Whenever possible it is best to allow the animal to die in a natural way. It is important for animals as it is with human beings to reap all of the benefits of their lifetime experience. Each phase of life has its beauty and usefulness and we live and grow and learn through all of the different stages of life. For most animal souls the experience of a beautiful transition is the piece that is missing from their many lifetimes of experience. Most individual animals carry in their souls the memory of many an untimely death.
In a collective sense, animals carry the memory of trillions and trillions of lives cut short through abortion, euthanasia, slaughter, abuse and neglect. For this reason one of the most beautiful and meaningful gifts we can give our beloved friends is the gift of a sacred and illumined transition from this life. Not only do our beloved animals benefit from this, but the entire collective unconscious of animals becomes imbued with a new message of hope, and the experience of the collective begins to change little by little to one of loving care throughout all of the stages of life.
From a spiritual perspective, birth and death are much the same. When an infant is born, it come from Spirit into itís mothers womb. At the moment of birth, the infant is passes through the birth canal into the light of the world. At the time of death, the soul essence is gathered into the heart and at the moment of death is pushed up and through the crown chakra at the top of the head and into the light of spirit. It is really a cycle of birth, re-birth and birth again.
Just as we can midwife the process of physical birth, so too can we midwife the process of death - the birth into spirit. And just as the highest scenario for birth is a natural birth, so to the optimum scenario for death is a natural death. Birth is seldom painless, and death is seldom painless, but there is much we can do to ease the discomfort of either transition making the experience a beautiful one. Most every mother will tell you that the pain involved in giving birth to their child was worth the rewards. Most people who midwife the death of a loved one report having a transformational experience and they are left with few regrets.
When contemplating the death of an animal companion it is advisable to guard against distracting your attention from the process at had by worrying whether or not euthanasia will become necessary. Intervention can always be implemented along the way if it becomes necessary. Devote yourself entirely to the creation of an illumined death transition. Have faith and trust and all will unfold as it should without forethought.
CREATING A SACRED SPACE IN WHICH THE DEATH CAN OCCUR
-Create a sacred environment for the animal. As much as possible allow the animal to choose the place she likes best. When the sacred place is decided upon, begin to create a beautiful temple to the sacred transition called death. The overall idea behind the creation of a sacred place for the death process is to create a vibrational environment that is in resonance with the vibration of the heavenly realm the animal will enter at the time of death. The more similar these vibrations are, the smoother the transition will be. Think of it as creating a heavenly environment her on earth. Putting your energy fully into the creation of the sacred space you will find your anxiety and grief dissipating and you will be filled with a sense of sacred purpose.
-Surround the animal with his favorite things. Gather together favorite toys and keepsakes.
-Spread a beautiful cloth or blanket over the chosen area in a bright, high-vibration color such as blue, purple or violet.
-Bring in some fresh flowers or a living plant. My friend Andrew surrounded his dying cat with rose petals of all kinds and colors, and when she died she was laid to rest in his garden on a bed or rose petals.
-Decorate the area with sacred images, representations of your own spiritual path. Photos of Jesus, Buddha, Krishna, St. Francis, angels and others are all appropriate. The animal will feel the vibration of these images and respond favorably to them.
-Talk to your animal about all of the angels and beings of light who will be there to greet him on the other side.
-Bring a portable tape or CD player into the area and keep sacred music playing softly. Soft classical or New Age Music is very appropriate, as is Gregorian chanting or chanting from other sacred traditions. My own animals have responded in a very positive way to the beautiful harp music of Erik
Berglund. You will find Erik on the links page of the Anaflora web site. Erik has a beautiful page on his web site which chronicles the story of his cat Princeís transition.
-Spend as much time as possible with the animal, communicating to him how much you love him. -
Give the animal permission to go when the time is right. Let her know that she neednít hold on your account, that you will miss her, but that you will be alright. This kind of reassurance will greatly assist her in letting go of her physical form at just the right moment.
-Allow other family members to visit and pay their respects. Leave the area accessible to them. Most dying animals want solitude, but not isolation.
-Often a dying animal does not want to be touched. Honor this, and donít take it as rejection. The act of touching often interrupts the death process by focusing attention on the physical body. If the animal seems to be experiencing physical or emotional discomfort, wiping her body lightly with a hot, moist wash cloth can be helpful as it feels like the warm, soothing tongue of another animal.
-If you work with an animal communicator having the communicator assistance at this time can be invaluable. The animal can be questioned telepathically as to her comfort level, needs and desires. This is a good time to ask the animal how she would like her body handled after her death. Animals often have very specific requests for the handling of their remains. Ask the animal if she would like her body to be buried or cremated. Some animals who have memories of lifetimes in the wild and have experienced forest fires have a fear of fire and are fearful of the idea of cremation. The animal may have other requests for the handling of her ďaffairs.Ē If the animal requests burial, you can prepare a grave in an appropriate place as her death approaches if it feels appropriate to do so.
-If you have a loving, emotionally stable friend whoís beliefs and love for animals parallel your
own, ask that friend to be with you, and offer to return the favor at a later date.
WHAT TO EXPECT WHEN DEATH DRAWS NEAR
-The sense of smell is the first to fail in the death process; followed by the sense of taste, then sight then lastly hearing. The animal will in most cases have ceased eating many days or even weeks before the death process actually begins. This is a natural part of the withdrawal of the life force and food should not be forced. The animalís sight may dim or she may appear not to see at all.
When an animal enters the final stage of the dying process, two different dynamics are at work which are closely inter-related and inter-dependent. On the physical plane, the body begins the final process of shutting down, which will end when all of the systems cease to function. Usually this is an orderly and un-dramatic progressive series of physical changes which are not medical emergencies requiring invasive intervention. These physical changes are a normal natural way in which the body prepares itself to stop, and the most appropriate kinds of responses are comfort-enhancing measures.
The other dynamic of the dying process is at work on the emotional-spiritual plane, and is a different kind of process. The soul of the dying animal begins the final process of release from the body, its immediate environment and all attachments. This release tends to follow its own priorities. At this time you may Ďfeelí the animal requesting permission to go. The animal may whimper or howl, not necessarily in pain, but as a release of energy as the soul
disengages from the body.
When the animalís body is ready and wanting to stop, but the animal is still unresolved or un-reconciled over some important issue or with some significant relationship, she may tend to linger even though uncomfortable or debilitated in order to finish things up.
-If the animal seems to be lingering and holding on, reassure her that you feel her love and concern for her and that it is alright for her to let go. If other beloved family members are not at home, reassure the animal that these family members love her and want her to release herself, too.
Sometimes an animal is emotionally and spiritually ready to leave, but the body has not gone through its complete shut down procedure.
WHAT TO DO TO HELP THE ANIMAL
-Call upon any beloved animals or people you have loved and who have already gone on in spirit to gather around and help the animal who is dying.
-Visualize all of the animalís soul essence gathering at her heart center like a glowing ball of golden light. Visualize this ball of light moving up and out the top of her head. This exercise can be done as many times as necessary.
-Keeping in mind that the hearing fails last continue throughout the death process to speak soothingly to your beloved friend.
-The state of your mind at the time of your animals death is vitally important, and plays a great role in determining what the animal will experience after death. Stay as calm, centered and loving as possible.
SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS
The experience we call death occurs when the body completes its natural process of shutting down and when the soul completes its natural process of reconciling and finishing. These two processes need to happen in a way appropriate and unique to the animalís individual soul qualities.
The following signs and symptoms describe how the body prepares itself for the final stage of life.
Coolness. The animals paws, legs, feet, tail and ears may become increasingly cool to the touch. The color of the skin beneath the fur may change. The underside of the body may become darker or the skin mottled. This is a normal indication that the circulation of blood is decreasing to the bodyís extremities and being reserved for the vital organs. Keep the animals body covered with a blanket if she tolerates it. Do not us an electric blanket.
Sleeping. The animal may spend an increasing amount of time sleeping and appear to be unresponsive and sometimes difficult to arouse. This is due in part to the changes in metabolism. Remember that your animal is telepathic and neednít be awake to receive loving communications from you.
Disorientation The animal may seem to be confused and may startle easily. When you come near, let the animal know either verbally or telepathically that you are approaching.
Incontinence The animal may lose control of urine and/or bowel matter as the muscles in that area begin to relax. Putting a plastic liner under the animalís bedding can make the process easier as the bedding can be taken up regularly and washed.
Congestion The animal may have gurgling sounds coming from his chest. This normal change is due to the decrease of fluid intake and an inability to cough up normal secretions. Gently turn the animalís head to the side and allow gravity to drain the secretions. Wiping the animalís face with a warm wash cloth is often soothing.
Restlessness The animal may make howling or yowling sounds or become restless, moving from spot to spot or turn or move repetitively. Restlessness is due to metabolic changes and sometimes anxiety, or both. It is best not to restrict this movement. Speaking in a soothing way, playing music and stroking the animal will usually calm them. If a sacred place has been created for the animal they will usually return to that spot after a period of restlessness. If a sacred place has been created for the animal they will usually return to that spot after a period of restlessness.
Urine Decrease The animals urine output usually decreases and may become concentrated looking. This is due to decreased fluid intake and decreased circulation in the kidneys.
Fluid and Food Decrease The animal will have a decrease or will stop wanting food or drink. The body will naturally begin to conserve energy that would otherwise be expended on these tasks. Do not try to force food or drink on the animal. Any attempts to manipulate the animal into eating will make them emotionally uncomfortable and conflicted. Animals want so much to please us that they may allow us to force them to eat or drink against their best interest. Moistening the mouth with a little water by dropper may be comforting.
Breathing Pattern Changes The animalís regular breathing pattern may change. The breathing may be shallow, pant-like or irregular (shallow with periods of not breathing). These patterns are common and indicate decrease of circulation in the internal organs. Gently changing the animalís position and speaking to her gently may make her more comfortable.
Withdrawal The animal may seem unresponsive and withdrawn. This signals a preparation for release, a detachment from the surroundings and relationships . . . A letting go.
Visionary Experiences The animal may look into the air over your head or seem to be fixated in a part of the room or house away from you. Animals are very attuned to the angelic and spirit realms by nature. As death approaches they become aware of angelic and other presences who are there to offer them assistance. This is a wonderful thing.
Decreased Socialization The animal may withdraw from the family if she is still able to get around herself. She may act as if she doesnít want you near. She may even act in uncharacteristic ways lashing out or biting. This is not a sign of rejection, it is simply a sign of preparation for release. Give her your affirmation, support, permission and love from a distance.
**** Every terminally ill or dying animal experiences loss of appetite and weight loss. For the humans involved, this can be devastating. Food is often associated with nurturing, caring and comfort and we can feel rejected and helpless when the animal refuses to eat or drink. It is important to keep in mind however that loss of appetite is a natural part of the process of dying. If we attempt to force food, the animal may become agitated and anxious feeling that she has let you down by refusing to
eat. Often we feel that the animal is suffering terribly if she is not eating and drinking. Many studies with human hospice patients show that dehydration caused by decrease or no intake of fluids does not cause discomfort if the mouth is kept moist. The drowsiness caused by dehydration may increase comfort by reducing gastric secretions which cause nausea and vomiting and causing a feeling of euphoria.
HOW WILL YOU KNOW WHEN DEATH HAS OCCURRED?
Signs of death include: no breathing, no heartbeat, release of bowel and bladder, no
response, eye lids slightly open, pupils enlarged, eyes fixed on a certain spot, no blinking, jaw relaxed and mouth slightly open.
AFTER DEATH OCCURS
The greatest service we can render our departing loved one is not grief and lamentation, but silence and prayer. There is an interval, varying in length of time, immediately following the cessation of heart-beats during which the silver etheric cord which connects the soul to its earthly body is unbroken. (This is much like the umbilical cord) The soul floats in a dreamy condition above its physical shell, still attached by the cord and still able to feel what is done to that shell. This is the period during which the life review takes place, just as it does with humans who have died. Any condition which distracts the soul from this process lessens the benefit received from it. This period is a kind of sacred interval of silence and preparation for the new and larger life. It is important to tread softly while the record of the present is being inscribed on the veils of the future.
With human beings and domestic animals this process takes about three days although it can be completed sooner. A sensitive clairvoyant, can feel this process as it draws to completion. You, too may feel when it is completed. As much as one can within the constraints of daily living and individual emotional tolerance, this time period should be sacredly honored. In many spiritual traditions the body is left at the place of death for the three day period. When this is not possible, the three day period should be attended to in a sacred manner without the body present. Our prayers and good wishes during this time period help the animalís soul beyond measure.
Lay the animalís body gently on a clean white cloth. The animalís body can be left exposed or wrapped lightly in the cloth. Allow the body to rest on or near the spot at which the death occurred.
For animals who have died in the veterinarians office, or for animals who have been killed in an accident or whoís bodies have been found away from the home, bring the body to the home and rest it on a white cloth in a spot that the animal favored.