Do dogs have a soul?

Discussion in 'Off-Topic & Chit Chat' started by marieke, Jan 29, 2008.

  1. marieke New Member

    I just read this lovely poem Alix posted and it made me think again about life and death. And I wonder how you guys feel about this. Do you think dogs and other animals have a soul. Do people have a soul? Does nobody have it?

    We'll probably never know for sure (since I don't accept the bible, koran or any other holy book as evidence) but it might be nice to share our thoughts and feelings about this. (Please without insulting peoples opinions or hurting anyone, it is after all a rather controversial subject and people may have strong opinions about it).

    I don't believe in life after death although I do admit that I cannot prove that. I'm not sure if I'd like to live forever anyway, it must be rather boring in the end, eternity. I don't believe in a soul or spirit either, we are products of chemical reactions, hormones and other rational explainable processes in our body. That could be a depressing thought for some but I see so much beauty in the way we are, the feelings we have, the way we help each other. What does it matter hów we are able to feel them? As long as we have those great feelings for me it doesn't matter there's no life after death.

    Lots of people claim that animals have no consious, that you cannot compare them to humans. But when I look into my dogs eyes I know that isn't true. I do believe that they experience the same feelings as we do, albeit that they probably don't have words for them and are unable to reason why they are feeling the way they do. They probably qualify feelings as either good, impartial or bad.

    Research about animals brains shows that they have much more feelings and understanding than was expected. I read an article that said that in the future we'll probably will eat very little or no meat at all because by then we'll be able to know what they feel exactly. It will make it harder to kill animals because of that.

    Well, that's a lot of me talking, what do you think?

  2. alix New Member

    Marieke, you brought up a tough issue here :) although each religion has its version of the after life, I think that people might believe in it or not by their upbringing or religion, or by free will. Some people are affraid of the "end", and they want to sincerly believe there is something waiting afterwards. Some people swear that they did see or feel it when they had a near death experience, other people claim to be in contact with spirits. I think we believe it because we want to hang on to something, if we saw it, it is because we want to see it.
    On my bad days, I would tell you yes, there is such thing, and in fact at this very moment we are in hell paying our dues, karma, and later on we will hopefully move on to real life :msngiggle:

    Now for dogs, let's just say there was a heaven, or the "better place", what kind of a better place would that be without dogs? :msnwink:
  3. marieke New Member

    What do you know... I started this thread tonight and just an hour ago my dad called telling me my beloved grandmother died. She would have had her 89th birthday next week. She wasn't sick, she just left in her sleep. Now all of a sudden I do wish there was something like heaven. I would so much love to see her again somehow. Her death made me think of this beautiful poem by Charlotte Brönte:

    On the Death of Anne Brontë

    There's little joy in life for me,
    And little terror in the grave;
    I've lived the parting hour to see
    Of one I would have died to save.

    Calmly to watch the failing breath,
    Wishing each sigh might be the last;
    Longing to see the shade of death
    O'er those beloved features cast.

    The cloud, the stillness that must part
    The darling of my life from me;
    And then to thank God from my heart,
    To thank Him well and fervently;

    Although I knew that we had lost
    The hope and glory of our life;
    And now, benighted, tempest-tossed,
    Must bear alone the weary strife.
  4. alix New Member

    So sorry to hear about this sudden sad news. My Mom passed that way, very unexpected, died in her sleep, and I was so far away :(
    Let me say something, I know you don't believe, but if you try to be a little skeptical about it, if you try to give it a doubt, you will one day, when it is time, say your goodbuy to your grandmother while you are dreaming. Yes it is only a dream, but it will feel very powerful and real. I said goodbuy to my Dad, my Mom, a close friend and my dog Duffie. perhaps it is only because we wish for this goodbuy, but nevertheless it is meaningful.

    Please take care of yourself and your family :yrose:
  5. l_l_a New Member

    Marieke, I am so sorry for your loss, my deepest sympathies to you and your family. Even if we have long-held beliefs and opinions about life and death, the passing of a loved one always pushes us to re-confront our beliefs.

    As for animals, I am not certain. As someone of the christian faith I know what the bible says regarding animals and whether they have souls and whether or not they will have an afterlife, but nevertheless I admit it is counter to what I want to believe and thus it is a personal conflict. I love the story of the Rainbow Bridge and would like to think it is possible because it is human nature to want that kind of comfort. Well, the bible describes heaven as a place where there is no sorrow and no one is wanting for anything, so I personally interpret this to mean that our beloved pets will be there in some form or another or that even if they are not there, we would not be missing them and suffering heartache for them.

    thank you for sharing that beautiful poem!
  6. marieke New Member

    Thank you so much for your support. I've taken the day off from work so I'll be popping in here every now and then for a bit of distraction.

    Please do feel free to continue the discussion. I'd love to hear people's view on this.
  7. xsara New Member

    I'm so so sorry for your loss! Hug your dog for me ...
  8. landseer Well-Known Member

    Hello Marieke,
    so sorry for answering late to your thread and to your very sad loss. There are so many wonderful words everyone can say and it feels good to listen to them. But there's a thing no one can avoid: the grief and pain for every loss affecting your heart. It is a one way road we have to walk along a very dark and difficult road but it is necessary to walk that way. Every important moment is hidden behind a moment of grief. Just look around you: a wheat seed. It can give you flour and bread. But before giving all that blessing it must "suffer" and "die" in the cold and freezing winter, under rains and snows. A tree gives its leaves to the earth in Autumn but the earth gives them back to it in Spring and then flowers and fruits in Summer. So it's our life, our children's life, our puppies' life: before a baby being delivered a mother has to suffer many pains. A baby rests for nine months in the warmth of her mom's womb and to come out to the light the baby has to suffer too and he cries once he has come out. What I try to say is that often love is hidden behind "pain" and we should see that pain like a door opening in something good. What kind of good is it? A life after death? Or something else? I have thought about that topic so many times and I have found my answers.You wonder about this and I could give you my answers, but they go into the spiritual world and I don't know if they could fit you. Well, Marieke, this is the beginning of your way to walk and during this walking you have to look around you trying to find and gather all the best you can. :-) Yes I believe in a better life after death and I believe the same for my dogs and animals.
    It should have been a quick reply, my friends, but it has been more like a sorry if I bothered or offended someone!
    Mario and Chantal!
  9. Jean Cote Administrator

    I’m not sure if I believe in “souls” per say, but I do believe in “energy”. Everything in this world is composed of energy, and everything never truly disappears, it simply changes forms. A piece of wood can be burnt and it turns into flames, heat and ashes. We can transform materials or even use wind and water to create electricity. Oil is included in almost everything that we buy. Even a human body when it dies (depending on burial), will decompose into the earth.

    It seems to me that living species have harnessed some of that energy and is within us, and it is what keeps us living. I mean, what really keeps your heart beating for a hundred years. We even need to eat food three times a day to replenish our energy.

    Anyhow, those are just my thoughts. Pretty weird huh! :D
  10. luna may New Member

    I'm so sorry about your grandmother. I send you and your family my deepest feelings of empathy on this painfull moment. May she Rest In Peace. :dogsad:
    I know how hard it must be for you, and you can know you have a hug from me.
    Kesem sends you her little bit of consolation via licking the screen. I hope it helps.
  11. luna may New Member

    On a happier note:

    You know, Merieke, it's incredible how my beliefs match yours. Perfectly.

    My beliefs exactly... It's as if you read my mind and wrote it down.I also agree with the thought that between what you truly believe and what you want to believe, because it gives you enen a tiny fraction of emotional consolation, what you truly want to happen (the person to come back) will eventualy be stronger. Incredibly, (at least for me, because I thought untill today that I was pretty much on my own with my philosophical beliefs), my agreement with you spreads on to every single word you wrote. Wow. :eek:
  12. CollieMan Experienced Member

    It will come as no shock to some, I'm sure, that I'm quite pragmatic and clinical about such things. As nobody can say for certain whether or not there is a soul, I shall take the Prof. Richard Dawkins approach and say that based on what we know today, it is highly unlikely.

    It is my view that we are born, we exist in a uniquely brilliant physical form (that alone should be wonderful enough), and we die. Nothing more romantic than that. I do feel that some don't see that as enough, and, for me, that is a tragedy in itself. Some, perhaps, need the notion of a soul, something that helps to sooth the fear of the inevitable passing of the physical self.

    It seems to me, that for these people, it is not enough to look out of their window at night and be in awe at the pulsating light from the stars and question why they are pulsating. It is not enough to be staggered at just how amazing gravity is, and it is not enough to appreciate that despite all of our apparent differences we frequently overcome them to communicate with one another, to love one another, to breed with one another, and far more besides.

    I don't need to be amazed or dazzled by the promise of an afterlife, or the prospect of having a soul that will remain eternal. I'm in love with the current life, and all of its wonders, and I am amazed at the sheer number of factors which had to fall into place for me to even exist on this planet today. I'm in awe at the number of chemical reactions which need to take place for me to even give my dog a command, let alone how many are needed for her to then follow the command too. I don't need my dog to have an afterlife, or a soul that can revisit me; she's a sheer wonder to me now.

    Sorry, I veered gently off topic there. :)
  13. luna may New Member

    Nice essay, CollieMan ;)
    Just kidding lol, I liked your opinion on the subject.
  14. emmasmamma Guest

    I'm sorry to hear of your loss Marieke. Having lost my father and an aunt that was like a grandmother to me, I know you are hurting. I'm am of the Christian faith. Even those of us who believe in an afterlife suffer heartache for the separation from our loved ones. My losses were 9 and 11 years ago and I still miss them terribly. Even had I not been raised in the Christian faith, I think I would still believe in a higher power. As a nurse I am aware of the delicate balances that keep us alive. I believe it would take more faith to believe it all "just happened" than to believe in intelligent design. My hope of an enternity in Heaven does not lessen my wonder at the world around me. In fact it enhances it and makes me more grateful. As for if dogs have souls, I share the belief stated by Billy Graham, that Heaven is to be a place of peace and joy. We will have the things there that make us happy and that would include our precious four legged friends. (wether they have a "soul" or not)
  15. marieke New Member

    Thank you so much for your kind compassion everyone and beautiful, comfort giving words. I think this is a great topic: almost complete strangers caring about each others feelings and discussing a very difficult topic without trying to convince the other that they are right. Just sharing feelings, no fighting, it's wonderful.
  16. szecsuani Experienced Member

    I think dogs definitely have a soul. Why? I don't know. I just think they do have a soul.
    Just like people.
    I can't say any more clever things here...:msnblushing:
  17. dat123 Experienced Member

    So sorry to hear of your loss, I hope you are copeing well through this difficult time.

    Off the subject a little. We talk about dogs, souls. We know they feel happiness, anger, anxiety, joy, nerves, etc
    But do dogs have a sense of humour ???? As humans, we might see someone trip while walking in the street, and tend to giggle or laugh ( provided they didn't hurt themselves ), would a dog think it's funny to see another dog do something similiar ?
    I was curious to what others think.
  18. CollieMan Experienced Member

    There was a book by Michael Hanlon, entitled: Ten Questions No One Can Answer (Yet), and the question of whether dogs have a sense of humour was one of those he wrote about.

    I'm afraid that until it's provable by science, I'm in the "No, they don't" camp. Yet, despite the fact that we know the best minds in science can't say that yes, dogs have a sense of humour, you need only search the internet to finds thousands upon thousands of people who apparently "know" that their dogs laugh at them and have a sense of humour. I even read a comment from one enthused dog-owner which went as far as to say "Of course dogs have a sense of humour", as though it's been accepted for generations!
  19. luna may New Member

    Hmmm... I never thought of that one! :dogblink:
  20. bipa New Member

    Request from Rainbow Bridge

    Weep not for me though I am gone;
    Into that gentle night.
    Grieve if you will but not for long,
    Upon my soul's sweet flight.

    I am at peace, my soul's at rest.
    There is no need for tears.
    For with your love I was blessed;
    For all those many years.

    There is no pain, I suffer not,
    The fear now all is gone.
    Put now these things out of your thoughts.
    In your memory I live on.

    Remember not my fight for breath;
    Remember not the strife.
    Please do not dwell upon my death,
    But celebrate my life.

    - by Constance Jenkins

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