In a previous post, I offered 2 illustrations — one involving a dying airman, the other a mortally wounded wolf — of how searing trauma might produce effects that are simultaneously physical, emotional, and spiritual.
The process would seem to be as elemental in other animals (mammals, at least) as it is in people, given that humans and many other creatures are endowed with a similar neurobiology, a similar capacity for emotion, and a similarly social nature. The late, great neuoroscientist Jaak Panksepp — known as the "rat tickler" for his breakthrough finding that rats experience a human-like pleasure — came to the conclusion that all mammals are “brothers and sisters under the skin” since we share the same fundamental neurology and physiology. He further opined that, once we understand the nature of other animals’ feelings, “we will finally understand ourselves.”
The shared nature of feelings — and the spiritual communion they engender — is on display, I suggest, in the many anomalous reports concerning people and pets. It's possible, even likely, that a life-threatening emergency and the prospect of death so marshals the complete attention of an animal that the energy involved in its travail upends, at least occasionally, the normal convergence of space/time so that anomalous perceptions result. Whatever the dynamics involved, they typically communicate something of value between creatures that have an emotional tie, whether human to human, pet to human, or elephant to elephant.
In my last post, I explored the phenomenon of prodromal dreaming. In certain cases, dreams can evidently serve as a virtual x-ray, bubbling up information about a person's physical health from the unconscious to the conscious mind. Now, a question: could something like a prodromal dream be produced when someone else is undergoing a profound biological struggle? The possibility is worth considering. There are certainly many accounts of such ‘distress signals’ occurring during waking hours. Despite their seeming strangeness and intangibility, it’s striking that they involve such palpable physicality. Some examples:
These kinds of experiences suggest an analogue to the prodromal dream, except during wakefulness. They resemble the nightmares that jolted awake Harry Robinson (friend of Romeo the wolf) and Virginia Anaya (who awoke on January 13, 1964 with a vision of the dying airman, Mel Wooten). It seems that a life-threatening emergency can produce a veritable 'distress signal' that communicates something of the individual's situation — whether sharp pain or other physiological perceptions or a palpable sense of anguish or foreboding.
Dossey, Larry. Healing Beyond the Body. Boston: Shambhala, 2001.
Beitman, Bernard. A Non-Statistician's Approach to Coincidences: Part 5. Connecting with Coincidence. http://coincider.com/tag/bernard-beitman/.
Dossey, Larry. Reinventing Medicine. New York: HarperSanFrancisco, 1999.