Looking back across the years I see how important dogs have been in my life. I had been an ordained minister only a few weeks when I received a call from an eight-year-old boy. His dog had ben killed by a car. “Mr. Turner,” the lad sobbed, “do you do funerals for dogs ?” I didn’t quite know how to respond, but I recalled the scriptures’ affirmation of God’s knowing when even a sparrow falls.
I replied, “Why not ?” and I conducted a little ceremony for the boy’s pet. He was very pleased and then asked, “Is my dog going to heaven ?” I wasn’t prepared for that question, but my love for animals got me through it. I’m sure I made the child feel better.
Several years later, I had my own personal experience that provided the answer I had never been sure of. Our wonderful dachshund, Greta, died, and we were eager to bring another dog into our home. We went to the pound to get the dachshund whose photo had appeared in the paper. By the time we arrived, he had been claimed. Another puppy, sensing our mission, poked her nose through the wire fence. The look in her eyes seemed to say, “Please pick me.” We did and we named her Pick.
Whenever I came home, Pick was there to greet me. I’d say, “Pick, you’ve got it made. Other animals work for their keep. A canary sings, cows give milk, chickens lay eggs, but you don’t have to do anything but hang around.” After 14 years, Pick became very sick, and there was nothing to be done except put her out of her misery. With a heavy heart I drove her to the vet’s, who did what had to be done. I then went back to my study and wept for hours. A few days later, a parishioner who knew of my grief sent me this poem. It healed my sorrow. Perhaps it will help others. I’d like to share it : —–
I explained to St PeterI’d rather stay hereOutside the Pearly GatesI won’t be a nuisanceI won’t even barkI’ll be very patient and waitI’ll be here.chewing on a celestial boneNo matter how long you may beI’d miss you so muchif I went in aloneIT WOULDN’T BE HEAVEN FOR ME.