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Unconditional Acceptance & What Animals Teach Us: No Matter What, All is Well

Unconditional acceptance is an integral part of living well and fully through the last breath, although it’s certainly not always easy, particularly in challenging situations such as the looming loss of a loved one.

In the first two sections, I share uplifting content about unconditional acceptance from the recent book BrightHaven President and Founder Gail Pope and I co-wrote, GRATEFUL for Animals: Spiritual Comfort & Wisdom in Life’s Last Chapter, available on Amazon. Our publication honors the human-animal bond as we gently explore the many ways animals are indeed wise and wonderful guides and companions on the spiritual journey.

And last but certainly not least, there’s a poetic inspiration about unconditional acceptance from a beautiful little dog named Cassie.

What Animals Teach Us About Unconditional Acceptance of Life and Death


Animal lovers marvel that their animals very clearly accept and love them deeply just as they are. BrightHaven believes that, although our animals certainly offer us their unconditional acceptance, that doesn’t mean they don’t observe certain aspects that could be improved to help us be our best selves.

As our teachers and guides, they support and teach us to grow and flower by demonstrating in many ways just how we can let go, live authentically and swim with the current of life.

Anyone who has loved or been loved by an animal will agree that animals have no trouble living in the moment, and we have found that this wonderful ability particularly applies to the precious period of time when dying and death appear on the horizon, perhaps following a terminal diagnosis. It is hard for us human beings to accept certain changes in our animals, such as in mobility, energy, weight, appetite, thirst and more. But again, animals have communicated that they easily acknowledge these shifts and adjust accordingly.

It’s often said that awareness of death brings more meaning to life, and for animals we feel that sentiment especially true as we’ve seen many of our seniors aging gracefully and exuding joy and happiness all the while their physical selves are declining. Maybe it is their lack of ego that allows for this very elegant attitude of acceptance.

And perhaps it’s because animals are more in tune with Source (a benevolent, omnipotent and eternal organizing force that is pure unconditional love focused on the highest good for all concerned) and Mother Nature, which we believe are synonymous, and naturally accept death as a part of the circle of life.

One of the hardest things humans struggle to accept is death—their own or of a loved one. This is another area where animals can show us the way. Rather than cowering in fear and holding back, they open their heart to love for self and others, going with the flow and leading the way for us. And we’ve certainly found that accepting death leads to fuller living.

As “parents” we feel the need to be responsible and in control, but of course we soon discover that’s not always easy or even possible to accomplish. Countless animals have displayed their beautiful ability to let go and let be as the end of life approaches. They accept the journey with dignity and grace, and we frequently notice they almost glow with the peace of their acceptance—perhaps understanding that Source/Mother Nature are leading the way and all is well.


And, talking about endings… Many people fear their animal may die while they are out of the home or the room even just for a few minutes and find that unacceptable. It can cause such distress.

Another lesson animals and people, Gail’s mother in particular, have shared with us surrounds the time of death. They have shown us very clearly that beings may often choose their time for departure from the physical world. Hard to accept, we know, but comforting and reassuring? Definitely!

As animals die, we have found ourselves feeling an intense connection to them after their death. We usually feel a strong and almost palpable energy in the room, and this awareness has helped us and many others during the journey through dying and then death. Our perception is centered around our understanding that when death occurs, the soul leaves the body.

We believe we are all spiritual beings living a physical existence, and our body is the vehicle that allows our soul and spirit to navigate this lifetime, after which we will step out. To care for, love and appreciate the fur-body, while all the while developing a conscious understanding and connection to the actual timeless and immortal being within, turns out to be one of the most precious gifts we can receive.

Ways to Move Toward Unconditional Acceptance

Here are a few suggestions for your ongoing journey of unconditional acceptance, particularly in life’s last chapter:

  • Know you are doing your best, from your heart and with love, and accept that your loved one knows it. Recognize and embrace that your best is ENOUGH!
  • Let go of anger, fear or resistance as much as possible.
  • Put yourself in the animal’s place and consider what they would want given the current situation and what’s most important to them.
  • Realize that you are not in control of anything except how you respond.
  • Have faith that life is unfolding perfectly and for the highest good of all concerned, even if it may not look that way right now.
  • Cultivate a nonjudgmental and unbiased attitude towards oneself and others by seeing from your heart and choosing to use words and actions that embody kindness and empathy.
  • Accept that things may not go according to any plans you make. They may also need to change as the situation/animal’s condition change.

For centuries, animals have been beloved companions to humans on their earth journey toward enlightenment. They accept and love us unconditionally despite our race, shape, size or gender. Our animals simply enjoy loving and being loved for however long or short a time we are given to be together.

I always find that when I actually accept ‘what is or will be’ that things seem to flow better. The animal relaxes—and so do I, and everything changes. —Gail Pope

No Matter What, All Is Well


Gail texted me one morning in April 2024 with a request to offer Reiki to Kirstie’s (Gail’s daughter) beloved family member Cassie who was preparing to transition at the age of 22 years. I was happy and honored to help!

Animal Reiki has been a healing mainstay at BrightHaven since Kathleen Prasad of Animal Reiki Source came our way in 2005. It quickly became an integral part of our Menu for Healing.

As you may know, Reiki is a spiritual system that cultivates compassionate intention, which in turn may bring about healing transformation. Animal Reiki is essentially meditating with your animals to share a soothing, kindhearted space where connecting heart-to-heart promotes optimal balance of body, mind and spirit for everyone concerned.

Reiki is especially helpful during the final stages of the dying process, a time when there is nothing left to do—it’s all about being. Humans often feel completely ineffective and wish they could do more or be a part of this sacred journey in a more meaningful way, before and after death. With Reiki, now we can.

And Reiki helps us to see with our heart rather than with only our physical eyes, so we can connect with the truth of perfection that lies at the core of every being, regardless of external conditions and circumstances.

After my session with Cassie, I shared my perceptions with Gail. She replied, “All is well.” These three simple words form one of my favorite tenets of Kathleen’s Let Animals Lead ® Animal Reiki method. This calming and comforting affirmation that I often say to myself and Cassie’s imminent death inspired the following poem:

No Matter What, All Is Well

My gait has slowed, my body seems frail.
My vision may fade, my eyes look pale.
My hearing may go, my vigor may fail.
None of it matters, all is well.

When days are few and death draws near.
You brush away many a wayward tear.
You bear a burden of grief and fear.
No need for sadness, all is well.

Nothing in life remains the same.
Forward momentum we cannot tame.
Accept what is—there’s no need for blame.
No matter what, all is well.

If you look with your heart, you will clearly see.
My soul is forever whole, shining brilliantly.
Our precious love will last through eternity.
Nothing is lost, all is well.

All is well…

By Carol  Howe Hulse
April 2024

BrightHaven Caregiver Resources to Help Your Animal Live Well Each and Every Day!


How might the spiritual comfort and wisdom shared by animals inspire you to live and connect more deeply with yourself and others from your heart and soul, where love remains the prevailing principle? Find out more in GRATEFUL for Animals: Spiritual Comfort & Wisdom in Life’s Last Chapter, available on Amazon. (Authors: Gail Pope, BrightHaven President and Founder; Carol Howe Hulse, BrightHaven Education Program Manager)

Gail & Joey
(Photo by in joy photography)


BrightHaven Holistic Animal Hospice: Navigating a Terminal Diagnosis – in this self-paced module, we help you to determine the best path for you and your animal.

Carol Howe Hulse – Education Program Specialist
Carol & Silver
(Photo by Beth Shields)
For more resources and information to help you help your furry family member, please visit BrightHaven’s Caregiver Resources & Education and Animal Caregiver FAQ.

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