Pets with "Old Souls"

This thread prompted me to ask my own question…
Have you ever had a dog that really seemed to understand more than he or she should about human life and behavior? I once had a bulldog named Charlie, and currently have a long hair chihuahua named Mijo (he is the yellow one in the middle) who both seem(ed) to have more behind their eyes when they looked at me than your average pet. There is a marked difference between these two dogs and many of the other pets I have owned. For example, there is absolutely nothing similar in Gracie (the dachshund on the right in the photo). She bumbles through life and doesn’t seem even remotely aware of much of anything that doesn’t involve food.

Charlie and Mijo really had nothing in common with each other otherwise… Charlie was a very smart dog, and Mijo is no slouch, but not the smartest dog on the planet by any means. Charlie passed on some time ago and Mijo is barely two years old, so if my tenses get out of whack, it is because it is difficult to use both past and present tense to discuss them both. I just get this “old soul” feeling when I look into Mijo’s eyes, and I swear that if he could talk, he would be like the wise old martial artists instructor stereotype characters, always quoting Confucius and such. Both he and Charlie were very non-plussable characters… nothing ever seemed to bother either one of them. They took everything in stride. The only time Mijo loses his patience is if he is not feeling well, then he snaps at the other dogs if they don’t give him enough space.

Other ways that they were different: These two dogs were the sort who truly seemed to be able to tell when I was upset or depressed - they would go out of their way to cheer me up above and beyond their normal attention. They understood when I was having intimate moments with my husband and they discreetly left the room (in Charlie’s case) (or went under the bed to wait in Mijo’s case). When I talk to Mijo, he looks me in the eye, and I swear I feel like I can read his little mind. It is like he is willing me to hear his thoughts. There are a hundred other little things about them that just seemed deeper than your typical dog. I find it hard to believe it is 100% me anthropomorphing them, because then why don’t I do it with my other dogs - why just these two? There is definitely something different in those dogs, I just don’t know what.

I am having a hard time describing what I am trying to say. Has anyone else ever experienced what I am trying to describe? My husband brought his two cats into my life, and while they often look at us with looks where it seems like you can see the gears turning, it isn’t the same thing. But I don’t doubt that some cats might give off the same vibe - these two are the only ones I have known well enough to compare.

Can anyone back me up here? Anyone had the same experience or can they describe it better?

I’ve never had a dog like that but it sure sounds nice. Even cats that I’ve had although they each have a personality, I’ve never felt like any of them have had souls. Parrots, I don’t know if it’s just them copying us or not but I’ve had what I felt was something out of the ordinary type of bond with one. I sure remember trying as a kid though, to reach out to pets but never having any sucess. You must have a heart of gold though if you can feel these things. I envy you in that you feel so much.

Thanks for speaking up… this has been posted for hours, and no one made a single comment. I was really starting to feel like a weirdo. :slight_smile: I tend to agree about the parrots - I have had birds too, and while they mimic and show intelligence, it wasn’t the same sort of feeling as both of these dogs gave/give me. I have always been a huge animal lover and all animals seem to like me. My husband is the same way… before he met me, animals loved him the most where ever he went, so it was a huge adjustment for him to be with me, because he isn’t the automatic favorite anymore.

I am not a particularly religious person - consider myself agnostic. I don’t know if I believe that humans have souls, much less dogs. I was just experiencing a lack of words to describe it. There just seems to be more there behind the eyes of these guys versus other dogs. I guess it depends on your level of exposure too - I would say in my experience it is 1 out of every 10 dogs that seem to have this feature. If you haven’t known as many dogs, you might not have run into it.

What the hell are you talking about? “weirdo” ??? How about compassionate? Heard of that word? Stop it. I wish I could feel like you do. I do believe in God but I’ve never spoken to Him but I do love Jesus. He was a mans man. Anyway, enough about that. Someone else with a dam side more intelligence will be along I’m sure to speak with you. There are some awesome spiritual people that hang out here, I learn things all the time. I’ll try to think of some of them and PM them if they don’t just show up. Probably already sleeping or maybe just passed out drunk some where. Who knows.

Well, I don’t know if I would describe it as an “old soul” but I do get what you’re talking about. Mirabel, the dog in this photo, is much more contemplative than other dogs we’ve had. She’s extremely smart and very expressive. When we met her in the pound, every other dog there was barking and clamoring for attention, and she was so dejected that she just laid at the front of the cage with her head on the ground and looked up at us with the most pitiful expression. She seems to “get” things that other dogs don’t, although I’m not sure I could prove that. She has very different relationships with the different people in her life–it’s hard to explain; she just acts differently around different people. Fabulous dog.

Gonna do a bump for comosdan He’s one of the most spiritual men I know.

I certainly get this kind of feeling from my cat sometimes, although being a cat it’s less “You’re upset, I shall purr and be comforting” and more “I’m annoyed, give me a hug, dammit”. :wink:

I’ve heard similar things before, and I would tend to say it’s more underestimating the physical mind. People who aren’t necessarily religious or very spiritual often tend to consider intelligence and the “deeper” aspects of the mind as two different things, even if they don’t call the latter the soul. For me as a person who’s pretty much not spiritual at all and doesn’t believe in a soul, I see people’s deepness and understanding on these terms as purely something coming from the mind - so it’s not difficult for me to see that on a lesser and more rare form in animals. And hey, humans can grok other people to a more or lesser extent - I don’t see why it wouldn’t also overlap with the personality-having animals.

I would guess as well there’s the matter of dogs and domestic cats being pretty much part of human society for thousands of years. We get each other, to the extent our different species can. It’s easier for us to understand dogs and the like than it would be for giraffes or something because we have that history; they’re used to us and we’re used to them.

Oh, and I had to say I usually find chihuahuas horrible looking things, so I was wary of clicking your picture. But Mijo’s a cute wee thing! Give him a pat from me. :slight_smile:

Some of my pets have definitely been smarter than others, but I don’t really know what goes on in their itty brains. I try not to anthropomorphize them.

The jurys still out on chihuahuas for me. :eek: Those hairless ones give me the willys but they all seem to have love for us though. Oh hell, I can’t lie. I love anything that loves me and even those who don’t. Lifes too short, You know what I mean?

Glad to see you again RT. You the man.

My Black Lab Dickens, gone 11 years now, certainly fits the bill. You couldn’t put anything over on him, and if you tried he would get very annoyed with you. He also had a mischievous side, and once when he was being particularly goofy one day, I looked him straight in the eye for a moment, sighed, and told him straight out, “You know what you are Dickens? You are a real asshole!” And the instant I said that he entire expression changed, he stuck his snout up in the air and emitted what I can only describe as an indignant growl and glared at me out of the corner of his eye as he did it. I am 100% convinced that he precisely knew the context of the epithet I used and that I had (mock) insulted him. I used to joke with my parents that he was a close friend of my dad’s reincarnated, who had died the previous year before Dickens was born.

My cat Pussywillow, adopted when I was 2 1/2, had a definite air of royalty about her, if that makes any sense. Just in the way that she carried herself and such-maybe it was the Persian side of her.

My cats have displayed a mothers love which is natural, caring for dolls and stuffed animals and they know when your mad at them. I guess the only real emotion I have ever seen them display is embarrasment, when they miss a jump or something they will stop and lick themselves as if to say “what are looking at?”
They are the best pets for my familys situation as I have no children but watch two every weekend, the kids love them a lot. Only the oldest one will associate with them freely the others get scared sometimes but are warming up to them as time passes. They are all female so they all test each other every so often to see who’s in charge this week. Finding tufts of hair from them playing with each other. Occasionally a big fight will break out and then hair everywhere. Cat hair. :frowning:

Do dogs posess emotions? hell yes! My late English Springer Spaniel (Buddy) knew when I was mad-his tail would droop, and his eyes were downcast. He had several great loves:

  1. going to Scorton Creek (Cape Cod)-he would stay in the water all day
  2. chasing squirrels
    And, it always seemed, when I was feeling down, Bud would sidle up and give me a wet willy-as if to say-“hey pal, cheer up!”

Thanks. I just got back into town last night. I really don’t have much to add on the spiritual side of things. I’ve never explored any beliefs about animals and reincarnation to any degree.

That said I appreciate the thread. I grew up around animals and was always surprised and impressed at animals displaying qualities that seemed much more than animal instinct.
When our dog Butchy slipped and fell in the ice water early one Maine spring the neighbors dog came to our house and kept barking at us until we followed her to the stream and rescued Butchy.

When as a child I got my legs tangled in the chain that held our German Shepard he stopped, Seeing I was in pain, and howled until someone came out to check. I’m not sure what kind of emotional level we communicate with our special friends on, but if love is the core of our spirituality then we certainly share that with them.

As a teenager out on my own I had a goat smuggled in from Mexico. He was very smart and liked to play. One day while we were playing he actually hid behind something and waited for me to come look for him. Then he jumped out very pleased with himself prancing around to celebrate his victory.

The other thing that always amazed me is different species of animals can become such good friends. I dated a girl whose little fuzzy dog and parakeet would play together like best friends. The bird would run because it sensed if it flew the game was ruined. The dog was very careful not to harm the bird in play. Amazing to watch.

The last two pets I had were Gertrude and Horatio. Two cats with very different personalities. Gerty was the haughty independent one while Horatio was an attention and affection addict. Our joke was that Gerty had been a cat for a while now while Horatio was a dog in his previous life.

I was just reading in Bahai literature something that might relate. For what it’s worth
“Upon the innermost reality of each and every created thing He has shed the light of one of His names and made it a recipient of the glory of one of His attributes. Upon the reality of man, however, He has focused the radiance of all His names and attributes, and made it a mirror of His own Self. Alone of all created things man has been singled out for so great a favor, so enduring a bounty.”

Maybe too complicated but what I get out of it is the simple idea that all creation shares something from the same source. Maybe that’s what we’re sensing and feeling when we stare into the eyes of our fuzzy friends and find that connection.
Of course you don’t have to believe any of that to appreciate their affection.

Hey, Have you seen the videos of the Lions and their human rescuers
here and here

All 5 of my cats have distinctive personalities, but my older Singapura, Tenshi, is probably the closest one to an “old soul”. He’s very empathic–knows when you’re upset and will come and sit with you, tap you with his paw, look into your eyes and ask questions (his meows in this case really do sound like questions). He’s also very kind and gentle with kittens–he’s raised all four of our other cats, along with our departed Russian Blue, Meep.

He doesn’t like to be held or cuddled in any way, but when it’s his idea he can be very comforting and snuggly.

Thanks to everyone for the discussion. :slight_smile: I have been thinking about it this weekend, even though I have been away from electronics so I wasn’t able to comment. I think what it might come down to is that these dogs had* emotional intelligence.* They were not necessarily going to be solving mazes or doing other feats of logical intellect, but they really seemed to know their own emotions and the emotions of those around them.

Revenant Threshold Mijo (Pronounced Meeho) says thanks for the pats. I never like to see professional photos of chihuahuas, like calendars and such that you can buy, because I don’t like the “classic” chihuahua look either. I hate the buggy eye, short muzzle look. All my chihuahuas are more like Mijo - they have big eyes without being bugeyed. They have short muzzles, but don’t look like freaks of nature.

Omegaman Just a minor nitpick, but there is no such thing as a hairless chihuahua… those hairless breeds are chinese crested or such. I know that chihuahuas are not the dog for everyone - I am a convert from big dogs myself. My first one I took in as a favor to friends who had an “oops” litter, when I then learned all the breed has to offer, and just had to have more of them. :slight_smile:

I am about to hijack my own thread, but…

I hate to admit this… but when I was a child (8 years old), I had a baby sister who wouldn’t go to anyone but me to calm her when she was upset, not even our mother. I loved how important this made me feel. I wonder if there is a language that has a word for this sort of feeling… I knew back then (as I know now) that the sort of dependency that causes this is not healthy for either of the people involved, so it was a terrible guilty pleasure. I know I am not the only one to feel this, I don’t have a corner on the market. I have seen new mothers who encourage this same sort of dependency in their babies, where they want and enjoy being the only one their child is happy with. Not healthy for their baby by any means, and I never encouraged this behavior with my own son. He was a well adjusted baby who liked everyone.

Well, chihuahuas feed that selfish desire to be the most important thing to another being like no other pet can, and much more healthily than another human could. Granted, every pet is dependent on you, but the chihuahua seems to know it and appreciate it more so than the typical dog, and especially cat. Chihuahuas generally choose one person who they love and depend on so totally and thoroughly that no one else will do. They love their whole family, but this one person is just the light of their life and they act like they are in physical pain if their person is near but they can’t be with them. I am that person for three of my dogs, Mijo, Cricket, and Gonzo. They like my husband well enough, they will pay him attention and affection, but the lights on their faces when they can be with me has no match. If I did nothing but sit on the couch with the three of them on me, they would stay there all day in my lap, just happy to be with me. It would be their true idea of heaven and they would let me know they thought so. They follow me everywhere, their devotion is total. This is why anyone who has never owned a chihuahua thinks they are awful. Chihuahuas hate strangers the same way babies who have been raised to only want “mama” hate them. It isn’t anything I have tried to cause in my dogs - I find it annoying too, but it seems built into the breed unless you take your dog everywhere every day, only that huge amount of socializing will counteract their true nature (and I don’t have that kind of time or freedom to take them everywhere every day.)

Anyone who has ever known a chihuahua who was always nasty even to its own family knows a chihuahua who missed the opportunity to bond with one person when young, or was otherwise removed from his one true love. No one should ever rehome a chihuahua. They don’t seem to ever replace their one love - they stay loyal and miserable to the grave without their person.

My husband jokes that I got my dogs to compensate for not being able to have more babies. He is probably on to something… :wink:

End Hijack.

I didn’t watch this video before my post. Thanks so much for posting it - I had not seen them. Funny, the first video looks exactly like what Mijo likes to do, but on a much smaller scale. The dogs sleep with us in bed at night, and when I lay down, he runs up to me so he actually slams into my cheek, and rubs his head and neck around like this lion was doing.

Our old Basset Hound, Shilo, seemed to know exactly what was said to her, and was able to communicate with her eyes and body language. She could count to 7 (that’s how many cookies she got in the evening), and knew that broken ones didn’t count. I have never been acquainted with any dog like her. Sadly, we lost her last July. Her eyes were still bright, but her body gave out.

She was rescued from the pound; I paid $11.00 for her. That was the best money I ever spent. I still miss her, even though we adopted another Basset right away. She has some big paw prints to fill.

Quincy my older beagle is super smart. He plans and then carries them out. He acted like he had to go to the bathroom and made his open the back door growl. When my wife got up to open the door he led her 3/4 of the way then made a break for the bed. he jumped under the covers laid with his head on the pillow and growled when she came back. He figured out a plan then carried it out.
One day I hear this grunting and groaning. He was dragging a heavy cardboard box across the basement tile. He dragged it next to me. I looked in it and wedged down the side was a doggy biscuit he could not get out.
He was trying to lick out an Alpo can . It was on the basement floor and it rolled down the slope. He picked it up and jammed it in the dry food bowl. Then he licked it clean.
A beagle is a carring device for a nose. When we walk he sniffs everything. If I point out a hole he should explore he does it eagerly. If there is nothing there he snorts out the sniff like it is ammonia. Then gives me attitude like I am completely incompetent. It is so obvious what he thinks of people deficiencies. 2 legged no noses.

Horatio would sleep on the bed but when I got home late his ritual greeting was to crawl up on my chest and reach one paw up to my face and knead. He knew I’d say stop it but he just couldn’t resist. Even though he was a bit of a pain in the ass when I was really tired when he wasn’t there I missed his ritual greeting. :slight_smile:

Isn’t it amazing to see that huge lion react like a house cat in expressing affection for that woman?