I believe more than just buying or acquiring a pet, animals come into our lives for much deeper reasons and our job is to recognize these reasons so the soul healing that is being invited in between human and animal can fully manifest.

I know the soul journey and the healing that each of the dogs I have shared part of my life with have offered me. Our dog Marlin recently passed. He came into our life by accident. My third son was dating a girl, who we will call Jane, from a very impoverished family and who grew up in a trailer park in our town. She was nineteen years old and a twin. Unfortunately, her twin sister had died of alcohol-induced liver failure several months before my son met her. My son’s girlfriend reminded me very much of the shadow of my maternal line—mixed race, socially underprivileged and struggling with severe trauma. A part of me believed that my son, who is a real shadow walker, was dating her because he was trying to unconsciously heal the wounded shadow of the maternal line that I was carrying.

Jane had a dog, called Marlin, which she got the day before her sister passed away. She loved her dog, but due to the circumstances she was living in, she tied him up on a metal wire that was only a foot or so long for twenty-four hours per day.

When she started to hang out regularly at our house, I told her she could bring her dog, which she did. At first Marlin couldn’t stay still for even a second, he was so unused to being free. Jane allowed him to do whatever he wanted. Marlin had a very gangster-like energy, very much like the men in Jane’s life and her inner masculine and like the men in my maternal lineage and a part of my inner masculine. Slowly, we began to train Marlin and he became calmer and part of the family. Unfortunately, Jane was unable to have a healthy relationship and reverted back to drugs and older guys who were wheeling and dealing. But Marlin stayed with us. Jane texted regularly to find out how he was doing at first and then slowly the texting got les until it stopped.

Although Marlin was settling in, he was a bully and, in some situations, refused to listen, even though he was very bright and could open the door not just by pushing it open but by turning the handle and pulling it open. I took him to a dog trainer who after seeing him pushing and pulling me told me that dogs like Marlin should be put down. I told her I wanted to give it a go training him and that I wasn’t going to put him down.

What was interesting was that simultaneously in my life I was working on healing the inner gangster or inner tyrant, I had inherited as part of my inner masculine from the way the men treated the women in my mother-line. Learning to be harder and no longer a victim was playing out internally in my dreams and externally in a situation with my ex-husband where I was forced to go through my fears and stand my ground. We were also living on a piece of sacred land where many brutal battles played out in the past between the Spanish colonizers and the local pueblo tribes. I felt that the living on this land was helping me to let go, release the inner colonizer from my lineage.  All the energy was going in the same direction.

After six weeks of training, Marlin, who was incredibly intelligent, had come along way and even the dog trainer learnt to love him. However, there was one thing he had learnt in the trailer park that we just didn’t seem to be able to train out of him and that was chasing cars.

One day, as I was leaving the house in our truck, I looked behind as usual to check Marlin wasn’t there but this time, I got an inner message that I didn’t need to do that anymore, he had finished chasing cars. I believed he was staying home. I started to drive down the road and a few hundred feet along, I felt as if I had gone over a log. I looked behind and couldn’t see anything, so I continued. When I got twenty minutes down the road to the ski valley where I was meeting a friend, my son rang me to tell me Marlin was dead on the side of the road. I knew instantly that I had run him over. It wasn’t a log, but Marlin I had felt under the truck.

After the shock of killing him, I meditated and really felt him tell me that he was ok and that this was his last incarnation as a dog. I felt strongly that it was our joined karma that, however much I loved him, I had to release him. He was ready to go. Unlike the other dogs I have lost in my life where there was a lot of pain, I didn’t feel this with Marlin. Interestingly, Florian and the other members of our family all felt the same. We loved him, we missed him, but he had to go. The soul contract had been played out. I somehow led him home. The night following his death, I had the following dream.

“I looked down at my dog and he was festering, all his hair had gone, and his skin was transparent, inside him was just pus. Then a positive masculine figure who I could only see as an outline came and helped me to put the dog out of its misery.” I interpreted the dream as the inner tyrant or wounded inner masculine I was carrying. And that Marlin was mediating for me was now ready to be released. He would leave with all the toxins. It was a clearing and a cleansing. The positive inner male was helping me do this.

Our pets are often psychopomps, which means they are mediators between the unconscious and conscious realms. They are animal helpers. I always ask people what their intention was, their feelings, their reasons for getting a particular pet as this is often at the heat of the work that will happen between them and the pet. I encourage people to be aware of animals in their dreams, dreams of their pets and dreams of wild animals. What are their totem animals and what are they teaching them?  As we open our hearts to our non-human kin, it is amazing to find how interwoven out stories are and much our journeys support each other.

If you’d like to learn how to connect more deeply with your animals, using aromatic allies, consider our upcoming live-online class “Animals Speak Plants Talk Hearts Listen”, which starts October 18.