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The following article was taken from the book " The Nature of Animal Healing" by Martin Goldstein D.V.M. I hope it  might be of interest and it comforts all of you out there who have lost a precious pet.

The bond between some owners and their pets might seem spiritual to one reader; to another it might seem emotional, or just instinctive. To my mind, though, the ways in which animal spirits appear at death and beyond are so tangible and vivid that I have no doupt, personally, of their existence. Doupt if you like, bit I am telling you: they are there.

Almost every natural passage of a pet I have witnessed has affirmed that belief for me. Often, as a pet dies naturally, his back arches and his legs go out straight, almost as if he were adopting a yoga position. At this point, the physical body is actually discharging its electrical neurons. As it does so, the energy, or chi, that was the pet's vital spirit is released. I can't tell you that I see it issuing upward. But I sure can feel it.
And so can owners who have witnessed it as their pets died.
It's like a bolt of electrical current that displaces the ions around it as it shoots upward, as tangible in it's way as the white light that so many people on the brink of  death have described upon their return. Just before and during this phenomenon, a pet may appear to be suffering. Sometimes he may even have a tremor, or emit a howl of seeming anguish. In fact, these reactions are just physical, secondary to the electrical discharge ( a process called " depolarization").  The sound is nothing more than the reaction of air passing through the larynx as his body contracts. By the time his back arches, spiritually and consciously the pet has crossed over, so that what appears to be a flexing due to pain is merely the final passage of his spirit from his body to the spiritual world.

So often, in the hours after a pet dies, his spirit seems to hover nearby. Other pets in a family seem preternaturally attuned to this: creatures who science tells us are incapable of comprehending death, go out to a new grave, lie beside it, and solemnly cross their paws over the freshly turned dirt, communing, with the spirit of their newly departed friend.
How many times an owner who has lost a beloved pet, had felt that pet brushing against his leg, usually the first night  after the pet's death.

I've heard  tell over the years from several sources that animals come from what is called a group spirit or soul, and that upon death they loose thier individuality.
Having lived and  worked with so many dogs and cats, getting to know them as well as I have, and hearing so many accounts of their return, I beleive that animals definitely have individual spirits. Are their spirits like ours ? I think they are less complex. The power of the animal spirit is its simplicity. We make ourselves miserable with our fear of death, and have an almost constitutional inability to live in the moment.

Our pets have no vices. They love without qualification, exhibit loyalty and courage, have no fear of death, and live every moment fully for itself. Who is purer ?

If losing a pet is hard at first, sometimes the harder time is later: a month later, three months later, a year or more. If our pets were loved and loving members of our families, we cannot help but keenly feel their absence long after the shock of death.
A lot of people can't understand our grief over the loss of a pet.  We hear comments as such: " Still grieving a week later over a dog? Come on, they are thinking: life goes on !
We ought not forget them, it's true, but if aninals do have spirits, as I know they do, those
spirits are zipping around happily free of their worn-out bodies, and we need not cling to our memories of them in a bleak or sorowful way.
Remember them as they were at their best, remember the fun times we had together, remember all the love, joy and happiness we shared we them...........and hopefully we will
meet them again...........
All pets die. Death, for most of us is the hardest reality we have face to face. Because animal's life spans are so much shorter than ours, their crossing over offers us the most extraordinary lesson, one we learn with every pet as we ourselves age. It may be that the most profound benefit of having a pet is that we come to understand better the experience of death , and, perhaps, loose some of our fear in the process. When our pets die and other pets come into our lives, the lesson becomes that mush more inspirational, one that truly calls for celebration: death, our pets teach us, is necessary for new life to appear.
Both for our pets, and us, too.
For those we have lost but remember in our hearts.