copyright Teresa Wagner

Gracie the Coyote Dog

Gracie the Coyote Dog

Although more than one billion people are members of religions that include the belief of reincarnation, 1 not all humans embrace the idea of reincarnation in general, let alone dog reincarnation. When I began my animal communication practice in 1991, I did not have any belief one way or the other about whether people or animals reincarnate. However, when animals began to talk about past lives during consultations–completely spontaneously, without their person or me asking about it–my own belief in past lives and animal reincarnation developed.

In my practice, it’s been my experience that when animals tell us about a past life they don’t do so just to tell a story or to simply satisfy our curiosity. It is almost always because they want to explain something to their person about a connection from their past to their current life issues. I’ve heard hundreds of stories about behaviors, health issues, personality issues and relationship issues that in some way have not been fully resolved in a past life. The soul then often chooses as part of her or his purpose during their next life on earth to attempt to complete this lesson from the past and to grow further in that area. The soul often also chooses to do this as a particular species, with particular people or animals, and sometimes in a particular place. And not surprisingly, many of the animals I talk with speak of consciously choosing to come back again to live with the people they’ve known from the past and love. Animals seem to have effortless recall of their past lives –certainly more so than we humans. When they describe their past lives, it is usually done is a very matter of fact way, as you’ll see with Gracie’s comments below. It seems as easy for animals to remember and talk about past lives as it is for us to talk about our childhoods.

The story I share here is about an extraordinary dog named Gracie with whom I fell in love the first time I was privileged to talk with her. When I first heard form Gracie’s person, Kath Quinn, she was puzzled and worried. Gracie had begun a repetitive pattern of faking illnesses. She would sometimes limp so much she could barely walk. Yet when vets performed all sorts of exams and tests there was nothing wrong. When I asked Gracie what this was about she told me the following:

My people love me a lot and I love them, but I also love going to the vet! They pick up my paws and touch my body gently and say ‘let’s see how Gracie is!” I love going there. I spent years at a place like that when I was a coyote. The people there loved me and I loved them.
I got really hurt when a big truck hit me (she showed crossing a road and being hit by the truck). I thought I was going to die but nice people came to get me and saved my life. After they helped me for what seemed like a long time (she showed a few surgeries and a great deal of confined, intense care), they were all so happy that I lived! I was so loved! After awhile it didn’t hurt so much but I couldn’t run, and I walked with a big limp. They told me I would live with them the rest of my life because it wouldn’t be safe for me to go back to live where I used to. I didn’t mind that at all. They really loved me! I felt babied and very special. They always told me I was their ‘only coyote.‘ 2
That’s why I now sometimes pretend that I can’t walk right because I know I’ll be taken to the vet and I’ll get all that same kind of attention!

When I told Gracie’s person the story Gracie conveyed to me about having been a coyote, she was nonplussed at the idea of dog reincarnation. She said, “I am not surprised. Now everything makes sense.” She told me that once when at their country home when she went outside to call Gracie back into the house one evening, she saw her with a pack of coyotes. Their eyes were all lit up and glowed in the dark. Gracie looked at Kath and seemed completely undisturbed and comfortable with the coyotes. Though she did come when called, during those moments with the coyotes she seemed to be–uncannily so–just part of the group.

Now that we knew the root cause of Gracie’s feigning illness, to try to remedy the situation I asked Kath how she would feel about regularly holding one of Gracie’s paws and gently “examining” it the way Gracie seemed to love so much from her coyote days at the wildlife center. Kath immediately agreed. For the rest of Gracie’s like, Kath frequently lifted up Gracie’s paws and softly said, “Let me look, let me see how your paw is. I’ll take care of it, it’s ok,” while gently touching her paw. Gracie stopped faking illnesses. And in a later conversation she told me she loved when Kath “babied” her paws.

In a different conversation Gracie told me this:

I was old when I died from my coyote life. In the spirit world when I decided to come back to earth, I knew I wanted to live with people from the beginning, so I came as a dog with but with a beautiful coyote tail. I also looked and looked for a person who was as loving to dogs as those other people were to me. I picked Kath right away. She was it. I could see that she loved dogs more than anything. And her family had other dogs which I thought I needed to learn how to be a dog.

Sadly, another problem that developed with Gracie was that she began to fight with the other dogs in her family shortly after puppyhood. We had many conversations about this, but one that began to shed some light on the problem was one in which Gracie told me about another difficulty she had during her coyote life:

I never felt like I fit in with the other coyotes. When we had our play fights I never won. I always thought I wasn’t as smart or strong as the others because I always lost the play fights. I always felt like something was wrong with me because I never won. When I was a little older, it was also my job to guard the pups but I never felt like I did it well enough. Now, sometimes I pick fights with my dog sisters because I’m trying really hard to show I can win. But all it does is make everybody upset. It makes me miss being the “only” coyote like I was after I was hurt and lived with the other people.

The fighting, of course, was a very serious problem for Gracie’s family. It wasn’t acceptable for anyone to be hurt. Though Kath engaged trainers to help with the situation and we had many conversations and healing sessions with Gracie about this issue,  the problem was never fully resolved. But this wonderful dog loving family adapted to what seemingly was not going to change. The dogs were segregated with baby gates inside the house to prevent fighting and  took turns running and playing in their huge, one acre fenced back yard. They all adjusted to this quite easily and there was peace.

So how did learning about this dog’s previous life help Gracie and her family? For one, it allowed for problem solving at the root cause issue around the feigning illness issue which was worrisome and expensive. Kath said that learning about Gracie’s coyote life significantly helped her understand and be more tolerant of her “undog like” behavior over the years. Though the fighting issue was such a serious one, Kath was incredibly patient and unconditionally accepting of Gracie, loving her exactly as she was while taking daily precautionary measures to keep everyone safe.

An important lesson I learned from Gracie is that sometimes, all the insights, talking and energy healing efforts in the world will not always completely resolve an issue in one lifetime (for animals or humans). Sometimes we learn in bits and pieces, in stages or layers; and if it’s not all done by the end of one life, that’s ok. There is no prize to be won for who learns the fastest or the most. And we can’t possibly learn everything available to learn in one lifetime. But I also learned from Gracie to keep trying. In the privileged role of animal communicator for this family, I never stopped trying to understand Gracie more deeply, to ask more questions, to build more trust so she could tell me and show me more. My great reward was getting to see and feel the tremendous love between this dog and her person, and to receive some of Gracie’s love myself. What a grand gift that has been.

Gracie had many colorful chapters and adventures in her life before her death in January 2011. A huge void was felt by everyone whose life she touched when she left the earth–mostly, her beloved and ever devoted person Kath, who grieves her still.

We know you shine with the stars Gracie!



Books: You may want to read some of our carefully chosen books on animal communication, grief healing and animal afterlife.

Movies: Two highly recommended, enjoyable movies with reincarnation themes are Fluke with Nancy Travis which is about dog reincarnation,  and Yesterday’s Children with Jane Seymour which is about human reincarnation.

Article: You might also enjoy an article I wrote on  Reincarnation Reunions.

The Magnificent Gracie

  2. When injured animals who have been treated at a wildlife rehabilitation centers are unable to be released back into the wild, they are sometimes kept at the rehab facility to be loved and cared for the rest of their natural lives. When this is the case, the issue of imprinting (the phenomena of animals becoming dependent upon or too familiar with humans placing their survival at risk when back in the wild) is no longer a concern. Depending on the species and the temperament of the individual, the animal may be treated as a companion animal with lots of human contact–as Gracie seems to have been when she was a coyote unable to be released into the wild.