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Nothing tears the heart more than a death in the family; of a parent or sibling, worse yet of a child. It is unnatural that one who should take us to the grave should be there ahead of us there. Include a long-time family friend and a dog or a cat who had with us the same enduring relationship.
For a human loss, we are inconsolable. We know what we lost and what they lost, their love, our love in return.
So it is even with a pet at the moment of parting and for some months and years, decades after.
Then a creeping consolation comes, maybe to ease the pain of loss, that perhaps scientists are right: a dog is just a machine made of meat, not really a thinking and loving being, for whose loss our grief in reason must end.
Sure, a dog answers warmly to our comfort and care, returning embraces by licking our faces, a pat on the head with a wet nose in our hand; it is almost human but not quite yet.
Then why does a dog in Japan never forget its dead master, waiting with tears for his impossible return? Why does it know when we are coming home; even our family is surprised by our appearance at the door. And why do they know this at the moment far away when we decided to come home? Why does it change direction when we take it for a walk and change our minds about going to the grocery, heading instead for the drugstore.
Why do dogs nudge us to take our medication or stop us from doing something wrong? Why do dogs return to the inn that their master checked in, travelling miles they had never crossed before? Because home is where the heart is. Not just pet lovers, now even scientists, have seen this all.
You cannot escape it, when you lose a pet of long association, you suffer a death in the family; for some the only family they have known.
This begs the question do dogs go to heaven? The grief-stricken see this as a flaw that Gospel and Church teachings say nothing about heaven for dogs. But the reason is simple, there is no need to save dogs.
They never disobey God’s or man’s commandments, nor eaten off the forbidden bowl nor hurt another creature out of malice.
God made dogs like He made plants, for their simplicity, and like he made angels for their protection of God's weakest creation.
A young girl was accosted by a dirty old man; she shied away; he tried to grab her. Two black dogs jumped out of a dark alley and attacked him. The girl, now a young woman, visits the two dogs, which were adopted by a farmer. No one in the community had seen them before.