Exploring the psychic world
with Hay House authors

Losing a pet can be one of the hardest losses we face, but we can find comfort in the knowledge of their life on the other side. John Holland here shares some incredible true stories from owners who have found proof of their dog's life beyond the grave and also tales from his own psychic experience with man's best friend. You'll find the best ways to help yourself and others when the time comes for them to pass over, and learn how to strengthen your ability to communicate with your pets in this life.

Heaven for Dogs by John Holland

The Spirit Whisperer

The power of an animal’s love, intuition, and wisdom is greatly underestimated — whether it’s an ape that not only understands but also responds to sign language, or a special cat that made the news by instinctively knowing when its nursing-home residents were about to leave this world. This particular cat would curl up beside those men and women to offer healing love and comfort. Then there’s the dog that helps its therapist owner detect abnormalities in her patients’ bodies, and the story of the amazingly brave elephants that impulsively knew they had to save themselves by moving to higher ground in the devastating tsunami that occurred early in the morning of December 26, 2004, off the west coast of Sumatra. Animals of all types are extraordinary creatures and are miraculous gifts to us.

Spiritual Companions

Animals have been our spiritual companions since the dawn of time. Humans have honoured them throughout history, as can be seen in those early drawings on the walls of caves — man and dog hunting side by side. Egyptians treated cats like gods, American Indians have honored many different animals on totem poles, and the elders in the tribes would teach the children about the importance and qualities of each living thing. It’s my belief that animals have been placed on this earth to assist us in getting to know who we really are: namely, Divine sentient beings from God.

Long before I got my little dog Koda, a friend gave me a simple refrigerator magnet with a quote attributed to Anatole France. It speaks volumes to me: “Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.” Never have truer words been said. Animals help us let go, forget about the past, and remember that each day is a new opportunity. Whether they have fins, feathers, or fur, two legs or four — they touch our lives as well as our hearts and souls. They love us unconditionally and teach us to play, but most important, show us how to live in the now.

Animals are such healing creatures. Amazingly, dogs can detect when seizures are about to occur in their owners, and studies show that animals help lower our blood pressure, increase longevity after a heart attack, and even detect cancer!

I have a profound and deep connection with all kinds of animals that stems right from my early childhood. I never doubted their intelligence, intuition, wisdom, or their unconditional love. Living in the crammed conditions of a suburb of Boston, apartments were so tightly packed together that open space was scarce and hard to find. As a result, there wasn’t much room for animals, so sadly, we never had a dog or a cat. Of course, pigeons were plentiful, and if I was lucky, a squirrel would make it through to the neighborhood and make its home in one of the few trees in the area. I was acutely aware of how much I longed for a pet of my own, even at that early age.

I was, as I have said many times, the “different” one in my family. I was psychically sensitive, socially awkward, and more often than not, I’d spend hours on my own reading instead of playing with my brothers and friends. It didn’t end there, as to make matters worse I was skinny, wore glasses, had big ears, and inherited the nickname “Dumbo”! I know that doesn’t paint a very attractive picture, but looking back, it wasn’t a childhood I’d wish upon anyone today. In spite of it all I felt safe when I was with animals and nature.

Yorkshire terrier

There was many a time during those long, hot summers when an elderly neighbor, who was a bit like my surrogate grandmother, would take me into Boston to ride the Swan Boats. They were swan-shaped paddle boats moored in the small lagoon in the Public Garden in Boston. It was one of the popular pastimes for residents, and the tradition dates back to the late 1870s. Today, it’s one of Boston’s top tourist attractions! Yet for me, it was more about feeding the ducks and watching the real swans, as well as being in this huge open space. Even as a child, I would take it all in, absorbing the wondrous fragrances of all the flowers that covered the Public Garden. It had an amazing healing effect on me. For those few short hours, I could be myself, safe in the knowledge that I was, in fact, connected to all things.

Even the ocean called to me, but sadly, as I said previously, visits to the beach were few and far between. However, on those rare occasions when my brothers and sisters and I got the chance to play ball on the warm sand, I would wander off, spending time in quiet reflection in my own little world. I was fascinated by the power and magic of the ocean, and the many creatures that lived underneath the surface or farther out to sea in its deep waters. It’s no wonder that as a young man, given the first opportunity, I became a certified scuba diver. My relationships with animals were often far easier than the ones I had with people. After all, there’s far less drama in the animal kingdom; whereas we seem to create drama, and then some!

I get hundred of e-mails that touch my heart, especially those about animals, and when I combine my own experiences, it just proves the strength of the bond they have with us here and now and continue to have with us when they leave this physical world.

I remember one beautiful story that totally blew me away, even though it dates back to the mid-19th century. It’s a tale about “Grey-friars Bobby,” and this touching true story is a wonderful example of the love, loyalty, and devotion a dog can have for its owner.

Bobby was a Skye terrier that belonged to a police officer named John Gray in Edinburgh, Scotland, in the 1850s. Back then, police officers were required to have watchdogs as they made their rounds, and a terrier seemed like a perfect fit because they’re known for their watchful eyes and booming voices.

Every day, Bobby would obediently follow his master on his daily rounds; wherever Constable Gray was, there was Bobby faithfully standing or walking right beside him. The two were pretty much inseparable until sadly one day in 1858, Constable Gray died of tuberculosis. The poor dog must have been incredibly confused, finding himself all alone as he sat beside his master’s coffin. When it was time for the funeral procession, it’s reported that witnesses saw Bobby walking proudly in line, constantly looking up at the coffin that was being carried by Gray’s fellow officers.

Constable Gray was laid to rest in Greyfriars Churchyard. Later that day, the grave was filled in and friends, family members, and colleagues returned to their normal lives. You might think that as time went by, his grave would be forgotten, but in this case, there was his faithful and loyal companion Bobby. People would often see Bobby lying on his master’s grave day after day, rain or shine, and began to feed him, until 1867, when it was decided that the ownerless dog should be put down. In a wonderful act of compassion, the Lord Provost of Edinburgh, Sir William Chambers (who loved and devoted much of his time to the prevention of cruelty to animals) paid to renew Bobby’s license, which made him the responsibility of the town council.

In the end, Bobby amazingly kept his graveside vigil for his beloved owner for a total of 14 years, until he eventually died himself in 1872. Bobby was duly buried near Greyfriars Churchyard, and a statue of him was erected to honour his loyalty. I’ve told this story many times onstage, and I can easily see how it touches all who hear it. The bond between Constable Gray and Bobby has been written about in books and movies, and Bobby even has his own dedicated Website!

When we open ourselves to animals, no matter what kind, their souls truly touch ours. When animals communicate with us, it’s done in a language where words are not needed. They speak the language of the soul, which in their case is love. I actually believe we learn more from them than they do from us. They are our spiritual teachers. They show us how to love, and more important, how to accept love. Animals push us beyond our comfort zones and show us how to reach out to others.

It’s only when you have an animal of your own that this really starts to take shape. If it were not for my dog Koda, a little white terrier with a larger-than-life personality, I would never have met so many neighbors who have pets. As I write this book, Koda has just turned two years old, and I’ve been living in the same house for more than seven years. Until he came into my life, I never really met or realized that there were so many like-minded people who lived practically in my own backyard! Most of the people I’ve met are dog owners themselves, and somehow these creatures have bonded us, and now we share a special friendship.

As many readers probably have a pet or two, you’ll know all too well that having one is in fact a partnership that works both ways. I truly believe that when you love and take care of an animal, you’re somehow taking care of yourself in the process.

Of course, they’re not just here for us, but just as much for themselves. Like us, they, too, have a journey of lessons and reasons for being. I’m still learning from Koda, as well as all the animals on the planet. We should honour them on all levels — physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.

Animals help us to be so much more than we really are. They allow us to reach higher than we have ever reached before, to spiritual heights that we could never have imagined. All we need to do is . . . let them.

Animal Communication

We may be uniquely distinctive and individual souls, but there’s a commonality that binds us all together — a spiritual force. The same energy that makes up the stars in the sky, the same energy that courses through the Universe, is in each and every one of us . . . and that includes animals. As sentient beings, we’re all connected. Animals have a way of knowing if we’re sad, happy, tense, frustrated, or even sick. Many times we may not be feeling well; and as a result, our pets won’t leave our sides. Animals simply know. They’ll intuitively read our energy and act according to whatever they’re receiving as well as perceiving. They have so much they want to teach and tell us, but for us, it’s more a case that we just need to listen.

In my lectures, I’m often asked, “How do you begin to communicate with an animal or your pet?” Since animals can’t speak to us in human language, and we cannot speak theirs, communication has to be done telepathically. For thousands of years, humans have used telepathy to communicate. It’s quite common for a mother to feel that her son or daughter isn’t well and to call that child, only to find out that there is something wrong. A wife and husband may continually finish each other’s sentences or know what their partner is thinking. Suddenly you think about someone whom you haven’t heard from for ages. The phone rings, and sure enough, it’s the person you were just thinking about. These are just a few of the more common examples of what’s known as telepathy.

Telepathy is the psychic communication directly from one person’s mind to another without speaking, putting pen to paper, or any other signs or symbols. Since we’re all connected by the universal power of energy and love, it’s feasible that we should be able to communicate with our animal friends. From what I’ve experienced, animals are masters at telepathic communication and have an amazing ability to communicate with each other, as well as with us. Too many people think that animals are inferior to us, and that they lack the emotional and spiritual capacity that we possess. As a medium, and of course as a pet owner, I know for a fact that this is not true. Sometimes, as much as it pains me to say this, I’ve seen an animal act more compassionately than some humans do!

Even though I’ve been working as a psychic medium for many years, I never had the pleasure of meeting an animal communicator until recently. To be honest, I wasn’t totally sure how I felt about it. Yes, I know you’re probably saying, “But look what you do for a living!” Of course, I know animals can pick up and read our energy, but the question I asked myself was this: Is it really possible to have a two-way communication with them? Even if I did have some lingering doubts, I was about to get my answer.

Almost two years ago, I had just gotten back from an event and found myself sitting alone. It hadn’t been that long since my partner of some 13 years and I had broken up, and feeling somewhat lonely, I decided it was time to welcome a dog back into my life. I sat there going over the pros and cons, back and forth. I questioned if I had the time; that is, whether at this point in my busy life I had the dedication and patience to commit to a puppy.

I’d had a dog 15 years previously. Molly was a West Highland white terrier, but due to a rather bad breakup in an earlier relationship, I didn’t get to take her with me, even though I had raised her, trained her, and groomed her. I remember the day I actually moved out, when it was time to say good-bye. I felt as though my heart was being ripped out as I took her in my arms one more time. I held her close to my heart as I cried, and sent as much love as I could to her. She was only two, and I guess I was sending her as much love as I possibly could since I knew I wouldn’t be around anymore, and I knew she’d wonder where I’d gone.

Anybody who knows me or has read my Website or seen me onstage will know that one of my favorite sayings is: “Everything happens for a reason.” Most of the time I’d say it makes sense, but at other times, such as this, I struggled to agree with it. With tears streaming down my face, it definitely didn’t make sense to me to be leaving my dog, even though I knew she’d be in good hands.

It’s strange how things happen, though. To this day, when I think back, I realize that had I gotten to keep Molly, I would have been tied to Los Angeles. I wouldn’t have had the freedom to be able to go to England and study, and most important, to develop my mediumship. I probably wouldn’t be where I am today! Had I stayed, I would never have met so many amazing people or visited all the countries I did. But as I left that day with the few meagre belongings I possessed, I turned and looked back and saw her little white face peering through the window, paws pressed against the glass, looking at me with those sad eyes, as she always did every time I left the house. That was the last time I ever saw her.

I feel that when the time is right, an animal will often come into your life, and for all you know, it will have chosen you. In my heart, I knew I wanted another Westie, but I didn’t really know where to start looking. They’re not as common as Labradors, golden retrievers, or German shepherds. As I sat there, into my head popped that saying: “All thought creates reality.” Impulsively, I made the decision. I didn’t know at that moment, however, quite how soon the connection was going to occur.

The next day, I took advantage of a long-standing invitation to visit a friend and decided to drive down along the coastal route, as it is such a stunning drive. It was a beautiful sunny day, and I could see the sky and feel the ocean breezes, something that relaxes and inspires me. As I was driving, I noticed a woman walking her West Highland white terrier on the sidewalk. Something told me to stop, so I immediately pulled over, and she and I had a great talk about dogs. It was obvious how much she enjoyed her four-legged little friend, and she told me where the breeder lived. That afternoon, I called up, and lo and behold, she had a litter of puppies, so I arranged to go and see them.

Two days later, I drove over to see the three puppies — two boys and a girl. For a few seconds, memories of my last dog flooded back. At just five weeks old, they were scrambling on the floor, playing. I got down on my knees, and one little rambunctious male puppy walked right up to me and placed his head against my leg. He looked up at me, and we looked into each other’s eyes (gulp), and I knew he was the one! Or was it the other way around, and it was in fact him saying, “Yup, this one’s mine”?

He was ten weeks old when I got him. When I picked him up, I knew I was about to change his life, and somehow, I also knew he was about to change mine forever. I named him Koda, which in the Sioux Indian language means “friend.” He looked just like a stuffed animal that you might find curled up on any child’s bed or held under his arm as he enjoyed sweet dreams. Koda was cute as could be with his white coat, small black nose, and little pink ears. Although he was beautiful, he was quite a handful, but I don’t regret one single day of having him. He has brought more joy, playfulness, and love into my life than I could have ever imagined. Over time, we bonded and connected on every level. That bond is probably stronger than some human relationships, as this little guy — as my mom calls him — is totally dependent on me taking care of his health, feeding him, exercising him, and washing him. There have been times when I wondered if he actually knew what I was thinking, as he would tilt that little head at me and stare.

One spring evening in April, I was doing one of my many lectures at my favorite metaphysical bookstore, Circles of Wisdom, in Andover, Massachusetts. Before I went on, I was glancing through their catalog on the counter and noticed that an animal communicator was going to be speaking there. With Koda being such a big part of my life now, I inquired who she was and how she worked.

Danielle MacKinnon is an animal communicator in New England and is well known in her field. Many have testified that she helped them communicate with their cats, dogs, birds, horses, lizards, and even a mouse! To my surprise, many of my friends who have pets, and even my veterinarian, have had positive experiences with animal communicators. I knew that this was the chance for Koda and me to have the same experience, and I was certainly curious. I really wanted to meet Danielle to see if animals and humans can communicate with each other through the power of thought. What she told me still blows me away!

I called Danielle to make an appointment for Koda and me. Although she does many readings over the phone, I wanted to see and experience this with my own eyes. We were to meet two weeks later at Circles of Wisdom. I arrived with Koda in tow with a mix of excitement, curiosity, and intrigue about just how this was going to work. Danielle was quietly sitting there waiting for us. She’s a young, attractive woman, with the friendliest, kindest face and a smile that could melt your heart. My psychic antenna was working, too, as I could feel the compassion she has for animals. It was really strong in her aura.

As soon as Koda met her, all you could see was a speeding white ball of fluff, as he showered her with affection and wet doggy kisses. I behaved more like a human and introduced myself with a handshake. She told me to simply let go of the leash and let Koda roam around the room. I was full of questions, but before I got a chance to speak, she pretty much stole my thunder by answering many of them as though she already knew. She told me all about herself, the extraordinary practice of animal communication, and how she works with all different types of animals. I found out that she works with both domestic and wild animals, and those that are ill, as well as all the healthy and happy ones. Naturally, as a medium, I was thrilled when I heard that she also works with animals that have passed. I felt an immediate bond with her. Clients ask for this service all the time, as it allows for grieving pet owners to feel a sense of closure about the loss of their pet; or in other situations, they’re able to gain a deeper understanding of it.

She went on to explain that people come to see her for many different reasons. “John, just like you, many people come purely out of curiosity.” She stopped to take a sip of water. “While there are times when I help people determine whether an animal is the right one for them, or whether their pet is adjusting to life with them as an owner, there are also those times when I become aware that an animal is ready to pass on.”

Danielle told me how some animals open up immediately when the psychic connection takes place, while others take a little longer to warm up. “John, what’s so amazing doing this work is how some pets start out slowly by giving playful, joking, or shy answers. Maybe they’re just not sure what’s happening, which is quite probable! However, once the trust between us is established and they understand what’s going on, the animal will often communicate more openly.”

She could see that I was looking at Koda while she was talking, who was sitting on the floor staring at me. His little dark eyes were looking at me, his master, with trust and love. I was putty in his little paws! She saw the strength of our bond and went on. “The depth of the connection with an animal depends on the animal’s personality and can become even deeper when I earn their complete trust.”

I’d come to this meeting with as open a mind as possible, but I really hadn’t appreciated just how much animals psychically tell Danielle about their thoughts, feelings, emotions, the state of their body (health problems, emotional and environmental issues), and so much more. She told me how so many of her clients are surprised when their pets highlight their own personal issues. Clients are astonished by the number of things in their own lives that are mirrored by their pets — everything from low self-esteem to physical problems, and even changes in mood. Danielle explained how she works with the animal and the human to develop alternative behaviour patterns. With cooperation from the human (owner), positive results can be achieved.

I’d already asked her if she was okay with my taking some notes for this book as she began our session. It was time, and almost as though he knew something was about to change, Koda sat up more alertly. Danielle started by acknowledging how much energy he had and how much he already cared for me. I was mesmerized as she directed her questions to Koda by telepathy, asking him whether he wanted to tell us anything. “John, Koda’s telling me that his stomach has been bothering him.” She turned to me and asked me whether he gets carsick.

“Not carsick, Danielle, but he was diagnosed with a parasite that he caught from a doggie day-care center that I’ve used a bit. I had quite a scare some weeks back when he got really sick, and I thought I was going to lose him.” My voice trembled a bit as I told her this. “The parasite was infecting his whole digestive system, and he was quite sick for a while.”

Danielle continued by asking, “So why is he throwing up little black things?”

Now this really blew me away. Little did she know that when I used to take Koda to puppy playgroup (as he just loved being with other dogs), the whole yard was covered with Astroturf, which is a form of fake grass. To prevent it from retaining water, the bottom of the turf is lined with minuscule black rubber pellets. Like all the puppies, Koda would play with the puppy toys. The tiny black pellets got stuck to the toys, and of course, he would ingest many of them unknowingly. There’s no way Danielle could have known this, since only my veterinarian and I knew. With his digestive tract being weak from the parasite and the black pellets, his stomach was probably inflamed and sore. I explained to Danielle what the “black things” were.

“John, he’s telling me that you take him to two other playgroups, is that right?” She went on and described the places, and I sat there listening as she even told me which one he preferred. Wow, I had no idea that he had opinions like this, and I thought, This is totally surreal, she really is communicating with my little guy here!

The reading went on too long to report everything, but she covered his eating habits; his sleeping area, which is right outside my bedroom; and how he loves to jump up onto the one particular windowsill and stare out into the woods. One more thing really sealed the deal! I could actually feel the exchange of thoughts between them. I was aware of every time she asked him a question, as he would stop playing and turn back to look into her eyes. I swear he was smiling!

She paused and turned around to look at me, “Is there someone else who often takes care of Koda?”

“Yes, there’s a friend of mine who’s been helping me since he was ten weeks old. When I travel, she comes to live in my home and takes care of Koda,” I explained.

What happened next was truly amazing. Danielle started talking and acting just like this woman. She has a larger-than-life, colorful personality, and certainly has a highly expressive way of talking. I swear that Danielle took on the mannerisms and characteristics of this friend. I would have never believed it. It was a near-perfect imitation! How could she have picked up someone’s personality in such detail unless Koda was sending her his impressions?

As the session ended, I was able to ask Koda some final questions through her, and then it was over. I was so impressed with Danielle, and although this was my first experience with an animal communicator, somehow I knew it would not be the last. The whole encounter solidified my belief that we’re all connected, and that the power of love and thought can transcend how we communicate with each other.

Danielle finished up by giving me a few tips on how we can communicate with our pets, and she said that I could share them with my readers in this book. If you’re seeking this type of communication, then I’d certainly suggest that you start off by seeking out a reputable animal communicator. Word of mouth is best, and even some vets use them, but trust your gut. With a bit of luck, you and your pet will have an amazing experience, which will strengthen the bond even more than you could ever imagine!

Danielle's Tips for Communicating with Your Pet

Here are some of Danielle’s tips:

  1. If you want to communicate with your pet, always ask for its permission first. Equally, don’t forget to thank the animal at the end of the session.
  2. When asking your pet a question, try to keep it short and simple. For example: “How are you feeling?” “What’s bothering you?” “Do you like this?” Be as clear and concise as you can — that way, it will understand.
  3. Animals like to think in pictures. If you’re going out for a while, then imagine sending a picture of a clock to your animal with the time that you’re expecting to return. If you’re going away for a few days, then imagine how many sunsets you’ll be away for. This is a new way of thinking, but once you get used to it, it will quickly become second nature, and part of your mind-set.
  4. Try using your own body as a guide to connect with the body of your animal. Ask your pet if it’s feeling all right, or if it’s experiencing any discomfort, then see if you’re feeling drawn to a certain area in your own body.
  5. When animals communicate psychically with us through words, they most often speak only one word or in very short sentences. If you’re looking to “hear” your pet psychically, don’t be disappointed if you only receive “belly,” “ear,” or even “love walks.” After all, this is how they really talk!
  6. Animals also communicate with us in feelings. If you walk into a room and you’re feeling sad for no reason, it could be your pet sending you that thought. Don’t automatically disregard these feelings, but stop and acknowledge them, and see if you can feel where they’re coming from.
  7. If you’re communicating with your pet and you start feeling yourself getting upset for the pet, your communication isn’t going to be very clear, because you’re not clear. If this happens, it’s better to get yourself back to a state of being clear and balanced, then go back and try again. It’s hard to be psychic when you’re emotionally involved.
  8. When you’re talking about your pet to someone else, whether it’s in the same room or you’re miles away from it, always talk in a positive way about your animal, and never negatively. Since we’re all connected, they’re quite likely to tune in to your thoughts, the ones you think to yourself or the ones you share with others. Distance doesn’t matter.
  9. Be careful of your energy and moods. Animals are like one big psychic antenna. If you come home feeling stressed and you immediately start training your dog, then your pet will pick up those emotions and will act on what you’re sending out. Try to remain calm and relaxed when you’re with your animal. You’ll get the same reaction back. When you want your pet to do something, picture it in your mind first and then project that image. You may be quite surprised when it does exactly what you just envisioned. Keep at it and practice, as eventually communication will strengthen both ways.
  10. One last important tip Danielle gave me: Many animals tell her that they enjoy being animals and don’t want to be treated as humans. Too many of us think they are humans in furry or fluffy coats, so once again, please respect their wishes and let them enjoy being animals.

If you already have a pet or you’re thinking of getting one, then you might want to consider taking a class, whether online or in person, with an animal communicator. You never know, you might be better at it than you think, and it can only establish a stronger bond between you and the animal. After all, those little creatures have definitely come into your life for a reason. Usually, it’s to teach unconditional love and to be teachers and healers as we all take our journey here together.

The Rainbow Bridge – Animals and the Afterlife

One warm summer evening, I was walking Koda on the beach. It’s a place where I can take him off his leash after 6 P.M. I swear it’s one of his favorite times! He loves being able to charge across the sand, stopping to sniff every little bit of seaweed, or just chase the waves in and out as they come crashing on the shore. For me, it’s such a special time — it’s our time. I love watching him as he plays with the other dogs; and I know for a fact just how much he loves it, as I’ve now become aware when he turns around with a big thankful smile.

This particular evening, I noticed a woman sitting quietly in the sand dunes at the top of the beach, watching the beautiful sunset. Being the friendliest dog on the beach, of course Koda has to say hello to almost everyone and ran over to her. As I walked up to retrieve him, I could see her petting him fondly. Dogs are a wonderful conduit for allowing you to talk to anyone, and she said, “I had a dog many years ago. I’d love to have another dog, but I’m not sure that I could go through the pain of losing one again!” I know that the loss of a beloved pet can be devastating, and many owners feel they can never get another pet again.

Koda seemed determined to give her a little more attention, so I sat down for a few minutes to chat. “I truly understand, but you’re missing out on so much joy and happiness now. Trust me, this little man has become such a big part of my life, and he shows me an unbelievable amount of love. You could have this in your life, too.” I hoped that my words might bring some of the happy memories of her and her dog to the surface, since she seemed locked in her loss. I glanced over and noticed a tear trickle down her face as she remembered. I think it was more a tear of happiness than sadness, and as she got up to say good-bye, she turned back and mouthed two simple words to me: “Thank you.”

I haven’t seen her since on the beach, and who knows, fate could have put us on that dune at the same time that summer’s evening for that brief encounter. Maybe, that’s all she needed — to open up her heart again and create the space for a new pet.

If my experience with my dog is anything to go by, the bond that we have with our pets is very intimate. The connection is strong. Sometimes it can even be stronger than the ones we have with other people. Animals have a wonderful capacity to teach us to live life to the fullest, to make every day count; and most important, to be in the here and now. They are truly remarkable, as I believe they have a unique gift — to teach us about dying and death. Animals don’t seem to fear death like we do. I believe they know they’re going to a better place, they’re going home; and I also believe that if we’ve forged a strong bond with our pets, they’ll be there for us when it’s our time.

I certainly don’t underestimate that the death of a pet can be emotionally overwhelming. Their passing is often as painful for us as when we lose human loved ones. For some, when the relationship has been almost exclusively between them and their pet, the pain of loss can be even worse. People who don’t own an animal may have a hard time understanding what pet owners are going through. The bereavement is real and profound. If you know people who have lost animals, please don’t say something like, “But, it was only a dog,” or “It was only a cat.” All too often, people also make the mistake of then quickly saying, “So are you getting another one?”

No matter what kind of animal it was, honour the owners by allowing them to mourn and express themselves. Let them bring up the happy memories of their pets. It makes them feel good, and it’s a far healthier way of dealing with the loss than locking the pain away. It can be a big change in lifestyle not having the pets with them, and for some, it’s a big adjustment. In the most severe instances, it’s about how they need to go on living themselves without the companionship of their beloved pets.

Danielle MacKinnon said when she links with an animal that’s passed, the animal often tells her that it doesn’t want its owner to be sad. I think pets want to let us know they were here to help us live a joyful spiritual life. They want us to continue with our lives and to be happy once again.


As a medium, I know that animals do have souls, and they do cross over to the Other-Side. I may not be able to communicate with them in the same way Danielle does, but they do come through, usually with another loved one. This just goes to show that the animals are not alone. There’s always someone there for them, to care for them, until it’s your time to do the job once again.

I’m forever trying to push myself further and further with validations as a spirit whisperer, and I try not to say something as bland as, “You lost a dog,” or “You lost a cat.” After all, most of us have had that experience at some point in our lives. In my readings, I usually now get the actual breed of the dog, as well as the coloring; and most of the time, I know whether it was small or large. The same goes for cats, but it doesn’t stop there. I’ve also had birds, rabbits, chinchillas, mice, hamsters, and even horses come through. I was giving a message to a woman one night when I saw a very large white python wrapped around her neck. She screamed out in shock when I described the snake. It turned out that she’d owned a white python and would drape it around the back of her neck and shoulders. I remember that night vividly!

At the end of my lectures and demonstrations, I often do book signings, as it’s a great way of getting a few minutes of private time with some of the audience members. So many people come to my bigger demonstrations with the hope that they’ll get a message, but I’m only able to give so many with the time and energy I have. I don’t make the choice of who gets a message — they do! One such night, a married couple came up to my table as I was signing books. The wife looked into my eyes with such sadness. As I was signing their book, I became aware of the spirit of a large sandy-colored dog sitting right in front of them. In that fleeting moment, I couldn’t tell the breed, but I just knew it was big!

As they were turning to leave, I said, “Your dog is here with you, and what a big dog!” The woman turned to her husband and just sobbed into his chest; and as he lovingly wrapped his arm around her, he said, “We didn’t come here for a connection with a person, but in fact were hoping to get a validation from our 125-pound golden retriever!” In those last few moments of the evening, the dog had come through in his own way. He hadn’t let his “people” down.

There’s a spiritual intelligence to all animals, as they’re made up of energy just as we are. Since Koda came into my life, my connection to animals on the Other-Side has become stronger and clearer. It’s as if my dog has strengthened my link to them. Koda’s brought me yet another gift that has helped me, as well as countless others.

Ann's Story: A Visitation

Recently, I had the wonderful opportunity to meet a very special person. Her name is Dr. Ann Redding, and she told me about her unexpected experience with the Other-Side. Ann had taught biology for 27 years in California and was a typical scientist in the way she thought. As a result, she had a hard time believing anything that could not be proven by fact and logic. She viewed paranormal events, mediumship, and out-of-body experiences as amusing occurrences or figments of the imagination. Many people in the scientific world work mainly with the more analytical left side of the brain. I totally understand this, for many of us are brought up to not trust our intuition but to rely more on logic. When we begin school, we pull away from the more creative right side of the brain and begin to utilize the more rational part. When this natural shift takes place, psychic experiences and intuition take more of a backseat.

Some people have no knowledge of the paranormal, and their only reference is movies and television. These have a tendency to overdramatize psychic phenomena; and sadly, people believe what they watch, no matter how misleading the entertainment might be.

One day, Ann’s own spiritual experiences would rock her logical world. Dogs had been her stable companions throughout her life. She was going to find it hard to dismiss what was about to happen, and it would prompt her to look beyond the limits of “explainable” science.

Dog on beach

It started when she had what she called “visitations” from two of her deceased dogs. I wish I could have seen her face when that happened. Many people have had these experiences with pets they’ve lost. After these visitations, she decided to honour beloved pets everywhere by compiling a collection of true stories from pet owners who’d experienced after-death contacts with their animals. Together with the help of Ann Campbell, Dr. Redding wrote the book Tails from Beyond: True Stories of Our Immortal Pets.

I wholeheartedly recommend this book for people who have lost their animal companions. The stories describe how owners have experienced different visitations from their pets, such as the woman who reached down, thinking she was petting her living dog, and discovered when she looked that there was nothing there . . . or was there? There’s another beautiful story about a woman who sees her dog as a speeding orange blur whiz by at lightning speed, as he did in real life. Then there’s the touching story about an owner whose picture of a beloved pet glows on its own. Many people also dream of their pets. These ADCs are real and shouldn’t be ignored. Just remember that your pet loved you in this life, and your faithful companion will continue to love you in the next.

When my dog was a puppy, he would often play by jumping on his hind legs, as if he were playing with someone or another animal. Don’t be surprised when you lose a pet if you see something out of the corner of your eye, if you feel the animal lying on your bed, or if you dream about it. It’s saying the same things that people do when they cross over, namely: “I’m here and I love you.”

To have your own ADC from your pets, you have to first believe that it’s possible. It could be a dream, a fleeting vision, a kiss from them, or just a feeling that they’re there with you.

When we’re going through the process of bereavement, many of us try to explain this form of communication as our imagination playing tricks on us. Whether human or animal, the soul is eternal, and our loving companions are not separated from us by distance, time, or even death. It’s okay to put out pictures of them, remember them, and allow them to be part of our ongoing life by recognizing and accepting the signs as legitimate validations. In my book Power of the Soul, I mention that we’re not just bodies with souls — we’re souls that come with bodies. Animals are just like us in that they’re souls that inhabited temporary bodies. When they cross over, know that they were not taken from us — just appreciate all the time that they were given to us.

The World of Psychics ebookHeaven for Dogs is just one of the chapters in Hay House's free ebook,
The World of Psychics
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The Spirit Whisperer'Heaven for Dogs' is an edited extract from John Holland's
The Spirit Whisperer
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