In 2009, we lost our beloved dog, Duchess. I had no idea it could be so difficult to lose an animal. During the preceding six years she had become like a family member, as any pet owner will understand.
Duchess was a mutt from the animal shelter. They told us she was about three years old, but we learned from the vet that she must have been at least six. A mix of ridgeback, beagle, American Staffordshire terrier, and perhaps Chinese shar pei, she was a California classic.
She snored like a dishwasher. She finished each beagle howl with a sneeze. If no one had time to walk her, she knew how to slip out of the house and take her own walk, thank you very much. Once, she watched with disappointment when I slung the leash back onto its hanger, after getting her hopes up. I had received an email that couldn’t wait. Duchess turned her back to me and lay down, facing the corner. She stretched her paws self-righteously in front, and raised her nose in the air, and would not look at me. She was clearly disgusted with my rudeness.
Some pets are a God-send. Duchess helped my children and me through the darkest parts of our post-divorce valley. We’d leaned on her, and somehow she had never let us slip. I’d often felt alone. People sometimes failed us, but Duchess was a place-holder of love in our family.
Do I believe pets go to Heaven? I surely wanted to during those first agonizing weeks after she left. I researched the question, and my conclusion was that, even though the Bible isn’t specifically clear on it, I think they do. “Behold, I make all things new,” Jesus tells us in Revelation 21:5. That includes his creation, and animals are a part of it. Whatever he does with our beloved pets, I am certain we can trust him. He is the author of love.
Here’s the SmileBox I made when she passed away. Turn the sound up and grab a tissue. And please, enjoy your pets while you have them. They’re a gift from Heaven.
Click here: In Memoriam Duchess