We all like to believe our beloved companion dog is only separated from human friends by lack of an opposable thumbs and inability to form words but if you believe in heaven do you also believe your dog will be there with you? (In my case it would involve about 25 or more dogs (“about” because I’m not dead yet).)

Well it may interest you to learn that you aren’t alone, even Popes have differing opinions

But is this dog praying for something in its Kong?

Dog appearing to pray over Kong

Damn. No peanut butter!

Or is she saying grace?

Have recent Popes really said all dogs go to heaven?

Quite a stir, partially hyped by PETA which opposes having pets anyway, and a story in the New York Times was started when it was mistakenly reported that the current Pope told a child that pets would go to heaven.

Some people believe that at least two Popes have changed Catholic doctrine because they comforted some children who lost their pets. In actuality neither Pope Paul IV or the present Pope Francis have said that animals have souls comparable to those humans supposedly have. (According to a report in catholicworldreport.com.)

But that’s not the only religion, how do others see dogs?

How about Judaism? A BBC TV show said, “Judaism teaches that animals are part of God’s creation and should be treated with compassion. Human beings must avoid tzar baalei chayim – causing pain to any living creature. God himself makes a covenant with the animals, just as he does with humanity.”

Most Native American traditions see dogs as trusted companions and hunting helpers, a symbol of friendship and loyalty. Find various cautionary stories/fables about dogs at http://www.native-languages.org/legends-dogs.htm

Buddhism has a completely different view of dogs and, in fact, all life. All animals are believed to possess consciousness. Further, in Mahāyāna महायान or “Great vessel” Buddhism they are believed to have Buddha nature which essentially means they can achieve enlightenment. Therefore the question of whether dogs go to heaven is meaningless for Buddhists who don’t believe in heaven for humans either but who see all animals as having equal standing with two-legged people.

Before you decide this is a bad religion to subscribe to I should probably mention that those Buddhists who see it as a religion, and many who do not, believe that you and your dog will be reincarnated so in the next life you may be HIS pet.

Open Up Them Pearly Gates

There are other opinions expressed by less authoritative god representatives, “I think God will have prepared everything for our perfect happiness. If it takes my dog being there [in Heaven], I believe he’ll be there.

Rev. Billy Graham

(Yes, that’s the same Billy Graham who told people that God would take him if they didn’t contribute (give) a lot of money to his church.)

Personally I’m prepared to think many of the people in the world don’t have souls or at least ignore any promptings from theirs, but I am not willing to believe my beloved pets don’t go to some doggy reward if people do.

Rev. John McCormick