Do Dogs Have Souls? 7 Ways You Know
Dogs do have souls. The word “animal” itself is derived from the Latin word “anima”, meaning “soul”. Theologians, biologists, psychologists, animal communicators and pet parents have pondered the spirituality of dogs for thousands of years, and it is clear that the essence of a dog is his loving, healing soul.
The word “animal” comes from the Latin word “anima”, meaning “soul”.
What is a Soul?
The soul is the spiritual or immaterial part of a human or animal, regarded as being immortal. The soul is one’s “self” – the body is simply the vehicle that experiences the life lessons and karma of the soul.
“The soul is the spiritual part of a human or animal, regarded as immortal.”
How Do You Know If Dogs Have Souls?
Most people defer to organized religions to answer this question. Others look toward science, psychology, spirituality, and personal experience. Many claim to have the answer. What is clear is that dogs have been honoured throughout history for their spiritual significance.
Here are seven ways you know that dogs have souls.
1. Dogs Have Been Revered As Spiritual Beings Throughout History
For over 14,000 years, dogs have walked with humans on the path of life together. Our ancestors honoured their spirit with sacred rituals, and referred to dogs as martyrs and holy beings. Indigenous story tellers describe how dogs protect our souls from negative spirits – especially at night and through our dreams. In some cultures, dogs are believed to be reincarnations of our ancestors and are given names such as “aunt, grandfather or child”.
To honour the soul of deceased pets, many people bury their beloved Fur Souls with rituals, in sacred spaces such as pet cemeteries. Not surprisingly, a study that looked at pet gravestones between 1881-1981 showed an increasing trend in references to a pet’s “immortal soul”.
Psychopomps: Guide Dogs of Souls
In ancient times, dogs held the holy role of psychopomps – beings that escorted the souls of the dead to the afterlife. It is difficult to conceive that a being without a soul would be given the honour of escorting other souls to the afterlife. Anubis (Egyptian) and Cerebus (Greek) were dog-like figures representing the passage to the underworld. Dogs also guarded the Bridge of Decision between this life and the next, helping to judge the character of the souls crossing over.
Perhaps this is why dogs make such dedicated guide dogs. Maybe this is why we trust a dog’s judgment of people, and envision our departing Fur Souls crossing over a bridge to the afterlife (Rainbow Bridge).
2. Dogs Are Honoured in the Sky
In our grief, we often gaze to the sky and think of loved ones as stars that reflect their spirit and continue to shine on after death. Dogs are represented in the stars too – in fact, they represent some of the brightest stars in our galaxy.
Three major constellations are named after dogs:
- canin major
- canin minor
- canes venatici
The brightest star in canin major is Sirius or the “Dog Star”, associated with dogs in ancient Greece. Procyon or “Little Dog Star” is the brightest star represented in canin minor.
3. Theology and Organized Religions Weigh In on Dogs’ Souls
The study of the soul by religious theorists is both academic and intangible.
In Judaism and some Christian faiths, humans are believed to be the only living beings to have souls. However, the majority of other religions – most notably Hinduism and Jainism – acknowledge that all living beings have souls – including dogs.
In Buddhism, people believe their pets have souls and many involve their dogs in religious activities such as meditation, chants, and worship.
Many Indigenous peoples and nature-based spiritual practitioners accept as fact that all living beings have souls and are part of the universal energy. This is one reason they show such great respect for the protection of nature and animals.
Animism goes a step beyond and teaches that even non-biological entities – such as rivers and mountains – have souls.
Religious Leaders Give Their Opinions On Whether Dogs Have Souls
Ancient religions and noetic sciences were explicit that dogs were spiritual beings capable of advancing souls and spiritual growth on our planet. However, as humanity experienced periods of spiritual and moral devolution and arrogance, some religions began to denounce animals solely as property and with no more spark than a rock.
In the 19th century, Pope Pius IX went as far as to lead a vigorous campaign against establishing the Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, arguing that animals had no souls.
In more recent times, religious leaders such as Pope John Paul II re-embraced the spiritual nature of animals reminding followers that, “also the animals possess a soul and men must love and feel solidarity with smaller brethren.” He went on to say that animals are “as near to God as men are.” Saint Francis of Assisi, saw the soul behind the eyes of animals and is known widely as the patron saint of animals.
4. The Science of the Soul
From biology to quantum physics, some areas of science have tried to quantify the existence of souls. Most have dismissed the concept of a soul as simply a belief, yet others have followed the scientific process looking for evidence. Scientists have even attempted to quantify and weigh the soul (of people and dogs), with no consensus. Some have searched for the “God nucleus” in cells or looked for areas of the brain that light up when a person dies.
Following his own near death experience, neuroscientist Eban Alexander concluded that the soul is very real, despite being unable to prove this scientifically. More recently, academics are attempting to prove that the soul is a form of electromagnetic energy that never dies.
Physicality does not mean realness.
With substantial evidence lacking, some scientists have attempted to re-define the soul to fit into the box of current knowledge, suggesting the soul could be the sum of a person’s neurocognitive essence, their specific brain signature, unique nerve connections and flow of brain-based chemicals. It could be argued that these components make an individual unique, but it would be a far stretch to suggest they make up the essence of a being’s soul.
Regardless of efforts, physicality does not mean realness. Could we measure happiness and sadness to quantify the existence of emotions? The science behind the soul is at best not yet understood – especially when it comes fo our dogs.
5. Psychologists Define Souls
The psyche is conceived as the totality of the mind, conscious and unconscious. So if the soul is that which goes beyond the physical body, perhaps psychology has the answers.
Philosophers such as Plato, Socrates and Aristotle regarded the soul as the essence of a living being, conceding that the body and soul were separate entities. Aristotle suggested that animals and plants have souls, but they were below humans in a “soul” hierarchy. He believed:
- plants’ “vegetative souls” existed simply to grow and reproduce and therefore were at the bottom of the soul hierarchy
- animals’ “sensitive souls” were above plants due to their ability to sense and move
- as “rational souls”, humans were at the top of the hierarchy due to their intellect and ability to reason
In his seminar on the “Dog”, influential psychologist Carl Jung wrote,
The dog helps with dying… and with rebirth. Through the mind of a dog, the world exists. Man and dog stand for a harmonious unit… between consciousness and less consciousness. In this pair…the unconscious is…bound so that the miracle can happen.
Psychology might suggest that the idea of a soul simply gives us hope and persistence to endure the pain of life and death. If we believe that our dogs have souls, could it make our lives more tolerable when we lose them? Perhaps. But spiritual wisdom tells us that the soul doesn’t simply exist to make us feel better when we are grieving – a dog’s soul may serve an entirely wondrous purpose in our lives and the entirety of the human experience.
6. Spiritual Experts and Animal Communicators Talk About Souls
A spiritual perspective seeks to unite all people – regardless of religious beliefs – under universal concepts like:
- connectedness to self and others
- relationships with nature
- an understanding of our life’s purpose
So does this definition include dogs as spiritual beings? A resounding yes! Dogs are souls who come to us to advance our spiritual growth. How they do this is fascinating.
A Dog’s Purpose: Soul Contracts
Dogs are our fur angels on earth – all around us dogs are acting as therapists, trainers, guides and teachers. By taking on these roles, animals help to evolve consciousness and spiritual growth.
Expert animal communicators have told us that part of an animal’s soul remains energetically connected to the spirit world (Universe, God, Light, Source) so that they are always “plugged in” to universal love. This connection tethers dogs to those they are with, to our sense of connection and to our life purpose, as defined in our soul contracts.
What is a Soul Contract?
A soul contract begins before life in our current bodies.
When we make the decision to enter Life School, we have a loving discussion with our Council, composed of our most precious soulmates, angels, guides and yes – animals – that are with us for all times. Here, our soul’s purpose is refined and planned with lessons on earth engineered to advance eternity’s consciousness through our life experience.
So yes, if we have ever had dogs in our lives, they came to us because they agreed to help us with our spiritual growth – through a soul contract.
Although many may pause here to debate a variety of religious beliefs, we at Healing Fur Souls embrace the universal, esoteric wisdom explained to us by so many Fur Souls. If you are interested in learning more about animals and soul contracts within the context of healing, consider this book by esteemed veterinarian and animal communicator, Dr. Cathy Seabrook.
Dogs honour their soul contracts in many different ways by helping individuals, societies and the planet through their wisdom and grace.
A dog’s purpose in a soul contract may be to teach us:
- empathy e.g. when we see dogs in less than loving environments
- kindness and unconditional love e.g. when a dog snuggles next to us or wags his tail (even if we are grumpy)
- wonder and faith e.g. when we hear stories of dogs who grieve the loss of family members, stay at the side of the dying or warn of danger
- to appreciate nature and all living beings e.g. by taking their own sweet time on walks to sniff, listen, play and check out new experiences while we rush to meet deadlines
- to look after our needs and health e.g. dogs frequently mirror health issues of their owners
One of the soul contracts that we see all the time is about health and healing.
An Example of a Dog’s Soul Contract: Health and Healing
Dogs can teach us about health and healing in many ways. They could:
- take on and reflect our state of health in their own bodies
- teach us about healthier ways of living
- help us develop empathy for when we see others sick or dying
- advance our ability to heal others
How do they accomplish this? Animals (and people) take on energetic manifestations of “dis-ease” as part of a soul contract in order to experience that which the disease can teach us. For example, stomach or gut problems often represent issues with intuition or “gut feelings.” Learning to “trust your gut” can propel you toward your true life purpose and release the need for stomach issues. This is where healers – including animals – have much to teach us. Healers suffer greatly in order to learn how to heal others.
So, it is for the healer to experience, and for animals to help us. Forms of energy medicine such as Reiki can be powerful tools to help us understand the spiritual meaning of disease, and heal from it. Remember though, it is important to have access to a full team of conventional and holistic health care providers for your dog when disease or injury occurs, as each specialist has a role depending on the situation.
Hudson – our second Golden Retriever – had an exquisitely important part to play in our soul contract. He was gifted into dis-ease in order to teach us how to heal him and other animals. Hudson’s story is incredible and is the inspiration for Healing Fur Souls’ Reiki and Natural Health Care for Dogs.
7. Personal Experience: Proof That Dogs Have Souls
As a nurse, Reiki Master, and pet parent, my observations of death are plentiful. To be in the space with a dying being is to literally feel the intangible when the body releases its final breath and resumes its journey in spirit. Perhaps it is not something that can be weighed or measured, but it is quite real.
For those of us that are trained to sense the energetic essence of dogs, there can be no doubt about the existence of their soul. At Healing Fur Souls, we have used Reiki to assist healing, understand soul contracts and support dogs’ transitions into spirit during euthanasia. All of these have provided enlightenment, joy and immeasurable love. Contact us for a virtual Reiki session to help your dog’s transition during euthanasia.
A Dog’s Soul Lives On
Grieving pet parents often ask us:
- will my dog will go to heaven?
- will he be with our other pets and people who have gone before?
- will he be with me in spirit?
- is he happy?
- was he ready to pass?
- was he ok with us helping him transition through euthanasia?
- does he have anything to tell us?
Be assured that every Fur Soul has served his purpose and has nothing but love for you. He leaps into his transition with joy no matter how long his life here was. He may continue to communicate through dreams, message or signs – just one of many ways to provide comfort to those who have lost a dog.
A dog’s soul doesn’t simply exist to make us feel better when we are grieving – it may serve an entirely wondrous purpose in our lives and the entirety of the human experience.
Dogs Communicate through Dreams, Messages and Signs
Dreams, coincidences and messages are ways our dogs’ souls continue to reach out and love us, even when they are in spirit form. Here are a few examples of personal experiences.
Morgan’s Dream Message
Morgan appeared to her pet parent in a dream before she passed. Morgan had been suffering from bone cancer and, although her pet parent made sure she was comfortable, she wasn’t prepared to let Morgan go yet. In the dream, Morgan showed herself attempting to run off across the Rainbow Bridge, but was tethered by a long leash. Morgan’s pet parent was comforted when she realized this was Morgan’s way of saying she was ready to transition.
With the help of an Animal Reiki Master, Morgan transitioned beautifully and happily, and her pet parent experienced love and closure now that she understood Morgan’s purpose and readiness to return to her purest soul form.
Harley loved his fur brother. They were best friends and enjoyed every doggy experience life had to offer. Through several surgeries and illnesses, Harley achieved his soul contract by teaching his family about proper nutrition, joy, play and living in the moment. He also taught his fur brother how to care for him.
The moment Harley transitioned into spirit, his pet parents began noticing blue dragonflies. They had never noticed them before – especially in the area they lived in. Suddenly, dragonflies were everywhere – friends would give cards with dragonflies on them, or dragonfly wind chimes would catch their attention. Harley’s mom’s new nail salon was called “Dragonfly Spa” – the signs just kept coming!
Once Harley’s fur brother passed as well, his pet parents often saw two blue dragonflies landing on them or dancing nearby. Knowing that dragonflies were often viewed as visitors from the spiritual realm, Harley’s pet parents were confident that dragonflies were a sign that his soul continued to send love, happiness and messages from beyond the Rainbow Bridge.
Stanford Tells All During Reiki
During a Reiki session, Stanford expressed that he was manifesting terrible stomach issues as part of his soul contract with his 35 year old pet mother. She was under tremendous stress from work, ate poorly and was experiencing nausea, gut inflammation and diarrhea but continued to work long hours and ignore her own health.
With the insight from a Reiki practitioner, she brought Stanford to a Holistic Vet, who taught her what Stanford needed to correct his nutrition, food sensitivities and heal gut inflammation. Because of her compassion and determination to help Stanford, she began to explore her own diet and stress management. She ended up quitting her stressful job, studying holistic nutrition, and selling her own brand of healthy foods.
Stanford had allowed himself to manifest his fur mom’s symptoms in order to heal both of them and achieve her life’s purpose. Another soul contract fulfilled.
Read more about how animals experience Reiki here.
The Bottom Line on Whether Dogs Have Souls
A multitude of opinions exist, but there is no evidence to suggest that only humans possess souls. In fact, from where we stand, it’s pretty clear that dogs do have souls.
The overarching connection we have to one another and our animals, is our souls.
However, whether we need to definitively confirm or deny the existence of a dog’s soul is ultimately irrelevant.
A thousand scientific studies, a library of historical records, declarations of individual religious beliefs and millions of personal experiences will not convince every person one way or the other. Either you know, or you don’t – because the overarching connection we have to one another is our souls. And one soul recognizes another soul, regardless of what body that soul is in.
There are many ways of “knowing”. Look beyond organized systems of science or religion to our one overarching universal experience – the connection we have to one another and our dogs – our souls. .
Dogs have helped us throughout history as teachers, guides, therapists and martyrs – ultimately to advance the spiritual evolution of humanity. We at Healing Fur Souls are honoured to support dogs by connecting with their soul, and helping them heal.
Do dogs go to heaven?
When a dog transitions into spirit, their souls continue to thrive in “heaven”. We know this because dogs have been honored as spiritual beings throughout history. Several spiritual leaders bless the souls of pets and usher them into the afterlife with prayers, rituals and sacred places in consecrated pet cemeteries.
A dog’s spirit will sometimes appear to bereaved pet parents through dreams, sounds and sensations. Dogs frequently send signs from heaven, like dragonflies, birds and other pets to comfort pet parents, and specially trained Reiki Masters can often describe the moments surrounding transition and what the dog’s version of “heaven” looks like.
Whether you call it “heaven”, the “Rainbow Bridge” or the “Afterlife”, a dog’s soul continues to thrive in her most beautiful version of heaven to help humans, animals and the planet evolve.
Be kind to all living beings. Respect the earth we share.
Join us on:
Anthony, M. (2021). The Afterlife Frequency: The Scientific Proof of Spiritual Contact and How That Awareness Will Change Your Life.
Jung, C. Children’s Dreams Seminar.