Thursday, December 23, 2010

Do Pets Go to Heaven?

Photo: www.webartstore.com

I am an animal lover. Always have been. Through all my childhood pets I learned so many life lessons and developed within me so many characteristics. I learned about birth and new life, the nurturing and protecting instinct the mother has for her children, playfulness, survival, etc. But what I learned most about was cruelty and death...

We lived in the kind of neighborhood where people acted like they didn't have any sense. Or compassion. Many of our cats were shot just for the fun of it. We had some of our cats come back home with bb's stuck under their skin from attempts on their life. They were tough; they were survivors. Others just never came back home and we'd hear about what happened to them later through neighborhood talk... or we'd discover their bodies. My mom worked at the library and had a difficult time keeping the rowdy, undisciplined children from breaking or stealing things or looking at porn on the Internet... so, they would get mad at her for trying... and come to our house and decapitate our dogs.

I cried a lot. I couldn't understand these people and the sick, twisted way that they treated animals. I developed a strong passion for protecting them that never left me. I don't like the idea of hunting for sport or hurting animals for our enjoyment. I feel sick to my stomach whenever I hear about dog fights in the South. When Michael Vick got in trouble for that, I started hearing arguments to support it based on it being a "cultural thing" to have dog fights and to kill the underperforming animals in inhumane ways. Give me a break. I grew up in the same culture, so don't give me that. You can't blame your incompetence and inhumanity on it being a "cultural thing."

My love for animals pushed me towards vegetarianism. When I was 12, I bought tons of books about it and tried to ease myself into eating less meat. It was a conscious decision that I was making myself, despite what anyone around me thought. Since then (13 years later), I still don't eat beef or pork. I go through phases where I give up seafood and chicken and turkey. I'm still working on the discipline it requires to completely eliminate it. It's difficult, and I'm a hypocrite, but in my heart I'm a vegan.

I have my two cats who I love like little kiddos. Felix Bojangles & Zeus Shenanigans (ha ha ha ha). They're the best of buddies and I'm so glad I can offer them a comfortable existence. Felix was left at a shelter, so who knows where he would have ended up if we hadn't taken him in. And Zeus was born to a neighbor's cat who would have ended up living a feral life in the streets of south Provo had we not rescued him. If I had my way, I would definitely be a crazy cat lady. But I want to avoid the crazy part - ha ha - and I've given myself the rule that the ratio of cats to people in my household can't be greater. Right now it's 2:2.

I think back to all the pets I've had over the years and how much of a connection I feel to them. I can't imagine a heaven that wouldn't include them. I know God develops a place of happiness for us if we make it to heaven, and this article got me thinking about whether or not that would include my pets? What if I don't make it to heaven - are my pets tied to me and they won't make it either? Will animals in general be judged - some making it to little animal heaven and some sent off to animal hell? That doesn't seem like it would make much sense, as I don't think they have much of a moral conscience to be making good vs bad decisions. What about all the animals who weren't loved, who were neglected, who were tortured, who weren't pets? We should care about what happens to them after death too! Do all animals have spirits that are as eternal as ours?

Anyways, that's what I'm thinking about as I look at my nativity scene and imagine all the animals surrounding Jesus on His birth... what an awesome, peaceful scene that is. One of the greatest events that ever took place on this Earth took place in a barn full of animals. I love it. :)





4 comments:

  1. I love this. :) If my animals aren't in heaven, I'm not so sure I want to go there, myself. I have no doubt animals go to heaven. I don't know the specifics, but I know that my dogs and horses will spend eternity with me. They HAVE to!

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  2. @Anna - I would be so, so, so sad if my little kitties didn't have spirits that lived on after death just like humans... We need a revelation on that, ha ha.

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  3. http://lds.about.com/library/bl/faq/blanimals.htm

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  4. @Toweleez - Thanks so much for that link! I find comfort in a lot of those words (I had no idea there had been that much written about the topic!)... One of my cats went missing a couple weeks ago and I am SO SAD about it! I thought I'd have my two kitties with me for years to come, and now he's gone and I worry so much about him.

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