There Is No Death


Death is not a subject that many people want to discuss or even think about, especially when it revolves around the death of a beloved animal.  However, as tough as this subject may be, I believe that if we allow ourselves to see it differently, we can find peace and comfort in it.  We may even come to see it as a gift.

I have been around animals in a professional setting for over 20 years. I have lived with companion animals for 36 years.  Death has always been an aspect of living and working with species of all shapes and sizes.  Sometimes death came slowly and I was prepared, and sometimes it came when I least expected it and knocked me to my knees.  Sometimes it lingered and I dreaded every moment up to it.  Each time it was difficult and I struggled to understand what the animal was experiencing and why it had to be “that way”.  I finally found many of the answers that I had so desperately asked for all of those years.

Six months ago today my beloved Samantha passed into spirit. Samantha’s body had been struggling to overcome a malignant mass in her chest cavity.  This mass was forcing fluid into her lungs, making it very difficult for her to remain active and breathe normally.  We aspirated her chest several times to remove the blood and fluid, and the vet recommended that I give her a steady and strong dose of meds that would help pull fluid from her body to keep the lungs clear.  To our surprise it began to work, but the cancer was eating all of her muscle mass and what little fat she had.  The meds were dehydrating her terribly.  It was a delicate balance and she was still deteriorating rapidly.  The veterinarian told me there was nothing further that they could do. Her body could give out any day now. It could be days, weeks, or months.  It was now up to me to keep her as comfortable as possible.

Every day I would have to leave her and not know if she was going to die while I was at work.  I would pray that she would be alive when I got home.  I raced home each night and desperately hoped that I wasn’t too late.  She was always waiting there for me, patiently.  This was my form of hell. Every day was so emotional and painful, but I knew she was holding on to life.  I didn’t know how I knew.  I just did.  But when would it be time to let her go?  When would be the right time to ease her suffering?

So here I was, alone, having to make these live and death decisions for my dear Samantha.  Mothers and fathers say that they don’t have a favorite, but I did.  She was my girl.  She had and still has my whole heart.  I adored her from the moment I rescued her when she was a completely feral cat on the streets of New Orleans.  She and I had weathered many of life’s storms (literally and figuratively). I knew we could get through this together.  I was determined to do everything I could to help her live her last days in peace and surrounded with love.


One of my best friends had recently said goodbye to her feline companion because of cancer.  I finally understood what she had been experiencing.  She reached out to me after he passed and told me about an animal communicator that she had been using during the time that he was ill.  She said that this animal communicator was currently helping her with another one of her furry family members that was fighting the cancer battle, too.  I was a little surprised to hear that she was a believer in “that sort of thing” because she is a very rational, science-based, fiercely intelligent woman.  I figured if she believed wholeheartedly in it, there had to be some validity to this animal communicator.

I took the plunge and contacted Pet Psychic Edwina.  This was one of the wisest decisions I have ever made.  This decision changed my life and Samantha’s life forever.  My beliefs were challenged, and Edwina showed me another way of seeing, experiencing, and understanding my animal companions.  It was one of the greatest gifts I have ever been given.  It was a gift for Samantha, and from Samantha.  It was our gift to each other.  Through Edwina and her insights Samantha and I bridged the gap together.


Recently I listened to an interview from another well known and respected animal communicator.  She touched on many aspects of what I learned from Samantha and Edwina, regarding animal “death”, soul connections, and what really happens when they transition into spirit. Maybe after hearing what she has to share, it can help you as well.

In these 2 video conversations, Danielle MacKinnon helps to answers these questions:

  • Do our animal companions go to the afterlife when they die?
  • Do animals have souls?
  • Will we see them in the afterlife?
  • Do our animal companions return for another life?
  • Is it okay to euthanize animals?

 Animals, “Death”, and The Afterlife (Part 1)


How Animal Companions Communicate with Us After Passing(Part 2)

You can read more about this interview here.

Although it was months ago, it still feels like yesterday that we said goodbye.  I miss her every day. But after what I learned from Samantha I understand so much more now.  The pain, grief and suffering gave me the gift of knowledge, understanding and insight.  I know that she is never really gone.  I know now that there is no death.  I know and trust that my animal companions hear me. They can hear all of us if we take the time to speak with them.   When people say that the ones we love live on in our hearts, they really do because that is where we loved them, and love never dies. Goodbyes are only temporary.  The ones we say goodbye to are always there when we think of them, when we remember our times together, and when we speak to them.

When you think of your beloved animal companion that has passed, know that they hear you.  Feel their love that  is endless.  Believe that their spirit is free and never dies.  If you were connected in life, you are still connected in the afterlife.  Call on them when you miss them, when you need inspiration, or when you just want to say hello again.  They are always there for you.

Say no goodbyes to those we love, 
Though they have passed from view. 
Our mortal eyes seem not to see 
The truth that our hearts do. 
Love is of the spirit. 
It exists beyond these shores. 
And love still flows between us, 
Now and forever more.

starry night_pet loss_I did not die


The smallest things can take up the most room in your heart

Companion Rats

“Sometimes,’ said Pooh, ‘the smallest things take up the most room in your heart.” ~A.A. Milne

Bubonic plague, disease, vermin – These are just a few words that most people associate with rats (all of which have recently been debunked!).  But there is another side to this animal that many do not know.
Companion rats are:
  • extremely clean animals
  • extremely clean
  • deeply bonded to their guardian and other animals in the home
  • much better pets for kids (compared to other small rodents)
  • highly intelligent
  • easily trained
  • very social
  • very curious
  • very sensitive
  • love human interaction
  • not aggressive
  • known to laugh 
  • ticklish 
  • swimmers
  • deeply bonded to their guardian

Companion Rat Facts:

  • Many people compare the companionship of a rat to that of a dog (myself included).
  • Domesticated rats are physiologically and psychologically different from their wild relatives.
  • They have been bred to be gentle and affectionate.
  • Rats Will Refuse Treats to Rescue a Distressed Cage Mate!
  • Domestic rats are as different from wild rats as dogs are from wolves.
  • I have never known a rat to bite (although anything with a mouth can bite.)
  • They are fastidious groomers; they groom themselves like a cat several times a day.
  • Companion rats (“fancy rats”) were first domesticated by rat-catchers of the 19th Century.  These people were paid by town governments to trap rats.  They soon started breeding the wild rats to stay in business.  This was how they discovered how intelligent and loyal these “pet” rats could be.
  • Rats have demonstrated compassion and empathy toward other rodents in studies.
  • Rats are 1 of only 2 small mammals that I recommend to families with children.

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Those “rat facts” listed above are all true.  I know this because I lived with a companion rat for many years.  Her name was Sandy.

I met Sandy when she was just a wee rat pup while I was working at a the Bluebonnet Swamp Nature Center in Baton Rouge.   She and her family members had a very specific purpose.   They were snake food.  One day I was in the feeder rat room and I saw this sandy blonde rat pup with the softest fur and the kindest brown eyes.  Well, I just couldn’t resist her, so I decided to let her hang around with me for a few days.  Sandy would ride around on my shoulder while I worked.  She enjoyed hiding in my hair and would peek out when she was curious as to what was happening around us.  I fell in love with her and could not let her fate be decided by a snake, so Sandy came home with me.

Sandy became a very special member of my family.   I introduced her to my dog  Maggie, and to my cat, Mr. Beaux.   Maggie was a timid dog, so she showed Sandy nothing but love (or avoidance, depending on her mood).   Mr. Beaux however, had other plans.  Once I was clear that Sandy was not food, the cat and rat got along splendidly.   Sandy would even take car rides with Mr. Beaux and Maggie (Yes, this cat loves car rides).  Sandy and I took long road trips across the country together.  She was such a kind, gentle soul.   I later realized that because I had taken her away from her mother just after she was weened, this enabled Sandy to bond so strongly with me.  That was such a blessing.  She trusted me unconditionally.

A few years later, ovarian cancer formed in her body.  At the time I was not aware of how important it was to spay female rats to prevent this, so Sandy suffered for a short while until we could do surgery to remove the cancerous mass.  Sandy recovered splendidly with the help of medicine and a lot of love and care.

Eventually the time came to say goodbye to Sandy as the symptoms of  old age were setting in.   My veterinarian was a close friend, so he helped me to say goodbye to Sandy peacefully and humanely.  I knew I loved Sandy, but I had no idea how badly I would mourn her passing.  I cried for weeks. I was almost shocked at how much of an impact she had made on my life in just a few years.  Although it is over a decade later, I still miss her.  She was such an incredible soul and animal companion.  I am grateful for all of the lessons she taught me, and for the beauty and gentleness she brought into our lives.

Sandy, you are forever in my heart.

sandy rat

sandy rat

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 If you are interested in learning more, Dr. Anthony Pilny from The Center for Avian and Exotic Medicine discusses common misperceptions about companion rats.  
Rat in hand
Our animal friends leave paw prints on our lives and souls, which are as unique as fingerprints in every way. ~Amy Martin, Conscious Companion

Our Beloveds Never Really Say Goodbye.

Our Beloveds Are … ALWAYS.

The images below speak louder than words. They resonate because they are True. The ones we love have not left us. They did not leave us behind.

Our beloveds never really say goodbye.

One of the most difficult challenges in life is saying goodbye to a beloved.

But goodbye is not forever.

In our Cherokee language, there is no actual word for “goodbye”; this word is too final.  We say “Stiyu”, which means “Be strong”, instead of Goodbye.

Our Cherokee heritage teaches there is no death; only a door to another realm. a new beginning. a new chapter. a new world.

Death is nothing at all.

I have only slipped away into the next room.

Whatever we were to each, that we are still.

Call me by my old familiar name.

Speak to me in the easy way which you always used.

Laugh as we always laughed at the little jokes we enjoyed together.

Play, smile, think of me. Pray for me.

Let my name be the household word it always was.

Let it be spoken without effort.

Life means all that it ever meant.

It is the same as it ever was;

There is absolutely unbroken continuity.

Why should I be out of your mind because I am out of your sight?

I am but waiting for you, for an interval, somewhere very near just around the corner…

All is well. Nothing is past, nothing is lost.

One brief moment and all will be as it was before,

Only better and infinitely happier,

And forever we will be one together.

~ Henry Scott Holland

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