by Sarah Petruno, Shamana

This past year, my family suffered the loss of a friend and a loved one.

Our sweet dog, Mama.

A 65 pound German Shepherd mixed with a little bit of magic and who knows what, she entered our lives a short 4.5 years ago, at the age of about 2, as a rescue dog from a mechanic’s shop yard in Tijuana, Mexico.

and if rescue ever had a meaning, mama’s story into our lives is the most beautiful rescue story.

When she was found by the rescue organization, she was chained to a tiny outdoor doghouse, skin and bones, and starving, but somehow nursing 5 chubby puppies.

She was heavily abused, and lived in a makeshift mechanic’s shop yard, where she wore down her teeth chewing on and trying to gain sustenance from the nuts, bolts, and sheet metal that lay around her.

And yet, when the rescue organization cautiously approached this chained up, abused, and has-every-right-to-be-aggressive dog, she only had hugs, kisses, and love to offer – despite her treatment.

Mama Only Had Love To Give.

From that day forward, she was scooped up off the streets, along with those puppies, and brought into the home of a rescue worker. For 5 months, she was rehabilitated while her puppies were adopted, and she was given the personal care and attention she needed and deserved, before she was healthy and well enough to attend her first rescue event, in the parking lot of Pet Me Please, a local pet shop, in San Diego, California.

This is where I first laid eyes on her .  . . and fell in love. Without even asking my husband, I quickly made steps to fill out the paperwork to take her home and adopt her.

In just 3 days, she was ready to come home, and we met Mama again, this time with her rescuer, Jessica, at the Tijuana border crossing. She jumped right into our arms, our hearts, and our car.

At that moment – our lives and hers, were forever changed.

We hiked together, we walked together, we cuddled together on the couch, and we took trips to the dog beach, and to local lakes, rivers, and streams, for Mama to partake in the activities she loved the most, outside of hugging and snuggling – fetching balls and swimming. Ideally, combined.

mama, like many rescue dogs, taught us what it truly meant to love unconditionally, with a full heart.

She always had a hug to give when you needed one, and even when you thought you didn’t. She knew when you did – and didn’t even wait to be asked most of the time.

She touched so many lives with her sweetness and unending love, but she did share one special bond, and that was with my husband, Tom.

They Were Inseparable From Day One, Side By Side – Always.

Over the course of her time on this Earth, Mama traversed the entire spectrum, from fear to love, in a single lifetime.

From chained up, starving, and abused – to snuggling, hugging, and swimming – from fear, to love.

Mama’s physical existence in this lifetime ended. She died doing exactly what she loved with those she loved the most. In Mama’s last moments, she was hiking and took her last jump for a swim. Sadly, she fell on the way in and moments after the jump, she passed away, in my husband’s arms – with her heart full of joy and love.

With Mama’s passing, has come much reflection.

And today, I want to share with you the 9 things that Mama – and every pet – wants and wishes for their owners to know, after their Spirit crosses over.

9 Things Your Deceased Pet Wants You To Know

1. There’s Nothing That Could Have Been Done Differently

A Soul’s path is planned before they are born onto this Earth. This plan includes all possible exits from this world. And when the Soul leaves this Earth, know that this exit was part of their Soul’s plan and a specific choice made by their soul.

There’s nothing you, or anyone, could have done differently to save them. The time at which your Pet’s Spirit leaves this world is no one’s doing, it’s no one’s fault.

When it’s the Soul’s time to exit their physical body, everything that can be done, has already been done. Everything that needed to happen, did. Your pet wants you to know that there’s absolutely nothing you could have done differently, you did everything exactly right.

2. They Chose You As Their Parent(S)

Just as the Soul chooses exit paths and plans for their life, your pet also selected you as their parent.

Your dog, your cat, your bird – chose you, as the one who would make them feel the most loved and bring them the most comfort and joy while they were here. And you did.

Your pet wants you know that you were and are the perfect parent.

3. They Understand Your Sadness, But Would Rather See You Happy

As a Spirit now, your pet knows that sadness is part of the grieving process, but they wished it wasn’t.

Remember how, when they were alive, they would snuggle up next to you, sitting by your side (or on top of you), whenever you were feeling sad or feeling bad? They wanted to make you feel better *just like you thought* and they wished they could do something to make you happy, then.  And they still do, even now, They don’t want their exit to have brought pain, in fact, no one does. But they understand that this is part of the process.

They want you to remember the happy, love filled, and joyous times you spent together, and look back upon them with gratitude and thanks. They believe the time you spent together was a cherished gift and that this gift is a call for celebration – and smiles.

4. They Know You Loved Them And Hope You Know They Loved You Back

Your pet doesn’t want you to wonder if they knew how much you loved them, they do.

It’s said that grief is the final gift of love given from one to another, and the depth of that grief is a measure of the strength of the love between the bond.

They know how deeply you loved them, and they want you to know that they loved you back in equal measure (if not more!).

5. They’re Still Right By Your Side

You aren’t alone. They aren’t gone forever – they’re still right by your side.  And they always will be, if you let them. The Spirit World exists right alongside our physical world, and while your pet may no longer be occupying their physical body, they’re still with you in Spirit.

And remember, that’s who you loved in the first place. You loved their mannerisms, their attitude, and their personality – all elements of their Spirit. You didn’t love them for their fur, or their one standing straight up ear, or their snaggle teeth (ok, maybe you did a little). Mostly, you loved them for who they were as a Spirit, and that Spirit, still exists right beside you.

After they pass on, your pet wants you to know that they still cuddle up next to you, still join you on the couch, and still want to be with you, if you want that too.

6. They Still Want To Do Things With You

They’re still here, in Spirit form, and they still enjoy your company and want to do the things you always did together.

If they used to ride shotgun on car trips, or they used to love accompanying you on hikes, bike rides, or jogs, or they used to love sitting on your lap while you worked late at night – you pets wants you to know, they still enjoy doing those things, and still want to join you.

All you have to do to invite them along, is pat the couch beside you and encourage them to jump up, or give them the okay to hop out of the car and accompany you on the hike.

7. They Don’t Want You To Regret The Way That They Died

This is a sad one, especially for us. Mama died suddenly and in my husband’s arms, and her final moments are images he can’t shake. And he’s not alone. Nearly all pet owners have some sadness or regret about their pet’s final moments.

If you had to carry your dog into the vet to be put to sleep, your dog does not want you to regret this choice. It was their choice, too, to be in your arms as they took their final breaths, and to be surrounded by your love as their Spirit left their body.

Your pet wants you to have no regret and to have no sadness, they want you to know that these were their choices, and you honored them perfectly. You did exactly what they wanted.

8. They Know You Often Loved Them More Than You Loved Yourself

Even if you didn’t have proper food to eat, they know you somehow managed to buy them food and treats. Your pet knows that you often showered them in more love than you ever showed yourself. They know this, and they have deep gratitude for your love. This is exactly why you were the perfect choice as their parent, and they want to thank you, for loving them even when at times it seemed so hard to love anything at all.

9. They Loved You More Than They Loved Themselves

Your pet was an individual, too. They had things they felt badly about and things that they knew could be improved upon, and reasons, that they felt they were unworthy of love, just like we all do.

But you, you were always supportive, always loving, and always doting, even at times, when you thought you weren’t. Your pet loved you, and loves you, more than they ever loved themselves.

And if you’ll allow it, they’d like to still be a part of your life.


As for Mama, my husband, Tom and I are lucky. We are now at a stage in our lives where we can see, feel, and hear Spirit. Which means, even on the night of her passing, we saw her, felt her, and heard her around.

she’s still with us, just like your pet, is still with you.

And as I type this post, I can feel her big head on my leg, nudging to be pet.

You can learn to feel it too, and learn how to connect with your pet in their new, Spirit only form.

To get started, all you have to do is trust your intuition and your inner knowingness.

If you feel like you heard your dog’s claws tip tapping on the hardwood, you did.

If you feel like you saw your cat laying on the bed for a split second, you did.

Or if you’ve been crying, and you feel a heavy tingling sensation, leaning on you, you did.

It was them, wanting to comfort you. They want you to be happy again.