snips after death visits from our animal friends...   
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Lilly was the closest I'll ever come to having a child. She was delivered to me -- literally! -- by a neighborhood kitty when she was about three days old. Lilly went everywhere with me for the first few months of her life. We went to the grocery store, the movies, and I hid her under my desk every day at work. She was the friendliest cat -- often to the point of embarrassment -- and everyone who met her fell in love. I could go on for pages about all the sweet, funny and memorable traits she had, but her trademarks were that she would meow every time you said her name. And I mean every time. She grew up around dogs, and she would always rub her face against theirs as a greeting. Her most famous trick was the "Lilly Dance," which she would do whenever it was requested. It was a little kitty ballet -- she was such a girlie girl! I always loved her the most.
My husband walked into the house ahead of me. We'd just been gone for a few hours, but I'd had an uneasy feeling the entire time. Now I knew why. I looked into the living room as I walked by, and there she lay. My baby. I knew she was dead, and I just started screaming her name. My husband, a little too used to my typical over reacting where our animal kids are concerned, turned around to see what was going on. I said "She's dead." and ran out of the house. Not only did I know that she was dead, I knew exactly what had happened. The dogs had killed her. It was too horrible to think that the dogs she loved so much could have done this, but it was true.

Of course it was a horrible night. I cried and cried, more tears than I ever thought could come from my eyes. No. Not Lilly.

The next morning, like a robot, I went outside to get the newspaper. As I stood with it in my hands, not really caring what it had to say, a pretty little brown and black butterfly landed on the front page. She sat there for almost a full minute, then flew off. It seemed like a little sign. Lilly would come back as a butterfly! I ran back into the house to tell my husband about this little butterfly episode. He asked me to describe her, and when I did, he told me that she had been on the front door when we'd gone into the house last night. Of course she was Lilly. When ever else had a butterfly just flown over and hung out with me like that? Especially since she was the same butterfly who greeted us at our front door the night Lilly's spirit left her body? Now some people might be satisifed with that. I mean, it was a pretty amazing thing to witness, and most people would at least consider that it could very possibly, even likely, be her. But it wasn't enough for me. I needed her back in a more literal way. I really wasn't strong enough to lose her. She was just too precious to be without.

The next day a friend noticed a black and brown butterfly following me as I walked down our driveway. She was certainly being persistent! I should have known she had a plan.

A week later, my Deja walked into the room where I sat sobbing and begging God, the Universe, and everyone else I could think of to bring Lilly back to me. Deja is an identical replica of a kitten of Lilly's who had lived only a few days. (Little Miss Lil had opened a screen door and snuck out, met a boy, and came home pregnant when she was six months old. I didn't even know she was in season. She was such a juvenile delinquent.) It was a really rough night for me for some reason. When I said "Deja," Deja meowed, and then walked over to our dog, Sesame, and rubbed her face on Sessy's. Deja had never, ever done either of those things, and I couldn't believe what I was seeing. I had to try something, of course it couldn't happen. I asked Deja to do the Lilly Dance, and she did. For a few seconds, Lilly was in charge. It shouldn't have surprised me. Both Lowell and I had felt her presence in the house very strongly ever since her death, so of course she could do this -- find this way to show me she was still here.

The next morning, my little Lilly, who had been a terrible earring and assorted jewelry thief, left another sign that she was still here: an earring that had been missing for six months was laying in the middle of the hallway when I woke up. Not just any earring, but a greyhound earring. The dog who we believed had killed her was a greyhound. Lilly wanted me to know that not only was she still here, she had even forgiven the dog for what had happened.

There was no mistaking it, this cat was finding ways to reach me that no other animal has ever been able to do before. And she wasn't done...

Later that same day, one of my dog camp clients told me that she was fostering a kitten for the ASPCA. She was just a couple of weeks old, and had been found and brought in to the shelter a few days before. This was her first foster kitten. Her name was Lilly.

In that moment, all my sadness vanished. She had done it. She had found a way to come back. I know it was because of the bond we had. It was something that just couldn't be broken, and it was strong enough to keep her spirit here until she could find a way to come back as a living being.

So Lilly and I are starting over again. She is just as adorable as before, and just as crazy, too. I watch her to see if she knows that I know that she knows... She does.

I think she's pretty proud of herself.

Bonnie Belle's after death communication to me was a feeling that's hard to even begin to put into words...
The first time I came face to face with death was with my little Bonnie Belle whippet. Bonnie had come to live with me when she was three, and she and I had an immediate, deep bond. She was my best friend for the next nine years. Bonnie was a very special dog, as they all are. Her peaceful, sweet nature was so unique and memorable that most people noticed it as soon as they met her. An amazing thing happened to me two days after Bonnie died. I was driving my regular route to work, and suddenly everything looked different. At that moment I hardly knew where I was. The sunlight became a pure, indescribable golden glow and everything looked clear and beautiful. My entire body was filled with the most incredible sense of peace and love and joy. I knew immediately that this was heaven. I was experiencing what happens after we die, and it was Bonnie's gift to me. The sense of awe from that experience stays with me to this day. It was the most incredible experience I have ever had, and it left me with no doubt that there is an afterlife, and that our animals will be waiting there for us.

Kramer's mom and I have had an ongoing conversation following Kramer's death from hemangiosarcoma, a disease I am all too familiar with. This email contained a story that I felt had to be shared...
I have no doubts whatsoever that Kramer is happy and doing well and looking out for me and his family still left here on earth. He has come to my daughter and my husband several times. Ashley will walk into the house from school and swear she can hear him barking like he used to do so many times. Joe has had that same experience as well as one time he got into his car and could smell Kramer. As for me, I feel him with me every single day. One thing I really want to share with you is truly amazing and I know it was from Kramer. Every single day I would pray to our Lord to keep Kramer safe and always wrap him in His arms. No one knew I prayed this.. asking our Lord to always wrap His arms around Kramer and keep him safe. I would also ask this same thing of my father in law as you may recall I told you passed on in November. One Sunday morning, Joe woke up from a dream and had to wake me up to tell me about it because it seemed so very real to him. For one, it was the only time he had dreamt of his father since his death. He was in his parents kitchen and saw his father walk in holding Kramer in his arms. His dad didn't speak but was smiling ever so big and there was our sweet Kramer in his arms licking his face over and over. What struck Joe as strange and he kept asking me over and over was.."why was my dad carrying Kramer". Kramer was 95 pounds and we were never able to hold him like that. That's when it hit me Lori like a ton of bricks, I said to my husband..oh my gosh, I cant believe it. That dream you just had was meant for was a gift to me through you. And that's when I preceded to tell Joe what I have been praying for and to this day do each night and morning..always wrap my Kramer in your arms and keep him safe. From that morning on Lori, I have this amazing calm inner peace where I know without any doubts at all that Kramer is happy, healthy and more than just fine and through Joe's dream Kramer came to me with this amazing gift to let me know he's doing good and not to worry. I miss him and cry so much at times still and I'm sure I always will but to know he's good and happy makes all the difference in the world and makes dealing with this more bearable.

Please email me if you have an experience you'd like to share.

If you've read much on this site, you're probably familiar with my Wylie dog. Wylie was my first greyhound, the dog I'd waited for all my life. Wylie's illness and death just two years after he and I came together was the most difficult time I could ever imagine living through. The visits I've had from him have been quirky and laid back, just what you'd expect if you knew Wy...
Wylie had only been gone for a couple of weeks, and I missed him so dreadfully. I was like a zombie, constantly in tears, not knowing how I was getting one foot in front of the other to make it through each day. I had a dog sitting job with a sweet little schnauzer and wire fox terrier, and since I had so little energy, I had cuddled up on the couch with them there to comfort me. The TV was on, and I was absent mindedly looking at it, not really watching. The little fox terrier was at my feet, the schnauzer was in my arms. I looked down toward the terrier, and he was gone. Wylie was in his place. Big as life. He looked at me, and it was so natural that I wasn't even surprised. I said "Hi Wy," not really comprehending that he shouldn't be there, that he wasn't alive anymore. The line between past, present and future didn't seem to exist. He looked away, and I was snapped back into the present. First I was scared, then I cried, then I laughed. That was my boy! So nonchalant. "Hey Mom. Thought I'd drop in to see how you're doin'. Talk to you later."

Wylie's next major visit was after I'd gotten married and moved to another state. Zack and Tansy are my greyhounds now, and they have their own room. I had just fed them, so Zack was crated, as usual, since he'll gobble all his food then go after Tansy's. I was just around the corner, and saw two greyhound noses poking out over the baby gate. I thought, "Geez, I bet Tans didn't get any dinner. Wonder how Zack got out?" and went over to check. Zack was snoozing in his crate, just like he was supposed to be. Tansy was the only dog loose in the room. The second nose? It had to belong to Wylie.

High Roller
Roller was a big, gorgeous Appaloosa gelding who shared my teenage years. He was a beautiful show horse, and he and I had made a really great team. My life was pretty much devoted to him for many years. Unfortunately, when I got older and decided to get married, I had to sell him. Two months after he went to his new home, the people who took him called to say that he had been kicked in the chest and killed...

I was devastated. My horse was gone, and in very suspicious circumstances. I felt it was my fault. I had been selfish and had failed him. I hated myself. Soon I started having a series of dreams. Each one was different, but they were all incredibly real. (Unlike my other dreams, these dreams made sense - they had none of the weird "first you're one person, then you're someone else watching that person" stuff.) In the first, I was with Roller as he died. In the next dream, he was better. I was riding him, but knew that he was going to die. In each dream, and there must have been at least six, he became healthier, until finally, he was completely well. I had one last, glorious ride, and never dreamed about him again. I think the dreams were visits, and they helped both Roller and I deal with the traumatic and confusing events that we'd been through. In a sense, we each had several wounds to deal with, and his visits allowed us to work through them together. I know that I have been forgiven.


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