He Was Just a Dog by John Cali

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This week I’ve been “babysitting” my brother’s and sister-in-law’s elderly, ailing cat Caesar while they’re travelling. I had to take Caesar to his veterinarian for a checkup a couple days ago. While in the waiting room I spied a book called Animals Are Soul Too! As I scanned through the book I realized it was filled with stories of animals acting more like humans than, well, animals.

When the vet’s assistant carried Caesar back into the waiting room she looked sad. The vet said Caesar likely had only a few days left to live.

That reminded me of an article I’d come across just that morning. It was all about what not to say when someone’s pet dies. Among those was telling someone whose dog has died “It’s just a dog.”

That, in turn, reminded me of that long-ago cold and grey winter day my beloved dog Blackie died. Here’s an excerpt about Blackie from our book, Dogs: Heart-Warming, Soul-Stirring Stories of Our Canine Companions:

I’ve dealt with the deaths of my beloved dogs over many years now. When Blackie, my first dog, died just two days before Christmas, there was nearly no understanding or compassion from my family for the deep sadness I felt. In fact, one family member, on Christmas Day, criticized my feelings with the comment, “He was just a dog.”

When I was as young as I was when Blackie died, I could not understand people’s casual, almost cruel, attitude toward folks whose pets had died. Today I still don’t understand.

But what’s changed for me over the years is I now see animals as having souls. And—I know this is controversial, even among some “spiritual” folks—I also believe they are fully equal to humans, and as deserving of love and respect as we are.

My spirit guides have always held great respect and reverence for animals. In fact, one of my first guides, Tamarra, “specialized” in protecting and helping distressed or sick animals. She’s still with me, and is still doing that work.

This delightful video is quite popular, so you may have seen it. If you haven’t it will give you, as it did me, a touching view of a so-called “wild” animal. It will make you realize we truly are all one—and that includes not just humans. Thank you, Sharon!

Related links:
Heart to Heart
Dogs and God
Farewell to Rosie
The Far Side of the Rainbow Bridge
The Magical Critters of Wyoming


Have you ever been criticized for your feelings toward your pets? How do you react toward the critics? Do you believe humans and animals are equal? Are they equal in the eyes of Spirit? Please share your thoughts and comments with us below.

What other subjects would you like us to talk about in these posts? Please email me.


About John Cali

John Cali is a writer, blogger, and channel for a group of spirit guides. His next book is Real Answers to Life’s Pesky Questions: Conversations With Spirit, Book 1. John lives in northwestern Wyoming.

16 Responses

  1. anny

    Hello John,

    This is certainly a delightful video and I can imagine the joy those people (and the lion) felt when meeting again.

    This post and the comments is all about people who do not love animals and who criticize those who do when they grieve over their passing. You do not understand how people can behave that way but at the same time you criticize them and their behaviour.

    I think it should be more about insensitivity as such. I also do not understand how people can behave that way and say such things when someone mourns about the death of their pet (and as such dog lovers behave just the same sometimes when an animal like a gerbil or a rat passes away, as my daughter experienced last year!). But I also do not understand why pet lovers are talking so denigrating about people who are afraid of dogs or cats or whatever. I think we should all be aware that we are different and never criticize someone else’s feelings. They are not right or wrong; they just are. Sometimes you overcome them, sometimes you do not.

    All of this of course says nothing about the worth of animals as such. I think they are everything you, John, and others mention above but all the same I am more or less afraid of large dogs, of their enthusiasm, and yes, I do tend to avoid visiting family members who have them, when the dogs are running around free. But that is about me, not about the animals, and I can fully empathize with the family when they grieve over the passing of a dog. I do appreciate it however when they have understanding for my feelings and keep the dogs away from me.



    • John Cali

      Thanks very much, Anny. I remember when your daughter’s pet died. Whether we believe they live on after death or not, we always miss their physical presence.

      I know folks who are afraid of dogs, especially large ones. So I do understand their fear, though I’ve never experienced it.

      Love, John

  2. Micki

    Hi John,

    We are all blessed to have our pets in our lives, they teach us compassion and what is unconditional love. Live is filled with joy when you have a pet as a friend, I know that with my “Min”, she is special along with all the cats, dogs, a horse and birds I that have had the privilege of sharing their lives. It is so nice to read that so many people feel the same.

    Hope all is well with you and yours John.
    Love and hugs,

    • John Cali

      Hi Micki,

      We certainly are blessed to have these furry (and feathered) angels living among us. Most of the people I know resonate with animals, whether they have pets or not. As you say, they teach us compassion and unconditional love — and what great teachers they are!

      All’s well here, thanks very much — and I hope with you too, my dear.

      Love & hugs,

  3. Martha

    All beings are in their true essence/spirit, LOVE.

    LOVE is equal seen through the eyes of LOVE.








    • John Cali

      Thanks very much, Martha — beautifully said! As my spirit guides often say, love is all that matters.

  4. Mikala St. Germain

    I had to laugh at the questions. That may be my weird sense of humor, but is there anyone with pets who hasn’t been criticized about their feelings for their pets by those who do not want nor care for pets? I have a little plaque on my door that says “The dogs and their housekeeper live here.” I have relatives who tell me they won’t visit unless I lock the pups in the back yard. They don’t visit. There are only two medium sized dogs and they know how to behave, what’s the big deal?

    As far as reactions to those who criticize, I simply smile. Their criticisms have no meaning for me. If this is some kind of contest, as far as I am concerned the animals will win over humans anytime, but I actually think we can live harmoniously together..

    Everything that has life was created by Creator Source. How can one be less or more equal than the other? Technically, I realize that is truth. As for the behavior here on earth I’d say the animals are definitely higher on those scores than humans. I really think the animals, especially pets, have more in common with the angels than with the humans. Look at the therapy dogs, and the dogs that use that same therapy behavior without training. Have you ever seen a human notice a stranger sitting on a bench crying or in obvious distress hurry over to that person and try to give comfort? I realize putting your head on their lap might be a bit much, but saying “brother” or ‘sister, is there anything I can do to make you feel better?” Even just sitting beside that person in compassion is needed support.

    Yeah, the eyes of Spirit look at the absolute unconditional love, compassion, joy, happiness -sharing, non-judgement , acceptance traits of the pets, and other animals, with a smile, and sometimes laughter. The pets give sparkle to their existence as well. Equal? No! Pets 10, Humans 3: but working on it.

    • John Cali

      Thanks very much, Mikala. I love your observation that animals have more in common with the angels than with humans. I’d never quite thought of it that way. But it makes perfect sense — and is so true!

  5. Corine

    It’s so true,I’m convinced that animals have a soul. Every animal has his or her own caracter. I have had a lot of animals througout my life and I always observed them.They all have there own personality,even chickens and people always laughed at me when I said that because they believe animals react out of instinct. A couple of years ago,my neighbours had 2 goats,I always knew excactly when they came home from work.About 5 minutes before I heard there car they started to get restless and they bleat very loudly. They teached me that animals are very telepathic too because they knew there omwoners were almost home while they can’t have heard there car yet.Very amazing.I once told my neighbours about there animals behavior and they were stunned,they didn’t knew that their goats were that smart! I’m sure spirit sees them as equals,why wouldn’t they,we are all connected and are all the same !

    • John Cali

      Thanks very much, Corine. I agree with you completely — animals are so amazing. They are truly among the greatest gifts Spirit has given us humans.

      Love, John

  6. Shirley White

    I’ve been blessed to share some time with quite a few animal friends over my more than 70 years. I have had them communicate directly with me in dreams. I have them connect and communicate with me after their passing.

    Our animal friends are a wonderful addition to our lives and certainly they can teach us a lot.

    I miss them when they pass on but am very happy to know how wonderful the afterlife is for them as well as for us. I am honored that they still visit me in spirit from time to time just as some of my family and friends who are no longer in the earth experience. Their spirits are strong and vibrant. They are joyful and encouraging and always loving.

    It is a wonderful role they have chosen to play in our lives and we are the greatest beneficiaries of their honest loving hearts.

    It is amazing how blessed we humans are that we have the opportunity to share some time with our animal friends.

    Blessings and Hugs

    • John Cali

      Thanks very much, Shirl.

      We humans are indeed most blessed to share some time with our beloved animal family and friends. As my spirit guides often say, the animals are among our best teachers and healers.

      Love, John

  7. Martha

    The shortsightedness you describe can be explained like this:

    ” They were just a human ..”

    Thank you for celebrating the innocents. The animals are here to teach us what love is.

    I am devoted to them…dogs especially. Cannot get enough of that love and heart and joy and simple I AM PRESENCE that dogs know how to live in.

    What time is it when you ask a dog what time it is?

    ” NOW! NOW! NOW! NOW! ”

    Seems to me we’re all trying to get where they already are.
    I know I am..



    • John Cali

      Thanks very much, Martha. I agree — we all can learn from the animals, especially from their ability to live in the moment.

      Love, John

  8. Conshana

    I have always known, as have you, that animals have their own consciousness. AND their own sense of Awareness and Integrity. The reason that humans get into trouble with ANY animal, or other human, is the overt violation of one of those three traits.

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