Monday, November 23, 2009

Eulogy for Duncan

October 1995 - November 2009

For the fate of humans and the fate of animals is the same; as one dies, so dies the other. They all have the same breath, and humans have no advantage over the animals; for all is vanity.

Ecclesiastes 3:19

Today we drove our 14 year old Labrador/Chow, Duncan, to see Dr. Katie and be “put down,” “put to sleep,” “euthanized.” Whatever words we use, it hurt – a lot.

We found Duncan at the Long Beach Animal Shelter when he was three months old. He chewed up a lot of shoes and other items in those first few months. Obedience training was a challenge. He did o.k. in class, but was so nervous and excited to be there that he had diarrhea – every week! Even as a puppy he was powerful and he pulled me off my feet more than once before he was finally leash trained, but I still have the trophy he was given at “graduation.”

He loved water. When he was a puppy he would drink out of the garden hose, and until his joints got so bad that he couldn’t make the move, he would hop into the bathtub before I even started the tap. I didn’t have to hand him a “cookie;” I would toss it to him and he would catch it in his mouth. For some reason, he had a fixation on the palm tree in front of the house next door. Even if he bypassed every other tree on the street he would stop and “pee” on that one.

A lot of people believe than even though all animals have spirits, only humans have souls and, therefore, only humans go to heaven. I may have a tough time defending my position scripturally, but having looked into the eyes of a dog like Duncan I can’t believe that his existence ended with that last breath. 1 John 4:8 says, “Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love.” If God is love, surely the unconditional love and devotion of our furry friends continues after death.

Goodbye, Duncan, my sweet puppy. I’ll see you in God’s time. For now, enjoy running through the fields of Heaven with Jesus, with Jack Hiatt, with Gene Pendleton – and with all the beloved doggies who have gone before.

QUESTION: Do you believe that animals have souls? Do "all good dogs [cats, rabbits, etc.] go to heaven?"

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