Do Our Pets Go to Heaven?
(Posted October 6, 2022)
By Rev. Pat Kriss
“The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together; and a little child will lead them.” ---Isaiah 11:6
Most of us, when we were little, learned what goodness and love is from a few key individuals. If we were lucky, it was at least in part from our own parents; perhaps it was a kindly aunt, uncle, or teacher. But for many of us, our best teacher may have had four paws and a tail, or even a feathery tail. Regardless of the species, our pets were often a major part of our formation as good human beings and a first source of love.
Pets, People and Companionship
Not only were our pets – most likely dogs and cats – our teachers, they were our consolers when we cried, they stuck by us when we were upset. Sometimes the roles were reversed when there was thunder or a visit to the vet’s office. If the pet had whiskers and purred, consoling our pet might have meant finding them first. (A famous veterinarian who made house calls for cats wrote a book he titled, “All My Patients Are Under The Bed.”) When your pet loved you, it affirmed in your heart that you were worthy of love. Likewise, your love for your pet taught you the first lessons about what it means to have a caring, loyal relationship. A pet is both a friend and is also like a furry child, a member of the family.
Do Pets Go to Heaven?
However, when we cherish an animal, their lives are never as long as ours, and the end is always a sad parting when they die. As the saying goes, in the end “grief is the price we pay for loving a pet.” When that time comes, we often end up thinking, “I can’t even imagine what heaven is like if my dog isn’t there,” or “it’s not fair if my cat who always stuck by me with love hasn’t gone on to be rewarded for her faithfulness.”
In this October week, when even Protestant churches recognize the great Franciscan, Francis of Assisi, the question hangs in the air: Do dogs and cats go to heaven? If we asked Francis who respected and engaged with the souls of all creatures of the earth, water and skies, the answer is an unequivocal “YES.”
But what about the Bible? What does it say? What did Jesus say about them? This Sunday we will go searching for the answer that may bring comfort to those of us who in our hearts hope that when their time comes, there will be a joyful welcoming committee waiting for us. I will also be providing pet blessings at the Danbury Town Park at 3 PM on this Sunday.