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Will We Meet Our Pets in Heaven?

It’s hard to imagine that God would deny us the eternal pleasure of our furry friends.

Edward and Gracie on the trail
Credit: Katye Martens Brier

This week Gracie finally got to go to her favorite place (no, not the puppy store, though she got to go there too and scored a new toy on which she promptly performed a squeakerectomy. Does your dog do this?). No, I’m referring to Monument Mountain near Great Barrington, Massachusetts, considered sacred by the indigenous Mohicans who once lived here and also of personal spiritual significance to me. 

Always by My Side by Edward GrinnanI wrote about Monument Mountain in my book, Always By My Side: Life Lessons from Millie and All the Dogs I’ve Loved. It was Gracie’s predecessor Millie’s favorite place in the world and has become Gracie’s. There is something magical about this shoulder of rock and pines that rises 1700 feet above Route 7 with its several winding trails to the summit. Odes have been written to it.

In 1850 Nathaniel Hawthorne and Herman Melville arranged their first meeting at the summit (where the young Melville announced he was contemplating writing a novel whose protagonist was a whale. No record of what the famously aloof Hawthorne thought of this, though Melville subsequently dedicated the book to him). Several years ago a good friend’s dog plunged over the summit cliff and miraculously survived with minor injuries after being rescued by first responders who rappelled down to her. It made the papers.

So why finally? Since the emergence of COVID-19 last March, Monument Mountain has been mobbed. With gyms and rec centers closed, folks flocked there for fresh air and exercise, jamming the parking areas and trails, forcing Gracie and me to more remote wanders. Which we happily did, but the other day was blustery and overcast and the crowds at Monument had finally thinned in the colder weather.

Halfway up the Hickey Trail we detoured to a waterfall and sat by the pool at its base. “Here is where I scattered your Aunt Millie’s ashes,” I told Gracie. No telling if she comprehended this. She did some perfunctory sniffing then settled by my side. It felt good to finally return to this spot.

I’ve wondered if our beloved animals will meet us in heaven and have concluded they will. What sort of cruel heaven would that be without them? I’ve been pleased by the number of people who agree with this belief, as if God would ever deny us the eternal pleasure of our pets. The problem of loving pets is you outlive all but the last one. I miss all my dogs and pray that I will be reunited with them some day. How many of you feel the same way?

While Gracie found a stick to gnaw, I said a little prayer that God would indeed admit our furry friends into paradise. Then we headed to the top, a little closer to heaven.

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