Having a soul pet – a deep bond with a companion animal – is a marvelous gift. But it can also present some pitfalls. At the heart and spirit level, there is this seamless connection. Yet at the level of the physical body, each of us has incarnated for our own personal reasons, which may require taking different paths in life. All of this can make death of a soul pet feel excruciating – to the point where we cannot let go of the grief, the guilt, the heartache. Animal communicator Shannon Cutts shares the story of how animal communication helped one grieving human reconnect with her soul dog 30 years after his death.
I first met Linda when her daughter, Jo, invited me to connect with her three beautiful canine athletes.
Dr. Watson, Gooseman and Tormund are collectively known as Team Lemonade in my little neck of the woods. They are also known as state titleists and record holders in a pretty jaw-dropping array of canine sports.
Jo and Linda and I enjoyed a few conversations with Jo’s trio. Then (as often happens) this mother-daughter duo decided to enroll in one of my animal communication adventure courses.
And it was only after completing the course that Linda let me in on a well-kept secret.
It had to do with a death that had occurred more than 30 years prior. His name was Max. He was her son’s puppy. Then he became her puppy. As Max grew up, he became her support. Her helpmeet. Her constant companion.
The day Max chose to transition was one of those perfect storm kind of days. Wife and mom to three small humans, it seemed that day like Linda was needed by everyone, everywhere, all at once, and urgently at that. And so she missed observing cues that might otherwise have been crystal clear. Max needed medical attention and he needed it asap. By the time Linda was able to catch her breath and intervene, rushing Max to the veterinary clinic, whatever it was that was wrong with him was very very wrong – so much so that the veterinarian chose to restrict access to Max, inviting Linda and her children to remain at home so their dog could rest and heal.
Out of respect for the veterinarian’s expertise, Linda and her family stayed away. That same night, Max passed away.
What happened next appeared completely unrelated.
Linda developed a cough. This cough was chronic, intermittent, and inevitably seemed to worsen in social settings. A sensitive, empathic and deeply intuitive person, Linda over time began to restrict her social activities so her cough wouldn’t disturb others. Movies. Funerals. Weddings. Concerts. All were off-limits. By now relegated to the outskirts of her own relationship life, Linda watched from afar as people she knew and cared about died, got married, danced and enjoyed socializing together.
When I first gingerly offered up the question, “Have you ever considered using animal communication to talk with Max?” Linda replied with a simple, “No.”
She wasn’t ready. I understood.
But to my surprise, Linda’s stance shifted quickly. So a few days later, there we were.
As Linda and I faced one another across the big beautiful polished hardwood table in Jo’s kitchen, she told me she was finally ready to hear what Max had to say and share.
Sometimes I am asked how I know it is the animal speaking and not just little ol’ me “making stuff up.”
Here is one way I always know. It is when the animal says something that quite simply renders their person speechless. In Max’s case, he wanted his human mom to know that none of the events that led up to his passing were in any way her fault.
Max told Linda that he passed because that was what felt right to him in that moment.
His body was no longer able to serve him to live the life he wanted to live with her. Letting go of it was a final act of self-care – a final self-loving gift he offered to himself.
Linda later shared that out of all the possible responses Max might have made – each of which she had replayed in excruciating detail to herself time and again over those three long decades of guilt, self-blame and self-judgement – this was the one response she had never even considered.
Max was taking care of himself.
These are the moments when we are able to drop out of our head and into our heart for real. Linda felt the truth of Max’s statement. She no longer needed convincing that her soul dog was speaking to her using me as his willing intuitive channel.
She felt it for herself, in the same place we feel anything and everything that feels true for us in our life.
Then Max went on to drop the other shoe. He wanted to talk to Linda about her cough.
I asked Linda if she had had this mystery cough – a cough no doctor had been able to successfully diagnose or treat – before Max died. She thought for a moment or two and then replied that she didn’t think so.
Max knew she hadn’t been coughing before he passed. He explained that the cough was Linda’s repressed guilt, self-blame and self-judgement – a penance of sorts that had created a sort of shadow-life out of her still-vibrant real life. Linda had put herself into a place of perpetual self-denial, closing down around the pain and grief that now defined her self-awareness.
Max wanted that to stop. Now. He told Linda in no uncertain terms it was time to let herself out of jail.
He said to her, “You had so many responsibilities in life at that time you forgot I had my own path. It happens. You can’t ever control someone else’s life path. And my life wasn’t yours to control – it was mine. It is time to free yourself from that trap.”
Right in front of my eyes, I witnessed Linda’s energy shifting. Her presence felt lighter, more open, hope-full once again. She broke into a brilliant smile through her tears.
Another big part of Linda’s unending feedback loop of guilt was how events unfolded on the specific day that Max passed.
On that topic, Max said to his mom, “Your intention that night when you took me to the vet and chose to honor his medical expertise by staying away – that is all that matters. Your intention was pure. You wanted to help me. You wanted me to rest and heal. Anchor to that and you will feel what is true – you acted out of unconditional love for me and that is all that matters.”
Max had much more to say, much of it private and for Linda’s ears alone.
Linda gave me permission to share these insights from Max’s story and hers with sincere hopes it might encourage someone else to let go of crippling grief, guilt, shame or loss. She also gave me permission to share her age – 76. She had been carrying around a burden of grief no one close to her (except her daughters) knew about for more than 30 years of her life.
Are you struggling under the weight of grief over loss of a precious animal in your life? I truly can help – if you are willing, I am here. And your animal is surely waiting to talk with you and share words of kindness and comfort.