A few months ago, a friend told me dogs don’t have souls and, therefore, don’t go to heaven. While there is probably a ton of theology that proves me wrong, I absolutely refuse to believe she is right.
You see, my family has owned dogs consistently since I was 7 years old–The year Poppa Higg placed two Golden Retriever sisters (Honey Lynne and Sassy Sue) in my bed to wake me up the morning of my birthday. Those Goldens were the absolute best. Even though they clogged our vacuum regularly.
A few years later, Momma Higg introduced us to Lucy Jane, a Bichon Frise. Poppa Higg quickly declared, “That dog will NEVER sleep in my bed,” but about a month later Lucy was his best napping pal.
In college, I wanted a dog badly and my family gifted me with the Bichon Frise, Sneaker. Unfortunately, roommates who “promised to help take her out,” did not keep their word and my schedule proved that I couldn’t handle a dog after all. So my wonderful family took in Sneaker.
Right after graduation, Kingsford, a Miniature Schnauzer walked in my life when I was riding horses one evening. This poor, neglected, and beaten dog looked in my eyes and begged me to take her home. So I did.
And just this March on my daily walk, a full-bred Jack Russell Terrier, Frio (aka Nunca Frio—because she is “never chill”) followed me home. I couldn’t find her owners so I adopted her.
I never had sisters, but I have dogs. I’ve had six incredible dogs in my life. Dogs that have been with me through a Bachelor’s Degree. A Master’s degree. PhD coursework. Three states. Eight houses. Break-ups. Celebrations. Transitions. New jobs. Picking up the crumbs I left from dinner. Waking me up for early walks.
I’ve had dogs that, NO MATTER WHAT, have been excited when I walk in the door. Do you know how good that feels? To have something so excited for you to be home that they wag their tail so hard you think it’ll break? To have something that knows when you’re having a bad day and cuddles up next to you no matter what?
Dogs are good for the soul. Dogs make me complete. I believe God made dogs to remind humans that unconditional love and grace are so real.
My parents went out of town last week and I’ve been taking care of Sneaker. Over the weekend, Sneak hurt her back and re-flared some neurological issues in her back legs causing them to be lame. Unfortunately, our family had no choice but to put her to sleep yesterday. This was not the first dog we’ve had to say “Goodbye” to, but this one may have been my hardest.
Thankfully, I have an incredible vet, amazing friends, and wonderful family who supported and reassured me throughout the entire process.
Sneaker was an awesome dog and I don’t believe God created her without a soul because, if I’m being honest, she had more of a soul than several humans I’ve met (and haven’t met for that matter).
I believe Honey Lynne, Sassy Sue, Lucy Jane, and Sneaker Lynne are all on a mountain of Beggin’ Strips chasing tennis balls together. I believe all dogs go to heaven. Because if they didn’t, who would be there to greet and bark at you when it’s your time to knock on the Gates? You don’t think Jesus needs dogs to bark and let Him know when folks are outside??
I can’t wait to see you again, girls. And if I didn’t tell you enough, you made my life more full. And I love you for that. And to my girls who are still here, Kings and Frio: You continue to remind me of unconditional love and that life is so much better with a tail wagging close by.