Pets do come back to give us comfort, just like my Bonnie

Pets do come back to give us comfort, just like my Bonnie: Insists BEL MOONEY, After one grieving owner saw her dog in the clouds

  • Lucy Ledgeway photographed the face of her dog Sunny in the clouds over York
  • Bel Mooney revealed she’s also been visited by her dog Bonnie, who died in 2015
  • She explored the possibility of a pet’s soul returning to offer their owner comfort

Of course Lucy Ledgeway saw the face of her little dog Sunny in the clouds over York last weekend. Where else would the spirit of a beloved dog reveal itself to a grieving human companion? For a few fleeting seconds that vision in that sky was the truth.

This particular sighting was reported — and photographed — by the broken-hearted owner who saw her much-loved Jack Russell’s face in a cloud formation, just a few hours after the dog died.

Those with no experience of loving an animal find it very easy to be scornful.

But those of us who have loved and lost a precious pet after many years of devotion are aware of so much more.

Bel Mooney who was visited by her dog Bonnie (pictured) six weeks after she died, explored the possibility of a pet’s soul returning to its owner 

We are tuned into the mysteries of the universe. And believe me we know there is no such thing as ‘just a dog.’ From damaged rescue to pampered pedigree, every dog is unique and offers a lesson to those enlightened and lucky humans willing to listen and learn.

An adored dog is a friend, an entertainer, comfort in times of trouble, the epitome of unconditional love. When your dog dies, the power, the energy of all those feelings remain. I believe, your journey together continues.

When my rescue Maltese Bonnie died in November 2015 we’d spent nearly 14 years together and I was devastated. Bonnie had helped me through a divorce and into a new life. I took her everywhere with me; she was my soul-mate.

At first, after her tiny heart finally gave up its struggle, I thought I saw and heard her everywhere in the house, and at night I would reach out to the spot where she always curled up on my bed — and stroke the empty air.

Yes, people will scoff — just as they will scoff at Lucy Ledgeway’s ‘ghost’ in the clouds. No matter. In fact, you can mock some more — when I tell you how my spirit dog visited me.

It happened about six weeks after her death. I was miserable and ill in bed, lying facing the window, watching our neighbour’s two white horses crop the grass in the field, under a cold grey sky.

Bel was inundated with letters from readers, after penning a piece about her grief for Bonnie. Pictured: Lucy Ledgeway saw Sunny’s face in the clouds

Those animals were so beautiful; it was as if the rush of love and gratitude I felt at the sight of them opened a pathway into my sad heart. Because at that moment I felt Bonnie nudge my back — as she used to when she was alive.

That little nudge said, ‘I’m still here — don’t worry.’ The room was silent, overflowing with her presence, full of healing. I didn’t dare turn around — because I knew I’d see nothing.

But I spoke to her aloud: ‘I know you’re here, Bonnie.’

And she was. I could feel that insistent pressure. Believe me, as a rational and sophisticated woman, I had never believed in ghosts, but this was not my imagination. I felt the electric ghost of my dog in that empty room — and until I die I will remember how she came back to reassure me.

When I wrote a piece for the Mail about my grief for Bonnie, I was inundated with letters. ‘Me too!’ came the chorus, from readers who told me about their dead pets — and strange signs that their spirit dogs were still there.

For example, one reader wrote a long letter detailing times when she saw her Labrador, as if ‘through a mist’. She explained; ‘He came to tell me that no matter what had happened he would always be around me. When he knew I understood and felt calm and no longer desolate, he left.’

Bel revealed she was moved by letters and photos from others who’ve experienced a visitation from their dead pet. Pictured: Bel and Bonnie

Another recounted how her rescue mutt Charlie used to curl around her legs, his favourite place. One day, after his death, as she was crying on the sofa: ‘I suddenly felt this warmth. Like an electric shock through my legs and my whole body. I knew it was Charlie. He’d come to comfort me.’ There were so many stories like that.

Later I wrote a book about this particular bereavement, called, Goodbye Pet & See You in Heaven — and was invited on ITV’s This Morning, to be interviewed by Eamonn Holmes and Ruth Langsford. Both dog-lovers, they looked sympathetic, if a tad dubious, when I told my story of Bonnie, and explained that I believe animals may have souls.

But afterwards, once again the letters came. Some even sent me pictures of the dead pets whose spirits they had felt by their sides. It was very moving. I realise that all this sounds daft, but the subject always strikes a chord, and there are too many stories out there, which simply cannot be explained.

When sceptics say: ‘It’s just the imagination,’ that doesn’t explain away the sightings, the sounds of paws, the dog beds mysteriously moved in the night.

Is it the subconscious working to heal us in extreme grief? Probably. They say the human mind and its abilities and mysteries are like an iceberg, with so much hidden.

And since research into the brain continues all the time, I rejoice in the truth of the statement: ‘We cannot know everything.’

Bel who treasures her experience of being visited by Bonnie (pictured), urges those who’ve lost a dog not to be embarrassed to look up at the clouds 

So why not believe in mystery? When grieving for Bonnie I tried to console myself with the idea that dogs have a soul. I said: ‘If dogs aren’t allowed in heaven, I don’t want to go there.’

To me it’s hard to imagine an Elysian Fields without dogs, large and small, bounding through the grass — rewarded for their enthusiasm, joyfulness, intelligence, acceptance and faithful devotion by sacred permission to romp forever in the land of the blessed.

If this happy picture can console those who are sad, then why not?

What do we know of heaven and earth — except that goodness and love are indestructible?

Over the years I have tackled the problem of pet loss in my Saturday advice column, and find myself contacted still via mail and social media by people who have read my book and been helped. Those letters, sharing a sort of faith, always fill me with joy.

And so to now. I found the space little Bonnie left in my life was so huge that it took three more little dogs to fill it (two rescue, one from a family) and sometimes I talk to these merry little creatures about the white dog who taught me so much about never-ending love.

I still treasure the memory of that magical pressure against my back . . . so if you’ve lost a dog you love, don’t be embarrassed to look up at the clouds: you might just see a face you love looking back.

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