Happy Birthday and Happy Fourth of July, Frankie!

Bear with me here. I have a bit of a shaggy dog story to tell. But I have a bit of a shaggy dog — one whose designated birthday is today.

Some background…

My UPS Angel

I’ve ranted against UPS and their canine insulin delivery before, and I don’t have much nice to say about UPS now either, since they are trying to charge me $147 for a delivery I already paid $88 for and which was 8 days late. (I should mention that the insulin was, once again, sent to me from Canada by the ever-generous Karen Friesecke of DoggieStylish.com.)

But there was a woman working for UPS named Patty who had my back. She called me every day to tell me about the status of the insulin. She assured me it was safe in a refrigerator in Louisville, although she could do nothing to hasten its egress from said refrigerator. She gave me various names and phone numbers of people to call at the FDA, the agency that was holding up the insulin.

I sent her a picture of Frankie (hey, all’s fair in love and procuring medicine). I’ll bet it’s on the wall in the UPS office in Louisville.

In one of our conversations — which preceded my sending her the picture of Frankie — Patty told me that she was an animal lover and that she had a German shepherd and a cat. She’d never liked cats, she said, and neither had her mother, but when her mother died, a cat showed up on Patty’s doorstep and refused to leave. Patty admitted, somewhat sheepishly, that she believes her mother’s spirit is in the cat.

She’s not the first person who has told me a story of a loved, departed relative returning as a pet.

What I have said in the past about my mother and Frankie

In the section of Am I Boring My Dog about the Rainbow Bridge, I wrote:

According to the story, every cherished pet that dies goes to live in a verdant meadow below the bridge, restored to youth and health, eating delicious food, and cavorting happily with other pets. The only thing missing from the picture is the beloved human companion: you. When you arrive, there is great celebration and then you cross over together to the other side.

I confess that I cry like a baby whenever I read this story. It’s only after I blow my nose that I start nitpicking the details–as I do with all strict delineations of the hereafter.

Meadows are all well and good, I think, but shouldn’t spilled garbage, a dog favorite through the ages, be involved, too? And pigs’ ears? If so, would pet pigs get a separate area to wait for their ascent to hog heaven, one where dogs won’t covet their hearing organs? And, as I mentioned in this book’s introduction, my mother feared all creatures great and small. Did she shed her animal anxieties when she left her body–or will I be forced to choose between hanging out with her or Frankie? (Don’t ask.)

As this might suggest, I’m not a big fan of the woo woo.  The idea of my mother, who died more than 20 years ago (on July 2, 1991), being reincarnated as Frankie, who was born some 13 years ago, never occurred to me.

So why are you going there now?

I’ve been researching my mother’s family for my soon-to-be-launched new blog, Freud’s Butcher (please like it on Facebook), which has made me think about issues of mortality. And I designated Frankie’s birthday as the 4th of July because he’s my Frankie Doodle dandy.

He will be (theoretically) 13 tomorrow and I was going to give him a Bark Mitzvah, a ceremony for Jewish males when they are 13. (If you don’t think Frankie is Jewish, I would like you to recall that he is very circumcised). That didn’t work out but it added religion and Frankie to my preoccupation with mortality and my mother.

And then there was the woman at UPS who thought that her mother came back as a cat, even though her mother had never liked cats.

What my mother and Frankie have in common

  • Skittishness. My mother was rather nervous and somewhat antisocial.
  • Lack of forthrightness about the past. Frankie never talked about his past. Neither did my mother. I know my mother’s involved trauma; I’d bet Frankie’s did too.
  • Shortness. Relative to the rest of their species, of course, not relative to each other.
  • Dislike of the medical profession. My mother liked going to the doctor about as much as Frankie likes going to the vet.
  • Conditional unconditional love for me. I have often mentioned that Frankie’s unconditional love is not constant. He loves me dearly — but on his own terms. My mother’s love was like that. She was critical of me and disapproving of many things that I did, but I never doubted her devotion.
  • July 4 as a significant date. My mother was buried on July 4. It’s the date I chose for Frankie’s birthday.

Convinced yet?

Me neither. But it’s fun to speculate. And think about the karmic possibilities. I never had to take care of my mother in her old age, but I’m at the beck and call of my geriatric, diabetic dog.

So spill it. Do you think any of your relatives — or relatives of people you know — have returned as pets?

 One more thing…

In case you’re wondering what I am doing about Frankie’s birthday: I am giving him the gift of not dressing him up in annoying red-white-and-blue streamers and cocktail napkin, as I did in the past so I could take the (admittedly worth it — at least to me) picture that you see here. And of course I am staying home with him so he won’t be alone and freaked out by the firecrackers and fireworks.

Oh yeah, and I am not subjecting him to a Bark Mitzvah.

32 thoughts on “Was My Mother Reincarnated As My Dog?”

  1. You charmed me with your very first paragraph. You should win a prize for best blog post intro.

    I’m not inclined to believe animals (human or otherwise) have consciousness after death. But heck, what do I know? Anything is possible.

    I think it’s a nice idea to think friends or family members could come back into our lives as animals. It might promote healing to spend time with a family member who could not talk and was covered in a beautiful shaggy coat. 🙂

    1. Why thank you!

      I’m inclined towards your noninclination but it’s fun to contemplate, isn’t it?

  2. I agree it’s a great post, Edie. I am convinced that my sister’s spirit manifested itself in two successive cats. What better way for her to watch over me?

    1. Thanks for coming by, KL. I like the idea of our pets watching over us and I think my mother would have been very interested in both the vigilance and surveillance aspect.

  3. I really enjoyed this post, Edie (as I do all your posts). My mother also feared all creatures great and small. And I’d love to really believe in the concept of the rainbow bridge, I tried and tried, but…

    In any case, my dog Luna was born into rescue 10 years ago on June 2, 2002, and my mother died on that very same day. Is she a reincarnation of my mother? Does she have my mother’s spirit inside her? Is she here to oversee my actions? She always wanted to. Why would she “return” as an animal, especially a dog, which she feared? Luna is very fearful and not good in crowds. Same with my mother. Sometimes I think there are similarities, other times I try to avoid thinking about that.

    I’m rambling, but anyway, this post did strike a chord. And I’m looking forward to your new blog…

    1. Fascinating, Hilary — it sounds like your experience is similar to mine in terms of personalities, but far more eerie in terms of the birth and death dates! It would be hard to avoid thinking about that coincidence, no matter how cynical or nonreligious a person was.

      And thanks for your nice words.

  4. I love your posts Edie. You had me at FB when you posted this and the question. I have never once thought any of my relatives came back in any of my pets, but I do admit to having a ghost cat once (not my own). I swear it came with my bed because as soon as I got a new one it went away.

    Anyways, I wish Frankie a lovely birthday. My birthday is also on the 4th and like Frankie, I am not a big fan o fireworks unless I can watch them from a distance and not hear them go Boom!

    Glad Frankie escaped the Bark Mitzvah. 🙂

    BTW – One of my clients always claimed that her dog, Henry, was her father reincarnated. An animal psychic confirmed it, so who am I to question? Well, okay. I did. 🙂

    1. Now you have to tell us how the cat haunted you!

      HAPPY BIRTHDAY! I hope you’re having a wonderful day, hanging out with the pups and avoiding fireworks.

  5. I am convinced that a couple of my dogs have returned in new dog bodies, but family members? Considering that I am at best ambivalent about most relatives, perhaps not a good idea.

    1. Think about the possibilities of working out issues with the pet incarnations of said family members. Thinking of my mother as Frankie puts things in perspective…

  6. I don’t believe in reincarnation, but your story is charming. If your dog has all those attributes related to your mom then it some karmic possibilities might be possible; though I am finding it hard to believe that.

    1. I’m not sure… I think I would have even less fun than Frankie — I’ve never been good at arranging social events. And he’d get all the gifts (as is only proper).

  7. Love and birthday kisses to Frankie, belatedly! I do believe in reincarnation though it’s more an Indian (as in India ) notion to think people come back as animals, but your post made me smile.

    Seeing personality traits or habits in your dog that are similar to a family member who has passed on could be a reflection…you see habits your mom had, but are they similar to habits you now own – do our dogs take on some part of our personalities and habits, reflecting that back to us reminding us of people we miss? Fun to think about!

    I’m excited for the unveiling of the new blog!

    1. Those things *are* fun to think about, Mary. Thanks for applying a thoughtful perspective to this issue, as always!

  8. Hey Frankie, Jet here. Hi Miss Hilary.

    hmmm… lots for this boy to contemplate.

    Glad to hear about the bark mitzvah… Frankie’s already doing plenty of mitzvahs I bet and… too much studying! BOL…

    1. Ha! You’re right — Frankie is doing plenty of mitzvahs, mostly cheering people up as he bounces along looking cute (and of course making me laugh throughout the day). So though he is not tending the sick or giving charity, he’s doing his part! And boy can that dog study…

  9. My mother-in-law recently passed away, and while trying to reconcile his lapsed Catholicism with her death, my father-in-law briefly suggested that maybe, if “that reincarnation thing worked”, she would come back as a cat.

    I could just see it: a big white angora cat, lounging in a posh house.

    She loved cats.

    I don’t believe I own any of my dearly departed, but there is somebody in each of those furry little bodies. Who knows who it is?

    1. Thanks for coming by, Amber. I hope your mother-in-law returns as a pampered tabby and that you are living with a group of lovely souls in furry bodies!

  10. It is really amazing how your dog poses characteristics similar to your mum’s. I don’t believe in reincarnation but I am really perplexed by that.

  11. We come back into our own kind. No your mother did not come back as your pet. However our loved human souls do super impose over an animal and can communicate to us through them which makes it seem like they could possibly be them.

  12. Hi, I looked this up for a reason, my son died 6-10-12, I found my Shelby a couple months later online. When we went to pick her up I had asked when she was born and her reply gave me chills, she said she couldnt remember exactly what day but it was the week of the my sons death. I then didn’t think more of it until our lil Shelby started to respond to us in an over loving way. She seems to know what we are saying and she knows when I’m sad, is over excited when we come back home or just back in the house after 5 minutes. She talks to us with her lil grunts in our ear. I took her to a family function once and she went to everyone “he” woulda knew and did not go to ones he wouldnt. I am one that does not believe in things unless I see them, so this is a hard one for me. She literally hugs us. What do I do with this?

    1. I can only say Dog works in mysterious ways… I’m so sorry for the loss of your son, so glad you’ve found some comfort in your Shelby.

  13. I do not believe in reincarnation, but after my mother passed away, I came back home after four months of being away taking care of my mother, and I can swear I felt that my dog was looking at me with the same look my mother had. My dog would stare at me and a very sweet way she would approach me and lick me with so much love, I just felt that my mother got inside the dog. Several months later, My brother told me: “Laura, this may sound silly… but I felt that mom got inside my dog, because my dog approached me differently than he did before, and I felt so much love coming from him… it was like mom was inside the dog”.
    I was amazed. We both said at the end: “we will never know. Our religions believes do not let us believe that… but IT FELT SO REAL!! … I cannot deny it now. I just leave the possibility open.

  14. I’ve always believed that my English Bulldog, Bianca, was the spirit of my pap. They had the same eyes, and the same sense of humor. I looked into her eyes and I just knew.
    We lost her this past week, shortly before the one year anniversary of my Grandma’s passing. I hope that they are together now, and happy. ❤️

    1. Thanks for writing. I’m very sorry for your loss. I hope that Bianca and your pap are indeed together, having a fine time. All my best,

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *