I have met so many wonderful friends through books. Some are fictional, and some are flesh and bone friends...but all have made a difference in my life in one way or another. We all impact each other's lives. Sometimes it is by something you say that makes me think, and other times it is by a gesture or kindness. And yet other times it may be something that dug deeper, hurt my feelings, or made me sad. Still you made a difference. Through this blog I would like to introduce you to some people who have blessed me with their writing...and I hope you will be blessed as well!

Coffee or Tea?

Friday, March 9, 2012

"Do our pets go to Heaven, Mommy?"

     I remember well hearing a man who was teaching our Sunday School class state firmly that he believed there would be no pets in Heaven. Jaws dropped, and mouths whispered to one another their disagreement. 
     "Well there won't be. You might as well accept that now. They have no souls." he continued to a disapproving crowd. "You show me one place where it says there will be!" he challenged us.
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     Never being one to keep my mouth shut, and always ready for a good debate I raised my hand. 
     "Ummmm, Pastor Jim, I know you love good food."
     "Yes Ma'am, I sure do!" he grinned.
     "And you are always talking about that great banqueting table..." I teased.
     "Oh yes, it is going to make anything you have seen on this earth look like junk food!"
     "Then I have to ask...is this banquet going to be vegetarian?" I waited for his response. Hey, it might be and I wouldn't mind a bit. I am all for saving the animals.
     "Oh no," he laughed, "I don't eat that rabbit food! It is going to have steak and lobster, and prime rib and fried chicken...all just the way you like it! And if I get my way we will be able to eat all we want and never feel too full." The smile on his face showed he was already putting his napkin around his neck. 
     "Then Jim, where are you going to get the meat? I mean if I am to believe what you say is true, there are not going to be any animals in Heaven...so where is the meat going to come from?"
     The smile slipped down off his face and he suddenly realized what he had been saying. He began to back peddle and try to figure out how he could make his logic fit.      
     Everyone has their own interpretation of what they read, and Pastor Jim was dedicated to reading and studying God's word...but he wasn't a pet person. For anyone who has ever shared their heart with an animal of any kind knows that God created the animals before mankind...for companionship. God loved animals of every kind, that's why He created them. In Genesis it says man was to eat of the trees and plants, but never said God told him to eat His precious animals. 
     I won't argue vegetarianism vs. eating meat because it is a passionate subject that everyone has a strong opinion in. That isn't the subject here.  But there are clearly certain animals that man has come to love more than others and has domesticated as pets. While we might love to own a bear or a tiger, they were too unpredictable to make a pet. So we watch them and admire their beauty at a distance. Man chose the cow over the horse for food, and fish over reptiles. The thought of eating their beloved dogs or cats is completely unacceptable to our society...while some countries prefer them... and eat monkey brains too! 
     God knew we needed more love. We needed a companion we could tell our secrets to, and that would love us unconditionally.
     People who have shared their love with a pet know the relationship exceeds words. Often we love our pets more than we love other human beings. My dogs were more faithful, forgiving, dedicated, and loving than any man I ever knew. They love me unconditionally, forgive me without question, and were home every night.  When I needed someone to share my feelings with, my beloved dogs were always right by my side. 

     Stevie, my youngest daughter is 21. She has always been introverted and kept her feelings to herself...until she met Deuffenschmirtz.  "Deuffy" as she calls him, is her cross-eyed tuxedo cat. I was playing on craigslist reading the pets section when up comes this crazy looking black and white cat with half of a mustache and crossed eyes. Stevie knew immediately she had to have him! The next day I went and picked him up and it was love at first sight. She carries him around on her shoulder, and he allows her to carry him upside down, or wrapped around her neck, or any way she wants to...as long as she carries him. He reaches up with his little paw and grabs her food and shares it with her. And he sleeps right next to her. He breaks all of the cats' rules of conduct. Boo, my son's black queen of the kingdom, is appalled that he acts so humanly.  She would much prefer he shows his royalty. He has brought her out of herself, and made her come alive. She loves him more than she has ever loved anything or anyone.  He is the first thing she looks for in the morning, and the last one she talks to at night. They are one. They are soul mates. He completes her, as I worry no man ever will.
     Dharma was my son's hamster. He loved her, too. Hamsters only live a couple of years, and she was no exception. One year while he was away at church wilderness camp, Dharma crossed over that rainbow bridge.  We all cried. We missed her so much. Her cage sat next to the television, and her vacancy left a huge void. We packed away her little wheel and all of her tunnels, and vowed never to have another hamster again,  to steal our hearts and run to Heaven with them after only two years.
     Rocky and Murphy were friends most of their lives, We got Rocky on Stevie's 1st birthday...he had the same birthday she did and they celebrated together.  Rocky was a mixture of possibly sheltie, cocker spaniel, and maybe springer spaniel too. He was so devoted to his family. I always knew where he was, usually laying at my feet protecting me. For thirteen years he did that. He never held a grudge when I did stupid things. He always just loved me.  He never ran off, always taking his job as body guard seriously. 
     When we moved to the East Coast Murphy joined us. He was my grandson's dog and we couldn't stand to part with him when it was decided he couldn't keep him anymore. He was a deaf Dalmatian and had a mind of his own. He often ran off and I would worry that we would never see him again. But eventually he would come home, tired and thirsty ready to behave. He usually sniffed out a park, or found his way to the kid's school.  Once, when we lived in Amarillo, Tx. I heard my boss say she hated to see dogs running down the busy 5 lane street in front of our store. I responded by saying I hoped it wasn't a dalmatian...but naturally, it was! There he wandered without a care, in and out of traffic, until he got thirsty. My boss and I ran to try and capture him before he got hurt.  Sherry always carried dog bones in her car, so she brought her car around and grabbed the treats, and I slipped around behind him, knowing he couldn't hear me. Sherry got his attention and I grabbed his collar. Murphy happily jumped in her car, always happy to take a ride. He had no idea how dangerous Western Ave. could be during rush hour, or how close he came to going "home" early. I went home and spoiled him rotten. I never appreciated him more than at that moment. Once again he had sniffed us out!
     I look back to the many furry friends who stole my heart..."Ugly Dog" was a little rat terrier we found in the woods in Oregon one year running with her sister, a cute freckled face spaniel who clearly didn't share the same paternity. As time went by people would say, where's the little ugly one? So "Ugly Dog" it was.  But she found a way around that demeaning moniker... she smiled! She showed her teeth and smiled a beautiful smile every time you asked her to, or if she was happy. Yep, a lot like the doggie dentures commercial! Then there was "Shep" our farm dog who was never afraid of anything until a mighty thunderstorm rocked his world one day. I happened to be looking out the window when I saw fire falling from the sky. It struck a massive oak tree in our front yard, which as luck would have it was where ol Shep was sleeping that day.  The lightening swirled around that old tree and hit the ground, leaving a huge hole right where Shep had been sleeping minutes earlier. He hightailed it to the front porch and I found him cowering under rocking chair, shaking with tears running down his face. I never saw him afraid of anything before that. After that he stayed indoors on cloudy days, and looked for cover if it thundered. There was Damien, my oldest daughter's mini pin who thought he was the biggest dog on the block, and Nirat her big black cat who believed he was a panther as he stalked his prey. I will never forget Trixie, or Sandi,  my first dogs who protected me and allowed me to lean on them as I learned to walk. There were so many others, dogs, cats, birds, fish, and guinea pigs. Each one was part of our family and a piece of our heart. I still miss each of them every day.
     In the last year I have cried with so many friends who have said good-bye to their dearest friends, and I know the pain they are feeling. It can compare with the loss of parents and spouses for many of us. I always send them a copy of the poem "Rainbow Bridge" and stop and pray for them to find comfort in knowing they will see them again in Heaven. I know God brought us the animal to bring us His love in a physical form, because I have seen the healing a pet can bring in it's touch. Doctors have even proven that animals aid in helping ailing patients heal faster, the elderly to respond to their therapy,  and service dogs keep their companions alive. There will be a reward for them in heaven, right next to the throne of God. 
                    This is Edgrrr, our newest family member.

  "Yes, baby, our pets do go to Heaven. Even God needs to feel their loving touch after a rough day of healing, or the heartbreak of man's rejection."

Arwyn was my Granddog. She brought so much love in her short time with us.  She was an angel with four legs.

Ruby was the best friend of my dear friend Dale Cannon for over 14 years. She took a large part of his heart when she left this earth. Ruby traveled to knap-ins with Dale and visited all over the country, and in the winter curled up next to him to keep him warm on those cold Minnesota nights.

This was our family in 2000. Rocky, Murphy and Tara were always faithful to watch over us as we traveled across country. Tara was young there and still had color to her hair (but then so did I!).

This was my Tara shortly before God called her home. She always laid right by my side.

It's been almost 10 years since the boys left us to cross that rainbow bridge, and I still cry at the vacancy they left.

Do you have a story about a beloved friend you would like to remember? Feel free to share your story here, and be sure to post a picture! What are your thoughts...do you agree or disagree with my opinion? I can't imagine Heaven without my furry friends...what about YOU?


  1. I've been told that the difference between man and animals is that though animals have a mind, will and emotions, they do not have an everlasting spirit that communes with God. The gentleman that explained this to me said that the thing that proved this to him was that he'd never returned home to find his beloved Yorki--Teddy, by name--sprawled out on the floor communing with God. I couldn't figure how to upload my photograph of her, so you may have to check out my blog entry with that particular picture that proves our pets worship God.:)

    After a search of the scriptures, I had to wonder. The book of Revelation speaks of Christ returning to earth on a white horse. In the Old Testament, the Lord used a donkey to rebuke a disobedient prophet.

    Not only does God use our pets in our every day life to bring us joy and comfort, to amuse and inspire us, he uses them and all His creation to demonstrate His glory and majesty.

    This little cocker spaniel is Misty. Two years ago God healed her of a particularly nasty anemia. Her red blood cells had broken down, flooding her kidneys and liver with bilirubin beyond their capacity to process. Beneath her black fur, her skin turned a fluorescent crayon-box yellow. She had to have transfusions and around the clock care. She was critically ill for six days.

    One morning after picking her up at the after hours emergency care vet, I headed to the church. One dear gentleman, a food ministry volunteer, got down on his knees in the parking lot in thirty degree weather to pray for my dog.

    Misty is still with us, as cunning and mischievous as ever. To God be the glory. I have no doubt He touched her.

    The scripture says that God knows when every sparrow falls to the ground. So, will my cockers live in heaven with me? Perhaps my friend is right. Perhaps not. Still, I couldn't resist the image his words created.

  2. http://teresamorgan.blogspot.com/2006/10/spiritually-minded-puppies.html

    I forgot to post the link. Sorry Cheri. You can add the link if you like, or delete it and grab the photo from the site and post it. Up to you.

  3. /Users/PBg4/Desktop/Dakota & SFS.JPG
    Dakota kindly posed with my first book. He was a keeshond-collie mix who came to us from the humane society. He crossed the rainbow bridge in June and my heart still aches. In Heaven is for Real, Colton saw dogs in heaven - I'll see him again!

  4. I believe pets do go to Heaven. Our sweet Monica, a black Cocker Spaniel, will be waiting for us. She was our son's dog and when he left home he left her for us saying that she would be good company for us. She lived 14-1/2 years. Her last 2 years were more miserable for her than we realized. About midway in her life she just up and broke her back and we didn't know how just that she could use her front paws to try to get up from her pillow but just kept turning from side to side. Our son rushed her to the vet's (at night) and she was paralyzed from her "waist" down and the vet said he could operate but would rather keep her at the clinic and watch her for a while. I asked him if it would help if we visited her. No, he said she would just wonder why she couldn't go home with us. He called us daily for an update. He became concerned when she would not eat. He sent out one of the employees to a fast food place for a plain hamburger. Monica ate it! After about a week she came home but could not be allowed to run or use stairs. At the end Monica's liver and kidneys were shutting down, she was deaf, and went into "doggie dementia," a term the vet used. Here favorite play thing was to chase tennis balls. Two days before she died I rolled a tennis ball in front of her and she just looked at it. She truly didn't know what it was. It's been 3+ years since the vet helped her pass on and at times I still cry. People ask, but I won't get another dog/pet because I don't want to go through that awful, terrible pain of losing Monica another time. She was a sweetie and I still cry in the shower for her. I don't know how to get her picture on here but she's on my website/blog on the "About Jo" page at http://www.johuddleston.com. Thanks for this opportunity to share about Monica.

  5. Romans 8:19--..."and all creation waits in expectation". Since the fall of man, God's creation has been under the burden of sin. But after the return of the Son of Man (Jesus)all of His creation will be renewed. I believe He is a God of Love, and loves His creation, and every part of it --even to the lowliest of creatures.

    Man does have a spirit and a soul. But our souls must constantly be renewed and can fall into sin, so perhaps animals may have one as well. Mankind is capable of killing, as are animals. But animals are not under judgement (nor follow the Law)as man must.

    Just putting a few things out there for consideration from our Bible studies. I also think we reflect God in that we have the gift of Joy in creating things (writing, art etc.); and we are pleased & happy (in love)with His creation--whether it's a beautiful garden or a kitten. It's how we understand what love is and God's relationship with us.

    As far as eating meat--there was no killing before the Fall; and it wasn't meant to be. Then the first death (an animal) occurred in order for God to clothe Adam & Eve. But we are still healthiest by being vegetarian. Seventh Day Adventists (a Christian denomination) enjoy the healthiest lifestyles and have the longest life spans in the U.S. because they eat Bible-based foods. And yes, they do occasionally eat fish. So we can see everything in the Bible is good for instruction--and our relationship with God & His creation.

    We've had animals all my life in our family; and every one of them has been special and loved dearly; and I believe God will renew them as well. His eye is on the sparrow....

    God bless you....

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  7. Cheri--
    Apologies for putting the same message on twice as I hit the wrong key! have a blessed day!