In Buddhist philosophy, it is believed that spirit may reincarnate as animal as well as human - the 'don't tread on that ant, it might be your aunt' philosophy. My research has not discovered that, but I am convinced that animals do reincarnate, and often to the same master or mistress if they have been pets or close working or sporting animals such as horses for instance.
My understanding of how this works is that animals reincarnate within classification. Therefore a reptile will always be a reptile, it may be Cobra then Red-Headed Rock Agama, but stay within classification. A bird will be a bird, be that Eagle or Wren and a mammal a mammal whether Elephant or Hamster! Ah, I hear you cry, but are we not mammals too?
Indeed we are, but it appears that the one thing that sets us in a classification apart, at least as far as reincarnation goes, is speech. I won't say our intelligence, as many a dog of my acquaintance has displayed far more intelligence than some humans I have known, but speech seems to be the one thing we, as humans, have that other mammals do not. They may have their means of communication, Dolphins for instance, undoubtedly communicate with each other and with us, but not with the degree of complexity of our speech in all its rich variation.
The man who says that next time, he is coming back as some rich lady's lap dog will not be able to do so, but that lapdog may well come back as her dog again, or have already been her dog either in the current life or in one of her own previous lives.
...clearly it was not the bed that was the problem...
I had my own evidence of this in an acquaintance who had lost her much adored King Charles Spaniel. She missed her so much, that against her better judgement, she eventually got a new puppy. The old dog's bed had always been in the way where it was, but the dog had refused to sleep in it anywhere else. When the new puppy arrived, new bed and all, my acquaintance placed it in a different position, conscious of not making the same mistake. The puppy wouldn't use the bed, but insisted on sleeping on the floor in the place where the old dog's bed had been.
A long enough time had elapsed for there to be no trace of smell from the old dog, the room had been decorated and a new carpet fitted, so no outside influence could be making the puppy behave in this way. Was he the old dog reincarnated we wondered? My acquaintance bought a new bed - no joy. Eventually, she put the first bed in the place where the old dog had slept - immediately the puppy bounded into it with a positive air of relief and settled down for a nap. She tried the second bed in the old dog's place with the same result. Clearly it was not the bed that was the problem. The puppy wanted to sleep in that particular spot - could he be the old dog back again in a different breed and male this time?
When I visited we often adjourned to a particular room for a meditation session. The old dog had loved these times and the spiritual energy created, and immediately upon my arrival would head for this room and settle down to wait ahead of the rest of us and always in one particular chair. The first time I visited, having heard the story about the bed, I was curious to see the puppy's reaction. Sure enough, he headed for the room, climbed into the chair and settled down just like the old dog. This was the first time he had attempted to get into the chair or even the room. Not proof enough for the sceptics, but certainly persuasive enough for me.
This is only one of several such incidents, which I believe, confirm animals reincarnate and often to the same masters.
...animals also have the ability to see spirit...
Animals also have the ability to see spirit. We do too, but our conditioning as children has left most of us unable to do so. You may notice your pet cat or dog staring at something and following an unseen movement with its head. We will look and see nothing, but the animal is clearly following someone or something.
They can also feel energy spots and will stubbornly insist on lying on one if they find it, no matter how inconvenient the place might be. In one property I lived in, such a spot was to be found between the foot of the stairs and the front door. It was the thoroughfare to every part of the ground floor. A neighbour's cat 'adopted' us and would visit. It loved this spot and would be tripped over regularly rather than move!
Animals to whom we have had a close bond may visit us as spirit too. It is not unusual to suddenly sense the hot breath or the swoosh of a wagging tail. Even the 'wet dog' smell or other associated sensory trigger may be used to announce their presence.
Animals may also incarnate to us across lifetimes. A friend has a cat in the current life who she has discovered, was her horse in two lives previously and her dog in yet another. No doubt there will have been some non-domestic incarnations along the way for this animal spirit, but a bond between the two exists across the life-times.
So, when a much loved pet reaches the end of the current incarnation, don't make the knee jerk reaction that we all do, of saying 'never again' or 'no more pets'. This is our self-defence to the pain of loss, but it may also be preventing the return to us of that same much loved animal who wishes to share more of our current lifetime with us.