I think God will have prepared everything for our perfect happiness. If it takes my dog being there [in Heaven], I believe he’ll be there.
Rev. Billy Graham
I often marvel at the wonder of God’s creation, from the crashing sea to snow-capped mountains and the beauty and artistry of everything in between. Today, I must reflect on my dog, Copper, whose long life on this earth came to a close today just shy of 16 years. The dog is well-named as man’s best friend, as there is no greater example of the kind of friend we are each called to be. What other creature is so loyal and selfless and joyful? Like many others, I arrive at the question: Do dogs go to heaven? I can’t say that there is a specific, definitive scriptural answer, but here’s the way I look at it:
“With great power, comes great responsibility.” Put another way: “But someone who does not know, and then does something wrong, will be punished only lightly. When someone has been given much, much will be required in return; and when someone has been entrusted with much, even more will be required.” ~Luke 12:48 NLT. In Genesis we are told that humans were given authority to reign over creation, being made in God’s image, but one way to think of that is like a curator at the Louvre. Truly, we are in charge of a creation full of wondrous and beautiful works of art. We are made in God’s image, and we know right from wrong. Those are the things that separate us from the rest of creation. And the knowledge of right and wrong is part of what separates us from God. Looking back to Genesis 3 and eating the fruit, original sin, and humans’ exile from Eden, the thing that we call sin is our free will to know God’s will (right and wrong) and to choose wrong. I don’t believe any other creature has that knowledge, and therefore no other creature has the ability to sin and be separated from God.
When a dog dies, whether at the end of a long and happy life or a short and tragic one, it has lived the life God put it here for. Like little children who know no sin, so is a dog. What would separate them from their creator? I imagine my pup young and youthful and bounding and howling and wagging into the Creator’s arms.
“Well done. Good boy.”
Be comforted, little dog, thou too in the Resurrection shall have a tail of gold.