Shiri and “fuzzy soul-mate” ‘Pfizer’ (because she is a natural anti-depressant).
In truth, we don’t own anything or anyone. We are not “pet owners,” we simply rent time with those we love (be they in a human or animal form). Working and speaking with hundreds of animal lovers over the past decade, I have come to humbly appreciate how precious is the love we share with our companion animals. Those who have not experienced – or have not allowed themselves to experience – this kind of an open heart kinship, simply do not really understand that this is a relationship like all others in our lives.
Yet sometimes we come across a particular companion animal that penetrates so deep into our heart, we can’t even explain the depth of the connection… It feels familiar as if we’ve known each other our whole life time! The bond feels so special and comforting, that even the animal him/her self walks around our home with such certainty, knowing exactly where things are at, or follow us everywhere from the first instant. It is love at first sight
Do we choose each other on some level? Have we shared a past life together? Did we arrange this reunion of our souls for spiritual evolution reasons? I believe so! I am convinced that our companion animals choose us just as we choose them. Likely it is so that we enjoy each other’s physical journey on earth but also so that we learn certain virtues, heal and grow spiritually through our relationship. I call them “Furry Soul-Mates” because they are mates to our soul on this journey called Life.
They come to us to teach us joy, play, laughter, unconditional love and acceptance, a love for nature, and a return to our own natural compassionate Self. They come to us for a short while (well, not as long as we wish them to stay) in order to teach us how to find these qualities within our own self and within our relationship with one another and with God / Source / Spirit.
In essence they come to us as Divine Messengers to help us learn particular soul-lessons that we need to learn, including how to receive and give a Love so deep, so that our purpose in life becomes simply to share its sweet nectar with those around us and in the world!
Armani 1999 – 2008..
Symptoms as messages:
In my private sessions I am always astounded at what miracles and insights come forth once we start “digging” a little into the psychological-spiritual meaning of the relationship people share with their beloved animal companions.
They often call when the animal is ill, anxious, changes habits, or in need of healing for whatever reason. It usually comes down to the HUMAN needing healing, or an insight - on a level of the mind and soul (psychologically, physically, and spiritually) through looking into the meaning behind presenting symptoms in the animal as clue to what is being mirrored for the human. From there we can proceed to allow harmony and wellness to be restored, and it happens almost instantly, depending on circumstances and level of openness.
I always tell my clients that I feel humbled and honored that the animals “called” and arranged the session for the sake of their human.
For example, one client called to help with his dog’s heart condition. As the session progressed, I kept getting a message that there was something here to explore psychologically about the human’s heart. I gently asked: “Tell me about your heart,” to which he replied: “My heart is fine!” and yet the dog kept indicating that there was more to look into. I wished to honor what came up and proceeded to put my counseling “hat” on. Before we knew it, we were all sitting on the floor: me, dog, and “C” (a man in his 40s). He began crying profoundly. It turned out that he had been living in a love-less relationship for the past 10 years, and had been wishing to leave, but did not know how. He felt afraid, desperate, and thirsty for human companionship that was warm and loving. In essence, it was his heart that was broken! As soon as the insight came to light, we could work with it. I explained the connection between his dog’s heart condition, and his own ‘heart condition’ (metaphysically speaking). After offering hands-on healing to his beloved dog, we proceeded to book individual sessions to help him make a decision about his marriage. We all come to appreciate the message and that his dog was a messenger, a blessed furry angel / soul-mate” that came into his life to deliver an important lesson: “TAKE CARE OF YOUR HEART!” That session was unforgettable for me and “C.”
We all have certain Soul Contracts with people and animals that come into our lives (for however long), especially if they have made some sort of an impression or left us changed. Each contract is unique and individual to our particular bond. How we meet each other is also a part of the contract, and I have many stories from clients, students, friends, and my own life that would attest to the “auspicious” circumstances surrounding the meeting place or time between themselves and their animals.
How “Bauer”chose her new home:
When my former partner and I wished to adopt a second kitten as companion to Pfizer, our then one year old long hair gray cat whom we termed “our natural anti-depressant” (hence her name), we printed off directions to an animal shelter in Toronto, Ontario, got in the car and began driving.
We were chatting the whole way to the shelter so when we suddenly arrived at the parking lot of “Toronto Animal Services” I was a bit surprised as the drive was shorter than I had anticipated, but then again I attributed it to being mindless of the drive time due to excitement and focusing on our talk. Within an hour or so, we left that shelter with an adorable 8 week blond/brown kitten who literally picked us as soon as she saw us.
I remember holding her in my arms and when the shelter worker instructed me to put her back in the cage so we could do all the necessary paper work, she gave me this deeply alarmed look of desperation as if to say “Please don’t leave me here!” Her green eyes were big and wide. My heart flooded with immense love for this helpless beautiful creature as I whispered to her that I would be right back and she need not worry; she was coming home with us!
We named her Bauer, after the hockey equipment company; (we used to play ice hockey). When we arrived home and let the two fur balls get acquainted (with some interest but also a lot of hissing), I emptied my bag and was just about to toss away the paper with the directions to the shelter. Something caught my eye and I glanced at it again. My jaw nearly fell to the floor as I realized that the directions pointed to a completely different shelter that was further away! I did not even know that the shelter we ended up at even existed! It was quite clear that Bauer called us to pick her up and that something on a higher level coordinated this reunion. Bauer and Pfizer are now seven and eight years old and (most times) are best friends also with the two rabbits that share our home.
Just as our Bauer’s soul called out for us to come pick her up, there is a Divine order in place and many pre-determined aspects that are beyond our understanding, control, or will, and govern each particular contract.
Our contract with each of our beloved companions can be as long as twenty years or more, or a short few hours one. We don’t know why it is so, but the journey can be filled with joy or with pain over loss (depending on our acceptance of it), and when the time comes to return them Home to the heavens, the process can be devastating and filled with guilt, dread, and deep sorrow for some, OR it can be filled with gratitude over the gifts we received and love shared. No matter what the length of time is of each contract, or how the end of life comes about, there seems to never be enough time that we share with those we love. It always seems “too fast,” “too short.”
How do we know what our soul-contract is?
Think of some specific points in your relationship with your companion animal (whether they are in body or in spirit) and include the following points of insight:
1. What does your intuition tell you about the particular soul contract between you and your animal?
2. (A clue to answer #1 is:) What does he or she teach you, or have taught you, about life, forgiveness, love, relationships with people, coming closer to God / Source, and even about coping with death? (many say things like “He taught me how to love unconditionally,” or “I laughed more,” or “She forced me to get out, talk to other people, and play every day!” Some even say: “He taught me that our bond does not end after death, and now we have a new relationship – beyond the body!”)
3. From this point on, based on the gifts and lessons you shared with your animal, what can you then carry
forth into the world in her/his honor?!
We are left with a job to do, a responsibility: to share that which we have received as gifts from our loved ones. Giving is the surest way to recognize that we have that which we are being asked to share. How else can we give something unless we have it? “You are healed when you give healing,” teaches A Course in Miracles. Sharing of the gifts that we were given by our companion animals is the task we are left with in their honor, and often the most profound way to heal our grief in channeling its energy onto kindness and service.
When we embody the teachings from our animals as a way of life, and then (when the time is right, and after giving ourselves the time to grieve and process the physical void) we can begin implementing and sharing these lessons with the world on behalf of those we love.
Their wish for us is to keep their legacy going, by living joyously, just as they did. So if they taught you how to laugh, you must then continue finding opportunities to laugh; if it’s unconditional love they brought into your life, you must then become the vessel of unconditional love onto others (humans and animals alike), and so forth. Only then your soul contract can continue on and on indefinitely and grow beyond the physicality of your bond, and make a difference in the world through your living in it! For Love never dies!.
Shiri Joshua Bio:
Shiri R. Joshua, M.A (Couns. Psych), is a psychotherapist, intuitive animal healer, speaker, writer, and teacher. Shiri is the founder and co-creator of S.O.U.L Academy: School of Compassion and the Canadian Centre for Pet Loss Bereavement. Shiri has been dedicating her life and work to bringing spiritual teachings from the animal kingdom with the aim to facilitate a global shift in consciousness towards unity, compassion, love, and respect for all life (incl. Human-to-human). For more information about Shiri’s work please visit www.SoulAcademy.ca