couple of months until my friend’s schedule allowed her to be home with a puppy, and so I arrived home with two bundles of joy.
The Next Evolution
Because I knew the exact time and place of Tashi’s birth, I was able to have an astrological reading of her birth chart with a wonderful astrologer and dog lover, Pam Younghans, Northpoint Astrology.
Pam was able to look at Tashi’s birth chart, my birth chart and our relationship chart, and also the chart for Tara’s death. We both cried as she saw the exact astrological lineup of the completion of Tara’s life and the picking up in the new life where the old left off. The charts could not be clearer. Tashi is here for the next evolution of her soul’s journey, and ours together. This time, she’s here to enjoy physical life to the fullest, to work with me and my clients and students even more intensely than she did before, to be healthy and strong and athletic, and to live with me once again as soul partners.
Tara had a physical disability in her hip and leg that severely impaired her mobility. One of the first things Tashi communicated to me about coming back into a body was:
I want to run and run and run and run and run!
And oh, how she can run. Pure joy…pure freedom…pure bliss.
I’m astonished by the things that have carried over into Tashi’s new body and her new life experience from her life as Tara. She loves her ears rubbed in the same unique and peculiar way. She looks around and drinks in the beauty of the landscape just as she did before. She is still the Sniffiest Dog on the Planet. She crosses her paws in the same way, holds her head at the same angle, and rolls her eyes at me just as she always did. She’s independent, self-contained, and more than a little sassy. And her sweet, gentle, “just enough but not too much” kisses melt my heart.
She loves the outdoors, and she is already a champion little hiker. She wasn’t able to do that as Tara, and on our recent trip to Nevada to take Rocket to his new home, we spent a day hiking at Valley of Fire State Park. Tashi was in a little trance of bliss, looking all around and feeling the energy of rocks, canyons, and desert, and lying quietly on the earth while I meditated.
She’s a puppy, and she has to relearn her manners and how to be in the world…but in many ways, she has a head start. She understands who she is and why she’s here, and she is enjoying her life to the fullest. She’s already been an animal teacher in a class with my advanced students, many of whom have known her soul for years…and she is already touching hearts and lives all over the world with her deep awareness, her sparkle, and her light.
My favorite nickname for Tara, which evolved as most nicknames do, with no rhyme or reason, was Boodle Bug. In the last year of Tara’s life, I was so aware of how precious each moment with her was, and I tried to do my best to stay present to the life we had, rather than project into the future about her coming death.
In those months, the first thing I’d do when I woke up each morning was check to see that Tara was still breathing. And then I’d say,
We have another whole day to love each other, Boodle Bug! Another whole day!
These days, I don’t check to see if she is breathing. But most mornings, as I let the little hell-on-wheels-sprinter out into the yard, I say,
We have another whole life to love each other, Boodle Bug! Another whole life!
I’ve had many miracles in my life, an unbelievable abundance of blessings, and a rich experience of both heartbreak and joy.
This is the greatest miracle of all: another chance to love as deeply as I can, to practice staying present to each moment of our time together, the opportunity to experience the richness and beauty of life with this precious soul, whose journey it is to have another go-around on our beautiful Mother Earth.
This is our destiny, wild and free…
Into the wind, into the wind, we fly.
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