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Soul Pets & Spirit Animals — How Sacred Critters Provide Unconditional Love, Companionship & Healing

Written by: Serena A. Carbonell, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.

Executive Contributor Serena A. Carbonell

While growing up amongst the beautiful rolling hills of the southeastern Pennsylvania countryside — with a vast array of livestock farms — having dogs, cats, bunnies, and other unique household nonhuman companions, and a tomboy I was who played outdoors for hours on end, I was surprisingly not the biggest lover of soul pets and spirit animals.

woman carrying and kissing her dog on a sunny afternoon

Though I delighted in being able to name almost every adorable critter we as a family adopted or had litters of and also play and cuddle with them from time to time, I always found myself slightly "distant" from those beloveds. I felt this as well with the myriad of native birds — robins, pheasant, geese, vultures, hawks, bald eagles (to name a few) — and deer, foxes, snakes, turtles, and much more that flocked our landscape.

A spiritual connection was missing — was it because our dogs were "outdoor" pets (and cats, for the most part), or that the vultures and hawks forever nestled on top of the barn and continually stared over our abode waiting for their prey — leaving me with an eery feeling that I could potentially be their next victim? The latter was very unlikely, and I did not fancy their energy — especially with an 1860s colonial-style stone house as the backdrop. I'll leave you to use your imagination on that one (and yes! channeling an M. Night Shyamalan film would be spot-on).

Or was it because my mother was diagnosed with Lyme Disease in 1986? (A deer fence would later be installed to protect the human and pet souls and enchanting horticulture living on the property). Fast forward to 1991 — that spiritual disconnect slowly started to shift!

Sacred critters

There is a powerfully transparent relationship between the human species and sacred critters (my name for nonhuman living and breathing entities — soul pets & spirit animals), and “there is archaeological evidence dogs were the first animals domesticated by humans more than 30,000 years ago (more than 10,000 years before the domestication of horses and ruminants).” Boehringer Ingelheim

Whether you love sacred critters or know someone who does, sharing this natural bond is a wonderfully magical gift.

Training and tending to soul pets is not always easy and takes patience — especially since their reactions are generally different from that of human to human — though when you are entranced snuggling with your dear sweet kitten or playing fetch with your bestie of a dog or learning how to ride your new energetic horse, a sense of peace, happiness, and joy thrives.

And there is also the beauty in knowing that no one thinks you are “crazy” if you talk to your pet — because if you chat with yourself (that which I actually do), others may then question your own sanity. I can assure you, however, that talking to yourself is helpful and keeps you in tune with your inner being and mind.

Anyway — back to the subject at hand!

The other plus—soul pets rarely “talk back” to you unless you are giving them some instruction or showing compassion — so you can have this amazingly long-winded conversation with your darling pet and know that you are heard yet receive a minimal response, if any. Usually, their reaction will be the constant wagging of the tail, a purr, perking of the ears, or other notifications related to their type and breed (a bark, a howl, a meow, an oink). Magic! And not everyone seeks comfort and affection from another human soul. Therefore having a soul pet to share company with is the ultimate.

“In certain spiritual traditions or cultures, spirit animal refers to a spirit which helps guide or protect a person on a journey and whose characteristics that person shares or embodies. It is also metaphor, often humorous, for someone or something a person relates to or admires.”

From the Aztecs to the Native Americans to the Indian Hindus and beyond, there is an appreciation and celebration for the transcendental experience and supernatural benefit of connecting with spirit animals. A driving force that captivates and touches the human soul — where safety, direction, and guardianship align with a blissful aura and feeling of familiarity. This connection is also a part of the zodiac— where each astrological sign correlates to a spirit animal.

My dear soul sister, Rosemary (who radiates true love for animals as they are attracted to her like a magnet) believes, “Soul pets or spirit animals imprint on our hearts and we on theirs. You can’t love an animal “too much“ spoil them, perhaps! If you treat an animal right, they will treat you right. Those attuned to animals — domesticated or wildlife —experience proof that God & souls exist.”

There are also hidden messages and signs from our sacred critters— provided when we seek answers, are apprehensive, or even need a general pick-me-up!

Unconditional love, companionship & healing

Whether you own a soul pet, are a sitter, or enjoy the splendors of their company, even if they belong to others — an incredible and uncanny power they radiate. As we know, there is a lot our amazing world has to offer, and not everyone has an “attraction” to soul pets, and others are also not made out to be caring owners. Sadly we may see the latter projected in the form of abuse — and like humans, when a soul pet is disrespected, they will likely react in an honest and defensive manner. Protecting their boundaries and the space in which they feel safe. Sound familiar? Akin to how we as human souls feel when we are treated poorly and unkindly — yes? Though because soul pets are unable to “speak up” or often “escape” of their own will — their sacred lives are more at stake, undoubtedly leaving them eternally wounded. Healing and freedom may not be on the horizon for them which is very sad.

In alignment with the Golden Rule (and as Rosemary shared in her own words) —“Treat others the way you want to be treated.” When we value and respect our soul pets’ presence and their ability to connect with us on a deep level — transformation happens. This then leads to establishing a special nurturing and sacred loving bond. Often times we find that some may feel intimated by a soul pet or have a “fear” of them that lives in their subconscious that needs healing.

Speaking of healing — you’ll love this story!

Several years ago, my family and I hosted a pool day for two of my former high school squash students (sister and brother). My sister had a beautiful & gifted healer Golden Retriever named SCOUT (who sadly is no longer with us). I had returned from collecting my two former students, and the sister sitting in the front seat began to get anxious when we started to drive up the driveway. She and her brother come from a spirited foreign land and are both extremely intuitive. She turns to me and asks, “Miss Serena, is a dog here?” I replied, “Yes — my sister's dog, Scout.” Her eyes swelled with fear, and she started to cry. Her brother and I reassured her that Scout is very loving — would not hurt a fly — the cutest Golden Retriever with an internal soft demeanor and gentle smile. Her breathing quickened as she sobbed, “I can’t go up to the house. I can’t do this. I am afraid of dogs, Miss Serena.” I asked her why. It turns out, like I, she had had an unpleasant encounter with a dog and was scared to be potentially put in that same situation again (I was bitten once by a German Shepherd who I later learned had been treated poorly by his owner — very sad).

Comforting her and knowing that her safety and feeling at ease came first, I asked her if she wanted for me to take her home. I gave her a minute to ponder— and then we spoke about her gift as an intuitive, and that we share the same understanding. I also told her how I am, even with time passed and much growth in my connection to soul pets, still “distant” at times from them.

Though they are here to provide us with light, unconditional love, joy, and bliss.

We also spoke about facing her fears. Especially when it came to trauma. She wavered for a moment, and then her final response after taking a deep breath was, “Oh-k … I’ll go up.” Her brother and I continued to tell her she was going to be just fine and that she can always change her mind — I could take her home anytime. After we parked — we first went into my parent's kitchen, where my sister-in-law was getting ready to go to the pool. While holding my former student's hand and squeezing it from time to time, I shared with my sister-in-law our natural predicament. My sister-in-law has a remarkable relationship with all soul pets so I asked her if she could speak with my former student. After a few minutes of conversation, a sense of peace and reassurance was experienced — still holding my former student's hand for protection, we all ventured to the pool.

AND … there was Scout! The minute he saw my former student it was like he knew — his intuition kicked in as a spirited healer — and he came barreling over to give her such loving attention. She squealed, looked at me for a brief moment as if to ask, “Am I going to be ok?” — and before I could even count to ten she was petting him, giggling and joyously laughing. It was frickin’ beautiful! They were inseparable the rest of the day — swimming together in the pool and then when we moved into the house, relaxing on the floor where she continued to pet him for what seemed like hours. Photos were taken to savor the special memory. Seeing my former student celebrate Scout, face her fears of feeling safe, and emotionally believe in her and Scout’s genuine connection was extraordinary. She was healed!

…And this story as well!

Life will send us along many rollercoasters that can be quite exhilarating and also take a sweeping toll on our emotional well-being. Even unexpectedly. Holistically, we learn from these experiences — whether positive or not so positive — and hopefully, make the right and wise decisions to influence change to move forward and grow. When in pain, finding the inner strength to get over the hump in feeling grounded and whole is challenging — though I am a firm believer that we, as souls, can truly heal. You have to want it though – right? And as I always say, “Time is our soul friend.”

One of my dear soul sisters, whom I also work with as her spiritual healer, has been going through many massive unanticipated transitions throughout the past six months, one sadly being that of losing her father very suddenly — leaving her heartbroken, alone, and deeply melancholy.

Recently, she visited a soul pet shelter and fell in love with the cutest and most precious kitten — wanting to adopt her immediately. After taking a day to purchase the household items she would need for the kitten — she returned a few days later ready to adopt her. Well, it turned out that because her apartment building does not allow pets, the shelter would not be able to honor her wish to adopt. She explained to the shelter about her recent family loss and was eager to adopt the kitten as an emotional support pet. They suggested she reach out to her doctor or therapist as they could possibly write a letter to her property manager.

So a letter I composed explaining that during the course of her and my therapeutic sessions, she and I have focused on the elements of healing from life experiences that trigger heartache and unexpected change. Noting that, recently, the sudden and very sad death of her father has certainly taken a toll on her body, mind, spirit, and soul — that it would be in her best interest to have an emotional support pet to protect her and provide her with the unconditional love, care, and companionship she needs to feel grounded, especially during this time of transition.

The letter was approved, and when she returned to the shelter she learned the kitten had almost been adopted. Whaaat? With divine timing and many guardian angels to thank, she now has a darling sweet kitten to celebrate her life with. We have also learned that the kitten is an Aries like my soul sister —and their chemistry is so strong that it even has a twin flame vibe.

AMAY-zing! A wonderful fated union of two special souls — meant to be it was.

And when we experience the death of a soul pet companion — mourning (as with any sad transition) is a natural part of our healing process. As my pre-birth sister of a bestie, Adrienne, shares —“I’m coming from a place of recent loss and thinking about my babies from before… so to console myself I think of all the tiniest twists and turns that led me to my most angelic creatures, relationships and teachers. I’m wondering who will come into my world next. I trust in Aero and Marlowe (and so many more) that will guide us to find the ones we need. So… You find each other. No matter what. Trust in that. Every twist in life, they will find you. I cry so many times a day thinking of my babies. It makes us feel closer in some way. We are still communicating!”

Now back to 1991

As an intuitive, I am connected to the human soul (and those who have crossed over) — so tapping into that spiritual source, depending on the environmental situation, comes naturally for me. When it comes to sacred critters, this form of channeling is forever evolving. And, yes, I certainly have had interactions with many critters throughout my life even away from my childhood home — from fishing every summer in Vermont as a youth to briefly working on a livestock farm when I was in my late teens (the list goes on).

Though the “distance” was always still there.

Until 1991, when Diet for A New America was placed in my lap and my understanding and knowledge of animal rights and appreciation for environmentally sustainable farming practices blossomed. It suddenly dawned on me — all sacred critters have souls! On land and in the sea! I immediately became a vegetarian — mind you, this was before the massive upsurge of the grass-fed, farm-raised, and organic movement (so I do eat non-veg from time to time, now, though 80% of my diet is primarily vegetarian). Simultaneously, I was also going through, what I consider to be, my first “spiritual awakening” which was profoundly life-changing.

And in 1994, when I traveled to India for the first time, I was fully immersed in seeing firsthand how the Hindu culture worships, celebrates and adorns sacred animals such as the elephant. The elephant (Lord Ganesha) has many facets in instilling strength, power, and brilliance and providing protection and a form of conveyance. The cow is revered and honored for being Mother Earth’s protector — peaceful, giving, and serving humankind while offering eternal wealth and prosperity.

Years would pass until I had my next encounter during a time of another "spiritual awakening" (as there are many layers to this personal growth). From 2001 - 2002, I attended massage therapy school on the Big Island of Hawaii, where the view of our classroom was the magnificent and spectacular Pacific Ocean.

(Lucky me – right?) Humpback whales during the season would be jumping, and if looking closely enough — dolphins skimming the surface with their graceful dance. Purely captivating and enchanting — for in Hawaii, the humpback whale (Koholā) represents transformation, protection, wonderment, and also psychic abilities (go figure!), and the dolphin (Nai’a) is considered a spirit animal known as the Angel of the Sea.

Leading up to 2015 — there were more blessings and connections I made with soul pets and spirit animals. It is important to note that I am one who is generally neat, clean, and tidy, and for years I could not imagine how soul peeps did not mind having their critters on their furniture or even sleeping on their beds. As my sister-in-law will tell you, I was the ultimate lint-brush user— always brushing down couches and chairs of dog hair and cat hair (I actually still do that to this day)!

In the spring of 2015, I experienced my first telepathic spirit animal experience. I was returning from a walk when I spied, in broad daylight, a hooting White Owl. My sister came to mind within a nano-second — all I could think of was death. I did not feel she was in any harm, though her ex-partner at the time was in poor health — and two months later, she would no longer be with us. Curious I was in wanting to learn more about the beautiful and always intriguing White Owl. Several spiritual meanings of transformation to guidance — what resonated the most is their message that death is near.

"And yesterday, the bird of night did sit. Even at noon-day, upon the marketplace. Hooting and shrieking.” — William Shakespeare, Julius Caesar

Over time, I have become more comfortable tending to critters while connecting with spirit animals. Bald Eagles religiously cross my path — a sign that they are there to protect me, especially during times of hardship, trauma, and physical healing. Butterflies, who appear as old souls, saying “aloha” and celebrating a moment with me as my Gemini spirit animal. I continue to see and hear White Owls — and every time, like clockwork, I learn soon after of someone having transitioned on — whether it be a close family member, neighbor, a relation to, or even a dear soul friend. Energetically the intuitive message I am able to share is that those souls are watching over their beloveds who are still here on Earth — letting those living know all is A-OK!

For “Animals are amazing, we share this world with them. Spirit animals are the animals that represent us, so when you find your spirit animal make sure to give the animal love even if you have never met the animal.”— 6th grader, Emilia Henry

The most powerful “introductory” moment in sharing a bond with a soul pet was when I was in a position to help adopt a puppy in 2020. The family I lived with at the time, who were the main adoptees, were stunned (literally!) at how quickly I became comfortable with the puppy — an adorable Brittany Spaniel. I spent hours teaching him new tricks and walking him for miles every day. And yes! It is true, no matter how much you walk a Brittany Spaniel their energy is ENDLESS. Whoosht! A dear companion he had become, and together we shared unconditional love. He taught me how to communicate on an intuitive level I had never experienced before. It was awesome! Now did I always fancy him being on the furniture or the bed? I am sure you will know how to answer that one. As I moved on from his jovially effervescent aura, saying goodbye was extremely emotional for both of us — though I will never forget our friendship as kindred spirits.

From that point on, I have been a soul pet magnet, and within the course of the past three years, I have been, off and on, tending to critters of all types and breeds — from dogs to cats, to donkeys and goats, to chickens and pigs, to ponies and horses. You name it.

I know ... I am amazed as much as you are!

Follow me on LinkedIn, Twitter and visit my website for more info!

Serena A. Carbonell Brainz Magazine

Serena A. Carbonell, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Serena is the founder of Spiritual Living with Serena (SLS) ‒ a holistic intuitive healing coaching & spiritual advisor service providing a simple approach for high performers in achieving happiness. Her name is pronounced akin to "Serenity" with a short second e. Serena utilizes her expansive certified therapeutic background to serve those who strive for excellence and have the challenge of living a more stress-free, rewarding, meaningful and holistic soulful life. She typically works with high-level executives, professional athletic coaches and successful competitive athletes. Always celebrating with a positive, loving zest for life, Serena is eternally in touch with her healing spirit: body, mind & soul.



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