Dog Heaven

When dogs go to heaven,

 they don’t need wings because God knows that dogs love running best.

 He gives them fields. Fields and fields and fields.

 When a dog first arrives in heaven, he just runs.

 Dog heaven has clear, wide lakes filled with geese who honk and flap and tease. 

The dogs love this. 

They run beside the water and bark and bark

 and God watches them from behind a tree and smiles.

 

There are children of course. Angel children.

 God knows that dogs love children 

more than anything else in the world, 

so he fills Dog Heaven with plenty of them. 

There are children on bikes and children on sleds. 

There are children throwing red rubber balls 

and children pulling kites through the clouds. 

The dogs are there, and the children love them dearly.

 

And, oh, the dog biscuits.

 Biscuits and biscuits as far as the eye can see.

 God has a sense of humor, 

so He makes His biscuits in funny shapes for His dogs.

 There are kitty-cat biscuits and squirrel biscuits.

 Ice-cream biscuits and ham-sandwich biscuits.

 Every angel who passes by has a biscuit for a dog.

 

And, of course, all God’s dogs sit when the angels say, “sit.”

 Every dog becomes a good dog in Dog Heaven.

God turns clouds inside out 

to make fluffy beds for the dogs in Dog Heaven,

 and when they are tired from running and barking

 and eating ham sandwich biscuits,

 the dogs find a cloud bed for sleeping.

 They turn around and around in the cloud… until it feels just right,

 and then they curl up and they sleep. 

God watches over each one of them 

and there are no bad dreams.

 

Dogs in Dog Heaven

have almost always belonged to somebody on Earth 

and, of course, the dogs remember this. 

Heaven is full of memories. 

So sometimes an angel will walk a dog back to Earth for a little visit

 and quietly, invisibly, 

the dog will sniff about his old backyard, 

will investigate the cat next door, 

will follow the child to school, 

will sit on the front porch and wait for the mail. 

 

When he is satisfied that all is well,

 the dog will return to Heaven with the angel.

It is where dogs belong, near God who made them.

The dogs in Dog Heaven who had no real homes on Earth

 are given one in Heaven. 

 

The homes have yards and porches

 and there are couches to lie on 

and tables to sit under while angels eat their dinners. 

There are special bowls with the dogs’ names on them. 

And each dog is petted and reminded how good he is, 

all day long.

 

Dogs in Dog Heaven may stay as long as they like

 and this can mean forever. 

They will be there when old friends show up. 

will be there at the door. 

Angel dogs.

 

(Dog Heaven by Cynthia Rylant)

Alan Rossiter

About Alan Rossiter

Alan Rossiter MVB is the 2012 President of Veterinary Ireland, the veterinary profession's representative body, and works as a vet in Blacklion Pet Hospital, Greystones, Co. Wicklow http://www.vets.ie
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