Schnapps was 12 when he was diagnosed with cancer, news that devastated me to the core. He was ‘my baby’, the one who had faced the most challenging experiences a dog could have. I was lead to him when he was 2 ½ years as he waited on death-row, a sentence he had earned for killing his biological sister. At the time no one knew that he was suffering a horrible mental illness known as Canine Rage Syndrome. Somehow he made me believe in him enough to adopt him. For over four years we worked hard as a family (2 humans and 3 dogs) helping Schnapps deal with his illness and eventually heal – almost fully. It was only when he reached age 7 that I realized that his toughest struggle was for him to forgive himself for killing his sister and almost killing Billy (story below). After a cardiac arrest Schnapps was diagnosed with dilated cardiomyopathy, a disease he believed was the punishment he deserved. The cardiologist gave him 9 months at the most but Schnapps wanted to fight. With guidance and support he did all the work he could on all levels: mentally, spiritually and physically. He even learned to pray on his own, often coming to me with: “I just talked with God and he said I could have a treat now!” He healed physically and made progress with accepting the compassion he deserved. Life was good!
Three weeks after Billy died on 2/27/2007 Schnapps was diagnosed with multiple myeloma. That day he consoled me by bringing me his ball with the message that became his poem. It became our mantra and helped us fully enjoy life until September 27 2008, the day Schnapps courageously left, at his request, to join his brother.
My days are numbered mummy dear
But don’t cry now ‘cause I’m still here,
Let’s set aside sadness and fear
To share each moment with love and cheer,
So get out of your mind and let’s play ball,
Isn’t it about living now after all?
I know my brother awaits me behind death’s door,
So I have faith that whatever’s in store
I have the best of both worlds, I’m a lucky dog
With unconditional love inspired by God.
Schnapps (1997-2008) and Colette St. Clair
Copyright March 2007
To Heaven: Special Delivery
Billy was a very special dog and one of my best friends. We chatted every day, just like two humans would. Billy often listened in on my sessions and delighted in asking questions and offering suggestions of his own. We included the prayer of St. Francis in our daily spiritual practice and discussed it often. I realized in hindsight that like so many animals, Billy was an embodiment of everything the prayer is about. He was a wise dog and an old soul.
When Billy got sick in 2007, he asked me to help him transition with his dignity intact. He felt a very strong spiritual calling he needed to follow. Due to a collapsed esophagus, he was unable to eat without coughing, choking, or regurgitation but wanted to enjoy one last meal. His body accommodated his wish and miraculously accepted the food without resistance. When I asked him why, he said, “Mummy, I think my body knows you’re not resisting letting me go. Thank you so much for that.” After enjoying his last supper (beef kebab), he said with joy, “I’m so lucky! I’ll be leaving with so much love in my heart and my favorite food in my tummy!”
All those who knew him or knew of him felt a loving connection to Billy for which he felt grateful and blessed even after his last breath. Before he left, he shared a special request that he wanted me to convey to our friends:
“Mummy, please tell everybody we care about, especially those who love and respect animals, to write a letter asking for special wishes, not necessarily for me. I’ll do my best to take them to Heaven. Tell them to think big and wish even the impossible, for themselves, their loved ones and the world, especially the animals.”
He then explained that the sealed letters were to be buried with him and he would deliver them personally to St. Francis and The Angels. We received many heartfelt responses, fifty-four of which were marked “To Heaven – Special Delivery”.
Billy went Home on February 27th, 2007, and his body laid to rest at the St. Francis Memorial Park. He visited me just two weeks later to deliver this message as a gift to me and the world:
Love From Heaven
Think of me mummy and love me true,
In spirit from heaven I come to you,
You may not see me the way I am
But stay open to feel I still love you.
The part of your heart that isn’t muscle
Knows of my presence – however subtle;
It’s wonderful we can always be tin touch
Even without the hugs you miss so much.
Thank you for understanding my need to go,
For your selfless act you are my hero.
You gifted the Universe by accepting its Spirit
Now teach everybody the sky is no limit.
Give every being you know St. Francis’ prayer
And promise them that he’ll always be there
For those who want to be at One with God
Whomever they pray for, not only their dog.
Billy and Colette St. Clair
Copyright March 2007
Prayer of St. Francis of Assisi
Lord, make me a channel of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me bring your love
Where there is injury, your pardon Lord
Where there is doubt, your faith in you.
Where there’s despair in life, let me bring hope
Where there is darkness, only light
And where there is sadness, every joy.
I ask you grant that I may never seek
So much to be consoled as to console,
To be understood as to understand,
To be loved, as to love, with all my soul.
Make me a channel of your peace.
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned Lord
In giving or ourselves that we receive,
And in dying, we are born to eternal life.
Janet writes: “I’m reaching out because Georgia has severe separation anxiety. She’s been with us since age 8 months; she’s now 3 years old and still tries to escape. She tries to eat her way through metal or wood doors and gates often successfully. I exercise her twice a day and often take her to daycare. We’re improving the fencing of our property but I’m still fearful that she’ll hurt herself trying to get out, or worse … This situation stresses me out daily. My husband Ken and I love her very much. We need to know what her issue is and how we can help her.”
Separation anxiety is a manifestation of fear. My role as an Animal Communicator was to identify the nature and origin of Georgia’s fear.
Georgia was very forthcoming in explaining why she felt anxious when Janet left for work. She said she felt tremendous fear that mom would get badly injured, and she showed me a mental picture of a motorcycle. She also explained that her escape attempts were aimed at finding and rescuing Janet.
I asked Janet if she or Ken ride motorcycles and she said no, they didn’t even own one. I shared this information with Georgia but she wouldn’t have it! Again she sent me the image of a motorcycle, insisting that it put Mom in danger.
When I passed that message to Jane, she replied: “Well, I work in a motorcycle store, but behind a desk…” Through further discussion, it was revealed that two family relations had sustained injuries due to motorcycle accidents. Although the accidents occurred long before Georgia was born, they had occasionally come up in conversations.
I explained this to Georgia, reiterating that her parents don’t ride motorcycles and that they’re both safe, so there was nothing for her to fear. Instead of feeling reassured, a perplexed Georgia blurted out: “then why does Mom feel afraid when Dad goes away?”
After a moment of silence, Janet tearfully said: “Ken is a firefighter …”
You can imagine the rest.
Separation anxiety is fear of separation. In this family, it applied to Georgia – afraid of being separated from her mom, and to Janet – afraid of being separated from both her husband and her dog. With that awareness, both Janet and Georgia can begin the healing process.
“Thank you for being an exemplar. You are an exemplar. You’re demonstrating to others, and what inspires me about you, Colette, is that you’re giving your gifts at a very high level and changing the lives of other people profoundly. God bless you for that.”