After Death Visits Our Animal Companions

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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.

Lori Stewart Price
Pawsitive Energy
The Spay/Neuter Incentive Project and Sanctuary

Article courtesy of Pet360