I’m pretty sure that I was first introduced to the concept of heaven by watching the animated movie “All Dogs Go to Heaven”. I still really love the movie. I think it’s a great example of good animation and the voice acting by Dom DeLuise and Burt Reynolds is wonderful. So of course when I was a kid, thanks in part to the movie, I wanted to believe that everybody went to heaven after they died.
So it’s really funny to me that the Pope Francis has just declared that all dogs do go to heaven. I’ve heard mixed answers on this issue before from different sects of Christianity. Some on the more liberal end of the spectrum already have been saying that animals get into heaven and others say that animals are soulless and do not enter heaven. Pope John Paul II was in agreement with Pope Francis, although it seems that Pope Benedict was on team soulless. I can understand why people would want to believe that their pets go to heaven, we love them very much and it’s hard to see their life come to an end. The ones that refer to animals as soulless scare me a bit, it makes me greatly question how they must treat animals. I’m also very confused by people that refer to animals as if they are not animals themselves. I’ve even seen Christians go as far as to be offended by being called an animal.
As someone that recognizes that I’m an animal just like a dog, cat, hamster, what-have-you, I’ve always felt a kinship with my fellow animal kind. My love of animals has led me to have a good amount of pets in my life; right now I have three cats and a dog. My pets have always brought me a lot of joy and comfort, and it’s been heartbreaking when pets have passed away or have had to be put down. It would be nice to think I could see them again in an afterlife, but I really don’t think that’s going to happen. I find solace in the fact that I cared for and loved my pets as best as I could and gave them happy lives. I also take comfort in the fact that I was privileged enough to own such wonderful animals. I actually think it can be dangerous for people to believe that all dogs (or other animals) go to heaven. If you believe that animals are going to heaven, then where’s the concern for their well-being while they are with us? They have that paradise waiting, so why bother taking care of them? Just wait for Fido to be god’s problem. As someone that doesn’t believe there’s an afterlife, I feel a sense of urgency to take care of my fellow animals around me. I think every animal deserves happiness and comfort in their life, and I get really upset every time I think about the number of dogs and cats that are put down because they weren’t adopted into good homes. People should be more concerned about making a paradise for animals now than hoping that they’ll end up in one later.