Pets in Heaven
The first time I met Dewey, I was not overly impressed. Dark eyes, floppy ears, and a cold wet nose … nothing really special I thought. He was the answer to my wife wanting a dog of her own, and the breed of miniature Schnauzer was just another dog as far as I was concerned. Boy, did I have an education coming! An old business associate of mine, Jim, who lived in Texas and had owned a miniature Schnauzer himself, was the first person to begin my enlightenment. “They’re not dogs you know,” he said in passing, when I told him we had gotten a miniature Schnauzer..
We named our new family member Dewey McMichael and then tacked on our last name. McMichael was in honor of my wife’s father. As the weeks progressed, Dewey began pushing his way into our hearts and lives. With no formal training, and only 10-12 weeks old, he watched me get the paper one morning and decided that was going to be his job. Even though it was much bigger than he was, he would work until he could balance it in his mouth and then proudly prance from the yard to the house each morning One morning the postman brought a package addressed to Dewey from his “Uncle Jim” in Texas. It was a large piece of rope, tied in a knot, that we affectionately named “Uncle Jim. Other gifts from his “uncle” followed on holidays and sometimes for no reason at all. As each gift came, it was given a name, which Dewey promptly learned. Needless to say, friends were amazed when we would ask Dewey to go to his personal toy box and get a toy by name. We would tell our guests each time, in advance, which toy he would bring. Never did he fail to get it right. (Uncle Jim was always his favorite) Dewey would also watch for the postman each morning and always let us know when the mail had arrived. We never understood how he seemed to know when there was something in it for him, but I assure you, he knew and could pick it out from the pile.
Through the years, “The Dooser”, as we like to call him, because he was ALWAYS doing something, had never been trained to do tricks. He was just too smart for that. The first time I tried to teach him to roll over, he just looked at me as if to say, “You’re kidding, right?” I would try to show him, each time as I issued the command. He just looked. My wife walked through the room just as I was demonstrating the maneuver, and he barked at me ….“ Good Boy Dewey”, my wife said, “You’re having better success training him than I have had.” I swear when I looked at Dewey he was grinning from ear to ear. Shaking hands and doing a high five, he learned on his own from friends and guests who would make the same gesture.
In time our days and schedules became entwined with Dewey’s personal schedule. His mornings started by dutifully carrying a pair of my rolled up socks, which I would toss and he would catch in mid air. Then he’d run from the bedroom to the office in our home, where I had left my shoes the night before and he knew I’d need fresh socks. Before I could get a leg into my slacks he would grab the bottom part and shake vigorously to make sure nothing had crawled in there during the night. Once he saw me put feet in my shoes he’d head down stairs and to the front door, so “we” could get the paper and take out the mail. Then it was breakfast, his four biscuits and my morning coffee. He would actually count the biscuits and after the fourth one, go and lay down. Lunch was a few bites of whatever I was having. Sometimes it was a pack of crackers and a soda I’d take to my office. As soon as Dewey saw the crackers, he’d beat me to the office and be waiting by my desk for his portion. 3:00 O’Clock was Dewey’s “Tea Time”, and he would get a rawhide chew stick. If we forgot, he’d come remind one of us with a sharp bark, and always within 15 minutes of the appointed time every day. Dinner was at 5:00, which was another event he would not let us forget. No, he didn’t come running with dish in mouth like Snoopy, but he could be quite pushy. If you were sitting on the couch, he would very quickly be in your lap with paws on your chest as he issued a forceful but polite “woof” in your face. He slept on our bed every night, with his own blanket and pillow and always made sure he was close against one of us. If we stayed up past our usual bedtime, Dewey would go get his blanket and drag it to wherever we were and flop down on it to remind us we were keepinghim up past his bedtime.
Only pet owners can truly understand the many hours of joy and devoted love this animal provided to our family and to our friends over the years. Like the famous Will Rogers, Dewey never met a person he didn’t like … well, except one. Dewey would pee on one of our daughter’s boy friends every time he came in the door. Dewey, in his intuitive wisdom, was right and fortunately the relationship did not last.
As the years passed, his love never waived. So when the day came we had to take Dewey for some serious surgery and the vet explained that at his age and with his heart murmur, he might not survive the procedure, I was not ready. It was my 4-year old grandson, without any fear, and with the God given trust of a child, who steered me toward my first glimpse of relief when he asked, “Dewey might have to go to doggie heaven?” As I searched for an answer, that same loving God that created all living things, spoke to me and said, “Why would you think that Dewey would not be in heaven?” “Because,” I said, “animals don’t have souls like we do Lord”.
The Lord and I did a lot of talking that morning and as promised, He gave me the peace in my heart I needed to deal with my fear of loss. As all Christians know, when we pray, often times we receive more than we asked. Not only did Dewey come through the surgery OK, as He told me he would, I’m now ready to accept the Lord’s decision when it is time for Dewey to go. The Lord reminded me that He created Dewey, just like he created all living things. Although Dewey does not have a soul, He did give Dewey the ability to love and bond with people. Love, and the ability to love, is in itself “of God”. If we all loved one another with the same unrestricted love that our pets show for us, the world would be a lot closer to heaven than what we see today. In heaven, there will be no death or sadness … only love and joy. I’m both thankful and appreciative of what time the Lord has chosen for Dewey to continue with us.
So, did the Lord tell me Dewey was going to be in Heaven with his family some day? The God that created all living things said that not even a sparrow falls of which He is not aware. My Lord’s love for me, also told me that if Dewey gives us joy and we loved him, then we can be assured that Dewey will be in our heaven when our time comes.