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Do Pets Go to Heaven

by Flossie Gierke 8 months ago in cat
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Herbie the Cat

Do Pets Go to Heaven
Photo by Amber Kipp on Unsplash

A LOSS of a loved one takes its toll on a person. I experienced this about a year ago when my beloved husband, Herbert, died. At least it was sudden, and he didn't suffer a long painful illness. Herbert went to sleep and woke up with the Lord.

A month before Herbert died, he went out and bought me a cat, a funny colored cat. I named him Herbie, he was a yellow-orange color, with some black and brown. I really needed him after my Herbert passed on. Herbert must have known that I would need someone to keep me company.

Herbie was a nice little kitten; he wasn't too much trouble at least in the beginning. It wasn't until my Herbert died that Herbie began to need a lot of attention. That cat kept me so busy I didn't have time to grieve properly; right after Herbert died, Herbie became an instant headache. He wanted to be held all the time, Herbie kept me so busy that I didn't have time to be lonely.

My Herbert wasn't much of a pet person, and we didn't have any kids. It was just me and Herbert, but we enjoyed our lives together. I had talked about getting a cat one time, and Herbert teased me, saying he didn't want me to end up being one of those ladies with lots of cats. He joked with me, he didn't want me to become one of those cat ladies of the neighborhood. And then one day, he brings home this cute little kitten in a box, what a surprise.

Somewhere along the path, this kitten became more than a pet he's family. When did that happen? When does a pet become part of the family?

One of my friends came to visit, and she said, "You and that cat, it's not right. You didn't have time to grieve for poor Herbert properly. You were so busy chasing after that cat and talking to him like he's a person, it's just not right."

Later at home, I thought about what she had said. I smiled as I stroke Herbie's soft fur, and he just purrs, letting me know it's ok.

Sunday morning came, and I hurried up and got ready for church. I made sure Herbie's water was at room temperature, and his plate was prepared with fresh food. I told Herbie I would be home after the services to get his dinner ready. But Herbie just sat on the window sill, looking out. A red bird had caught his attention, so I patted his head and left.

After the morning services, some of the members were going out. I was extended the invitation to join them. I declined very gracefully. I told them I had to make Herbie his dinner. "He gets mad if his dinner isn't on time," I said as I headed towards the door. I continued on my way, I rushed by to get out the door when someone tapped me on my shoulder. I turned around and saw my friend, Sylvia, who asked me, "Do pets go to heaven?”

"Heaven's sake, I have to go,” I said as I continued on my way to the car. After a hasty retreat, I arrived home, and there was Herbie standing in the window. By golly, he was waiting for me to get his dinner. I pulled into the driveway and hurried to get my keys out and get into the house. "I'm sorry, Herbie, but you know old Ms. Bradshaw had to stop me and say something silly." Herbie just stood by the door, waiting for me to finish so he could eat. I opened up a can of chicken delight, took out a plastic spoon, and stirred it up. I took out one of my dessert plates and spooned Herbie's dinner into the plate. I put the plate down, Herbie quickly enjoyed his dinner.

I went into the living room to sit down, but as I did, Ms. Bradshaw's question kept plaguing me: "Do pets go to heaven?" "Surely there is a more important question than that, 'I said to myself.' I put my feet up and relaxed. I knew Herbie would be in shortly after he finished eating. He would jump up on the couch and relax on my lap. But the question was still on my mind.

So the next Wednesday at Bible study, I asked the pastor if I could speak with him after class. He agreed and said that's what open door policies were all about. So after class, I waited in his office. He came in a few minutes after I sat down, he sat behind this old desk loaded down with papers, hymn books, and a few old Bibles. "Now, Beth, what can I do for you?: he asked right pleasantly. I had lost my nerve; the thought of being the cat lady came to mind. After all, it was a really silly question. I sat right across from him, trying to think of what to say without sounding like a foolish old lady. I'm in a church, so I guess I'll go with the truth. I looked at him, and he just sat there staring back at me, waiting for me to go on ahead.

So I cleared my throat, "Um, do pets go to heaven?" I just blurted it out.

I was pleasantly surprised by the expression on his face; he had a smile from ear to ear. He stood up from behind his desk, walked over to where I was, and sat on the edge of his desk facing me. Then he said, "I sure do hope so because I ain't going nowhere without Fluffy."

I had forgotten that Pastor Parks had bought a cute little Cocker Spaniel, and he talked about Fluffy every chance he got. His answer may not have been biblical, but it was alright with me. So I thanked him and left. After all, it was dinner time, and Herbie hates to be kept waiting. And like Pastor Parks, I'm not going anywhere without Fluffy.”


About the author

Flossie Gierke

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