Do All Dogs Go to Heaven?

I wonder about things like that. It’s nice to think of the good dogs in our life walking beside us in great beyond. What about the bad ones? Did they never get a chance here but deserve a break in the afterlife?

I made a big mistake fourteen years ago and would like for some young simpleton to profit from my stupidity. Here is my advice: if you lose a beloved old dog, don’t immediately take four sad children and your big-hearted wife near a pet store that frequently holds adoptions. You will end up with a puppy, I assure you. We did. She was a cute little black thing but she was a handful.


Someone found her playing in the road when she was five weeks old, too young to be weaned. But with no mother dog in sight, the rescue took her in and then we did.

IMG_0020I never really bonded with her. With work and a big family, maybe I had too much going on in my life, I don’t know. She bonded with the girls though… and she ate quite a few of their toys. We took her to obedience classes. She failed. Nothing stuck. She still ate toys. She wouldn’t mind.

But she was always sweet to the girls and never, ever growled or snapped at them or their friends. Besides the typical puppy stuff, we discovered that she was obsessed with the game of fetch. That dog would knock over anything and everything in pursuit of a tennis ball. In fact, we had to ban them from the house because she crashed into children over a ball more than once. When she was a puppy, that wasn’t a big deal. When she grew to a 90-pound menace, running over kids became a problem.

Her back legs began to wear down early in her life. She struggled mightily when it got cold. Over the past year, a knot began swelling at her shoulder. The vet said it was bursitis, but things began to turn. She was getting old, slowing down and we knew the time was coming to make a decision – the worst decision a pet-owner has to make. When she stopped eating, it became obvious. A Saturday appointment was made.

We were in the den Friday and she began methodically licking her shoulder. Like I had for the past year, I told her to quit. But then it dawned on me – what does it matter now? She has less than 24 hours left.

Lick away, Misty.IMG_1422

That night, the girls all spent time with her. When they were little and we had company, Jenna and Kylie would forfeit their rooms for the guests and sleep on the floor with the dogs. They thought that was really cool – to sleep with the dogs. So Jenna decided to spend the night on the floor with her.

It dawned on me that Kylie would take the next shift.

We all piled in the little room at the animal hospital and saw her peacefully away.

I have a vivid picture of Kylie waiting with a tennis ball… smiling and calling her name. The first of her family to come home to her.

“Come here, Misty. Come home… good girl.”

Do all dogs go to heaven?

I don’t know. It’s a theological question too lofty for me. She wasn’t a great dog. I wasn’t a great owner, either. But she was loved and she loved my girls. She did her job here and had a good run – 14 years for a dog found playing in the road.

I think of the two of them running and jumping on perfect legs – bound by earthly maladies no more – and I find that I really hope dogs make it.

Have a good fetch, Misty. Take care of Kylie until we come home.


The Curious Incident of the Cat at Night

This diary starts on a rainy, autumn night in the bedroom of a typical southern home where only the cat is awake… Always watching.


12:34 am – The large one is stirring. He has been getting up every night. There is a potential that he is becoming nocturnal. After following him to observe his movements, I have observed that he goes to the human litter box. But every night? Why can’t he hold it – even the offspring do that? Does the adult male regress to infantile state?

12:48 am – After stirring, he finally rises. I’ve decided to investigate by following him into the small water closet.

12:55 am – It has been several minutes. He may or may not be asleep again in a seated position. I have taken up a surveillance position behind him.

12:58 am – Surprisingly, he got up very quickly and pushed the splash lever. I must have been cat-napping and now the door is closed. I do not like doors. I have committed a tactical error – I am stuck in the small water closet.

1:14 am – I still do not like being stuck in the small water closet.

1:22 am – I have swept my paw under the door 87 times and still cannot fit my head underneath. The fat canine changed positions but no one with thumbs has noticed. This is discouraging.

1:46 am – I have previously noted that both the male and female stand on the small metal platform daily – an action that makes them visibly sad. I am going to attempt this and monitor myself for mood change. The gray rectangle on the platform changed to 7.2. I do not know what this means but I feel no sadness.

2:11 am – I have run laps in the room and knocked over the trash receptacle. It was mocking me.

3:15 am – I scratched at the door until I saw the belt of the female’s robe dangle. I couldn’t resist playing with it. Then it fell on me. At least now I have a comfortable place to lay.

3:28 am – I repeatedly meowed loud enough that they should have heard me. They are definitely not becoming nocturnal.

3:38 am – I feel dehydrated. There is water, but it is inside the human litter box. I’m dubious.

4:23 am – I must drink. The surface is very slippery. I am wet now. And still thirsty.

5:04 am – I stood on the metal platform again. The gray rectangle says 7.1. I seem to be melting. I now understand why this thing makes the humans sad.

5:35 am – I think I hear stirring outside, but the snorting against the door tells me it must be the fat canine. He has no thumbs to work the knob and couldn’t figure it out if he did. Idiot.

7:10 am – The door opens. It is the male. I feel so happy to be free that I want to rub his leg, but I must shun him for at least two hours for his treachery. I run.

7:13 am – He put down food for me. Unshun…. Leg… Purrrrr…


(I’m sorry, Liza.)