This Sounds Nuts, But I Believe in Reincarnation for Dogs

Can the essence of your dog reincarnate and return to you during the same lifetime? Stranger things have happened!


Reincarnation is the religious or philosophical concept that the soul or spirit, after biological death, begins a new life in a new body, which may be human, animal, or spiritual, depending on the moral quality of the previous life’s actions. For those of us who have the incredible gift to be able to communicate with animals, we know reincarnation is possible. While many would feel honored (and consider it to be a miracle) to have their beloved dog come back to them again and again during their lifetime in another form, it’s unfortunately not always meant to be.

So, why would an animal’s essence return to the same person during that person’s lifetime? With the reincarnated pets I’ve consulted with, I’ve learned it’s in large part due to the animal not completing his or her purpose for being with that particular person. For example, if an animal experiences a shorter than expected life due to illness or other circumstances, it may not have had the time necessary to complete what it was here to learn, experience, or teach. Thus, the animal makes the decision to come back to the same person in hopes of fulfilling its purpose.

Of course, this opens a broader question — can animals come back as people or vice versa? You may have heard this referred to as transmigration of souls. If you believe that we all originate from the same universal energy, why wouldn’t it be possible? After all, energy is energy, no matter what form it takes.

Once while I was talking with actress Shirley MacLaine, she told me a story. She was on a flight across the Atlantic and noticed that there was a fly perched on the window beside her. As she rolled up a magazine with the intention of swatting the fly, Prime Minister Nehru of India, who was sitting next to her, said, “Don’t do that. It might be your grandmother.” Shirley told me that when she heard him say that, she paused, thought about it and, of course, did not swat the fly.

A few years ago, I picked up a copy of Shirley’s book, Out on a Leash: Exploring the Nature of Reality and Love, because it’s main focus is on her life with her dog, Terry. If you’ve also read her book, you may recall that she mentions having known the essence of Terry in other lifetimes, including one in Egypt.

Brent Atwater, the authority in the pet-reincarnation field, has written several books about the subject based on actual case studies. Most notable is her book, The Dog with a “B” on His Bottom!!!, in which she shares the story of her dog, Friend, who has come back to her five times during her lifetime. Brent has spent more than 16 years researching cases of pets who have returned one or more times to the same owners.

How would you know with any degree of certainty that the essence of your dog has returned to you? Usually, you’d have a strong intuitive or gut feeling. You may also have an overwhelming sense of familiarity with your dog when you first meet him or when you first bring him home. In other cases, you may notice that your dog exhibits a lot of the same characteristics of your previous dog. Many times, the characteristics between both dogs are so similar that you can’t possibly write it off as coincidence (and, by the way, I strongly believe that there aren’t ever any coincidences).

In the case of Friend, Brent Atwater’s dog, she said she knows it’s him each time he returns because he always returns with a distinctive “B” marking on his back.

While reincarnation may continue to be a controversial topic, I think of it as a blessing. I consider it very special when a dog (or any animal) has chosen to return to the same person. Those I’ve worked with who’ve experienced the reincarnation of their dog feel the same way.

What do you think? Is reincarnation possible with dogs? Do you have any experience with it? Tell us in the comments!

24 thoughts on “This Sounds Nuts, But I Believe in Reincarnation for Dogs”

  1. My boxer absolutely was reincarnated as another boxer who looks almost identical except that the first time he was a male and came back as a female. I never heard of this happening so I never considered the possibility, then one night as I was looking deeply I at my dog I saw my old dog in her and the dog telepathically communicated with me, it was clear as day, the dog said “you had a dog named Cash who you now call Casey”. I swear that’s is what happened, there is much to life that we simply do not understand how it works, but it is for real, magical, miracle, whatever you want to call this it is soooooo cool!! This animal is more special to me than words can ever begin to express, I really learned who God is from the spirit of this dog. I grieved terribly when Cash past away. I ended up suffering a brain injury for which I have since fully recovered. I don’t know if the dog was always the same dog or somehow became my original dog after my injury, all I know is it 100% my original dog and I am so very blessed to have more time with my best friend and companion. I love you Casey Cash❤️

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  3. Our family lost our female pitbull suddenly in August 2018. She was the heart of our family for 12 years and her loss was devastating to us. My family believes in reincarnation due to other experiences in our lives. Heartbroken at the time of her death I told my kids that our baby Boa will come back to us when the time is ready for us. Last Thursday I casually mentioned to my son that maybe it’s now time to look for a new dog. I swear that within 5 minutes of me saying that I get a random message on Facebook from one of my son’s friends mother. Her boss had a female pitbull that is 8 months old that he can no longer take care of and she needs a home. Can we please take her? Before you ask, no my son had not reached out to anyone about my comment I had said a few minutes earlier. He was in the middle of playing a video game. We get the dog, Shelby, on Sunday and immediately she was excited to get into the house. She went directly to where we kept Boas food and water dishes and sat down and tilted her head like asking where they were. So many similarities that I can’t even name them all but a few highlights. She goes to the specific spots to sleep but has to be wrapped in a blanket with only her nose sticking out. But she has to wrap herself. Her tail wags in a circle when she is super excited. And her nibbling the blanket when she gets frustrated. Even the kids believe she came back. And the cats, that Boa raised, are completely confused. My female sniffs Shelby and then looks at her and meows really loud as she circles her. I feel she recognized the soul but Shelby is still an 8 month old puppy and very hyper.

  4. We lost our sweet Boy (10) yesterday from an abrupt stomach illness , we weren’t prepared mentally to lose him nor him us I believe .
    He was our baby , we loved him no different than family .
    We got a very young puppy 5 week old , 3 days ago (unexpectantly) she was “gifted” to us ?
    I just feel that his spirit went into this puppy and not because the thought is comforting but because she is now acting the way he did , same potty schedule same sleeping patterns , same eating “quirks” he would only eat from the right side of the dish stand, she even doesn’t like to be bothered when sleeping like he did.
    I guess my thought is could his spirit have “merged” with hers upon his death ?
    I believe they can come back as a new in a different soul but in an already alive soul??
    I want to think I’m not
    Going crazy with grief but there are to many firmiliaritiys to just ignore .

    1. Hey I’m a 12 year old girl who lost her best friend too and around the same time you did.I believe your dog did come back even if he came back in a already alive dog.Your dog had a purpose for being in your life and unexpectedly got a illness which I am very sorry to hear the fact is that your dog still had a purpose of being with you but he couldn’t do anything about the sickness so he chose to still be with you because he hasn’t finished his purpose.I will pray for you and your dog and please pray that mine will come back too.?

    2. Lost my last dog 18 months ago, best dog I ever had, a female Jack Russell Terrier, broken fir , still missed hope to get another, perhaps two.

  5. June 25th, 2018 My beautiful 9 year old Maltipoo Georgie darted out the door and through the trees, followed by Baby, her very pregnant mate. Georgie darted out into the street from behind the trees, he was struck and killed by a truck, who had no time to stop. Baby laid on top of Georgie, clinging to him as he died. The vet commented that she had never seen anything like that; they must be very close. Georgie is the heart of the house, everyone loves him, and we miss him terribly…. Do you think when his pregnant partner laid on top of him in the road, all the way to the vets, that he transferred his soul into one of the puppies she is about to have? We all want him back so badly, and he left by accident in the middle of life with us….He is the father of the puppies about to be born

  6. My puppy looks exactly like my previous dog that died about 10+ years ago. Granted, it’s her grandmother so the genes are there but still.

  7. I had a female brittany spaniel named Sophie since I was 17 years old. My mom as well as syblings brought her home from the local shelter while I was at school. She formed a strong bond with me and became my best friend. She helped me through depression, hardships, breakups, etc. In November of 2016 (black friday to be exact) I had to say goodbye to her. When I brought her to the vet to get euthanised I felt like my world was crashing down because she had been one of a select few who never gave up on me. My mom went with me to the vet and the receptionist told her to bring me to the local aspca. My mom took me immediately to the aspca and when I arrived a jackabee (Jack Russell mixed with Beagle) name Patches kept barking at me and got my attention. My mom went towards the back of the kennels and he followed her then barked at her to get her attention. Others were checking him out but he never left my side. About 15 minutes later a volunteer put a leash on him and had me meet him outside. About 5 minutes later I signed his adoption papers and he jumped in the car so my mom took us home. I had him go into a kennel for the first night because I wanted him to get used to being in my house. Well in the middle of the night he broke out of his kennel like houdini and was found in my room asleep on my bed. I never showed him my room or anything but he knew right away where my room is. From that night on he has never left my side and I firmly believe that Sophie was reincarnated into Patches. Patches acts exactly like Sophie.

  8. BTW when the new puppy came home… I remember the first toy he went to play w/ was one the prior dog had liked… It was either one of the hedgehog toys or the only Jax style that have. There were about a 100 toys for him to have picked from… The prior dog when he was a puppy his first toy was a jax style toy… His favorite toys would be hedgehogs that he would go crazy over. Also there was this knuckle bone that none of the other dogs had chewed on… The prior dog used to walk around the house w/ it or carry it around at times. The puppy chewed on that bone/carried it around which nobody had touched for like 8 months. He seemed to like to walk around the house much like the prior dog did w/ a bone in his mouth too. The oldest dog usually will bark at a dog or be timid like afraid of them. He plays w/ the puppy at times where they tug on toys or other things. Prior to him he was not really interested in as much or seemed alive compared to post puppy. He is more secure even when he goes in the yard or in general since he is here much like he was w/ the prior dog. Their relationship appears much like it did, puppy seems more attached to him too. Like if the female is taken from him he don’t seem to react much. Though if the male is gone he is more upset or will bark, scratch on door if he is in another room etc. He eats in the same spot from the same bowl kinda.

    My dogs know not to go down the basement for whatever reason. He has not tried to get down the basement since I’ve had him even if I leave the door open. He will watch me if he is down there like the dogs did prior. The thing w/ the toy made me think of the King of the Hill episode they thought Bobby was reincarnated as their Buddha which is why I mentioned it. He is the only one that barks or whines when I’m getting their food ready like the prior dog would too. He has been more destructive though ;). Yet he reminds me of the prior dog when he was older mixed w/ him as a puppy. All the dogs seem to know each other. He will cry or get upset if I mention the prior dog’s name. He seems to react to that name for whatever reason. The circumstances that would have to happen for him to end up here are pretty vast. He acts much like the prior dog used to when sister had a yorky who died… His birthday they told me was the same as that yorky who died oddly enough. Which is about a month later then what we thought his birthday was but on the same day. I don’t really have any strong belief in reincarnation being real. If I did I would point to many things I mentioned as evidence right or wrong. If any dog wanted to live more I never had him. So if anybody could return I think it would be him over any of the other dogs I’ve had in my life. He hung on for over 13 months when they told me he had a few days/weeks to live a few times during that span. He seems to run after toys in much the same way or react like the prior dog did playing :).

  9. I lost my dog coco yesterday i cant stop cry i mis him so much didnt sleep just thinking of him.he came into my life wen he was only 3 weeks old i feed him like a baby he was my baby he was soo lovely.wish he came back to me.ohh coco i mis you body..

  10. We lost our Chihuahua, Conchita, on Monday (January 8th) during medical treatment in which she suffered cardiac failure. We are devastated not only by her lost at the age of 4.5, but also because we weren’t there at the moment she died, and we agreet to listen to vet and left her at one of his cages at the night before, what apparently got her in much distress. Last time I seen her at the high cage she did everything to make me to take her with me, even jumped on my shoulder several times, and indeed I didn’t want to leave her there, but eventually I accepted the vet request, even that she didn’t get any special treatment during that night, and we could have easily bring her back in the morning. She was very attached to me, and I to her, like a little girl. We are still devastated, we berried her not far and planted roses next to her little grave. I cant get the memory of me closing the door on her for the last time, out of my head. The last several days are one huge void, but I got this feeling she is trying to return. We got all sort of signs from her in recent days. I’m waiting for her with all my hurt.

  11. My brother just had to put his beloved 14 year old Chihuahua, Chiquita to sleep. He is very devastated by the loss for this was his little buddy. He went thru a lot of personal problems during those 14 years. The bond is so strong and I say “is” because I feel she is very much alive and will come back. I don’t want people to think I’m crazy. Do you think she can return?

    1. Even though it’s now 2020 and you wrote your brief story 2 years ago … I can tell you positively, definitely, absolutely … Chiquita can and will come back. Because I had a beloved Pug who, in spite of terrible health issues, lived for nearly 18 years. When he died, in my arms, as we slept, my heart was broken, even though I had another Pug. I loved her of course, but he was so unusual. Some days later, I was shutting up the house to go to sleep and I felt my boy’s energy. I looked down and actually saw his spirit standing there, gazing up at me. He told me he missed me too much and wanted to come back and needed a new body. It took over a year to find the right breeder to work with. But he came back and we were together again until he got a terrible cancer that took him at only 12. Now he wants to come back again and I’m searching for another right breeder. The thing you must do is listen. And don’t tell yourself you’re being crazy or stupid or this can’t really happen. Be positive and loving because if the love is there, and if Chiquita decides to return, she WILL return. The only thing that could stop that from happening is if she has work to do with another human, or in the spirit world that she promised to do ages ago. If you pick up, or “hear” something like that come to you … thank her for being with you before and release her with love. She’ll choose another dog spirit to take her place and he or she will be wonderful. Either way … you and your brother will win.

  12. I believe i have experienced this!this year has been unbelievably hard, my dog rowdy had a couple surgeries for pulled muscles in his legs,he’s was very old,my children’s father got in an accident resulting in paralysis,(new pup) axel was given to me by a friend to sell to a good home towards a fundraiser. Well axel grew on us,very quickly haha unfortunately shortly after,maybe a month,Rowdy passed away from old age. I was crushed I wasn’t able to be by his side…Axel,does almost every EXACT thing rowdy would do. I had trained rowdy to bark 3 times when I would say”tell me you love me” it took a lil while but axel got it almost instantly,the list goes on and on. My husband says rowdys soul is in him,so I starting searching around because it’s absolutely crazy. Anyone that knew rowdy says the same things meeting axel!

  13. My husband had an American Bulldog mix dog years before I came into their lives and although a little resilient at first Luna ended up accepting and loving me (at first she was very jealous of my husband). A few years later Luna got very sick and I took her from vet to vet until one day she almost had a hard time breathing. Thank God both my husband and I got our chance (separately) to say our goodbyes. The next day very early in the morning she passed. It was painful and especially for my husband so for the longest time (almost 4 years) he wasn’t willing to open his heart to a new dog.
    Slowly I started to feel this need for a dog and finally one day my husband agreed to getting a dog under one condition: he had to approve of the kind of dog. Easy enough, I knew it had to be a large breed dog. So I found this woman who saves dogs from the pound and puts them for adoption. Although she goes to a Petsmart about 50 miles away from home we decided to go there. Except that day she left the store earlier and thank God posted something on social media. So we decided to go to the Humane Society which is about 2 miles from home (I know we should’ve started there) to check out what dogs they had. And there was a litter of 5 puppies, American Bulldog mix… perfect. We chose one to meet and see if we clicked… and she was the one. We take Roxy home and slowly realized by her behavior that she was very much like Luna… so much we kept calling her by the wrong name.
    I don’t know why but our Luna came back to our lives as Roxy. I am a Christian but I truly believe our dog (regardless of her name, same soul) reincarnated. And I know dogs have shorter lives than us so I just hope for her next life she continues to choose us

  14. I know that my dog is a reincarnation of my previous dog, be it they are the same breed; My beautful boy was taken early, he was poorly for only a few days before he passed away at 12 midnight in the 24hr specialist cancer clinic, they were going to remove a kidney the following day, he didn’t make it, advanced and rare cancer that he showed no signs of untill literally days before he passed: He returned to me in the form of a new puppy, that accidently became mine; From the moment he came into the home he refused to eat, until i gave him his previous dishes which i hadn’t had the heart to part with, but had cleaned and put away in the garage, he refused all bowls, and sat exactly were my previous love had sat waiting for dinner! When he did that a thought occured to me to try the dishes , i lowered them to his height and off he went, i got a kiss for that, but from then on he just knew at 11 weeks old were he should potty, or sleep or play, he was definatly here before, there were so many many incidents in his early months like an old soul, even my very scheptical husband could not explain it! And so decided it was sharni 1, so much so he changed his name within a week to sharni 2, he wouldn’t answer to his first given name, the moment i called sharni he came running in from the garden went straight to what once was his treat cupboard and barked for his rewatf, something else he always did before, and still does, i am deeply grateful and sooo lucky, my boy chose to come home to me xxx

  15. I just watched the movie ” A Dog’s Purpose” with my three boys who are in their 20’s. We loved this movie. I have a 13 year old female black lab I bought as a puppy. How I found out about her is a wonderful story. It is not a reincarnation story per se (or maybe it is) but interesting just the same. Her is my story:

    I was going through a terrible divorce my ex husband had my sons. I was unemployed. I was renting a house in a suburb of a large metro area where my ex and I were raising our boys. I could not afford to rent this house but I wanted to be close to my sons and have a place for them to come and stay the night. My parents were helping me pay but were cutting me off. I was looking for a job but had not found one. I remember in was December 29th 2004. My landlord was fixing the water heater and had the front door was open. I was in the kitchen when this big black lab walked in. I thought were did you come from? Normally a dog will hang by the door but not walk in. This dog walked in like she had a PURPOSE. She had large teats hanging down so I knew she was female and nursing. She had no ID tags on so no way to locate her owner. I said to her ” You must have run away from your home and puppies because you needed a Mom’s Day Out” She gave me a look that said yes. She would not leave my side and followed me all over the house. I knew her owner would be looking for her so I we went outside. My neighbor who had two dogs was outside with her four boys. She gave me a leash for the dog until we could decided what to do. To back track a little, two years prior we had put our 13 year old male Weimaraner down. So my boys have always had a dog in their lives. All they would tell us they wanted for Christmas was a dog and their Dad said “NO”. Well I couldn’t afford one for sure. Along comes this big black female lab with puppies into my life. An hour later the owner pulled up in his truck and said thank goodness you have her. We have three puppies left at home that need their mom. He asked if we wanted to buy a puppy. He was so convincing and Lexi the dog was so sweet. She even came over and licked me to say good bye. So the next day I went and looked at the puppies one female and two males all black. I had no intention of buying a dog, I just wanted to play with some puppies. They had sold three yellow- the dad was yellow and had the three black puppies left. The owner told me that the female was ranked a top hunting champion and the stud was a grand national champion in the ESPN hunting competition. I had decided if I ever get a dog again it would be a female. Their was one female and two male puppies. The female was attracted to me first and sat in my lap and fell asleep. She was something like $1000. There was no way. I told the breeders this. They knew I loved dogs and appreciated me taking their dog in. They sold her to me for $300. My parents helped me buy her. On New Years Eve I day I told my boys we were going on a field trip the next day. They spent the day and night excited and wondering where we were going. The next afternoon we drove to the next subdivision over and pulled up to a house. They commented “this is our field trip” obviously disappointed. I smiled to myself. Introductions were made and they sat down on the couch not understanding why they were there. Seconds later the lady walks in with a female lab puppy. She sets her down on their laps. The puppy ran from one to the other licking their faces. My middle boy said “Whose puppy is this?” I responded “It is your very own puppy”. Their eyes grew wide, they looked at each other then at me shocked with mouths opened. They were quiet for a couple seconds before all three started screaming with joy and jumping up and down holding their puppy. They named her “Raina Dawn Vermei” I have always said Raina’s mom was guided by God to find me. God knew I and my sons needed a Dog’s special Love to get us through those tough times.

    I got a wonderful job shortly after that. Whenever would would do something it was always me, my three boys and Raina. Now my boys have grown up, have left and live in different cities. I am hoping she can stay healthy enough for Christmas till my sons are all here so we can go together to say goodbye. I live with my elderly parents and they have said I cannot get another dog after we put Raina to sleep. I have two sons that live together two hours away. They said they will get another lab puppy for me so when I come to see them I can have a champion. I can only hope and dream that Raina’s soul/spirit will return to me when they get a lab puppy for me. That would be the greatest gift ever!

  16. I lost my dog Sasha last Sunday. I pretty much died with her for three days. On Tuesday I asked Sasha and God to lead me to a dog that needs me as much as I needed my girl. I drove 100 miles from my home and adopted a puppy from the humane society in that town. She and I weren’t sure of each other for about 5 minutes and then something clicked. We bonded in a way that felt like years had passed in just a few hours. She is now doing some of these things, more than some, and it hasn’t even been a week since my girl left. I keep telling myself it’s wishful thinking and also have no idea what God’s stance on pet reincarnation is but there’s just something about this dog that goes beyond familiar. It’s the most comforting and yet jarring experience even as part of my brain tells me I’m losing it.

    I’m sorry you lost your dear friend. I feel your pain. Even with the comfort and strangeness of this new little girl and all my questions, I sob my heart out daily for my Sasha. Take care of yourself and know that pure agape never ends and never fails. Xox

    1. Hi I lost my poppy 6 weeks ago .. I now have a puppy 12 weeks old , I have had Tilly one week .. she is so much like poppy it’s unreal I feel like she as. One back to me .. ❤️

  17. I have no experoience with a dog reincarnation But i lost my faithful friend today 16 yr old Maggie a jack russell. I would love to think she may return. I am devastated and heartbroken.

    1. Laura L Gindlesberger

      I read your post and noticed that,you lost your 16 year old dog a year ago. So sorry for your lost. We had a 15 year old pug. I miss him EVERYDAY. We adopted the sweetest little Jack Russell mix . She loves to dig and was very well trained to use the potty pad. Very easy to love. I hope you have a new dog too. Life with a dog is worth living. To give love and receive unconditional love is a dogs purpose..

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