People disagree about this topic, but as a theologian, a pastor, and also just as a human being, I am convinced that our pets – indeed all animals – play a part in the eternal Kingdom of God, and thus, truly, all dogs do go to heaven.
I believe that God created the world, indeed all things, good. This includes water, rocks, dirt, and especially living creatures such as plants, trees, animals, and paramount of the animals, humans. Humans, possessing free will, chose the destructive path of self-sovereignty for themselves, and as a result, all of creation pays the price.
I believe that God created all things, and especially the earth, for a purpose. That purpose, being to reside in loving communion with His creation. God’s hope for the world is that it will be a place where His will will be done, a place where there will be no weeping, mourning, pain, and especially no sin or death. Those things, especially the last two, were never invited to the party – at least, not by God. Humanity, literally, created these last two in choosing our own ways over God and God’s ways. God’s ultimate plan is for these things to be eradicated, and for death to be no more.
I believe this great work has already begun in the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Finally, as Jesus himself pointed out, if we do not praise Him, the very rocks themselves are ready to do so. If the rocks can praise God, I’m pretty sure that complex living creatures can do so as well. Just as we enjoy animals, so does our benevolent creator [why else would God create the Platypus?!].
In the end, according to the Book of Revelation, the new Jerusalem will descend out of heaven, the old heavens and the old earth will pass away, and the new earth will be established. In other words, the world will die and rise again, itself being baptized into the new life of Christ Jesus. Prairies will again flourish with wild flowers and bison, Mountain springs will flow undammed, Polar Bears, and Great whales, and Tigers will roam free, and not threaten humans [and humans will not threaten them!] – in short, all of creation will actively proclaim God’s goodness in a complete manner. The animals that many of us consider to be pets will be no exception.
Finally, and I truly believe this, just as we believe that we will be raised with Christ, so will all the dead that have gone on, including little dogs.
Today we lay our beloved wee pup Mitzi to rest. She has brought joy and laughter to our lives for almost 14 years. She has lived in New Mexico, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Scotland, and Arkansas. She’s even been to London. She’s seen more of the world than many people have! Where ever she went, people fell in love with her immediately. That was certainly true for both Lauren and and I as well. We love Mitzi – we always will. One day we’ll see feisty little Mitzi again. She won’t limp, she won’t fall, she will no longer be confused and unsettled, and she’ll have all of her teeth [she is one tough dog!] We look forward to that day. Until then, Mitzi, may you leave this world in peace, may you be greeted by a loving Savior and Creator, and may you join the ranks of Bilbo, Shasta, Baby, Abby, and Sophie.
Until that day, may you be at peace.