Thursday, February 25, 2010

Do Dogs Go To Heaven?

Any place that's too high-falootin' for Rip is too fancy for me. ~ Twilight Zone, The Hunt
It seems American Christian
fundamentalists have declared that, come the Rapture, dogs will be left behind. There is a great debate over the question. Oddly, there is a greater debate over dog Rapture than child Rapture. Babies, even Buddhist babies, get snatched up; rebellious teens get left behind. Still, the consensus is that dogs are soulless and will be abandoned by God.

There is extensive discussion over what to do about this. One way is to have a Goth teenage daughter. When Bible-beating mom and dad disappear one day little Rachel will still be there to feed Fluffy. An atheist entrepreneur has signed up hundreds of worried Christians to his Rapture-sitting service for pets. There is also a wonderful website to help their post-Rapture pet planning.

This all reminds me of an old Twilight Zone episode.
An old hillbilly named Hyder and his hound dog Rip return from coon hunting to find out they died. Wandering along a dirt road they come upon a beautiful gate on a side road. The Gatekeeper, dressed in white, tells Hyder that this is the gate to Heaven. Hyder starts to enter but the dog sets to howling. The Gatekeeper tells Hyder that dogs are not allowed in Heaven and he has to leave Rip behind. Hyder refuses to enter and won't listen to the Gatekeeper's promises. He had never abandoned Rip in life, he won't abandon Rip in death.

Hyder and Rip continue walking down the dirt road, sad about not going to Heaven but content he and Rip will spend eternity together. Farther down the road they meet a young man who says he has been sent to take Hyder to Heaven. Hyder refuses, telling the youth about his meeting with the Gatekeeper. Why, the youth tells Hyder, that there was the gate to Hell. Dogs, the youth says, can smell the brimstone fires of Hell and that is why are not allowed past the gate. The youth leads Hyder and Rip to a simple break in the fence - the passage to Heaven.
I suspect all of those Rapture fanatics are going to be in for a mighty big surprise when they reach that big, beautiful pearly gate through which dogs cannot pass.
If having a soul means being able to feel love and loyalty and gratitude, then animals are better off than a lot of humans. ~ James Harriot

If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went. ~ Will Rogers

The dog is a gentleman; I hope to go to his heaven, not man's. ~ Mark Twain
Also, this from Earl Hamner who wrote the Twilight Zone screenplay.