Tuesday, April 19, 2005

The last of a Good Old Boy

My old Golden Retriever got down last week and couldn't get back up. I knew this day was coming -- he's been barely able to get up and down even with the help of medication to ease the pain and inflammation in his joints.

Last week, he just couldn't do it any more. The vet came out and gave him an injection to euthanize him as he lay on my kitchen floor. I had one hand on him and one hand on a worried Betsy, my Border Collie mix.

It was a painless exit from this world.

It reminded me that Jesus said he came to heal the sick, bind up the broken-hearted and set free the captives.

Jesus did all that for Good Old Boy, at different times. This was the time to free this beautiful animal from the body which had become a prison for him.

In the three years I had him, Good Old Boy was healed of heartworms by the miracles of modern science (which comes from God); he had two tumors removed from him, and he made it through the last six months only because of the medication that allowed him to get up and down. And my prayers through it all. He was deaf and he was developing cataracts.

Good Old Boy was about 10 years old when I got him. He looked to be a purebred golden retriever. Although already marked by arthritis, he could still prance at times, legs held high in the air. At the end, he couldn't lift his leg high enough to pee. He hadn't been able to lift his tail during the time I had him.

After the vet (who is a wonderful and kind young professional) left, I had a strong vision of Good Old Boy running through the green fields of the Kingdom of God, flowing red-blond fur blowing in the wind, plume of a tail held high, prancing -- and smiling that glorious retriever smile.

Good Old Boy is healed.

I imagine him joyfully reunited with his previous owner, who predeceased him.

I know that when I pass through that door, he will be there, weaving in and out, between the legs of that great cloud of witnesses, moving to joyfully greet me.

To those who say there is no heaven, I say, "Phbbbbt!"

To those who say there are no animals in heaven, I say there is certainly a place for any loving creature in heaven. These pets who are members of our families are beloved and loving and belong with us there, too.

To those who say there's a separate heaven for animals, I say it wouldn't be heaven for them without their beloved people.

In fact, don't even try to talk theology with the grieving. They don't want to hear it. Just give them a hug.


RiverStone said...

You can certainly have hugs from me: {{{{{{{{Pat}}}}}}}} Our furfriends are so important to us, and their lives really do have meaning. I would be lost without my dogs. They keep me anchored in a different way than any person could.

And like you, I know that our loving and beloved pets are waiting for us in heaven. It could be no other way.

Annie said...

I'm so sorry! I know exactly how that is. I had an old Great Dane go through that. It was so hard to finally call the vets office to have her picked up.

Yes, animals go to heaven! It makes no sense that God would love us more than he loves these warm and loving creatures. I tell my son that God created dogs to give us humans some insight into how much we should love God, how devoted we should be, how accepting, how forgiving, how patient, how willing ....


Charlotte said...

Hugs, many hugs, many, many hugs.

Demi said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Demi said...

Hugs for Pat. Perhaps Good Old Boy will snuggle with Sofie The ContemplativeCat out there on the ethereal planes. I certainly do believe that animals' souls survive physical life, and I look forward to meeting them again someday.

Donna B said...

Blessings on you and yours, Pat. We who have lost loved 4-leggers grieve with you.If you're not familiar already with the "Rainbow Bridge" story, check it out. It's a little schmaltzy, maybe a bit maudlin, but if my Lady McFerrin beagle isn't waiting at the Rainbow Bridge by Heaven's gate, I don't wanna go in! Thanks for sharing; My dogs and cats are my family, thanks be to God.

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