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Pets Large & Small

Our animals are still with us

Jennifer Vanderau
Cumberland Valley Animal Shelter

(4/2017) So this one may be a little out there, but I really feel the need to write about it because it’s really got me thinking.

I was watching Long Island Medium last weekend (I warned you) and for those of you who don’t know, it’s a show about people who talk to the dead. The woman who does this is named Theresa Caputo and, as the title implies, she lives on Long Island. For as ridiculous as a lot of people think the show is, I see the value in what she brings to the grieving clients she reads.

A lot of people think she’s a con artist (from what I read on the internet, anyway, and really, I only believe a certain percentage of that as it is) and whether or not she is, she brings peace to a lot of people and for that alone, I say she should keep going. She truly does seem to care about helping people and sometimes in grief, all we need to hear is that someone is listening and cares.

There are occasions, though, when I really do have to wonder if there’s something to it. Some of the messages she gives and the connections she makes seem almost otherworldly. Who am I to say she’s not talking to spirits who have passed over?

Heck, I used to be a ghost tour guide in Gettysburg, so I’ve seen a lot of hard-to-explain stuff myself. She might have a real gift.

Aaaaanyway. I do have an animal-related reason to be discussing this. A few weeks ago, Theresa actually channeled a deceased horse. At one point in time, she said, "Okay, I think I’m actually talking to a horse."

The reading was incredibly heartfelt and touching and she made a point to say that our pets do have souls and they stay with us even when they are no longer in the physical world. I truly believe that if ever there is a creature on the planet that has a soul, it’s an animal, so that makes perfect sense to me.

A previous employee at the shelter had to say goodbye to her horse in October 2015. This was one special boy. He was born on a leap year – February 29, 1996 – and she and Echo had an instant, almost tangible connection.

Losing him after 19 years was – and still is – incredibly difficult for her.

Well, when I saw this episode of Long Island Medium, she was the very first person I thought about and I just had to text her to tell her about it.

She has since googled the episode and seen the entire reading (where would we be without the Internet?) and said it had her in tears. Understandably so.

Then, something kind of strange happened.

She had recently moved to a place where she can have all her animals – horses, dogs and cats – with her on her property. She was super excited to have found the spot. She only wished her boy Echo could still be with her to enjoy it.

But the thing is, I think he might be.

She told me about a story that the place she boarded him for most of his life was right next to a golf course. She said they’d go riding and invariably find golf balls everywhere. It was a staple on their afternoon rides.

Shortly after she moved to this new property, she was taking a walk through a wooded area and lo and behold, found a golf ball half buried in the dirt. No rhyme or reason for why it was there. She was nowhere near any kind of golf course, but here was a golf ball.

It made her think her boy Echo was letting her know that he liked the new house.

So all of this came back up again after the Long Island Medium episode – we specifically talked about the golf ball incident.

I told her I really do believe that was Echo’s way of saying he was still very much with her.

Later that night she texted me photos of something that came up on her Facebook feed.

Someone was selling golf balls. Tons and tons of golf balls. She said she had never, ever seen anything like that ever before and remarked on how odd a thing it was to show up on a friend’s post.

Coincidence? Or yet another way that Echo knew we were talking about him that night and knew that his mom missed him and wanted to show her one more time that he was still very much with her and their souls were connected?

I think you know which side I come down on in this tale.

There are no accidents.

The very same night I found an old photo of my boy Pinky, whom I lost in September 2015 – one month before Echo passed away (I just now realized this and it’s blowing my mind). I still miss my Pinky. He had such an amazing personality. What a talker!

I don’t think that finding his photo on the exact same night we were talking about Echo and the golf balls is a coincidence either. I’m kind of wondering if it was his way of saying her and Echo are hanging out together.

They’re still with us, even though we can’t see them or touch them or hold them.

So for those of us missing a four-legged friend, know that you’re not alone and keep your eyes open for the signs that they are still around.

They’re there. I promise you.


Jennifer Vanderau is the Director of Communications for the Cumberland Valley Animal Shelter in Chambersburg, Pa., and can be reached at The shelter accepts both monetary and pet supply donations. For more information, call the shelter at (717) 263-5791 or visit the website

Read other articles by Jennifer Vanderau