If humans can happily leave their bodies behind when they no longer function, what about dogs?
It took a while for Patti to realize it, but her dog answered that question with a resounding “yes” one sad day in 1998. The message came in the form of a light rising from the box that contained her beloved Pomeranian’s ashes.
Sandy had been her constant companion for nine-and-a-half years. He’d taken her mind off how much she missed her friends and family after she’d moved with her husband and children from New York to North Carolina.
“I worked at home from the day I got Sandy, so we were together all the time, inseparable,” writes Patti. The little dog’s attachment was evident. “He loved the family and everyone he met, but not anyone to the degree he loved me. He was always nearby…We chuckled how he followed me from room to room, especially if I was very busy and moving around a lot.”
When she and her husband took Sandy for walks, he would allow only Patti to hold his leash; when Patti was out of town, Sandy would mope by the front door until she came home. After one extended trip, Patti returned to a distraught daughter and a normally fluffy-tailed dog who, in his anxiety, had chewed his tail raw.
So, when Sandy began to develop health problems in 1997, Patti was more than willing to spend thousands of dollars on procedures that included cataract surgery and a blood transfusion. Finally, though, Patti had to let Sandy go as he suffered a massive seizure in her arms during yet-another visit to a veterinarian. Patti describes this as “one of the most difficult days of my life.”
“I cried more than anyone knows.”
While she waited for Sandy’s cremated remains, Patti spent a week making a collage of her pet’s photos—and crying. “I cried more than anyone knows.”
Despite understanding and support from her family, Patti was beside herself with grief the day Sandy’s ashes were delivered. At the time, her husband was away on business. They had agreed to wait for his return, and to bury Sandy near a pampas bush in their back yard. The plumes would remind them of Sandy’s fluffy tail. So, Patti placed Sandy’s ashes in one of his favourite spots in the master bathroom.
“I returned to my home office and, two hours later, walked into the bathroom. As I was standing looking down on Sandy’s remains and telling him how much I missed him, a light rose from the ashes.”
Patti didn’t know what to make of this, so she returned to her typing. “I delivered my finished work, and when I returned home I called my son and told him about my ‘miracle’, which, by then, I felt it was. Then I called my husband; and, then I called my sister-in-law. Interestingly, they all seemed to believe my story.”
But Patti was not so sure. By the next day, she was doubting that a light—perhaps representing her beautiful dog Sandy—could have risen from his ashes.
“I wear a gold nugget necklace and saw some reflections from it in my office and thought, ‘maybe that’s what I saw in the bathroom yesterday.’” So, Patti went into the bathroom and tried to duplicate the light she’d seen the day before. “I could not,” she says. “There is no window in that area, only overhead light and no reflection could be duplicated.
“Then it struck me: The reflections in my office came off of something. The light I saw was suspended in free space, above the ashes, not reflected from something else.”
“Just accept it for what it was.”
The following morning a friend called to express her condolences and Patti told her of her attempts to disprove the experience. Her friend’s response surprised her. She said, “Why are you trying to disprove it? Just accept it for what it was.” Her friend then told her how she’d heard her Doberman’s claws on the floor after he’d passed away.
“An hour later my brother-in-law called and said, ‘So, I heard about your light.’ I told him of my doubt and attempts to duplicate it. He said, ‘Why are you trying to disprove it? Why don’t you just accept it for what it was?’ Almost the exact words of my friend.
“Then that night, when I picked up my husband at the airport and told him of my doubts, he said, ‘Why are you trying to disprove it? Why don’t you just accept it?’
“Three people in the same day using almost the exact words was a true message to me. I found that almost as amazing as my experience with the light.
“I have never, since that time, doubted what I saw. In fact, I would say the light became clearer in my memory.”
Patti describes the light as “a little larger than a golf ball, gold centre, lighter colour around the edges.”
“I began to feel very blessed that I was the recipient of one of God’s miracles.”
Looking back, Patti now believes she was being prepared for her San Dog’s departure before he fell ill. On an impulse one day, she picked up James Van Praagh’s popular book Talking to Heaven while in a bookstore. “I had no idea there were animal stories in there,” she says.
“I stood in the book store for three hours reading… I bought many more books and every single one of them had animal stories. I have absolutely no doubt that God, or a higher being, assisted me in what to purchase, because I have read some of the most wonderful stories; for example, of pets greeting people who have had near-death experiences, or about pets welcoming children who have passed on.”
About a month after Sandy’s passing Patti went with her husband to Hilton Head, SC, for a weekend. Patti took a book to the beach. It happened to be Hello From Heaven, by Bill Guggenheim and Judy Guggenheim, which gives accounts of what the writers call after-death communications (or ADC’s).
“There were lots of walkers and people with their dogs. This made me very sad because my Sandy always loved to walk on the beach with us and chase the seagulls.
“I was reading about ADC’s and was moved to talk to Sandy. I told him I wished he would send me an ADC.”
Not long after, Patti observed a man walking his large dog. “If you saw Turner and Hooch, he looked just like the Hooch dog,” she writes.
The dog would stop to urinate every few feet, but he never approached any of the people on the crowded beach. “They passed by me, and I watched until they were out of sight. The dog did not approach anyone.”
“That dog came right up to me…”
Later, Patti looked up from her reading to see the man and his dog returning along the beach. “Most dogs were on leashes, but this dog followed behind his owner. Again, he stopped to mark his territory. Then, suddenly, he came running towards me.
“I was stunned. For a split second I was frightened, he was so huge and menacing-looking.” But, says Patti, “That dog came right up to me and licked my left arm. He made three or four long licks, the whole length of my arm.”
After the owner apologized and continued up the beach with his dog, Patti watched them go. The dog did not attempt to approach anyone else. “I was the only person on that beach the dog came even close to.”
This experience was particularly important to Patti, because her San Dog used to lick her entire hand in long, loving strides, “like this dog had done to my arm.”
“I got tears in my eyes and thanked Sandy for visiting me through this dog. I was so touched that I did not even try to dry my arm with a beach towel. I was relishing the ‘slobber’ left behind as a message from my beloved Sandy.”
Patti now shares this story with others and has found that most of the people she tells actually believe her.
The story of Patti’s experience with her dog first appeared on the website of the After Death Communication Research Foundation (Http://www.adcrf.org/). We’ve re-told it here with Patti’s permission after she read about RuthAnn’s experience in our last blog.
The Meaning of Forever Project continues to accept stories of comforting experiences with loved ones who have passed on, and of near-death experiences that have helped to show the continuation of life beyond the physical body. You can email your story to us at firstname.lastname@example.org and you can find more about our project on our Facebook page, and our Meaning of Forever Website.