My Journal Brockie's Primer In Practical Theology from the Far Country


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Various reflections from the Messenger for Ashhurst-Bunnythorpe-Pohangina Methodist Parish, Manawatu, New Zealand

Do Dogs go to Heaven?

‘The Other Side’


‘The other side’ was the title of the lead article in the Messenger of September 2013 dealing with people who have had near death experiences that shed light on life ‘hereafter’.  At the same time I had prepared another ‘lighter’ article on a similar topic but held it back for a more suitable time, like now ... 


A question often raised by children (and adults) when pets die, is ‘if we have souls and go to heaven, do animals as well?’

Some of you will remember Natalie Barclay, a past member of the Pohangina congregation.  Well, many of the cartoons and stories I have used in the Messenger have come from her via the e-mail, as in the following.


Do Dogs go to Heaven? This is absolutely unreal but it actually happened!  These two churches face each other across a busy street (these were in actual photographs of their notice boards which unfortunately I can’t reproduce here).



Our Lady of Martyrs

Catholic Church

Beulah Cumberland


Presbyterian Church


All dogs go to heaven




Only humans go to heaven,

read the bible


God loves all his creatures, dogs included




Dogs don’t have souls.

This is not open for debate.


Catholic dogs go to heaven. Presbyterian dogs can talk to their pastor.




Converting to Catholicism does not magically grant your dog a soul.


Free dogs souls with conversion.




Dogs are animals.  There aren’t any rocks in heaven either.


All rocks go to heaven



Now, to continue the debate, the following is also a true story, so here goes.


Do dogs go to heaven? (take 2)

We had two dogs (bitches) of similar age, Ruska – a pedigree Norwegian Elk hound, and Piper - a ‘bitser’ rescued from the SPCA.  For years they went for walks together, sniffing this, chasing that, companions but not necessarily ‘close’ mates.  Piper developed chronic arthritis and over several years got slower and slower.  Ruska matched her pace throughout, also getting slower and looking older.  Then Piper developed cancer and died.  They were both 13 years old so getting on.  Ruska remained old and slow and we were thinking she too may go, although there was nothing physically wrong with her. 

About a month after Piper died, my daughter Shona was taking Ruska for a ‘slow’ walk, when they both ‘heard’ a bark behind.  Shona thought immediately ‘that’s Piper’s bark’ knowing full well that if she turned around Piper wouldn’t be there, which was exactly the case.  Ruska however, without looking back, immediately picked up the pace and started walking at her normal rapid pace of old, and has continued to do so.  She immediately became more alert and communicative, almost a new dog.  What happened?  Did Piper’s ‘spirit’ also visit Ruska to pass the message that all was well and she too was moving on …???.....!


Footnote.  Ruska died last year at 15 (105 in human terms.  Will Ruska and Piper meet again ‘on the other side’?


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