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Animal Communicator • Intuitive • Grief Transformation Guide

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My Dog’s Beautiful Gift From Heaven

Grieving Olivia: My Dog’s Beautiful Gift From Heaven

As the last days of April dwindle, and whisk away with it the chilly mornings and cool rains, nature rolls out the full scope of her majestic beauty as May sweeps in.  She paints a delightful palette filled with a spectacular array of colors and bursting blooms, infusing the warmer air with fragrant delights and the harmonious songs of chirping birds. We, as humans, are given the opportunity to dance with this magical hope that such rebirth infuses into our hearts and souls.

A time that affords a special opportunity that aligns us with the hope of rebirth, May has always been one of my favorite months of the year, for all the whispered promises she holds and slowly reveals.

May also brings with it a poignant reminder of the day my beloved soul dog, Olivia, transitioned from this world into the realm of Spirit 11 years ago.

It was an exquisitely beautiful spring day, flawless in its presentation—the sky a vast expanse of clear blue; the sun enveloping us in its tender warmth. The air held a gentle perfection, a rare balance that seemed to pause in honor of her spirit’s journey.

In those final moments, as I nestled close with Olivia on the deck of my home for one last time, a deep wave of grief and sadness washed over me, threatening to engulf my entire being. The prospect of facing the days ahead without her by my side felt overwhelmingly daunting.
How could I possibly continue, when the mere thought of breathing was painful, each moment a reminder of the space she left behind?

As the days morphed into weeks, and I was fully ensconced in the milieu of grief that accompanies the loss of a beloved dog (or any animal), it was painfully apparent that I was not the only one grieving Olivia’s loss.  By that point in her life, my mother had come to need enough help with daily living that she had moved in with me.  An avid animal lover herself, she had grown to love all of my animals as much as i did, and Olivia was her daytime companion.

dog at water's edge at sunset
Olivia, 13.5 years, enjoying the sunset over Boston Harbor

As the days gently folded into weeks, I found myself deeply immersed in the profound grief that accompanies the loss of a beloved pet. It became painfully clear that I was not alone in mourning. By that time, my mother, needing assistance with her daily life, had moved in with me. A passionate animal lover, she had come to cherish all my animals just as dearly as I did, and Olivia had become her cherished companion during the day. The void Olivia left was felt deeply by us both, each of us missing, and trying to process the absence of, her presence in our own way.

Having broken both of her hips, my Mom’s mobility had become fairly limited, and while she had regained enough of it to allow a return to home, getting out and about had become a chore of monumental effort.  So most of her time was spent in, or at, the house.


And with Olivia by her side…Every day. All days.

Initially, and somewhat selfishly, I felt relief that my Mom had no interest in getting another dog anytime in the immediate future.  Acute grief found me in an unusual, and somewhat uncomfortable, state of significant indecisiveness, so I was more than happy to indefinitely thrust that particularly disturbing thought—one which would require me to actually love and care for another dog — into the obscure depths of the netherworld.

But given that my Mother had suffered with clinical depression her entire adult life, the outward signs of loneliness and despair that she began displaying were stretching the boundaries of grief and beginning to alarm me. She was lonely, and lost, without another being in the home to share her day.

And thus began my discreet and reluctant search for a dog that would be suitable as a companion for my Mom. A story unto itself, the path was revealed to finding Alfie, a 6 month old dog that “flunked” out of training to be a full blown service dog. He was too skittish and anxious to fulfill the role that would be required of a service dog, but he’d had a high level of training, making him obedient and—most importantly— safe for someone who required the use of a walker to move about in her daily life.

{Of important note, I have many, many thoughts about the fact that Alfie, as an 8 week old puppy, was placed in such a regimented program, and it’s no wonder he “failed”.  He has paid a very high price for the decisions humans made about how he was to serve them, and his story will be told, but as I said, he deserves the attention and space in order to tell it properly.}


On the eve before Alfie was to be delivered to our home, exactly four months and 2 days after Olivia crossed over the Rainbow Bridge, I was inconsolable at the thought of another dog, a young pup, into my home, and into my life.

How could I ever love another dog?  I wasn’t ready.  I didn’t want another dog. 

I wanted Olivia, but she was gone. 

I had chosen not to have children because I was (mostly) terrified that I would somehow do something that would ruin them — screw them up, permanently (as an aside, with the benefit of hindsight, I’m pretty sure I would’ve done ok on that front).  How unfair was life?

Now I was about to be saddled with the burden of worry over my ambivalence towards loving this young pup.

Crying for hours, missing Olivia, and harshly judging my feelings late into the evening, I knew sleep was likely a futile endeavor, so I turned to my newfound friend, meditation.  It was during these times that Olivia would come to be with me, where I could actually hear her speak words of comfort. If  I was really quiet and really still, I swear I could feel her push her golden, silky fur against my body in an attempt to get one more belly rub.

And thus, in the wee hours of the morning on the day that I was destined to become Alfie’s human, sitting in front of a picture of Olivia, clutching her collar to my heart, sobbing uncontrollably … Olivia came to me, and compassionately whispered these words to me:

It is okay for you to love this dog.  By loving him, you love me.

Rub his belly, because when you do, you also rub my belly.

By opening your heart to his, it honors and deepens our love.

It was in this wildly profound, surreal, liminal space that Olivia bestowed the most beautiful gift upon me — one that I lacked any awareness of needing but desperately embraced.

A balm to soothe my raw, aching heart.

Olivia gave me her blessing to love another dog.  To love Alfie.
And love him I do… with all my heart!!

Elizabeth Wallace, animal communicator and her dog, Alfie
Elizabeth and Alfie

I cannot imagine my life without the presence of his sweet, kind, gentle soul.  Nor the joy he brings when his excitement causes him to (quite literally) squeal like a pig. Or not knowing the soft, soulful gaze of his deep chocolate eyes as I fall asleep every night.

It is literally inconceivable to me that at any point I actually felt as though I wouldn’t want this most magnificent dog in my life.

I never truly occurred to me, the euphoric bliss someone could experience about being so off the mark about something.  But it didn’t matter that I initially got it so wrong, because Olivia got it right about Alfie.  Loving him has not only deepened my love for her, it has enriched and blessed my life (as it did for my Mom as well) in ways that are too great to delve into here.

I am forever and always grateful to Olivia, for the myriad ways she has graced my life—but there is no gift greater than her blessing to love Alfie.


A message from Elizabeth E. Wallace, Animal Communicator:

In my experience, Animal Communication is an amazing way to connect with your animals in Spirit, to know and feel that their energy (and love) is still right here with you, just in a different form. Often, there is great comfort and healing that can occur during a session (also known as a reading) with your animal’s Spirit.  Schedule your first call.

I invite you to attend our next Animal Communication Gathering.
These monthly events are for animal lovers; pet guardians; trainers, & rescue organizations who will benefit from deepening relationships with their animals. We cover a focus topic and then, open the discussion and offer support and answers on these important topics.


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