Whittle: Will there be dogs in heaven?

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I don't do a heap of transmitting on Facebook, but I regularly cruise the site because I'm a people-watching person. Some say I'm just plain nosey. But hey, at least I'm paid to be nosey!

That's when I saw longtime friend/neighbor Jan Schilling's despondent dispatch about losing her canine family member, Pagola, to "Damn Cancer."

Jan's heart-aching words touched my own dog-loving spirit: "R.I.P. Pagola. You were the best dog. Damn Cancer!! I am heart-broken."

Her soulful sharing brought tears and triggered my impulse to pen a short piece on Facebook re-asking the question: "Will There Be Good Dogs in Heaven?" … similar to a newspaper column I did two years ago that touched a lot of reader hearts.

Within seconds Jerome Daniel Dempsey, another longtime friend, responded thusly on Facebook: "Dogs are truly man's best friend. I sure hope my 'Lucky' is safe and sound somewhere here on earth. If not, I know Lucky is in heaven."

Engineer Dempsey's response helped trigger requests from people in multiple states asking me to re-run my column from years' past asking "Will there be good dogs in Heaven?"

A picture is posted of Lucky, in case you've seen Dempsey's lost family member.

The key word asking about dogs in heaven may be good, according to Cannon County country boy philosopher (the late) C.L. Vickers.

"I know my two best coon-hunting dawgs are up there wait'en on me," C.L. prophesied from behind the galluses of his best starched and ironed Liberty overalls. "But….."

That proved to be a big but that C.L. added: "But there ain't no egg-sucking dogs in heaven."

Woodbury Mayor Harold Patrick can vouch that those were the exact words from C.L.'s mouth before our mutual friend died in 2001 to join his coon dogs.

World-acclaimed evangelist Billy Graham once sermonized the opinion there are canines in the clouds.

And country preacher man A.C. Sullivant eulogized the opinion from his pulpit that Hitler, my loyal old farm dog of youth, was up in heaven walking beside my deceased father as they checked on how the corn crop was growing.

And I put C.L. Vickers' opinion right up there with Reverends Graham and Sullivant.

Will you take Mark Twain's word for it? "Heaven goes by favor. If it went by merit, you would stay out and your dog would go in."

Will Rogers spoke about it too: "If there are no dogs in heaven, then when I die, I want to go where they went."

Notable Murfreesboro historian/author Shirley Ann Farris Jones did some research on the dogs in heaven question: "I asked Presbyterian Minister Ralph Lewellyn, 'Would my dog Annie be in heaven?' He assured me Annie was in heaven. I then asked: 'Will the woman who poisoned my dog be in heaven? Not receiving assurance that she would go the opposite direction, my friends and I egged her house each Halloween!"

My original dogs in heaven inquiring column was triggered a few years ago when Smyrna Lions Club member Ken Love interrupted one of my story-telling sessions with a question about whether there will be good dogs in heaven.

After 20 minutes of sincere debate Ken left the building, but not before sharing he thought there will be good dogs in heaven.

Two days later neighbor Ken Love died of heart failure. Then, a day after Ken's passing, his beloved dog died too. It was the right thing to do when Ken's grieving family placed the puppy In Ken's casket before burial.
"It was what husband Ken would want," shared Linda Love.

The Rev. I.N. Sheffield, who has a doctorate in theology, shared this Biblical opinion: "There are passages indicating there are other animals in heaven … as in horses and lions, for example … so I see no reason why there won't be good dogs in heaven."

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Dan Whittle
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