I want to go where they went

I do not profess to know what happens to us after we die. Even those who have strong faith in what will happen to us after we go are sometimes unsure of what happens to our beloved pets. And to them, I quote the great Will Rogers: “If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went.”

When someone close to me passes on, be it person or pet, I have a dream about them a week or so later. I don’t know why, if it is a quirk of my subconscious or an actual visit or who the heck knows; the theologians can debate it all they want, but these particular dreams always stick with me long after I wake and give me a good deal of comfort. And yes, I had a dream about Kekoa a week or so ago, right before the funeral service in our backyard arranged by our daughter and very kindly attended by all four grandparents.

But last night I had a different dream, and regardless of what it means it really struck me because it’s the only time I’ve had one like it. Those of you who have been around for a while may remember me speaking about my grandmother Mary, who passed away several years ago and is the person, I believe, who most set me on the path I am on today as a veterinarian. You may also recall my grandfather John, who passed away just under a year ago. It was from him, I later learned, that I got my obsession with adventure and the dream of climbing Mt. Meru, which I accomplished last year.

So in this dream, I am driving around on a grassy hillside and I pull into a driveway, quiet and remote. Another car pulls up, and it’s my grandmother.

“Open the window so I can see your face,” she says. “It’s been so long.”

But I get out instead, and look in her backseat. And there is my dog Mulan, who died of melanoma in 2009, right before I started the blog.

Not Brody! This is Mulan and Emmett, in 2008.

“Is she doing better?” I ask, reaching in as she licks me.

“Of course!” Mary says proudly. “I know how to take care of animals. She is doing very well.”

I peer into the drivers seat. “Is my grandfather up there?”

“Yes,” she laughs. “But he doesn’t want to come out.” Which is typical.

I pat Mulan, and I start to cry.

“What’s wrong?” she asks.

“I just lost another dog,” I said. “She had bone cancer.”

My grandmother takes my hand, and says, “I’m sorry.” She kisses me and I wake up with a wet pillow.

You know how some dreams are. Some are bizarre flights of fancy, some dreadful chasms of dark worries come to fruition. And others, in those rare and brief moments, sweep you up in their elusive beauty and show you something that stays with you long after you wake. They feel real. And of all the people for Mulan to find on the other side, my sweet dog who was abandoned by an owner who didn’t feel like treating her flea allergies and wanted me to euthanize her instead, I’m so glad that at least in my mind, she found Mary.

I don’t know what it means, or if it means anything. But I am so glad it was a dream I got to have.

Filed: Blog, Cancer sucks, Daily Life, Musings, Photography Tagged: ,
  • Laura

    Exactly 4 years after we lost our 15 year old english setter, Dodger, my father and I both had “visits” from him. I had a dream that he was laying on my bed and I woke up from a very real feeling kiss on my hand while my father, who I live 1,000 miles away from heard a dog bark and in a daze told Dodger to stop barking. Neither of us thought much of it until we talked to each other and realized how strange it was. Sometimes they visit. I don’t want to try to explain it, I just accept it/

    • Lea Maxwell

      I heard my deceased rottweiler bark the other day…in my sleep. What a lovely feeling.

      • Wow, how cool is that?

    • So true. Accept it for whatever it is and enjoy, right?

      • Laura


  • Gayle Cooley

    I dream of my dogs who are gone regularly Jess. I too find it comforting, though sometimes a bit unsettling as well.

  • Lisa W

    So lovely!

  • Gayle Cooley

    Just had a look again at the picture, and realized (even though you said so) that this was Emmet not Brody. Emmet was an Angel boy, and maybe you are just connecting with your Angel dogs!
    Sure wish you had your practice closer, I would feel so good if you could be my dogs Vet.

    • Awwww, thanks G! mwah!

  • JaneK

    Oh, that is beautiful….. It doesn’t matter if it means anything in the grand scheme of the world but it means something to you and that is what is important; glad you got such a wonderful sweet gift in your slumber……

    • Thank you! I was glad too. So sweet and so sad. I couldn’t go back to sleep after it.

  • Tabitha W

    After Magoo died I had a dream that he was walking down the sidewalk of our street. He loved walks and for a cat, we took him out a lot. He was walking and I was behind him trying to catch up, calling his name. He would look over his shoulder and keep prancing ahead of me. Finally beside the big tree where he always would stop to look, he sat down beside another cat. This cat was the same breed as him, a Burmese, but was different and younger. I picked up the other cat and he was sweet and funny and I knew he was my new little boy. When I put the cat down I went to reach for Magoo and he was gone. So I started to walk home and the other cat followed me right into the house. I knew this was Magoo’s way of telling me that it was time to fine a new little boy. He was telling me it was ok to love another cat. So when I woke up I searched for another cat and I found him. He literally leaped into my arms when I met him and started to lick my nose. His name is Barrington and he walked into the house and knew exactly where everything was, and new exactly where to sleep (on my head), Magoo was whispering in his ear the whole time.


    I lost my soul mate and best friend in 2003 at the young age of 10. A neighbor poisoned her. I had been gone, my father had been taking care of her. I knew something was wrong, but didnt get a chance to call my dad. 3 days after she passed my father called to tell me. When I left her, she was fat, sassy, and still my chia dog. I knew for some reason I would never see her again but brushed it off. I loved on her as much as I could and watched her chase the car as I left. Its funny but you know, I feel her whenever life gets tough, and I have dreamed of her many many times. I know when I need comforting, I just have to look for her wether it be in my dreams or when I am awake. I got another dog eventually but it wasnt the same and I know it never will be. I know how you feel though. Those animals or humans who were close to us and taught us important life lessons are always there for us even after they are gone. My uncle Hope, my dog Chia, my great grandfather, and even the various cats that have graced my life and passed are always with me. I had a dream a few months back after hurricane sandy swept through, and even though I dont remember but one little part of the dream it comforted me and still does. My uncle Hope, chia, and two cats I grew up with that were also posioned like chia, were standing looking at me. Chia and the cats came to me and let me love on them, then my uncle said “storms come and go, keep your chin up we are here”. Thats all I remember.

  • Lacy C.

    I really should know better than to read this blog at work. It either makes me laugh like a mad woman or cry uncontrollably. This was a crying day…

  • Cathey

    My father-in-law, long gone now, was the kind of man that dogs gravitate to. He could steal a cocker spaniel from a 12 year old who had him from birth. When Jim passed, the first thing my husband said was that now he was with all our dogs, and that they were all happier for it! It matters not why your dream happened, but only that it gave your comfort, which is what your grandmother Mary and Mulan wanted. Thank you so much for sharing this very special dream.

  • Trish B.

    That is beautiful. I believe that our loved ones do come to us in dreams as we are more open to receive them then. My Dad was killed when I was sixteen. He was killed in September. I had a dream that on New Year’s night about him. We were in a beautiful park and talking. I woke up and could not remember what we talked about but felt more at peace and knew it was real. I am so happy your grandmother came to visit you and let you know your baby is with her.

  • Leah


  • kgseymour

    What a beautiful, meaningful dream. Thanks so much for sharing. I love it.

  • Thank you for sharing this, and as a person who does believe we meet up with all our loved ones, human and animal, I think they were letting you know they are there and with you. I have felt my the presence of loved ones after they have passed, my Grandmother, brother, and various animals. This past November we had to put down out lovely 17 year old cat. I was heartbroken, and honestly didn’t think I could have another cat. After we discovered mice in our kitchen, I thought about getting a cat, but really my heart wasn’t in it. I had a dream that Katana, our cat was on our bed, and she had a ginger striped cat with her. She left, and the other cat settled at the foot of the bed to sleep. I finally went to a rescue and met 2 ginger brothers and adopted them both. One is still shy, but the other immediately decided he would sleep with us, and settles on the bed every night, in the exact spot of my dream. I think Katana was telling us it’s time to open our hearts again, and showed me who should come live with us.