Will we see our pets in Heaven after we die? My kids have this question and many others have wondered the same thing.
Sally, our sweet and loyal sheep dog black labrador mix passed away on Friday. Even though we have anticipated that day for a while, it was still so sad. I will be the first to say that kids are better than dogs. I believe that to join God in creating life and then raising that child to be a responsible, God fearing individual is the most satisfying work anyone can accomplish. Pets are dear. They enrich our lives and even save lives. Sally did both of these for us. Though she is not as important to me as my children, she WAS important and we miss her very much.
Where DO dogs go after they die? According to lds.org:
“Yes, animals have spirits (see D&C 77:2–3). Of course, there is a major difference between animals’ spirits and our spirits—we are begotten sons and daughters of Heavenly Father, and they are not.
“And according to the Prophet Joseph Smith, there are at least some animals in heaven. He said:
“’John saw curious looking beasts in heaven; … actually there, giving glory to God. … (See Rev. 5:13.) …
“’I suppose John saw beings there of a thousand forms, that had been saved from ten thousand times ten thousand earths like this,—strange beasts of which we have no conception: all might be seen in heaven. John learned that God glorified Himself by saving all that His hands had made, whether beasts, fowls, fishes or men; and He will glorify Himself with them” (in History of the Church, 5:343).
“So, although we don’t have a complete understanding of what happens to animals after they die, we believe that they will enjoy some kind of salvation and immortality.”
One morning after walking Adam to elementary school Sally on the leash and Curt in the stroller, a vicious dog with a broken rope around his neck ran toward us. Alarmed, but thinking quickly, I positioned Sally between the crazy dog and the stroller. Sally FOUGHT that dog growling and biting until the apologetic owner caught up and called the dog off. What a nightmare! That is one time Sally saved us – amongst others. She has warned us of rattlesnakes while camping, guarded our home, and more.
Why aren’t we sealed for eternity to our dogs? Remember that dogs aren’t people. They don’t have to be baptized nor need temple work. Yes, we get very attached to them, they even feel apart of the family, but they aren’t as important as kids. So, what is their place in The Plan of Salvation? lds.org explains:
Where do animals fit in the eternal plan of things?
“Gerald E. Jones, director, Institute of Religion, Berkeley, California “Nature helps us to see and understand God. To all His creations we owe an allegiance of service and a profound admiration.” Thus the General Superintendency of the Deseret Sunday School Union, President Joseph F. Smith, President of the Church, and Elders David O. McKay and Stephen L Richards, members of the Council of the Twelve, editorialized in the April 1918 Juvenile Instructor. Recognizing that the “love of nature is akin to the love of God” they reminded the members of the Church that “men learn more easily in sympathetic relationships of all life than they do in the seclusion of human interest.” (P. 183.) Many families recognize the importance of pets and the resultant loving and sharing among their children. Caring for pets can also develop a sense of responsibility.
“Devotion of animals to families can be inspiring as well as practical. A recent news item related the bravery of a dog in saving the life of a small girl by breaking the window of a burning automobile and pulling her to safety.
“A number of questions have been asked concerning the place of animals in the gospel plan:
“Do animals have spirits and are they resurrected? Yes. The Prophet Joseph Smith received information concerning the eternal status of animals. Answers to questions he posed are in the Doctrine and Covenants, section 77. He also spoke about the resurrection of animals in a sermon but did not expand on the subject. (History of the Church, 5:343.)
“To what degree of glory do animals go? The scriptures speak only of animals being in the celestial kingdom. Whether they go to other kingdoms is a matter of conjecture. Elder Joseph Fielding Smith on one occasion said the distribution of animals into all three degrees of glory is “very probable,” (Improvement Era, Jan. 1958, pp. 16–17.) To my knowledge, no other prophet has published an opinion on the subject.
“Are animals judged and resurrected according to their obedience to laws? According to Elder Joseph Fielding Smith, animals do not have a conscience. They cannot sin and they cannot repent, for they have not the knowledge of right and wrong. (Man: His Origin and Destiny, Deseret Book Co., 1954, pp. 204–5.)
“Can animals be with their owners in the hereafter? There is no revealed word on this subject. Reason would tell us that a rancher or farmer may not want all of the cattle he has owned during his life. On the other hand, emotional ties may be honored and family pets may well be restored to their owners in the resurrection. Elder Orson F. Whitney wrote that Joseph Smith expected to have his favorite horse in eternity. (Improvement Era, Aug. 1927, p. 855.)
“Just what is the relationship between men and animals? Men are children of God. Animals are for the benefit of man. This does not mean, however, that man is not to have a concern for this part of his stewardship. The prophets in all ages have indicated that man will be accountable for his treatment of animals and that justice and mercy should be exercised concerning them. Alma encourages us to pray over our flocks. (Alma 34:20, 25.) There are numerous examples in Church history of animals being administered to by the anointing of oil and their resultant healing. In the best-known incident, Mary Fielding Smith’s oxen were spared to bring her pioneer family, including a future President of the Church, Joseph F. Smith, to Utah. (Preston Nibley, Presidents of the Church, Deseret Book Co., 1959, pp. 234–35.)
“Though the prophets have spoken frequently about man’s responsibility to show proper treatment to animals in this world, very little detail is known about the states of animals in the eternities. Greater emphasis is rightly placed upon man’s need to live the gospel and be worthy to return to his Heavenly Father where he will then learn the answers to such questions. Quoting again from the editorial cited at the beginning of this article: “Men cannot worship the Creator and look with careless indifference upon his creations. The love of all life helps man to the enjoyment of a better life. It exalts the spiritual nature of those in need of divine favor.” (Juvenile Instructor, Apr. 1918, p. 182.)”
I am so grateful to my Heavenly Father for helping us find a loyal loving dog for our family. She was the hiking/running companion, the entertainment, and the listening ear that we each often needed over the last 15 years. We love you Sally!
Men and women, boys and girls are children of God. Animals are for the benefit of man.
Why did you decide to get a dog for your kids? I wasn’t raised with a dog, but Duncan was, and loved it. I knew we would get one someday. One day I was kneeling, asking God what I could do for J.D., who was about 4 at the time. I got the out-of-the-blue impression “Get a dog.” This helped warm me up to the idea. At the time we were living in a rental house, so after we moved to our own house we got a dog. 🙂 I have wondered if the dog was really more for J.D., sr, though. Duncan LOVED Sally!
How did you decide which dog to adopt? We asked our very experienced animal loving neighbor Nancy to go to the Animal shelter with us. She watched the kids play with 3 dogs and told us the best one for us. INTERESTINGLY ENOUGH, we hadn’t talked ahead of time about what kind or color of dog we wanted, but all three dogs we chose to play with were black and black lab mixes.
How did you decide on Sally’s name? Duncan’s favorite dog growing up was Lucy, a german shepherd. We decided to stick with the “Peanuts” theme.
How did you train Sally? Our good friends, the Kubys, lent me a book on training a puppy. I read the whole thing before we put dog food under the Christmas tree. It helped me very much. I knew that as a mom modeling proper behavior around a dog and showing love to a dog was my responsibility, so I overcame my inexperience and fear and faked it until I made it. I enthusiastically petted, talked to, walked, spent time with, kissed and taught Sally with and in front of the kids and they picked up on it very quickly. Sally learned to catch a ball in the air, sit, not chew in the house, to sleep in a crate, and to signal when she needed out.
How did Sally die? She was, according to the vets, one year old when we adopted her. She was 16 when she died. She definitely lived a full life of playing, guarding, camping, hiking, and exploring. She had cataracts, arthritis (super hard to get up and down and walk in her last 2 months), a heart murmur, cancer, and deafness. The two weeks she was incontinent, in pain (tail between legs), falling (back legs would give out on her), and actually bleeding, so we knew it was time. We were super impressed with the tenderness that our vet showed when we would call to ask questions near the end and at the time of her euthanasia. Sally’s passing was very peaceful.
What do you miss about Sally? The house is so quiet. I went walking this morning without her. Weird. We miss her greeting us when we come home. Kay will miss her the most. She and Sally were strict confidants and close close friends.
Why aren’t you going to replace Sally? We are ready to leave town and not worry about getting a sitter for her. Things will be more simple now. No more poop-scooping :). Our emphasis has always been on the kids, which is the source of our lasting joy (along with our relationship with our Savior Jesus Christ). Our children continue to be the best hiking, camping, traveling companions and friends. We are so blessed and so very grateful!