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8 Great Books for Tarot 

Personal Tarot Book Recommendations

I have selected my favorite books for tarot. If you are just beginning to learn the tarot,
I suggest you start with the first on the list, and make your way down.

Every Day Tarot: A Choice Centered Book by Gail Fairfield
Level: Beginning to Advanced

“Every Day Tarot” is the new (in print) version of my favorite tarot book, “Choice Centered Tarot”. In my humble opinion, you can’t find better information in a tarot book anywhere. It’s my favorite tarot book and has been for many years. I like the different approach it takes, stressing intuition & addressing symbolism and numerology, rather than just rote meanings of the cards. One of my most valued tarot books, I use it for my classes, and after twenty years, I still pull this book out as a trusted reference.

Tarot for Yourself: A Workbook for Personal Transformation by Mary Greer
Level: Beginning

I recently added this book onto my list. I can’t say it’s one of my favorite books, but I do like the workbook aspect of it for people who are just beginning. It’s not a book I would recommend for intermediate or advanced readers (who have probably already read it anyway.)

“Tarot Spreads and Layouts” by Jeanne Fiorini
Level: Beginning to Advanced

I’ve always heard, `you can’t tell a book by it’s cover,’ and this book is indeed, evidence of that. When I first received it, it didn’t `pop out’ to me. With not a lot of contrast, some of the text even got a little lost to me.

The text on the inside, however, is a far different story. This book has, by far, some of the best information on tarot I’ve ever laid my hands on. I do have to admit that I have a slight bias towards the author only because in reading her book, it seems as though she and I have very similar reading styles and values, but that aside, what impresses me most about “Tarot: Spreads and Layouts” is the fact that the content is not the common information you find in most books on the topic.

Since the book is essentially broken into two sections: the informational section and the spread section, let’s start with the informational section, which packs a punch in it’s short, first 33 pages of the book.

It’s the type of information and insight that you usually get in a class rather than a book. Ms. Fiorini clearly has taught a few classes in her time and has cleanly and clearly translated that into the content of this work in a way that is easy to read and easy to understand. Most importantly, it is the type of information that we all should have learned when we were beginners, but most of us have only learned through practicing the craft for decades.

In that, this book is ideal for semi-beginners, intermediate and advanced readers alike. This is not a beginning book that starts with the bare bones of deck structure and suits, but it is one in which beginners will learn the right way to read, from the ground up. Intermediate students will excel more quickly. And even though the sub-title indicates otherwise, I believe advanced practitioners can find useful information that they, themselves, can apply not only in their readings but in classes that they may teach, as well.

The spreads section is also unique. It doesn’t just give a list of the same spreads you see in every tarot book, it gives a multitude of questions, insights and options about simple spreads that even long time readers may not have thought about.

In a day and age when there are a million and one books on tarot out there, one has to find a new angle for a book on the topic to be worthwhile. Ms. Fiorini has done so, and given us a great resource in the process.

Tarot Journaling by Corrine Kenner
Level: Beginning to Advanced

This is a wonderful book. Inspired by the book “The Artist’s Way,” Kenner has some wonderful ideas for all different types of journaling. I think it’s a must have for tarot readers of all levels of experience.

While “Tarot for Yourself” took you through the cards in a workshop experience, Tarot Journaling, opens you up to your own insights and impressions.

Pictures from the Heart: A Tarot Dictionary by Sandra A. Thomson
Level: Beginning to Advanced

This book is a must have for any person who is serious about learning the Tarot. While I traditionally eschew books which simply list of meanings of the cards, this book is so much more with respect to symbolism and understanding.

I would just caution beginners, however, to not become reliant on the information in this book. Learn how to read first. Then use this as a reference only.

Power Tarot: More Than 100 Spreads That Give Specific Answers to Your Most Important Question by Trish Macgregor
Level: Beginning to Advanced

This book has got a lot of good spreads in it, categorized by number of cards used. It has the card interpretations for each card, which normally I don’t find useful, but I like the way it separates it into how to interpret the cards for different situations in a reading: ie, work, relationships, etc. It also has some really good general tarot information interspersed throughout the chapter headings. Well worth it.

“Designing Your Own Tarot Spreads” by Teresa Michelsen
Level: Intermediate to Advanced

Sometimes we, or a querent, has a question that is a little more specific than many of the spreads we use on a daily basis. This is a great book if you are ready to start designing your own spreads for those occasions. It also has some very good pre-made spreads in it.

“Understanding The Tarot Court” by Mary K. Greer
Level: Intermediate & Advanced

I’ve been reading a long time and have never had particular problems with the court cards, but this book has opened up a lot of new ways for me to relate to them.

Not everyone will be interested in every chapter, it is rather diverse, but the information is so thorough, even without those very advanced chapters, I think any serious student of the tarot will find it a valuable resource.

ASK CAAT: Shelters, Dogs and Breeds

Someone asks:

How would you choose a shelter dog? What do I have to consider besides the sex of the dog? My dog is a male, and [we] would like to have another male, but since i found out that another male would be bad idea, we are now thinking what traits should we search in a dog. I ask about a breed, because you kind of know what traits the breed has…

We could adopt a purebred dog as we will likely know how she will behave… or if we decide to have a mixed-breed [sic], how should we pick one? Is there any way we can know if this dog will be a good companion for our Dobie?

Also, if we adopt a purebred dog, what breed has a similar way of living as a Dobie? Because if i put, for example, a basset hound with a doberman, I think it might not be a good combination….. What would you recommend? 🙂

Thanks for the question.

While I understand that breeds may have some commonalities, I am in the camp that they are just generalities. Having spoken to just about every breed I can think of, I cannot say that every time I’ve spoken to a specific breed, they have all the same traits. I’m Jewish, (by nationality) for instance. So, It would be like saying, “All Jewish people have this trait.”

Of course, we know that not to be true in all cases with humans, so just like dog breeds, we are not guaranteed to get that specific trait just because we get that specific breed.

Their upbringing, genealogical line, and socialization are a tremendous influence, as well.Pi How many times have you heard that Pit Bulls are dangerous dogs? Well, they can be if they are taught to be that way, (either intentionally or unintentionally) so can chihuahuas. It’s just that Pit Bulls are strong so a lot of people get them to abuse in that way. The same was said about Dobermans in the 80s. And German Shepards before that. And Rottweillers somewhere in there as well. Pit Bulls are just this generation’s ‘mean dog’. However, if we are talking about breed traits, Pit Bulls are one of the most gentle, family-oriented dogs around. So you can’t just rely on breed and have the expectation that you know what you will get.

I am also in the camp that the same can be said about pure bred dogs. I cannot tell you how often I have had clients call me and say, “I got a pure bred because I thought I would have no problems, but … I’m having this problem.” They may not have all the same problems of a shelter dog, but problems nonetheless. For one thing, you can never be sure, even with reputable breeders, how the animals were treated, or if there were other factors involved.

I spoke with one purebred Doberman who was having aggression issues with dogs. It turned out to be a past life issue! She got much better after the conversation, but my point is, there are just too many variables to think that you know what you are going to get with purebreds. (Besides, purebreds generally have more health issues. Check out this video:)

That said, if you do want a specific breed, let’s tackle that. There are rescue organizations that specialize in nearly every type of breed. So check your area for it when and if you decide on a specific breed. That way, you are both getting your breed, and saving a life.

Whooo. Okay, let’s move onto rescue organizations. (Sorry you asked, now, aren’t you.) 😉 Before I forget, be aware that there are probably more rescue organizations in your area than you are aware of. Most people think it’s just the Humane Society, because they are the most well known. But, for instance, where I live, we have tons of them, that I would never have known about except for that I have either spoken to some of their rescues, or my clients tell me where they got their pups. (We even have one organization who goes down to Baja, Mexico, rescues dogs and brings them back to San Diego. It’s an awesome organization.)

Ok. I agree with possibly getting a female. Again, however, this is not a hard core guarantee. They say that about cats, too, and I live in testosterone valley! Of course, when we brought our youngest into the house, he was just a baby, So, I don’t know how old your guy is, but you might consider getting a puppy, if you can handle it. Depending on your pup’s personality he or she might become very maternal or paternal towards the puppy. Not a guarantee, but a thought.

If it were me, I would go to a reputable rescue organization and not only meet the doggies, but talk to the people there. They work with the doggies every day. They can tell you not only about that breed you’re looking at, they can tell you about *the dog.* They know what his or her personality is. They walk them every day. They feed them every day. They sit and play with them every day. That, I believe is your absolute best bet in finding a dog that has the traits you are looking for.

dog being adoptedFurthermore, I’m not completely certain, but I think … I think … that a lot of rescue organizations might have the option of you allowing the dogs to meet, so they know they get along. I’m not sure about this, but I seem to remember a client telling me this about when she got a dog, so it’s worth at least asking. Hey, look. They want your dog to get along with anyone you adopt. They want that adoption to be forever, too.

The last little thing I will mention is, I don’t know if you’ve ever adopted a dog from a shelter before or not, but once you do, you will probably never again want to buy a pure bred dog. The level of satisfaction you have for saving a life of someone who has had such a terrible one is indescribable. I spoke with one dog in spirit, we were talking about adoption. He said, in effect, “Humans adopt us and take care of our physical needs. In return, we take care of their spiritual needs.” I found this statement so profound, and of course, doing what I do for a living, I certainly know it to be true.

You will never have a more rewarding experience or relationship with an animal than one to whom you are adopting because you want to do it for them, rather than doing it for what you will get out of the deal. Ironically, in return, they will give you so much back.

I’m so glad you asked the question. I hope you will post back and let us know what you decided and all about your new little addition to the family. I have clients who have pairs or packs of dogs that go from the large to small. They play, they love, the large ones seem to instinctively have an understanding about the size and how to be careful when playing.

I think go to the rescue, and allow yourself to let go of thinking so hard about it. Meet some dogs, find the one that chooses you, and check to see that she or he will get along with your pup, through either talking to the volunteers, or doing a meet and greet with your dog, then the universe will have put together the perfect family. 🙂

Good luck with it, sweetie. Can’t wait to hear about your new family member. 🙂

Lisa Larson is an animal communicator and reiki master. You can find her at

Perspective on my Reading with John Edward

by Lisa Larson

evolveI recently had the good fortune to be unexpectedly interviewed by John Edward on his membership show, Evolve. (I have asked for permission to share the segment but have not yet gotten response. I’m hoping to hear back from them soon. It’s no longer available through Evolve.) However, because of this unexpected interview, where I was suppose to have had an on-air reading, I was blessed to get a private reading from him instead.

As many of you know, I am an animal communicator, and a psychic medium myself. I love doing both. When taking an advanced mediumship class with Lisa Williams, I realized not only how much I love doing mediumship, but also wanted to make sure that my mediumship did not interfere with my profession working with animals. There was, in fact, a part of me that wondered if I should be doing just one or the other.

I became a medium because I woke up and literally heard a voice in my head tell me, “You need to become a medium and a healer.” This was at a time when I had no particular connection to or knowledge of either. It’s not like I had just lost someone in my life and become enamored with mediums or anything, I knew nothing about energy healing, I just simply heard the voice in my head. (In fact, when I told John Edward about it, he said, “Oh, okay. I get it. I get it. It’s like being anointed by the mafia. You’re in it for life.”)

And that was the crux of my dilemma. Even though my animal communication practice was taking off, and I love doing it, I wondered if I should be setting the mediumship aside. But I just couldn’t go against, the “Godfather’s” wishes. 😉

When I was having my reading with John, we talked about this. John is not so hot on the number of people he sees jumping on the bandwagon to learn mediumship because they’ve seen him as a TV personality, not understanding the true significance of the craft. I’ve read this in one of his books, and our conversation played that out. (I believe he thought I might be one of those people, before I explained how I got into it.)

There’s nothing about mediumship that I equate with fame and fortune. When I was a professional musician, I dreamed of that, of course. That’s what musicians do. With mediumship – not so much. In some ways, it seems far too personal. Not that I don’t want personal success in my field, it’s just kind of an odd concept to me for what I do.

We talked about the importance of having a specialty, and in all honesty, I agree with him. (I do, of course, understand people needing to make ends meet. They need to offer what they can if they are legitimately qualified. After all, I did tarot for 30 years, so I still teach classes now and again, and still do an occasional reading for my loyal clients who understand how I use tarot and are not looking for me to ‘tell their future.’) But the conversation stuck with me. “Why would I have been ‘told’, in no uncertain terms,” I’ve asked myself, “to follow this path if it were not the path I was suppose to be on?

Having the reading with John was eye opening for me, not only for the reading itself, but for the auxiliary things I have gained from it since. He was every bit as accurate as I would have expected.

dad in uniform(I do wish I had told him I specifically wanted to hear more from the other side, because I really did want to primarily hear from my dad, and feel a little bad that I ‘missed my chance.’ I know, however, I probably got exactly what I was suppose to have. Not to mention that even mediums get ‘psychic amnesia’ when their getting read. He kept mentioning a “P” name and I can’t believe I didn’t tell him it was my cat, ‘Puma’ who was with my dad.) :-p

That aside, in the reading, I learned some great things confirming personal stuff in my life, and some hopeful things about my practice. But what I learned from the experience itself, was so much more.

For one thing, through the years, I’ve learned an awful lot from watching John Edward work. He’s always been my favorite medium, because I feel he has a sense of grounded-ness and ethics that I identify with in my own personal and professional life. That was confirmed for me in the conversation we had, which was a real treat, talking to someone with a ‘professional colleague’ tone to it, which I don’t have much of, because I don’t know that many mediums with similar points of view.

It was interesting to me being on this side of the reading because, while my ultimate goal is always to be as good of a medium as him, my goal has never been to be a carbon copy of him. (Always shoot for the moon, otherwise we limit ourselves). Yet, until I was on this side of the reading, I wasn’t sure how my style really differed, or if I had gotten to that point in my professional development where I had even developed my own style. It was kind of cool to see that I have.

Even though we both have our moons in Aquarius (which, according to him, allows a certain detachment when doing emotional readings) by his own admission, he is not an extraordinarily touchy-feel-y person when he reads. Me? Eh-no. My readings consist of, of course, the evidence and the message, but I’m all about diggin’ down and dirty if that’s where people need to go.

Before he knew what I did for a living, he said, “You seem like a metaphysical person. It looks like you do some sort of counseling or motivating people.” That’s exactly right. Many of the readings I do end up with some real heart to heart exchanges. After my reading with John, I realized, “that’s okay, because that’s me.”

Since every reader filters through their own frame of reference, I have always believed that the universe guides people to the reader which will help them best. This reading drove that point home for me in a way that was very enlightening to my own style. For a long time I questioned whether it was ‘okay’, for instance, to show emotion with a client when one of their pets transitions, or to cry with them, (I feel I know a lot of these fur-kids after working with them for so long), but as many people have told me, ‘that’s what makes you, you.’

I just had lunch today with a mediumship client who I believe was able to find me for that very reason. I feel blessed to have been able to bring her father through in a very significant way. Furthermore, I was able to relate to a very specific situation in her life that her father brought through. It was a situation that many people may not have personal knowledge or awareness of. It doesn’t mean that another medium she might have found wouldn’t or couldn’t have brought her loved ones through, but for whatever reason, I believe, she was led to me because I had a specific frame of reference for what she was going through and what her dad was talking about.

Lisa-and-VidaI had thought about this woman after my reading with John for that very reason. When we had the conversation about having just one speciality, I had to ask myself again, ‘why was I chosen to do this, when I speak to animals so often?’ Thinking of this instance helped answer that somewhat, but what really drove the point home was a reading I had with a dog just a few days later.

I don’t even remember what behavior we were working to correct, what I do remember was that the woman’s mother and father would not let me talk to the dog until they said what they had to say. They came through by showing me a car fire and someone who had nearly died. The woman confirmed that her sister had been in a car accident where her car caught fire and she miraculously walked away. Her father came through to tell his daughter that he was there, that he helped her sister walk away from the accident. It was very important to him that she know this.

After we spoke to her parents, I was easily able to continue on with the conversation with the dog. It hadn’t occurred to me before this, however, the number of times a spirit comes through during a communication with a pet, but this instance showed me why I’m suppose to be both animal communicator and medium.

Just as the woman most-likely ended up with me because she and I had a common experience that enabled me to understand messages her father was giving her, I believe there are people who will come to me for their pets when there is also something important that they need to hear from their human loved ones on the other side. Many people will do anything for their pets, even if they are skeptical, but for whatever reason, they may not ever think of contacting a medium, so their pets do it for them.

Furthermore, while I might feel those energies if I were just an animal communicator, just as mediums might pick up animals when they are talking to human spirit, my ‘initiation’ into the ‘mafia’, serves a purpose, allowing me to add another level of connection when the situation calls for it. (That same week, I connected a dog with his departed human father, who was also the brother of the woman who called me, who is now the dog’s new person. So not only was I able to connect the woman to her brother as a medium, I was able to connect the dog to his dad as both a medium and an animal communicator.)

I know that this is not the path that most people take, nor should they try. In some ways, I didn’t really have a say. Once I began communicating with animals, there was no question I was on the right path. But for the mediumship, I knew I was suppose to be doing it, I just didn’t understand why, considering my work with the animals. So while I may not have really been able to hear from my dad in the way that I wanted to from John Edward (not that I needed proof, I just miss my dad) I probably got exactly what I needed, which is what this is all about.

I do believe that, like John Edward says, people get what they need, whether it be a personal message or through watching someone else get a reading. And I believe that they also get what they need by the universe guiding them to the people who might be able to ‘make the penny drop’ for them, for whatever reason, through whatever frame of reference.

My reading gave me some confidence and clarity on my purpose, which is why I was blessed to have been able to get a reading from him. I will always strive to be as accurate and as quick as he is, I will always strive to be the best I can possibly be, but I thank him for helping me accept and understand that my style is my style and, in that respect, I don’t have to strive to be anything else. Thanks John. 🙂

If it should be….

by Julia Napier


If it should be that I grow frail and weak,
and pain should keep me from my sleep,
then you must do what must be done,
for we know this last battle can’t be won.

You will be sad, I understand,
but don’t let grief then stay your hand,
for this day, more than the rest,
your love and friendship must stand the test.

We’ve had so many happy years,
what is to come can hold no fears.
Would you want me to suffer? So,
when the time comes, please let me go.

Take me where my needs they’ll tend,
only stay with me until the end,
and hold me firm and speak to me,
until my eyes no longer see.

It is a kindness that you do to me,
although my tail it’s last has waved,
from pain and suffering I have been saved.

Do not grieve, it should be you,
who must decide this thing to do.
We’ve been so close, we two these years,
Don’t let your heart hold any tears.

by Julia Napier, copyright 1999


by Lisa Larson

candle-starfilterComing to the realization that it will soon be time for your fur-child to move onto the other side is one of the hardest things we, as committed and loving pet parents, can go through.

As a long time animal communicator, whose specialty is speaking with animals in spirit, there are things we can do that will ease the transition for both you and your fur child.

The following list has been compiled from both personal experience with my own animals, as well as years of helping clients through the process, and helping them to make the difficult decision of how and when to assist our fur babies transition to the other side.

Consider Euthanasia

First of all, we need to understand something very fundamental when our animal is ill. When we adopt an animal, we adopted them for better for worse, and we took on the responsibility to make certain decisions for them, and about them, as their physical caretaker. In that, we need to talk about euthanasia.

Euthanasia is perhaps the one and only right animals have that humans do not: the right to die with dignity. One of the biggest misconceptions that people have is that if you let an animal die of natural causes, it will be painless and peaceful. While that may or may not be true in some instances, I can tell you from personal experience, it is not true across the board. I had the unfortunate experience of watching a family member’s cat die a horrible, miserable, death because his human mom would not make the decision to help him cross. It is one of my biggest regrets in my life that I did not encourage her more strongly. From a professional standpoint, I have never, ever, spoken to an animal in the last stages of life who told me they wanted to pass naturally. To the one, they say, “…if I am suffering, please help me cross.”

Euthanasia is one of the most altruistic, selfless things you can do for you fur-family member. Animals have an incredible ability to hang on and on and on when their pet parents are unable to let go … and let go from their heart. I have spoken with animals who have been in such misery that they tell me, “Yes, please, please, please, it’s time!” Yet, because their pet parents have been unwilling and unable to make that decision and let go, I have seen these animals suffer for weeks, sometimes up to 6 weeks, hanging on in misery. Considering that there is relatively no palliative care for animals, this suffering is on profound levels.

Given both my personal and professional experience, what I tell my clients is this: It’s better a day too early than a day too late. If you help them cross one day too early, you will have prevented their suffering, and 10 years down the line what you will probably be left with are the wonderful memories of the entire life you shared with each other rather than that one extra day. On the other hand, if you do it a day too late, 10 years down the line, the extra day you have is not going to make the difference to you, except that you run the risk of having to play that miserable day over and over in your head, questioning whether you let your fur child suffer, or worse, knowing so.

We have the ability to help animals transition with peace and dignity. Don’t take that away from them.

Euthanize at Home, if Possible

Over and over again, when I ask animals how they want to pass when it comes to euthanasia, they tell me, “at home.” They will usually show me laying in a favorite spot looking out a window or laying in the sun.

There are more and more veterinarians who do nothing but home euthanasia. This is a wonderful option, where your fur child need not go into a carrier or be taken into a cold sterile building, but gets to be in the safety and comfort of their own home surrounded by their loved ones. How many of you have heard people say they want the same thing? So do animals.

Be Prepared

Whether you do decide you will euthanize at home or take them to the vets, research your options beforehand. There is nothing worse than having to make a last minute decision of this magnitude, and not knowing who or what is available.

Here in the San Diego area I recommend Paws Into Grace but, to familiarize yourself with your options, you can Google search your area for ‘home euthanasia vets’, ‘mobile vets’, or even talk to your personal vet to see if he/she would offer that service to you. Doing this will also help you come to grips with having to let go on the emotional level that your fur child may need help from you to move on.

Understand the Importance of Letting Go

On a conscious level, you may think you are ready to let go, you may have even told your fur child that he or she can leave. But understand that animals relate to us on very deep energetic levels. If you are not truly there, emotionally … in your heart … they will know, and they will hang on. We don’t want that for them.

If you sense that your fur child is hanging on, do some deep soul searching to see if you might be unable or unwilling to let go, deep down in your heart. Many times, when I do a reading near the end of a fur kid’s life, I find that if I am able to help the pet parent touch that part of themselves, within a few days the animal will take a turn to be ready to leave because they had been hanging on.

Know that once your fur child is gone, you will still be able to speak with him/her and s/he will still be around you.

I spoke with a fur child in spirit at one point, whose mom was having a terrible time with his passing. He showed me himself unzipping his body and stepping out of his body as an etherial mass next to his mom. He said to her, “It’s okay, mom. I’m right here. I’m just not wearing my clothes anymore.”

After your fur child has crossed into spirit, s/he will hear you when you speak to him, be around you when you think of her, and you will always be able to communicate to her through a communicator like myself, if necessary, but often will not be. You will see signs that they are around, they will watch over you and be your spirit guide, and more likely than not, you will have many, many shared experiences (lifetimes) together.

Unfortunately, our animal’s life spans are far shorter than ours. dog being adopted I have always thought that to be some sort of cruel, cosmic joke. But in doing this work, I have had animals give me insights that, while it may be small consolation when we are going through it, may help in the long run.

The insight is this: think about how many homeless animals there are in the world, suffering, alone, out on the streets and in shelters. (I don’t believe in getting animals from breeders. I don’t believe in breeding animals, period.) In a perfect world, we have all of our animals for the full length of their life spans. So if we live the full length of ours, we will have saved at least 4 or 5 generations of animals from the torment of animal homelessness.

Animals come into our lives for a reason. Jamie [name changed], a lovely dog in spirit, talked about the concept of adoption in that we, in human existence, are given the gift of being able to be physical caretakers for these animals who, in turn, become spiritual caretakers for us.

We know we will miss them. But what better gift could we give them than to help them on their final journey? They, who continue to be our spiritual caretakers, long after our job of physical caretaker is over.

Lisa Larson is an animal communicator and reiki master. You can find her at

12 Things You Can Do After Your Pet Passes

missyI was blessed with the opportunity to be unexpectedly interviewed by John Edward last week. He asked me to give him 3 things someone could do once they have lost an animal. I will give 12 here. Some are for the benefit of the person, some the benefit of the other animals in the house, (if applicable) and some both.

1. Remember that your fur-baby is around you. They are just not wearing their clothes anymore.

  • Talk to them. They will hear you.
  • Look and Listen for them. They will contact you. Through a song, through a smell, through a butterfly or something significant to you.
  • Think of them. They will feel your love.
  • 2. Have some sort of ‘memorial service’.

  • Light a candle, play soft music and have everyone around who loved them talk, or someone read a poem. VERY IMPORTANT: include your pets who have lost their pet buddy
  • Light a prayer candle every night at the same time your fur-family member passed, until the candle is gone
  • 3. Create an alter for a specific amount of time. You can include things like:

  • a candle
  • your fur-family member’s favorite toys, collar, etc.
  • perhaps your fur-family member’s ashes until you decide what you want to do with them
  • 4. Create a memory shadow box. You can include in things like:

  • A lock of their hair
  • Their favorite toy
  • Their favorite ‘woobie’
  • Their collar
  • Anything that you would like to keep and will memorialize them for you
  • 5. Go through your photos

  • Create a photo collage or photo album of your fur-family member
  • Create a photo blanket or pillow, through something like Treasure Knit
  • Create a hard back photo book of your fur-kid through something like iPhoto
  • Have a professional painting or drawing done
  • Get a purse or tote made with a photo of your animal HERE
  • 6. Have a cast made of your fur-baby’s paw

  • Some places offer this at the time of euthanasia. If they don’t, ask
  • You can put it in your shadow box
  • 7. Plant a tree (or plant or flower) for your furbaby

  • Plant it in his/her memory
  • You can bury the ashes and plant the tree on top of the ashes
  • 8. Write in a journal

  • Write to your fur-kid
  • Write about him/her
  • Write a poem about him/her
  • Write anything you want, but write. Your baby will hear you
  • 9. Create a website for your furbaby

  • Start a blog or social networking page about your memories
  • Share your photos and memories with other animal lovers
  • 10. Talk to someone who understands. Not everyone understands the depth of what it feels like to lose an animal who is a family member. If you don’t have friends or family who can support you:

  • Join a pet-loss support group
  • Call a pet-loss hotline
  • Find pet-loss forum online
  • There is a list of resources HERE
  • 11. Buy yourself a squishy stuffed animal. (If you know someone who has just lost a pet, buy them a squishy stuffed animal.) 🙂

  • To some of you, this might sound silly, but no matter how old you are, what gender you are, don’t let your ego tell you it’s not ‘okay’, or make you feel ‘silly.’
  • A stuffed animal acts as a ‘physical surrogate bringing you closer to your fur-baby’s spirit.
  • They can feel the emotion and energy when you hug that surrogate, which not only helps us emotionally, but also opens the door to allowing you to feel your baby’s presence in other ways.
  • Stuffed animals are not just for children anymore, they are for the child inside us who needs the love and comfort only an animal will bring.
  • 12. Don’t get a new pet right away.

    Not only for you, but for your animals who have lost their fur buddies. Take time to work through your grief, and allow them the time to work through theirs. dog-smallUnless an animal is placed in your path, which may be a gift or sign from your departed animal, it is usually better to get to a place of normalcy before bringing a new family member into the house. You will more often find that by doing so, you can create a stronger emotional bond with the new animal without them feeling the pressure of trying to live up to another animal’s memory (whether you think you are doing it consciously or not.)

    I started by saying, remember that your furbaby is always around you. Don’t doubt that. They have left an indelible mark on your heart, as you have on theirs. More often than not, they have become spirit guides for you on the other side, and many times they will have left so that they can assist you from the other side in ways that they may not have been able to assist you here.

    It’s small consolation when we are missing our beloved fur-children, I have always thought that it was some sort of cruel, cosmic, joke that animal’s life spans are so much shorter than our own, but consider this: Think about how many homeless animals there are in the world, suffering, alone, on the streets and in shelters. In a perfect world, we have all of our animals for the full length of their life spans, so if we live the full length of ours, we will have saved at least 5 generations of animals from the torment of animal homelessness.

    Animals come into our lives for a reason. And as one dog in spirit explained the concept to me, we, in human existence, are given the gift of being able to be physical caretakers for these animals who, in turn, are spiritual caretakers for us.

    We certainly miss them. But what better gift could we ask for from them, they, who continue to be our spiritual caretakers, long after our job of physical caretaker for them is over.

    Lisa Larson is an animal communicator and reiki master. You can find her at

    Appeal from Lava Lady

    I rarely post my communications, but what follows is a portion of a reading I did with a person who runs a horse rescue. We were speaking to two horses, both named Lava Lady. One who was a racehorse in the early part of the 20th century, and one, a pregnant racehorse who currently resides in Florida.

    The latter is for sale for $10,000 including her future baby. For the sake of simplicity, we have combined the words of both horses into one. However, the main communicator was the Lava Lady who was in spirit. She was acting as a guide and caretaker for the horse who is still in body, who is highly distraught at the thought of her baby becoming a racehorse. She wants to be adopted by a loving family. The message, however, became bigger than I could even imagine.

    Lisa: She is showing me her environment and this place looks freakin’ huge! She’s saying the people are nice enough, but there’s no emotional connection whatsoever. It’s almost as though she knows what an emotional connection with a person is, but she doesn’t really have it.  She knows what that connection is because somebody maybe at some point took care of her that way.  The connection that we understand a connection to be is just not there. She does not want to be a broodmare; she does not want her baby to be a racehorse.

    Lava Lady: You (were contacted) were the only hope.

    Lisa: … if there can be something done, and she understands that there may not be able to be, but if there could be, she feels that you (my client), given your spiritual understanding of things, might be able to find a place for these horses.

    Lisa: She says that this is a time in your spiritual evolution, where you bring to light to a wider audience of people, the lives of racehorses, and the kind of lives that racehorses have. People look at them and they get taken care of, and have nice shiny coats and all of that, and they live in nice clean stalls, they think their lives are really nice.  She says “we are nothing but slaves. It’s time that the world awakens to that.”   She’s saying that there is validity to the whole 2012 Mayan Calendar thing, in that there can be a change in consciousness if, number one: people are willing to listen and, number two: there are enough people willing to speak. 

    Lisa: Racehorses have a unique difficulty because they are “owned” by rich people.  That goes back to how they look from the outside as though they are very well taken care of, but they’re not loved.  Not like we think of love. 

    Lava Lady: … For horses as a species to survive and thrive, we need to be heard.  Think of where we came from.  (She’s showing a picture of horses out in the wild.)  Basically this doesn’t exist in this space continuum anymore.

    Lava Lady: We contacted you because you are a friend of the horse. You understand us like no other.  It’s a very dismal time for so many of us because we live in such big bodies, even those who do understand and love us, it’s just different than the domestic animals you have, where you sleep with your pets, etc. 

    Lava Lady: There are a few who are very lucky but relatively few.  If those who were not guided by money could share their love with us things would be far different. 

    Lava Lady: I fear for the species. Breeding, as it is done, is breeding out the beauty of us all, the beauty of our true nature, the wildness of our true nature.  We can be Zen Horsie, as you would call it.  But so much of our lives are constricted.  And if you can help us you can help many.  (The spiritual aspect to this is if she could find the right home, she has a lot she could teach.)

    Lisa: You would be a good person to do racehorse rescue.  There’s a need for it.  Racehorses have such a unique problem when they are rescued, that most of these other places (other rescues) while they are very compassionate, and are very loving, they don’t have the access for understanding, or ability, or consciousness, of connecting and communicating with them, in a way that is really necessary at this point in time to stop this. 

    Lisa: She is concerned that racing is huge part of what is damaging her species. The breeding and what they do to racehorses, is taking away their very nature.  It’s making them something else, to the point where these broodmares have babies and their babies don’t even know how to be real horses in the true sense of the word.  In true soul sense of the word, because they’ve had it bred out of them. 

    Lisa: But she hasn’t had that happen to her yet.  She’s held on with a thread to her ancestral ties, to her nature. They breed the nature out of theses horses to the point that they are nothing but robots.  Then they get thrown away and they don’t even know what to be.  They don’t even know how to reconnect ancestrally. 

    Lisa: And it’s very nice that these racehorse rescues take care of them and everything else, but they aren’t moving that step further. They’re not going to the step further which helps these racehorses come back into the fold of who they really are. No matter how damaged they are … they can still be damaged, and still be touching who they are … but they never quite get there (in some other racehorse rescues) because they don’t do what you (rescue organization) do. 

    Lisa: They don’t look at it like you do. They don’t connect with them in the same way, they don’t talk to them in the same way, they don’t communicate with them in the same way, and they don’t feel them. It’s not saying anything bad about these people, they’re taking wonderful care of them and they’re doing everything they know how to do but  she’s saying “we need something that takes it a step further. We need something that does what you do to help these horses reconnect with their true nature.” These kinds of alternative things are the things that racehorse rescues are not getting.

    Lisa: Now let’s see if there’s a suggestion on how to do this.  That’s a big friggin job!  She’s saying the first step is to set the intention into universe.  (comment made about feeling overwhelmed)  Doing that (feeling completely overwhelmed) automatically puts a limit on it – (by saying) “no we can’t do it.”  She’s says instead of looking and saying “oh my gosh, how are we going to do that!” she says look at it and say, “oh!  how are we going to do that?”  Focus on “we are here, (in this current situation) how are we going to make it better?”

    Lisa: Rescuing horses isn’t just about the starving, the abandoned, etc.  There is emotional rescue as well.  She (Lava Lady) is not hurting, she’s not being abused, she’s well fed, she’s well brushed, she’s well taken care of, and she say’s that in part is the problem.  Because people look at her from the outside and say, “oh my God this horse has a wonderful life,” but here this SOUL is hanging on by a thread to the true nature of what she is.  She wants an emotional connection. She wants love and she wants to feel SOMETHING!  Racehorses don’t feel anything.

    Lava Lady: …this is the reason why we came to you. So many people don’t understand that it’s not about humans; it’s not about the human way of looking at us. It’s about them understanding.

    Lisa: And for some reason, it is so much more difficult for humans to understand horses than it is for them to understand dogs or cats because they live with them. Horses live someplace else, they (their people) see them at a separate time, and it’s not the same.  They don’t seem to understand horses from the same point of view they understand their other domestic animals. (she shows a close up picture of a horse’s eye). 

    Lisa: There is an inherent sadness creeping it’s way into the horse species (she shows a graphic like we’ve seen in the movies of the enemy spreading across Europe.) It’s like a wave of disconnection from self that is becoming an epidemic in horses as a species. 

    Lava Lady: I am afraid that what the heart and soul of a horse IS, will cease to exist. First on an emotional level, and then on a physical level.

    Lisa: She knows you will do everything you can, everything that is possible, and she is now giving it up to the universe.  You can’t do anything without first being aware of the situation.


    ~ For more information about speaking to your own animals, please visit my site: Pawstalk Animal Communication & Reiki