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Will I See My Dog in Heaven?

Will I See My Dog in Heaven?

As anyone who has loved a pet before can attest to, the loss of a cherished animal who has crossed over the Rainbow Bridge is one that is felt very deeply. Because of their knack for unconditional love, we often share much more of our unfettered selves with our furry friends than the humans we interact with every day, so when they depart from us, it not only makes us heartsick, it is unfathomable that we are destined to simply say goodbye forever. Sadly, while we have no concrete answers in this realm about if we will indeed be reunited, we may take comfort in reading accounts of people who have been in situations where they were dying and saw their beloved pet before being brought back to life.

One website in particular, near-death.com, has multiple stories from those who say that their pets were among the departed souls that greeted them as they sojourned toward the afterlife. As expected, some of the tales seemed a bit far-fetched, perhaps explained by the strong medications these patients were receiving at the time the medical professionals were battling for their lives. But, others seemed completely plausible and were heartwarming to read.

One such story was that of Grace, as told by Dr. Cherie Sutherland, a visiting research fellow at the University of New South Wales, in her book, Within the Light. During a particularly difficult labor with her first child, Grace began to falter. One of her last memories before she drifted into blackness for a final time was someone yelling, “We’re losing her!”. She recalled seeing a glowing portal which beckoned to her, and when she emerged, she stood in a place that was alive with color: the sky was a vividly deep blue, while softly rolling hills were hued in brilliant greens. After taking it all in, Grace began to realize that there were shadowy beings near her. One in particular came into focus, and she recognized her Aunty Hannah, who had died a little over a decade before. Then, she began to identify the others who were near, such as her Uncle Abraham and a grandmother, who had died before she was born; yet no one spoke. Eventually, she realized her father, who died suddenly when she was 16, was beside her. He answered her unspoken question about if she was imagining it all because she had so desperately wanted to say goodbye to him, but he assured her she was not. At some point, she looked down to see her German Shepherd, Lucky, who had died when she was very young, sitting comfortingly beside her. Eventually, after having no concept of time passing, Grace joined the living again and gave birth to a son.

Indeed, anyone who has had a child ask, “Will my dog (or cat, etc.) go to Heaven?” when a pet passes tends to answer swiftly and affirmatively with a resounding, “Yes!”, even without having this concrete knowledge. We all seemingly have the inherent understanding that animals will absolutely go to their “Great Reward” at the conclusion of their earthly existence. This is not a new concept, either: Many ancient cultures believed that animals’ souls would move on from this world after death. There are many accounts of how Native Americans thanked the animals they hunted for sacrificing their lives to sustain the lives of others. Prehistoric Siberians buried their dogs in sleeping positions, often with their toys, tools and ornaments, alongside their presumed owners. Ancient Egyptians of high status would mummify their pets when they passed to be entombed with them. The world over, in a wide expanse of cultures, thousands of years apart, humans felt compelled to continue their journeys to the afterlife with their trusted animal companions at their sides.

Losing a pet can be similar to losing a human loved one: People may pass through many stages of grief, including anger, denial, and depression, among others, and these emotions can be just as erratic and debilitating as with the death of human family member or friend. We pet parents all want reassurances that they have moved on to a place where they will be happy and content, especially since they will no longer be in our care. On the website soulproof.com, it states that there is “…good evidence that the consciousness/energy of all life- people, pets, plants- continues onto the next page of life’s never-ending saga.” The page goes on to offer evidence of this ideology with several examples, including near-death experiences, stories of Mediums who can purportedly communicate with pets who have passed on, after-death communications, such as in dreams, and miracles that involve pets. But, perhaps the best explanation for why the souls of our beloved furry friends continue on is the last example given, which states that based on scientific laws, energy cannot be destroyed, but only changes form.

Whatever our beliefs of what happens to our fur babies when they pass, the most important thing to cling to is the absolute joy and unconditional love they shared with us while they existed on earth. While we hope to see them again when our own lives draw to a close, we hope that the memories we have will sustained us, regardless. But, as the scientific law states, the energy of light and love cannot be destroyed; only changed- so no matter what happens when our lives end, nothing can take away the bond we share with the animals who stole our hearts.

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