Is a lost pet always lost? Do animals know they are missing? Why do pets go missing? Animal communicator Shannon Cutts explains missing pets from the pets’ perspective.
Rewind about seven and a half years ago. My one-year-old redfoot tortoise, Malti, had just gone missing. I was frantic.
I remember calling my mom. She jumped in her car and drove over. I was a puddle when she arrived, growing more hysterical by the second. She grabbed me by the shoulders. Shook me. Said “Stop that! We will find her.”
I stopped sobbing and we started looking. And posting lots and lots of “lost pet” posters with Malti’s cute little mugshot and my phone number. I think we were on flyer #5 when my phone rang. A voice on the other end said “I think I’ve found your lost turtle.”
We were ecstatic. So quick! We raced over and the woman promptly deposited a smooth brown shell into my outstretched palms. Heartbreak. This wasn’t Malti. The woman, attempting sympathy, offered helpfully, “Do you want this one instead?”
And so it went. I searched. Sobbed. Stopped sobbing. Searched some more. The miracle of how it all unfolded and Malti was found is a story for another blog post.
But for our purposes here, this feels like the right moment to mention I wasn’t yet aware I could talk to animals, and they to me. Luckily, I was aware of animal communication itself. As soon as I realized Malti was well and truly gone, I tried to hire my regular animal communicator but she was unavailable. Next, I took to the internet to find someone else who could help me locate a palm-sized tortoise amidst the tangle of suburbia and wilderness where we were living at that time.
Along the way, I got the type of education in missing pets that you can only get when your pet is the one who is missing and you are the one who is doing the searching.
A lost animal communicator’s job is the toughest in our field, I believe. The reason I believe this is also the topic for today’s blog post. Why do animals go missing? Are all lost animals really lost? Does a missing pet understand that they are missing? Do pets have their own reasons for going MIA?
This is a vital topic because it is one of the three top reasons pet parents seek out an animal communicator. Yet there is so much misunderstanding surrounding the whole concept of missing pets. So let’s start at the beginning and break it down.
So then, why do pets go missing? And is a lost pet always truly lost?
Here are the top reasons why pets go missing.
1. The pet gets out of the yard, is stolen or is otherwise genuinely displaced.
These are the scariest types of lost pet cases. You are terrified. Your pet is terrified. And while the terror is justified, it is the wrong type of energy to facilitate an easy reunion.
But they are also arguably the simplest cases because both you and your pet want to be reunited – ideally as fast as possible.
2. The pet is going through their end-of-life transition and wants to die alone.
In the last year I have lost my best friend and my dad. These transitions have prompted some intriguing conversations about end-of-life transitions and wishes.
Just like people, pets have preferences for when and how they pass and who is there when it is their time to go. Some pets vastly prefer to go alone.
Although I would not advocate assuming this is the case without further exploration and conversation, an elder or unwell pet who suddenly “goes missing” may well be seeking solitude to make their transition.
3. The pet is unhappy and chooses to depart.
Interspecies relationships are first and foremost relationships. And relationships can sometimes get complicated.
Leaving home may not be your pet’s first choice when their home life becomes less tolerable. But it is always a choice they have and can decide to exercise.
4. The pet needs to leave to fulfill their own life purpose or soul contract.
Each of us has come into this life seeking to learn certain lessons and aspiring towards certain experiences.
This is true regardless of species.
It is so vital to understand this, because it turns the old model of people in charge and pets as subordinates or simple companions on its head.
A pet who departs may be doing so to fulfill their own life path. This type of deliberate departure deserves respect and needs to be honored, even when it causes us great pain.
Does the missing pet know they are missing?
Yes and no. The missing pet is aware they are gone for sure.
But the only time a missing pet can truly be considered “missing” is when the animal wants to come home right away and is actively seeking the same (see #1 above here).
Little else in life today offers the level of rapid growth and personal unfoldment that a pet gone missing offers.
I say this because I have gone through missing pet situations with my own animals not once, not twice, but three times. Twice, we achieved a successful reunion. The third situation is still ongoing even as I type.
All three times I emerged a radically different human being than I was capable of being before.
Are you coping with a lost or missing pet? Have you been reunited with your missing pet but now you need to sort through issues of grief, betrayal, broken trust, miscommunication and other challenging relationship conversations?
While I am not currently taking on missing pet cases, I am happy to recommend some of my wonderful colleagues whom I have personally worked with for my own missing pet situations.
And when you are ready to have those difficult yet enlightening interspecies reunion conversations, I am at your service.