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One week ago today, my beloved 13-1/2-year-old Australian shepherd Iko told me it was time for her to make her transition. And she wanted me to help her do it. I knew she was right. She had been going downhill since her 13th birthday, but it hurt my heart so much to even think of saying goodbye to her that I started sobbing.

All week, my stomach felt icky. I cried at nothing and when I wasn’t crying, I was spacey and distracted.

Then yesterday, my husband and I talked to our two kids about saying goodbye to Iko. This made it even more real for both of us. Until this moment, it was just a concept and we could change our minds, wait longer, avoid reality. After our family meeting, I was so sad that I started questioning if it really was her time. Did I hear her correctly last week? I was second guessing everything when I wanted clarity and certainty.

This was a big decision, maybe the biggest one of my life so far. How could I be sure?

Um, let’s see. I’m a professional Animal Intuitive. How could I be sure? Duh. I could ask her.

As a family, we created a list of questions to ask Iko and a list of things we wanted to be sure that she knew. Then I did for myself what I’ve done for so many other people who were going through this same challenge: a formal intuitive reading with Iko.

I went through our questions one by one. First, my 7-year-old son Zane wanted to know if Iko knew when she was going to die. No, she told me, she didn’t know exactly when, but she was ready to go now. I went down the list, asking Iko our questions and receiving her clear answers. With each question and answer, our next steps became clearer for me. Iko was ready; she said it was her time. She wanted us to help her make her transition. I felt reassured.

After asking Iko our questions, I shared our love and appreciation of her. By now, I felt uplifted and grateful. I even felt peaceful.

And then I asked Iko “my three questions,” the questions I had asked dozens of animals from over twenty species of animals for my book, Divine Beings.

What is your spiritual gift?
Iko: Unabashed enthusiasm. Unabashed “me-ness.” I am totally and 100 percent me all the time no matter what I’m doing. I am a model of unconditional love for myself and for my family. I love each of us unconditionally. You can’t be fully yourself unless you love yourself fully. Then you get full self-expression, full you-ness. Love is open and free and flowing. When you love yourself, you are open and free and flowing. There is no restriction, no containment, just you being you in every moment. Just love and accept yourself and be you. You are the greatest gift you can give the world.

What is your spiritual lesson?
Iko: My challenge is to slow down and be there for my family when they need me, to learn to be there for others when I want to be doing my own interesting thing for myself. I am an explorer and I love to check things out for myself. Sometimes I’m more in me than I am with my family.

Do you have a message for our family?
Iko: Climb your mountains. Live your dreams. Go be yourself in your life. Live life fully. Unabashedly. Love yourself enough to be you. Don’t let anything stop you. You can be great. You can be you. Have fun. Play big. Commit. Remember me as I am — my energy, my personality. Bring me with you as you go live your dreams and climb your mountains. Just be yourself. It’s the most and the least you can do.

And then we were done, all of our family’s questions asked and answered. Our love and appreciation expressed and shared. I thanked Iko and let go of our energetic connection, but I’ll never let go of her love and the way she touched my soul.

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Cara Gubbins is a mom, author, intuitive and coach who offers intuitive readings for pets and people, classes to help you connect with your pets and your spirit guides, and transformational coaching and retreats to connect you to the life of your dreams. She is the award-winning author of Divine Beings: The Spiritual Lives and Lessons of Animals, and The Dolphins of Hilton Head - Their Natural History. You can find her at www.caragubbins.com. Contact Cara at cara@caragubbins.com.

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