Beyond the things we can see about our companion animals–their personalities, habits and even their quirks–is something we may not understand: an energetic awareness. Animals are aware of energies such as our emotions, which is why they scurry when we’re angry or stand by us after a bad day. And they are aware of the energy around us, from the general atmosphere of our home to the people (living and dead) who visit us to impending natural disasters. That energetic awareness helps animals’ heightened instincts deal with and prepare for different situations that can occur. And sometimes it even helps them prepare for their own deaths.
This is a lesson I learned through a sweet, spunky Bourke’s parakeet named Lollie. Because she was sick with multiple infections when she came to live with me, I spent the first 6 weeks worried that Lollie wouldn’t survive. After various medications and lots of Reiki, Lollie recovered well, but our tenuous beginnings and the fact that she was so little and old (10 at the time) made me extra careful about her, wanting to make her last years comfy and healthy.
Two years later, Lollie seemed just fine when I took her in for a routine beak trim between Christmas and New Year’s. So I was surprised and grief-stricken when her heart stopped and she died in the middle of being groomed. I blamed myself, worried I hadn’t done enough to protect her so she could live longer. The fact that it was the holiday season made her passing harder, since that time is supposed to be happy.
But as I tuned into Lollie’s energy, it became clear that she had been not only aware it was her time to die, she’d been ready for it and had chosen the moment of her death perfectly. Feeling her purpose was to keep the other birds in line while I went on a trip, Lollie waited until I returned from that trip and could spend a few last days with her to pass away. She also waited until there were people around I’d trust so I didn’t have to face her death by myself. While I had felt a purpose to protect Lollie in life, her awareness of her of impending death showed her love for and protection of me. What an amazing gift!
I’m definitely not the only person to lose a beloved companion animal during the holiday season. In fact, shelters and veterinarians report an increase in pets passing away during this time of year, whether they pass naturally at home or need to be euthanized due to advanced illness or injury. And while many of those are accidents, much of that can be attributed to our companion animals’ keen awareness of the energy and emotions at this time of year. Just like Lollie, companion animals are aware that we won’t be alone and that there’s an atmosphere of celebration during the holidays. If we’re surrounded by loved ones, we’ll be able to lean on them for support if our pets pass away. And if we have festivities to concentrate on, it can ease the pain of their passing.
While losing pets is difficult at any time, understanding that animals often have an awareness that often extends to their deaths can help us find more peace.