My own answer to that is a resounding “yes”. I have worked with animals for over 30 years, and I can say that they do.
Animals are certainly self aware. They exhibit compassion. They are sentient. They reason. And their spirits live on after death.
Self awareness means the ability to distinguish yourself from others and the environment. Animals certainly exhibit this trait. They can determine how others will react to them, how they feel about them and how they see them. Just notice a dog’s reactions when they interact with people who are afraid of them or don’t like dogs.
I have seen outstanding examples of the compassion exhibited by animals. So many mother animals take in and raise babies of other species. Service dogs give solace to those in nursing homes or soldiers with PTSD. Orcas (Killer Whales) don’t usually kill those crazy humans who love to teach them to do silly tricks. Military dogs give their lives for their handlers. And so on….
They are sentient in that they sense and feel things intensely. Often you can see their feelings prominently displayed on their faces. If you are at all intuitive, you can sense how they feel, and if you are an animal psychic you can actually feel their feelings and hear their thoughts.
I have also noticed with my own dogs that they can reason. I had a little chihuahua once who was very adept at getting what she wanted. When her brother was playing with a toy that she wanted, she would get another toy, loudly squeaking it to get his attention. When he came to see the decoy toy, she would fly over to the toy she wanted while he was distracted. I have also seen videos of Ravens working out complex problems to get a reward. There are examples all over the animal kingdom.
And finally, I know that animals have souls or spirit because I have seen it. My deceased pets have come to me often in the dream world. I have seen their spirits leave their bodies, while they come to say goodbye. And I have literally seen the spirits of deceased animals in my lifetime. Sometimes they look exactly as they did when alive, and sometimes just a flash of light.
So yes, I believe that animals have souls. They should be treated as sentient, living and loving beings as we treat humans. There really isn’t all that much difference between us.