Dear Annie: Several years ago, you printed a piece from a reverend about a dog who had died. My own precious Poochie died yesterday after being hit by a car. Could you please print that piece again? – Still Grieving in Florida
Dear Florida: Here it is (condensed):
Do Dogs Go To Heaven? by the Rev. Dale Turner (1917-2006)
Looking back across the years I see how important dogs have been in my life. I had been an ordained minister only a few weeks when I received a call from an 8-year-old boy. His dog had been killed by a car. “Mr. Turner,” the lad sobbed, “do you do funerals for dogs?”
I didn’t know quite how to respond, but I recalled the Scriptures’ affirmation of God’s knowing when even a sparrow falls. I replied, “Why not?” and I conducted a little ceremony for the boy’s pet. He asked, “Is my dog going to heaven?” I wasn’t prepared for that question, but my love for animals got me through it. Several years later I had my own personal experience that provided the answer I had never been sure of.
Our wonderful dachshund, Gretta, died, and we were eager to bring another dog into our home. We went to the pound to get the dachshund whose photo had appeared in the paper. By the time we arrived, he had been claimed. Another puppy poked her nose through the wire fence. The look in her eyes seemed to say, “Please, pick me.” We did. And we named her Pick.
After 14 years, Pick became very sick. With a heavy heart I drove her to the vet’s, who did what had to be done.
A few days later, a parishioner who knew of my grief sent me this poem:
I explained to St. Peter,
I’d rather stay here,
Outside the pearly gate.
I won’t be a nuisance,
I won’t even bark,
I’ll be very patient and wait.
I’ll be here, chewing on a celestial bone,
No matter how long you may be.
I’d miss you so much, if I went in alone,
It wouldn’t be heaven for me.
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