Archive for Saturday, May 14, 2011

Faith Forum: Do Animals Go to Heaven?

May 14, 2011


Judy Carman, the author of “Peace to All Beings” and co-author of “The Missing Peace.”

One night Raymond and Suzanne Peters were awakened by their dog, Mac, barking loudly. Half asleep they hushed the dog, but the barking became so frantic that Raymond finally arose.

When he did, he found, to his horror, that their house was on fire. Quickly the couple ran from the house carrying their children.

Once outside and safe, the couple suddenly realized the true extent of Mac’s devotion to them. Without doubt, it was Mac who had saved their lives, but Mac had died three months before the fire. Although this event may seem improbable, a quick look at the number of books and websites dedicated to such stories indicates that many people have experienced similar evidence of animals living on after death.

The Hebrew word for living soul in the Bible is “nephesh,” and it is given to both human beings and animals. This is the mysterious, unseen life force that animates all living beings. It is the breath of God infused with divine love.

When asked whether animals go to heaven, author James Herriot stated that he believed they do and added, “If having a soul means being able to feel love and loyalty and gratitude, then animals are better off than a lot of humans.”

St. John the Divine stated that he saw many animals in heaven. St. Francis of Assisi noted that “there is no degradation in the dignity of human nature in claiming kinship with creatures so beautiful, so wonderful, who praise God in the forest even as the angels praise Him in heaven.”

This question, though perhaps unanswerable in the literal sense, has profound implications for us. When we open our hearts to the realization that animals are sacred and endowed with Divine Love; when we look into their eyes and remember that they are our precious companions and not ours to use and kill; we enter a realm of infinite compassion, love, and inner peace.

— Send e-mail to Judy Carman at

Charles Gruber, member, Oread Friends Meeting, 1146 Ore.:

So I was chatting with my dog, Rosie, a 2-year old mixed-breed basenji, about whether animals go to heaven.

She said, “Remember when you told me you counseled some friends that heaven was an individual concept depending solely on what each person believed?”

“Yes,” I said. “I told each one that if they believed they would go to heaven, they would, indeed go to heaven as they understood it. I also told them that if their version of heaven was different from mine, that was okay. The magic comes into play when the cast of characters and the nature of the scenery differs between our versions. As Bob Dylan sang, ‘You can be in my dream if I can be in yours.’”

“Well,” Rosie said, “that’s how it works. Remember how sad you were when you buried your cat, Kefira, a couple of weeks ago? And the tears that flowed when your lab-chow dog, Babe, died of cancer? I have it on good authority that all of them will greet you in the after-life if you choose to believe so.”

She patiently licked my tears as the memories returned.

“Oh, I have more good news,” Rosie said. “No litter boxes, no leashes, no fleas and no poop bags. Just long walks, lots of naps and boatloads of dog treats.”

“Sounds like heaven to me,” I said.

“How could it be otherwise?” she responded, nuzzling me softly and making those low moaning sounds she makes when she’s contented.

— Send e-mail to Charles Gruber at


Ron Holzwarth 7 years ago

It's hard for me to believe that heaven or some sort of afterlife is a be all and end all. What, we stop there and don't go any farther?

John.14 [1] In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?

pusscanthropus 7 years ago

In FSM heaven, the Flying Spaghetti Monster and his( recently revealed) consort, Flying Spaghetti Monsteress have created dog parks and horseback riding trails. They have holding rooms and barns where beloved pets await the arrival of their's all good! Everyone is happily eating pasta, including alfalfa and brome pasta for the horses, and meatballs for the carnivore pets!

Jeff Barclay 7 years ago

Do animals go to heaven? Probably not. But Billy Graham once answered a grief stricken little girl's question about eternity and her beloved "Doggie." "Rev. Graham, when I get to heaven will my dog be there?" Rev. Graham smiled, "Sweetheart, if you need your puppy, in order to be happy in heaven, your puppy will be there waiting for you."

Ron Holzwarth 7 years ago

You have to wonder why some posters read this forum.

Well, actually, the answer is obvious. Because they are under the impression that they sound "wise" when they comment on it.

But, the reality is that they do nothing but show their true colors. And, their true colors are quite ugly to look at, except when they look into the mirror at themselves.

brewmaster 7 years ago

How about brown recluse spiders, fleas, bed bugs, cock roaches, head lice, maggots or intestinal tape worms; they all go to heaven, too...right?

Paul Decelles 7 years ago


Since I am an entomologist-of course these critters go to heaven. ;-)

Fred Whitehead Jr. 7 years ago

It never ceases to amaze me at the contortions that some folks will go to to rationalize their religious doctrine convictions. Religion itself is a myth, a presentation of doctrine and dogma (no pun intended) that have been created over the ages to explain the unexplainable. But many, many people will bash and dismiss science, I have heard a few so called "tv preachers" thrash and flog "psychologists", "scientists" and so on. These are simple minded people that have to have a God-inspired, rock-solid, no-fail explanation for things that have no plausable explanation. This seems to work for the dimly educated, non-thinking groups that embrace all this "rapterous religious doctrine" but most people realize that faith in an almighty Power is probably a good thing, but all the fluff and flounce ("God created the world in 7 days, not biillions of years. etc. etc/") that is fabricated to go with it is a lot of hokum.

Ron Holzwarth 7 years ago

It's very obvious that you have absolutely no understanding of the teachings of Reform Judaism. Somehow, you've come up with something so far removed from what's actually taught that you're like, in some sort of fantasy land.

Ron Holzwarth 7 years ago

Just for starters, here's a couple teachings of Reform Judaism:

1) Does the Bible describe scientific fact? Answer: No.

1) Did the miracles described in the Bible actually occur? Answer: No. (but you are free to believe they did if you want)

FloridaSunshine 7 years ago

Mr. Gruber, the eloquence of your essay brought tears to my eyes. Thank you for sharing your "chat with Rosie" of the most beautiful responses to Faith Forum I have read. I daresay, one of the most heart touching essays I have ever read. Yes, I know our beloved pets will be with us again.

Ms. Carman, I love the phrase you wrote, "the breath of God infused with divine love"...that certainly describes our JB and Reilly who have gone on to wait for also describes the look in Bailey's eyes...he's our newest gift of unconditional love. We can never be worthy of these priceless gifts from God.

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