My tears fell on Buddy’s blond coat as I petted him and said my final goodbye to our dear 15-year-old Cocker Spaniel. My husband wanted to stay as they put our beloved old boy to sleep, but I was falling apart and could not bear it. The kindhearted nurse at the veterinary clinic witnessed my pain with deep empathy. Then, as if reading my fear and guilt-ridden mind, she said, “I’ll stay with him the entire time, I promise. He won’t be alone, and he won’t feel any pain.” Since this heart wrenching moment only happened three days ago, I am wiping away tears as I write this. [If you’re a regular subscriber, you may have seen other blogs that featured or included our dog, Buddy. Search for “Cards by Candlelight” and “One Contented Puppy”.]
Buddy had “doggy Alzheimer’s disease”, as the doctor described it. He’d lost control of his bowels and bladder over the last two years, and was continually getting lost, and often stuck. He would wander into places in our house and yard for no apparent reason, then wonder how he got there and what he was supposed to do next. We’d learned to discern his “I’m stuck” bark from his “Please let me in” bark, as it had been happening more frequently.
My brain knows that Buddy was suffering and living in shame when he had no control over his body (when he would appear to have his brief, lucid moments), but my heart aches at his passing. And, as I’ve often wondered, will we see Buddy in Heaven? What about our 19-year-old cat, Furrball, who died a few years ago, and is buried next to Buddy’s new resting place? Is she there in that celestial city with my sister, my dad, and our son we lost? (See the drawing below by my late sister, Elizabeth. She drew it with colored pencils at the age of 15, inspired by the prophecies of Isaiah Chapter 6, about the eternal world to come.)
Is life on this earth all there is for our beloved, departed pets?
The Bible does not say, definitively, whether our actual pets will be “resurrected” in Heaven, as humans who trust in Christ will be. However, the Book of Ecclesiastes reads of a similar ending (at least on this earth) for both humans and animals:
Ecclesiastes 3:19: “After all, the same fate awaits human beings and animals alike. One dies just like the other. They are the same kind of creature. A human being is no better off than an animal, because life has no meaning for either.”
Eccl. 3:20-21: “They are both going to the same place—the dust. They both came from it; they will both go back to it. How can anyone be sure that the human spirit goes upward while an animal’s spirit goes down into the ground?”
The writer of Ecclesiastes, inspired by the Holy Spirit, asked the question we all want to know: How do we know for sure that an animal’s spirit goes down into the ground when it dies, when a human spirit goes up?
Fascinating question. Many Christians and Catholics believe that the Bible describes animals as having “spirits” that go back to God, just as humans can. I don’t know, and it’s not worth causing division over, but it’s certainly worth pondering.
Humans can choose to follow God and be assured of eternal life through Jesus, but animals cannot. Even so, Scripture makes it clear that there will be animals in the new world that God is creating, after this old earth passes away.
God cares for all His creation, as evidenced by everything in the Bible. He also expects us, as humans, to care for His creation.
Proverbs 12:10 says: “The godly care for their animals, but the wicked are always cruel.”
Revelation 5:13 describes that day in the future: And I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all that is in them, saying, “To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!” Every creature…. even sea creatures… will be worshiping the Most High God!
One of my favorite passages about Heaven, and particularly animals in Heaven, is from Isaiah.
The wolf shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the young goat, and the calf and the lion and the fattened calf together; and a little child shall lead them. The cow and the bear shall graze; their young shall lie down together; and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. The nursing child shall play over the hole of the cobra, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the adder’s den. They shall not hurt or destroy in all my holy mountain; for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.
The wolf shall dwell with the lamb...the calf & lion together; a little child shall lead them. (Isaiah 11:6) I'm looking forward 2 #Heaven! #inspiringhopeblog Click To Tweet
This passage describes not only the variety of animals (wild and domestic, mammals and reptiles, including snakes), but that the animals will all be TAME and harmless! And, it seems to convey that they will all be herbivores in eternity, not eating each other.
Our ten-year-old daughter, Jaycie, has often exclaimed, “I’m going to ride a dinosaur in Heaven, and it won’t even hurt me!”
I do know this: We will be perfectly happy in Heaven, with everything necessary for our enjoyment, and certainly even more than we’ve ever dreamed of! There will definitely be animals in Heaven, and they will be tame and completely accessible for us to enjoy. “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him” (1 Corinthians 2:9, NKJV).
Until then, we rest in God’s comfort, and trust in His promises. And, eventually, I’ll get another dog.
Becky Wright is a Singer/Songwriter, worship leader, author and blogger. More importantly, she’s a mom to nine children through birth, marriage, and adoption. She and her husband and their youngest three children live in northeastern Oklahoma. She’s a Staff Missionary of Artists in Christian Testimony, International, a 501c3 non-profit ministry. More info and music: www.beckywrightsongs.com