Do Pets Go to Heaven?
Updated: Mar 23
True story ahead.
This was a question my son had when he was a child. He just loved animals. He still loves animals. When he was quite young, both our dog (Mandy) and our cat (Yasha) passed away within a month from one another. I always thought that perhaps my dog died from a broken heart when her kitty companion passed. An odd couple, I know--a German Shepherd and a Calico cat--but the two grew up together and played with one another on a regular basis. We have hours of video of them playing together. Often it was Yasha hiding and waiting to pounce on Mandy, and then they’d roll around playing, and Yasha would come back with her fur just soaked in Mandy’s saliva. Yasha, at 14 years old, died from cancer and only a month later without warning, Mandy, at 13 years old, suddenly died early one morning…in my arms. It was truly heart-wrenching.
My son asked me, more than once, if Mandy and Yasha would be in heaven when he gets there. I told him that the Bible isn't quite clear on that but that I think they'll be there. One night I found him crying in bed, just sobbing. He said he wanted to be sure that animals go to heaven, because he just couldn't stand not seeing our current dog at the time (Dasher) ever again when he passed away. I suggested that he pray to God and ask Him directly, and so he did. The next morning, I asked if God spoke to his heart about whether animals go to heaven or not, and he said that God did not speak to his heart. I suggested he wait on God.
We began our morning reading in a book I had been reading aloud to him for several days. The chapter was about this little girl helping out a grouchy old woman with keeping her house and running errands and things. (The book is Words By Heart by Ouida Sebestyen). Well, it turns out this woman owns a pet bird that's sick and needs a trip to a man who may be able to help; so the little girl takes the bird. The bird ends up passing away. If it wasn’t coincidence enough to be reading about the passing of someone’s pet the morning after my son prayed to God about this very thing; the next thing you know, I find myself reading this to my young son:
Mrs. Chism pushed back her plate. "Do you think my little bird is in heaven" she asked. Lena choked and swallowed and took a gulp of buttermilk. It was sad, but it struck her as funny coming out of Mrs. Chism's mean old face. Before she could catch herself, Lena said, to comfort her, "Are not five sparrows sold for two farthings, and not one of them is forgotten before God?"
True story. Pets go to heaven.
Written February 22, 2019
(Featured artwork small detail of The Marriage at Cana by Paolo Veronese)