When our beloved pets pass away, we look for any signs, however small, that will tell us that they’re in a better place. After all, even small comforts help us when we’re grieving. When Lucy Ledgeway’s 14-year-old family dog Sunny passed away on June 20, she asked for a sign that the pet was alright wherever it was now.
That’s when the 19-year-old from York saw her Parson Russel Terrier’s face in the clouds, just hours after she died. Lucy shared the photo of the clouds on Twitter and her post went viral, getting more than 100.9k likes.
However, Lucy isn’t the only person who saw their former pets in the sky—other owners shared their stories on the internet after seeing Lucy's post. Scroll down to see them, dear Pandas, and let us know in the comments below if you've ever seen a beloved pet's face in nature or elsewhere. Scroll down for Bored Panda's chat with professor Kang Lee from the University of Toronto about pareidolia—the phenomenon when people see faces or familiar shapes in inanimate objects.
When Sunny appeared to Lucy, the woman was sitting in the same car seat where the dog had suffered a seizure and passed away just hours earlier. The clouds formed into the dog’s face just as Lucy and her boyfriend were driving past Clifton Ings where Sunny used to go for walks.
Lucy said that she laughed to herself and thought ‘that’s my girl’ when she saw Sunny’s face. She said she knew her dog was letting the family know that she’s OK.
According to Lucy, her boyfriend couldn’t believe what the two of them saw. She added that it was a special moment that they will always treasure.
Bored Panda wanted to know if emotionally-stressed people were more likely to see their pets's faces in the environment. According to professor Lee from the University of Toronto, he doesn't know of any scientific study about whether traumatic or emotional experiences make people more likely to see faces where there aren't any. However, he added that this could be a future line of study.
Professor Lee said that "being able to ruminate about a dead individual is known to have a positive effect." He added that owners seeing their pets' faces everywhere is most likely an indicator "of some sort of mental state such as grieving or anxiety."
In an earlier interview with Bored Panda, professor Lee explained that pareidolia suggests that our brains are very sensitive and expect to encounter objects in our environments that are biologically or socially important to us.
He added: “For some people, their frontal cortex’s expectation for certain objects (e.g., faces) become so high that they see faces in many situations where no faces exist. Even in this kind of situation, it is normal. There is nothing wrong with these individuals.”
Professor Lee continued: “Pareidolia is different from paranoia or delusion or abnormal vision of individuals with psychosis. In fact, a recent study shows that those people with pareidolia tend to be more creative. Also, people who are religious may be able to see religious icons in non face objects as well."