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Animals in Heaven?

Yesterday my wife and I had to say goodbye to a dog who lived with us for almost 14 years and was, in every way that matters, family. She was a little toy poodle named Martha who I had got for companionship with another Toy Poodle named Bailey, who was all alone after my father died. While he never really warmed up to little Martha, an Apricot Toy, my beloved and I sure did. Over the next 13+ years she was with us, she developed into quite the character. After Bailey departed this life, she really came out of her shell and ended up "ruling the roost" when it came to the other two, a Shih Tzu named Einstein and a combo Jack Russell/Chihuahua mix named Kit we surprisingly picked up at a Rescue one day. 

Anyway, our little sweetheart developed kidney failure (diagnosed last January 1) and probably also had cancer (we had a tumor removed from her mouth). She also had developed a heart murmur. As our Vet said, age was overtaking her. We managed to make it until September 9, when we were forced to take her to our Vet hospital and end the suffering she had suddenly begun to endure. I am grateful that her end was quiet and peaceful and we were able to be there until the last moment with her.

I awoke this morning, expecting to find her in her usual spot and abruptly remembered she was not there, nor was she going to be again. I feel an emptiness as we mourn her loss. I also have gratitude for the time God permitted us to care for her and enjoy her little life. There are some who would say she crossed the "Rainbow Bridge" to the after-life. I am not sure where that particular belief comes from. It sounds nice. A great many things sound nice. I am sure it offers some comfort to those who have lost a beloved animal friend.

As a Christian, I am constrained to believe only what the Bible teaches me, interpreted hopefully with understanding given to me by the Holy Spirit. I find the Bible to be somewhat silent on the issue of whether or not we will see our beloved pets in Heaven (or the New Earth) some day or not. The Bible makes it clear in many places that there will be animals in the after life, but will they be the ones we know? One can hope. There is always that ability. 

It should be noted that the greatest joy in our new home will be the presence of our Great God and Savior. All else will pale in comparison. But perhaps God will give us, among His many incomprehensible gifts, the joy of reuniting with our beloved pets.

What I do know is that I have loved a few animals along the way and am convinced that they have shown love in return. Being capable of love themselves shows me something of God's love within them. We know how much He cares for them, the Bible makes that clear. We also know that we should treat them well and that not doing so displeases our Creator. 

So, once again, I bid farewell to an animal I have known and loved. Until we [hopefully] meet again, my beloved little Martha.

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