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Do dogs go to heaven?

Do dogs go to heaven?

The Anniston Star explores the ongoing question of whether or not our animal companions go to heaven:

Ask an animal lover if pets have souls, and the response is generally swift and certain.

“To say that only humans have souls is rather species-centric,” said Susan Sullivan of Anniston, who has two dogs, eight cats and a 19-year-old king snake named Stephen Kingsnake. “Some religions think animals are actually closer to God than humans are because of their simplicity. One can certainly learn and experience the basic tenants that loving, compassionate religions teach by caring for animals.”

The Bible is noncommittal on whether animals have souls, or whether they’ll be in heaven.

It’s in the spirit of Saint Francis that various churches, including Grace Episcopal Church in Anniston, host a “Blessing of the Animals” service on the Sunday before Saint Francis’ Feast Day of Oct. 4. Over the years as a priest, Grace pastor Lee Shafer has blessed everything from cats and dogs to snakes – even a hedgehog.

For Shafer, who’s had both cats and dogs, it all comes down to one thing. It’s all about love,” she said. “On every level and in every bit of scripture, it’s all about love.

Do our animal companions go to heaven? What do you think? Believe?


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Adam Bond

I’m afraid I’ll have to be noncommittal, since the reality is that for all of our theological conjecture we simply don’t know. We don’t know anymore than we know where unbaptized infants go. The key is to have hope that God’s mercy is unbounded and that his wisdom is perfect. If animals serve a purpose in Heaven then they will be there, nevertheless I do not think that the theological arguments that everything with an animus, every animated soul, ends up intact in paradise. To share a redeemed corporeal existence with every gnat that every lived seems almost incomprehensible and silly. It actually seems more likely that animal souls are recycled – that is, reincarnated in some way –than that they are preserved everlastingly. Then again, there is that line from that song, the name of which I always forget, that says, “Where mosquitoes never die, but they only eat black fly, and the black fly eats the deer fly and the gnat; and nothing would be sweeter, than if gnats all bit mosquito, I know heavens gonna be a place like that”.

Bill Dilworth

I absolutely and happily believe that cats and dogs go to Heaven; I’m afraid that pigs, chickens, goats, and cows might, too.


We all love our pets and many of us have a hard time imagining how heaven could be heaven without them. Indeed, scripture has a great deal to say about how God loves and cares for animals and (as has been pointed out) includes them in the new creation. But, if our pets are included, so are cows, and chickens, and pigs, and all the other animals we treat merely as products. When I think of the animals in factory farms and laboratories and puppy mills and a thousand other hellish settings, methinks we will have some ‘splainin’ to do.

Lois Wye


My sheltie was able, very clearly, to tell when someone had cancer, even before diagnosis, as he went out of his way to befriend those in this situation. I trust that a loving God has made appropriate arrangements for this gentle, loving, intelligent, and sometimes jealous sentient being now that he is gone.

Eric Bonetti

Maria L. Evans

“If there are no dogs in heaven, I want to go where they go.”–Will Rogers

That said, I don’t worry so much about whether my dogs are there as “my dogs” any more than I worry about whether the people I know will be “my people.” What I believe is that my dogs are a special link to my interacting fully in the joy of God’s creation, and whatever that mystery “is,” I will recognize “it,” in its transformed state. That’s enough for me.

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