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Today I said goodbye to my neighbor’s cat Zip, who I found on the road during my morning walk. I wish I had a picture of this guy to share with you. But in his case, a picture would hardly do justice to his spirit.

Here is almost exactly what he looked like when I met him 1.5 years ago:

He was playful, loving, cuddly, cute as heck. He kept all of those traits as he grew up. I have had cats all my life and he was certainly among the most adorable. I am privileged to have had him in my life, even as a neighbor kitty.

As my neighbors have many young children, it is a good thing, I think, that I, and not one of the kids, came upon him this morning. I picked his body up and carried it to a safe place on their property, one where the kids would not be able to find it by accident. I told the mother and she had her elder kids take care of burying his body on property. I saw the kids all take part in a little ceremony.

Why do I bring this up? Well, it’s to share two things with you. First, I count myself honored to have been able to carry his body to a safe place. I wasn’t carrying Zip but I was honoring him in honoring his little orange body. I will miss his zest for life and his deeply affectionate character.

Second, there is something we can all do when we come across animals who have passed. Whether it is a beloved pet, someone else’s animal, or bodies on the road hit by cars, you can make sure their spirits go where they are supposed to go: up to the Light. Just ask St Francis (or the Holy Spirit or Jesus or God or whomever you want to pray to) to “take this animal’s soul up to the Light, please”. And it is done.

I have heard from a reputable shaman in the New Hampshire area that some animals, through their lengthening contact with humanity, get confused about transitioning. Just as humans sometimes get “stuck” between their dead bodies and the Light (life between lives), so too do some animals. It’s just a good habit to get into when you come across road kill to send them up to the Light. It can’t hurt and it just might help. Those of us who are particularly sensitive might find this comforting – to be able to do something for animals who have lost their lives through violent confrontation with motor vehicles.

In honor of Zip, and all the animals who ever touched our lives, please consider helping these blessed souls up their next phase. Thank you.