Sunday, December 5, 2010

A Death in the Family

When our dog died last week, I experienced all the feelings of losing a member of the family - because in a very real sense, that is exactly what it was. I still can hardly believe the dog is gone. I find myself yet hearing the tinkle of her collar and looking for her automatically when I come down stairs in the morning. I buried Champ in her collar, wrapped in the pad where she lay when she died. She was the best. I will never own another dog the rest of my life.
Saying goodbye to the family dog after twelve years could not help but generate thoughts about her and bring back questions I've heard from other people who've lost pets. Now, the questions are personal and very close to home. Will we ever see our dog again? Do all dogs go to heaven? I used to answer those questions in the negative and usually I was quite certain. I have a reason now to be a bit more careful and reflective. Maybe I was wrong.
The Bible is very silent about the destiny of animal life in eternity, which, if you think about it, is rather fascinating in itself. I'm sure people in the Bible had pets and that people in the ancient world domesticated animals. I'm sure they had all the same questions when their pets died. So what's the answer?
Frankly, I don't know and I won't know until I get to heaven. The only near answer I have is the one supplied from Romans 8:21: "... the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God." If creation itself is redeemed by the death of Christ, perhaps animals go to heaven when they die. There certainly will be room enough. Any place in eternity that can hold more people than we could number can also hold more animals than we could number.
But I don't know. I can't know. I would like to see Champ again. Being reunited, being able to see her bound up to me again with that perpetual smile would be one of the sincerest delights in the sheer joy I will have of being reunited with all my loved ones. I miss them all, and I look forward to seeing them all again.
Why not the dog too?

1 comment:

  1. I totally empathize with you, because last January we had to put our beloved cat Tiger down. He was our pet for all 17 1/2 years of his life. Sometimes I think I hear him pawing at the door to come in after a breath of fresh air! It would be hard to think of ever owning another cat, because Tiger was the best.
    Nancy Larson