Will dogs get into heaven?
Published 10:43 am Thursday, February 15, 2018
By Dwight Sparks
It’s the dead of winter — too cold to be outside much. The days are short. It’s dark when I get home.
We’re empty nesters now. The house is quiet. The phone doesn’t ring every evening with school news and cancellations. Television offers little distraction. The typical ditzy TV shows don’t appeal to a fellow of a certain age. I’ve re-watched my cowboy movies so many times I have memorized the dialog.
So I’ve turned to thinking.
Like the philosophers of old, I’ve been studying the deep questions of humanity.
Such as: Will St. Peter open the Pearly Gates for me if I don’t have a pet dog?
Editorial Writing 101 cautions against interpreting Scripture and saying anything unkind about dogs, but I’ve got pets on the brain this week. It could be the nose decongestant medicine, but I’ve been troubled about eschatological issues.
My pet owner friends are making me feel a little insecure in my religion. They have rescued dogs from certain death at the pound. They dutifully take their pets to the dog park. They proudly walk their dogs in the neighborhood while swinging a little bag of poop like it was a sack of gold nuggets. They dress their dogs in sweaters and have doggie birthday parties.
Call me finicky and inhumane, but I can’t pick up after a dog. I haven’t had a dog in 25 years, and I wasn’t very good at it then. Infants and family obligations trumped — pun intended — the dog. President Trump is the first non-dog-owner president in a century, and you know the grief he gets. He and I are dog-less.
One of my old pastors sermonized confidently that his favorite dog would be in heaven, and they would each walk the Streets of Gold without a gimp in their hips. There’s a host of books about dogs going to heaven. There’s even a movie with that title.
Is that wishful thinking or scripturally sound?
As sinners are inclined to do, I turned to the Bible to form a defense argument for St. Peter that salvation can come … even without dog ownership.
Turns out, the Bible isn’t big on dogs. The word “dog” in the singular, plural and possessive forms appears 41 times in the Scripture. Such as:
• Dogs licked the sores on Lazarus’ infected body at the city gate.
• Dogs ate the flesh of Jezebel after she was tossed out the castle window and trampled by Jehu’s chariots.
• Insulted that the shepherd David came to face him with a sling shot, Goliath asked, “Am I a dog?”
• Proverbs has this graphic verse, “Like a dog that returns to his vomit is a fool that repeats his folly.”
• Decipher this from Revelation, “Outside are the dogs and sorcerers and fornicators and murders and idolaters, and every one who loves and practices falsehood.”
If dog lovers can’t find scriptural guarantees about a heavenly dispensation, consider the plight of cat lovers. The word “cat” does not appear in the Holy Bible. Not once. God made cats, but he didn’t brag much about them in the Bible.
Animals that do get a lot of free press in the Bible are cattle, sheep, donkeys and lions. After my Biblical research, I’m banking on my farm boy days with my pet calves and cow. I’m a 1965 Davie County champion Holstein trophy winner.
Will St. Peter consider that?
• • • • •
I’ve enjoyed our Cana correspondent Betty West’s review of our 44 past presidents — from Washington to Obama. She has visited all their homes except for Obama’s Hawaii birthplace. She’s been to Chicago to see his adult home. She will wait for Trump’s term to end before writing him up. The stories were eye-opening — stuff I didn’t know. If I had elementary school children, I would have clipped all her columns to help with those school reports that are assigned about presidents.