Updated: Sep 29, 2020
Last week on a phone call with someone who had just euthanized his pet, there was a long silence between sobs. Then he took a deep breath, and asked the question: “Rev K, will I see my cat, Boots, in heaven? Do you think there is a heaven for pets and will she be with my mom who passed away but loved Boots all her life?”
And there it was again: Is there life after life for the pets we love and who pass on? Is there a heaven for our pets? Where do they go when they die? How do we know they’re alright?
These are the questions that try our souls. These are the questions I’m asked, often through the tears of the heartbroken. It all has to do with what one believes deep down about death. What applies to humans and their spirits and souls I believe applies to our animals. If one believes death is the absolute end of life. Period. Then it is so for people and pets.
But as an animal chaplain and pastor, I say this: the great and total love we give our animals, our beloved pets, and the total and great love they give us, do not end with death.
The love lives on in them and in us. Their spirits are with us forever, and we know that.
We carry them in our hearts forever. They do reach out to us, and we need to learn how to be still and receive what they are telling us.
Is “forever love” heaven? is “forever love” a hereafter? Yes, I believe so. It doesn’t lessen the deep pain. Nor stop the longing to hold and feel them again. But what a comfort to know they are alive still! They are just in a different form.
As Pope Paul VIsaid, “One day, we will see our animals again in the eternity of Christ. Paradise is open to all of God’s creatures.
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