For most dog owners, the day his or her beloved canine companion dies is one of the most painful days in that person’s memory. And it’s especially heartrending because for most owners, they themselves, in consultation with their veterinarian, have to make the merciful, yet awful decision to let their dog go and relieve him of his suffering.
So it’s no wonder that dog owners hold out hope that their dogs live on in an afterlife and that they will one day see them again.
One of the most popular dog heaven memes is the idea of the Rainbow Bridge and dog owners typically use this expression, “My beloved dog crossed the Rainbow Bridge today” to signal that their dog has died. But where did this concept come from?
The origins of the Rainbow Bridge have been attributed to several different authors, but the terms seems to have been used in several works of poetry, written in the 1980’s and 1990’s. The Rainbow Bridge is a meadow, green and lush and beautiful, where pets go to run and play with others. There they await their owners, and after their owners die and arrive at the meadow, they go together over the Rainbow Bridge which leads to heaven and where they will never be separated again.
The ancient Egyptians believed their dogs would go to the afterlife, with the Pharaoh Ramses III burying Kami, his favorite dog, with a coffin, fine linens, incense, and a ritual scroll that the dog would need to ensure passage into paradise.
But Christianity seems to have thrown cold water on those hopes, at least for a while. Traditionally, the Catholic church taught that dogs, as well as all animals, did not possess the “divine spark” and were really no different that rocks or trees and did not have a soul. But Pope John Paul II reversed this when he said ”the animals possess a soul and men must love and feel solidarity with smaller brethren.” He also said animals are “as near to God as men are.”
Protestants seem to have been a bit more charitable in their beliefs on dogs and heaven. The great American evangelist, Reverend Billy Graham was once asked if his dog would go to heaven. Rev. Graham replied, “God will prepare everything for our perfect happiness in heaven, and if it takes my dog being there, I believe he’ll be there.”
Here at the WoofBook, we like the way Rev. Graham thinks! So for all those who have lost their beloved dogs, we say, they are waiting for you.