The Spiritual Relationships with Animals
Here and Hereafter
By Allen and Linda Anderson
We are often interviewed about our work on broadcasts and blog radio shows. We talk about our 15
books and the Angel Animals messages. We try to validate and help people
discover and benefit from the miraculous powers of animals in their lives. In
today’s world, more often than not, the radio hosts and their audiences get it.
They have experienced firsthand the amazing intelligence, awareness, and spiritual qualities animals have in abundance.
This is a far cry from when we started Angel
Animals Network in 1996 with a four-page printed newsletter. It was filled with
stories we were rapidly collecting from around the world, even before the Internet and email was prevalent. Our children
were grown; we were working full-time jobs and had many responsibilities. But we wanted to bring more love into this
world — one story at a time. So we wrote about humans learning spiritual
qualities of compassion, empathy, unconditional love, and courage from animal
family members and animals in nature.
Now in 2014, it appears that those of us who began
writing about animals and spiritual connection have made a dent in the way many people view their pets.
Spiritual messages about relationships with animals are taking root. People are
beginning to understand that animals have a “sixth sense.” Instinctively they
give love in abundance while making even the saddest person smile. Animals deliver
divine messages as they heal and comfort. They appear in dreams and even offer
assurance that there is life after death.
We recently had an example of how far things have
come in breaking through skepticism. During a radio interview the host told us that after she read our
book A Dog Named Leaf, she wanted to see just how much her dog understood. While her husband and dog were in their living room, in a matter-of-fact manner, this host asked
her pup to bring back a specific toy. It was in a different room with other
toys her dog liked. Without hesitation the dog immediately brought back the
exact toy the woman had requested. She was amazed.
The host concluded her story by saying, “Your book
changed my life.”
We wrote about the fact that when we started
writing about animals, most books dealt with training and controlling pets.
Kristin von Kreisler, an author who also honors the spiritual connection between people and animals, responded to our trip down memory lane.
Kristin wrote, “Linda and Allen, how wonderful to read your message just now [in the Angel Animals Story of the Week newsletter]. Isn’t it fantastic how our thinking has changed? I remember
how hard it was to write the Compassion of Animals years ago. I’d get the shivers when I’d call an “expert” who would tell me that animals had no emotions and
could not even think. My proudest achievement is helping to pioneer the topic of animal feelings.
Continue after Death
Religious dogmas about relationships with animals
also have been growing and adapting. Do animals continue to love and heal our
hearts even after they are gone? Many people, including us, believe they do.
But some don’t. And when they impose their viewpoints on grieving animal
lovers, the loss compounds.
A woman wrote to us about the pain she felt after
going to her church service. The minister had unequivocally stated that animals
do not have souls and definitely do not go to heaven. He criticized anyone who believed they did. The woman had just
lost her beloved pet and felt upset at his words.
In our book on pet loss, Saying Goodbye to Your Angel Animals, we wrote about the issue of different beliefs concerning an afterlife
for animals. We called it a “disconnect” between what your religion teaches and what comforts you after a pet’s
Below are a few points we made in the book. Perhaps, they will be helpful to you or someone you know who’s suffering through
this type of disconnect between a church they love and its teachings about this one aspect.
**Continue to find comfort in teachings, members, and leaders of your religion that harmonize with you.
Ignore declarations about animals that confuse or upset you. More than likely, they aren’t required beliefs for you to be a member.
**Consider finding a different congregation or
spiritual guide whose beliefs are in closer alignment with yours. In most
religions, you will find that congregations and leaders have different ways of interpreting the fundamental and ancillary beliefs of that religion. (For example, The Rev. Billy Graham is noted for stating that if people need animals for
their happiness, God will have them in heaven.)
**Let God be God. Regardless of what anyone tells
you concerning animals in heaven or the afterlife, know that God can do anything. No earthly laws or theologies can dictate to the Divine. If God wants animals in heaven, well, God is God.
**Trust your own inner spiritual guidance. You may
have experiences that are clearly indicative of the animal’s continuing
spiritual presence and love. Unless you allow it, no one can destroy or
diminish these experiences for you.
Whether your beloved animal companions are still
with you or live on in spirit, nothing or no one can take away the depth, wisdom,
and love in your relationships with them. These relationships are beyond
belief, beyond time, beyond the mind.
Relationships with animals are of the heart.
Allen and Linda Anderson are co-founders of Angel
Animals Network and authors of a series of books about the spiritual connection
between people and animals www.angelanimals.net. Their newest book is A Dog
Named Leaf: The Hero from Heaven Who Saved My Life (www.adognamedleaf.com)