Will we see our dogs again in heaven? Tips and Tricks

The Catholic community includes all kinds of created elements in its prayer-journey to God. The spirit of St. Francis seems very much in evidence in Catholic liturgical life.

St. Francis gave us a similar style of prayer. It seems obvious that, when he wrote his “Canticle of the Creatures” (sometimes called “Canticle of Brother Sun”), he based its style of prayer on such passages of Scripture as I just cited.

At one point in the Catholic funeral ceremony, the priest—without saying a word—solemnly walks completely around the casket, gently swinging the censer, allowing clouds of rising incense to honor the bodily remains of the person who died.

Jesus used created things in his saving work—wet clay on the eyes of the blind man to bring healing (John 9:6-7). He used the products of wheat and grape—bread and wine—to convey his very presence in the Eucharist.

Finally, after his resurrection, Jesus seemed to leave another hint, near the end of Mark’s Gospel, that the whole family of creation is included in God’s saving love. After his death and resurrection, he tells his disciples: “Go into the whole world and proclaim the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15). Mark doesn’t say “to every human being,” but “to every creature”!

John Wesley, the founder of Methodism, saw human beings as God’s representatives, responsible for passing on God’s blessings to the lower creation. When humankind sinned in the Garden of Eden, that blessed relationship suffered along with everything else. Therefore, Wesley looked forward to an animal kingdom restored to the glory they once enjoyed before the Fall of Man.

But there is a counterpoint to that position. Many Bible verses seem to indicate that God will save not only people, but every living thing. In these instances, animals and people alike wait for salvation.

Martin Luther, “Father of the Protestant Reformation” and founder of the Lutheran church, said, “In Paradise there was complete harmony between man and animals; one day again that harmony will be restored and all creation will be made anew.” New creation—man and animal—will live together in peace. The question, then, seems to be not whether animals will be in Heaven at all, but whether they will be the animals we knew during our lives on Earth.

“Animals …are purely physical beings, i.e., they have bodies but no souls. Thus when they die they cease to exist,” said Dr. Rick Perrin, senior pastor at Cornerstone Presbyterian Church. On this point there was agreement amongst several of our local ministers—only human beings have souls that will live again. Therefore, some say that animals do not have a place in the new world to come.

The argument over whether or not specific pets go to Heaven seems to hinge on the idea of a soul. Many people argue that animals do not have souls and cannot be saved, which means they cannot enter Heaven.

After an emotional reunion, Alma’s mother joined them and encouraged her to “go back.” Alma didn’t want to return. “I felt so happy, so loved. I wanted to be there forever.” As her mother spoke words of encouragement, Sadie licked Alma’s face. “She was licking me like crazy and I was laughing with joy. Then I suddenly woke up in the burn unit with the worst pain I’d ever felt.” Over the following months, as she endured many agonizing treatments, including several large skin grafts, Alma clung to those moments with her mother and Sadie. “I was never afraid of death again. I know I’m going to be okay. I know Sadie and Mom are waiting for me.”

Little is known about how frequently beloved dogs make such appearances after they die. According to Michael Fox, DVM, who has collected many such reports, it is common. Visits come in many forms, including seeing a dog’s form, hearing paws or barks, or inexplicably finding what looks like a deceased dog’s fur on a carpet that has recently been cleaned.

Although such visions may occur months prior to death, they are most likely to occur when death is imminent. In their book, At the Hour of Death: A New Look at the Evidence for Life After Death, Karlis Osis, PhD, and Erlendur Haraldsson, PhD, estimate that about 62 percent of the patients in their study who’d had such visions died within 24 hours.

Maggie Callanan, a hospice nurse, chronicled her experiences with end-of-life dreams in her pioneering book with Patricia Kelley, Final Gifts. Hospice physician Christopher Kerr, MD, PhD, recently conducted systematic research into ELDVs. In his book, Death Is But a Dream: Finding Hope and Meaning at the End of Life, he observes that, although they can be transformative, their content “often consist[s] simply of dreams or visions about everyday events, family, love, even pets.”

After-death communication (ADC) involves seeing, sensing or receiving signs from a loved one who has died. In their book, The Art of Dying: A Journey to Elsewhere, neuropsychiatrist Peter Fenwick, MD, and his wife, Elizabeth Fenwick, estimate that between 20 percent to 50 percent of grieving individuals report some type of ADC. In a systematic review of all research on ADC from the late 1800s to 2010, Jenny Streit-Horn found that at least one in three people worldwide have reported ADC at some time in their lives—usually, but not always, in the context of grief.

Narrated NDE Pet Stories | Near Death Experience Compilation