Death as part of Life

How Smartie and I met a little girl on our afternoon walks and how her perspective about old age made us both feel at ease with Life and Death

I am living in a quaint seaside village & have come to appreciate my little “retirement” walks with our ageing 13 year old dog. Once running crazy in the mountains and climbing every summit (or tree for a squirrel), our golden lady has arrived in her last chapter in Life. Old age & dying.  

For quite a while now, walks are about sniffing, standing, sniffing and limping from spot to spot. Our lady has arthritis, it has different phases of intensity and it is part of her Life.

And of course she has all the support I can possibly think of. Traditional medicine supported with herbal supplements, bodywork, energy work, endless Love and a very delicious and supporting diet. Her Life is not bad at all. But it is different. 

And here is a scenario which we encounter quite frequently on our walks:

Passersby: “Oh your dog is limping. What is WRONG with her?”
Me: “Yes she is. There is nothing wrong. She is ageing and has arthritis.”
Passersby: “Oh shame” (and walks on)
Smartie: #eyerolling

So this happens pretty much all the time and I have varied my answers, but it mostly comes out at the shame part. Until one day, we met a little girl, maybe first grade on her skateboard.

She skates past, stops and says: “What is your doggies name and what is with her foot?”
Me: “Her name is Smartie and she is old.”
Little girl: “oh ok – bye bye Smartie” and she rolls on

Smartie and I felt so at ease and walked on with a smile on our faces and huge gratitude for that lesson. The difference here: NO JUDGEMENT.

The girl took Life as it is – innocently accepting that old age is part of Life. What a beautiful and pure encounter. It taught me so much! 

I do know that people mean well and I do know that an ageing animal (or human) might not be easy to look at. And I’d love to encourage you to really sit with old age and death for a bit. Not because it is directly in your Life right now, but because it is in all our Lives ALL THE TIME.

A wise cat named Amanda once shared with me, that old age is as valuable as the baby years. Dying is equal to Birth. Different energy – yes, but an equally beautiful part of Life.

The senses withdraw, the mind becomes slower, the world around ageing animals and humans becomes smaller. Eventually we are back in the garden, back in the house, in a room, just in our bed. Pretty much as it all started. 

It is just the other end of the same cycle.

The birth side of this cycle is judged and seen as hopeful and joyful – the ageing one aparently as “shame-able”. To the little girl and her un-judgmental mind, they were the same. As they are.

Different: oh yes. 

But equally part of Life.

If you have an ageing animal at home right now and feel the wish to work with this energy of dying, I’d love to support you. End of Life sessions are a wonderful way to engage with your animal in its last chapter and to allow this process to show its Beauty & Wisdom – because it is SO NATURAL. I also offer regular workshops on this topic.

With Love, Anne


Amanda's Teachings

Death & Transformation: the teachings of a very wise cat during her two months dying process

Dice's Teachings

Life & Death: the teachings of a strong horse, reflecting back on the setup of Life

Anne Scharlow

Anne Scharlow, an animal communicator & healer, offers a holistic approach to helping animals and their owners achieve balance and harmony. Anne uses her unique abilities to communicate with animals to help solve behavioral problems, enrich relationships, and support overall well-being. For horses specifically, she combines her intuitive skills with bodywork and mindfulness to balance the nervous system and restore relaxation. Anne offers workshops and 1on1 sessions.