Belle of Liberty

Letting Freedom Ring

Sunday, August 22, 2010

All Dogs Go to Heaven

My mother loves dogs. She’s had dogs all her life. Lindy, Debbie, Noodles, Brownie, Stubby, Brandy, Casey. There was also the extended family of dogs: Abraham, Domino, and Charlie Brown (he was the company yard dog, but she considered him her pet).

When one of Mom’s friends, a Christian fundamentalist, told her that Brownie couldn’t go to Heaven, Mom said, “Then I don’t want to go there. I want to go where my dogs are. I want to go to Dog Heaven.”

These religious types. The friend told Mom it was because Brownie (and the other dogs) had no soul. Animals can’t understand God, she said, so they can’t be admitted into Heaven. To the Muslims, looking to overtake us by stealth Shariah, dogs are “unclean.”

It’s a dog life, I tell you. They’re friendly, faithful, fiercely devoted to their masters and this is what they get. Animals may not understand God, but God understand animals – and humans. Doesn’t the Bible say something about God noticing even when the tiniest sparrow falls?

Not everyone loves dogs, of course. We were having lunch with our supervisor, and the subject of dogs came up. Our department secretary’s husband wants to get a dog, but the secretary has put her foot down. No way, absolutely not.

One of my co-workers, who’s a pet parent to two dogs, tried to convince her of the happiness a dog can bring into a household.

“A dog changes the whole dynamic of a home,” said the co-worker. “They bring such positive energy and spirit into the home.” She stopped there and put her hands because the secretary was scowling. Don’t try to talk her into it.

Which is a good thing. It would be no favor to the poor animal to bring it into a home where it isn’t loved. Some people just think dogs are too much work. They’re another chore that the owner comes to resent: the feeding, the walking, the brushing, the cleaning, the vacuuming. Trips to the vet. What do you do with the dog on vacation (I’d take it with me if I had one and I was going on vacation). What if bites someone (well, if you treat it and train it properly, it won’t).

But that’s the way anti-dog people feel. “What if it licks me?” the secretary squealed. “I don’t want a dog slobbering all over me. Ewww!” Oh dear.  Actually, dog saliva is supposed to contain healing qualities.

Years ago, our neighbor’s son was given a puppy as a gift. Don’t ever do that people, please! Anyway, Mrs. Neighbor was never happy about having the dog, though Mr. Neighbor was. Of course, the son didn’t look after the dog and soon trotted off to college, leaving Mom and Dad to look after the now-grown pooch.

Mrs. Neighbor wouldn’t have the dog in the house. Allergies, vacuuming, cleaning! Horrors. The dog was kept tied to a tree in all kinds of weather. Mr. Neighbor finally built the poor creature a dog house. But this was a family dog, not a yard dog. He wanted to be part of the family.

I could see the dog from my bedroom window. One night, we had a blizzard. It was so cold and snowy. It looked to me like the dog’s legs were turning blue, but I wasn’t sure, so I grabbed the binoculars. I know – I’m a nosy neighbor. They were quite blue.

I was so upset. I actually asked God if there wasn’t something He could do for this dog. Was there some way He could change Mrs. Neighbor’s heart, at least for that night, and let this animal in where he could be warm?

But I guess her heart was too hard even for God to change, so He did the next best thing: He took the dog home with Him. The next morning, the dog coop was empty and we never saw him again.

You silly fundamentalist Christians (although they’re at least willing to give dogs houseroom), you heartless Muslim fanatics, and dog haters of all stripes: you’d better pray that Saint Peter doesn’t have a dog beside him at the Pearly Gates, or that a dog isn’t awaiting you on the other side of As-Sirat.

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