Do animals have an afterlife?
One wonders. Ponders it. It is controversial. There are no clear teachings because it is beyond the narrow perspicacity of earth.
But this one can state: many animals seem to have surprising intelligence: not just apes or dolphins, but also birds like the African grey parrot, which can put together meaningful phrases and even sentences ("Wanna eat," if they are indeed hungry) and when tested can understand the concept of zero. African greys are said to have an intelligence comparable to a three or four-year-old human. (You can see another kind of parrot here reciting a prayer; this video clip will astonish you.)
Apes have DNA that is nearly identical to that of humans (about 99 percent).
Animals even exhibit what seem to be emotions (for example, a buck staying by the side of a doe that has been hit by a car and trying with its antlers to get the injured companion up). Many are the accounts of dogs that howl or wail when a master dies, and won't leave their graves.
But does all this mean they have a "spiritual" side?
We'll leave that up to your own inclination. We have some mail from those who believe there is room out there or up there for pets.
"My grandmother always told me that dogs go to dog Heaven," says Mary Horlebein of Santa Cruz, California. "It's a beautiful thought. Well, my female black Labrador, Hally, whom I was very fond of, died in December of 2015. I would think of her now and then, but one day on Spring of 2016, I was out walking and praying. I prayed asking Jesus if there is a dog heaven and that my Hally was there. Within a minute of that prayer, I looked up the street, and a black Labrador was running toward me, wagging her tail, and with a "dog" smile upon her face. She greeted me, made a big fuss, then ran back to her owner. Then she ran back to me again for a pet on the head. And, she looked exactly like my black Labrador that had died, sweet brown eyes and all! God is great, all the time!"
"Most definitely does the Spirit of the Living God come upon animals," wrote Michael A. Giarrusso. "They are innocent in their creation by the Master Creator of all. In His goodness He gave them life and their placement here on earth is no mistake, for they are to complement mankind in ways only God sees most appropriate. Our friends that live with us are the closest and take on a piece of our existence and is my firm hope that what God created He takes back to Himself. An animal does not have the sense of wrong and right; they acquire that tendency from their human friends. Our wild friends, of course, are given their instinctual sense of survival, but all are created innocent; big, small and creepy-looking alike. All magnificent in the Eyes of God. Truly how can they not process the essence of God in themselves. His kingdom is vast; all His creation is special. He even knows when the smallest sparrow falls from the sky!" (Matthew 10"29-31).
"Way back in the summer of 2000, my sister, my wife, my seven-month-old son, my dog 'Sally,' and myself were in my sister' s car on our way to a campground near Cornwall, Ontario," testifies Patrick Donnelly of Ottawa. "At about halfway there, Sally began barking and whining and jumping from the back seat to the front seat. I told my sister to pull over, thinking that Sally had to go to the bathroom. As soon as we stopped I opened the door to let her out, and my sister noticed that the temperature gauge went immediately all the way to the right.
"I told her to pop the hood and I would have a look.
"I never got to fully open the hood as I saw flames shooting out the front. I got everyone out of the car, and over to the other side of the road. No sooner had we gotten to the other side of the road when we heard a whooshing sound. We looked back and saw that the car was totally engulfed in flames.
"It seemed that Sally had saved our lives. She was definitely a special dog, but that day and on that occasion she was different, very assertive and all business, warning us in a way we had never seen from her before. A few weeks later, I read a story about a woman who had burned to death inside the same type car because the electronic lock had shorted out and they couldn't unlock the doors from the inside. Sally was treated like royalty from that point forward. We renamed her, 'Sally Dally Lama.'"
So many such stories! We recall one from a priest on how his large dog woke him in the middle of the night and literally dragged him out of bed; there was a gas leak.
"My beautiful cat Gabriel died on March 9. I had her for ten years and she was my best friend. We found her as a tiny kitten on September 29 feast of the Archangels," wrote Lorraine Strawbridge of Jefferson, Oregon. ""The veterinary clinic that cared for her sent me a condolence card that I did not get till the March 24, the feast of Archangel Gabriel, who 'Gabi' 'was named after."
"Yesterday I was having a sad morning, crying for a very special kitty of mine that was shaken and killed by the neighbor's dogs," writes Nancy Dargan from Plaice Cove Beach in Hampton, New Hampshire.
"I asked God if He knew that my heart was still broken. The sky was beautiful that day and I went out of my way to drive to the beach. It was beautiful, I took a picture of the sea and sky and there she was, my kitty Millie, in the sky."
[resources: Animals in Heaven?]