The brush of his soft fur against my lips is one of my last memories of him. As the needle was caringly administered by the young lady veterinarian, I whispered in his ear, ‘I love you’, over and over until his last breath released, accompanied by a strong sense of relief. He was gone, my Charlie boy.
But was he? Was he really gone? The vet announced his heart had stopped beating but my hand still felt his warmth beneath his fur. He looked so peaceful and part of me was grateful he could now be free. The blue woollen blanket I had made for him lay beneath his cute body and gave me some comfort that part of me was going with him to the doggie morgue where he was to be cremated. His favourite green tennis ball lay next to him wrapped in a bouquet of white carnations.
As my husband and I turned to leave, we both caught a glimpse of his still, vacant, open eyes. His vibrant, cheeky, and loving soul had clearly left the building.
We left the clinic and returned to our car. We both felt odd leaving him there. I said to my husband, ‘I don’t want to go home yet, it will feel so empty there without him’. He agreed so we decided to take the car home and hop on a bus to the city and visit Southbank, by the river, so we could walk, talk, and process what had just happened.
As we walked to the bus stop, my husband said, ‘I can smell Charlie’. The last few days of Charlie’s life he developed an unpleasant breath as he had not eaten anything for ten days. It was a distinct smell. This is the smell my husband described. I can only assume Charlie had left the building with us and was not yet aware that he had left his body. Either that or perhaps he was just letting us know he was indeed still living on, even within an hour of leaving his body.
Charlie had been a family member for thirteen years. The previous few months his health had declined to the point he could not eat. I knew in my heart; my baby was dying and he would soon return to his real home in Spirit.
Charlie was just six months old living on death row in a dog pound when I was guided there by Spirit. I remember putting out a clear and decisive prayer that it was the right time for our family to open our arms to a family pet. My youngest child, Ethan, was six years old at the time.
After putting out the prayer to send me the perfect dog that would suit all our needs, I kept hearing the words in my head, ‘Ring the Tweed City Pound’. Knowing that Spirit often guides us through downloading thoughts into our mind, I did what the words said. We had decided a small dog would best suit our family.
The gentleman on the other end of the phone informed me that there was only one small female dog he thought might suit us whose name was Chloe. He suggested we visit the Pound and meet Chloe.
It was a family outing, all four of us, my husband Dean and my two sons, Jay thirteen years old at the time and Ethan six years old.
We excitedly made the forty-minute drive up north. Upon arrival, we entered the Pound, and I was slightly disturbed how it reminded me of a gaol. There was a clinical scent attempting to mask a sadness that permeated the long and stark hallway leading to the caged kennels.
As the manager of the compound escorted us to meet Chloe, we were met with a vicious bark coming from a small white and brown dog that did not seem happy to meet us at all. Our hearts sank, no, she was all wrong for us. The manager explained she had been sent to the Pound by her previous owner for biting a two-year old’s face. That information confirmed she was not right for us.
As we began to walk away feeling disappointed, a loud bark from Chloe’s neighbour caught our attention. A cute tan coloured Terrier-cross pressed his nose against the cage door and looked straight into my eyes. The manager immediately apologised. ‘How could I have forgotten about Charlie,’ he said. ‘Can we let him out and have a look?’ I asked. ‘Sure’, he said.
The moment the door opened Charlie flew out, fast as wind and began running for his life down the huge compound. My boys started chasing him as the manager ran, panting behind them, his big chain of keys rattling. Finally, Jay caught him and delivered him to my arms. In that moment, I knew I had found our boy. Charlie’s whole body relaxed with relief in that first moment I held him, just as he did when he took his last breath.
There seems to be an order in the universe that is hard for us to grasp. Here we are, moving around in these bodies that we were birthed into, many of us intuitively knowing that we are so much more than a body. It is our vehicle for a rich, deep, and mysterious being that lives temporarily within it. Then we connect with other mysterious beings in their bodies mutually triggering feelings, thoughts, and experiences. I believe there are no mistakes when it comes to encounters.
Some call it a holy encounter, meaning that every encounter we have with another life form is divine intervention. We evolve through our connection with others, the good, the bad, the difficult, the easy. We learn, we grow, we get in touch with who we are, we feel, and we expand our awareness. When those we love return home to the Spirit world before us, it is often a painful and heart wrenching spiritual growth.
Our body is much like a car. There are different models, colours, new and old cars. Just like cars, it helps if we do regular maintenance on our bodies but eventually, we will need an upgrade, just like a car, a body cannot last forever. When we die, the body is no use to us anymore and we cannot navigate around Earth anymore. Yet we survive, and part of us lives on. A soul cannot die; it is made of an indestructible substance.
Even though Charlie's body did not work so well at the end of his life, I know that his delightful soul lives on. He has come to me in my dreams, I have felt his presence in my home.
Keeping Love Alive on the Other Side is an extraordinarily illuminating and empowering book that will give you deep faith and comfort that all of your loved ones are available to you even after they pass, and that you will live on as well. Liz Winter’s vast experience as a medium, her penetrating insight, and pure heart shine through. This is a must-read for anyone who feels fearful or limited by the idea of death and wishes to know and claim our divine eternal nature. These lofty spiritual truths are balanced with grounded skills and practices. I can’t say enough good things about this milestone book. I wish everyone who wants to know more about life beyond the physical dimension will read it!
---Alan Cohen, bestselling author of the award-winning A Deep Breath of Life
About the Author
Liz Winter, Dip. Prof Couns has been helping people through her work as a psychic medium, professional counsellor, and teacher for over thirty years. “Not only is she passionate about enlightening others about the loving presence of those residing on the other side, but Liz also teaches others how to connect with their own Spirit within.”
Liz is married with two adult sons and lives in Brisbane, Australia. This is her third book. Other titles by Liz Winter are “For the Love of Spirit, A Medium Memoir” and “Gifts of Guidance, Fifty Messages.”