All Pets Go to Heaven…

Since it has been a while, I wanted to write a blog post a day or two ago, but with the excitement of all of our tornado weather in the last few days, I (and our four-legged son Meril, unfortunately) have been rather distracted. But today I am inspired to bring up a topic that is so very close to my heart, and that is the subject of pets and the afterlife. At the risk of getting the Syvlia Browne haters riled up again, I’ve had her book All Pets Go to Heaven on my shelf waiting to be read for several years now. It’s not a book I’ve been excited to read because sometimes I just don’t even want to think about the topic, but just like our family and loved ones of the human variety, death can never be avoided. It’s a reality that we all must go through. As my “to be read” shelf has gotten down to just a few books (that have also been there for a while), I decided to get this one started a few days ago. 

I won’t lead you to believe that this is the greatest book in the world that you have to drop into your Amazon shopping cart right this moment. To be honest, if it weren’t for Borders going out of business a few years back, I probably would never have had it. The first third of the book is actually pretty dry and discusses the history of animals as pets, animal totems, etc. Once you get past all that, Sylvia includes several heartfelt stories from readers about their pets, pets coming back from the other side to visit, and in a few cases even having a hand in choosing their owner’s next pet after they cross over. These stories got me thinking back to all of my pets growing up, and of course the love we have for our very spoiled son Meril, who gives us so much happiness today. 

Me with a young Mickey Mouse.

Me with a young Mickey Mouse.

My very first dog that I have memory of was named “Mickey Mouse”, even though she was a girl dog. She was very much a mutt and as a puppy was rescued by my father near the banks of the Missouri River in my hometown of Lexington, Missouri. Though the memory is foggy, I remember her energy and running around the house, tail wagging like crazy. If I calculate correctly, Mickey Mouse was 19 when she died. I was actually a freshman or sophomore in college and away from home at the time. When I got the call my heart broke. I didn’t really have any memories of life without her. How was I going to live without her? Often growing up I would literally talk to her out loud, telling her my silly problems with tears in my eyes (and she always seemed to understand and was there to listen). She was mostly an outside dog, and to this day I’ve never seen a dog with such street smarts. I swear to you she looked both ways before crossing the street to get to the field across from our house. I can still hear her squeaky bark and remember how she would stand guard for hours, trapping a squirrel in a tree. After mom called me upset and gave me the news I remember lying on my bed in my apartment an hour away from home and crying all day. At one point something caught my eye toward the entrance of my apartment. I swear I saw Mickey Mouse walk into the room from the front door, but things were blurry and in a flash she was gone. I, of course, talked myself into believing I imagined it because of being upset. But did I? 

A much older Mickey Mouse. (Not the greatest picture.)

A much older Mickey Mouse. (Not the greatest picture.)

Growing up we had several other dogs who have since passed. Even before Mickey Mouse died we lost a beautiful dog named “Missie” who was hit by a car. We hadn’t had her very long. After my father buried her in the back yard, it was actually my Aunt Mae or my Grandma Keller (don’t remember) who saw me sitting by the grave by myself and walked down to console me, explaining that maybe Missie would be reincarnated and I would see her again. I don’t remember my reaction or response to the thought, but that was the first time I had heard of such a thing. I do, however, remember believing with all of my heart that I’d see all of my dogs greet me when I got to the other side. Mickey Mouse was our first dog. She was so special… and she was the one who lived the longest. Gosh… I get choked up now even thinking about it. 

I’m only halfway through the book now, but I felt inspired to share this with you today. It is only fitting that right before I began writing this post I found the following story being shared on Facebook, a story about a hero dog named Kaiser, who crossed that beautiful rainbow bridge just yesterday. 

Members of the Plymouth, Mass. police department salute their K-9 companion as he’s walked into the vet’s office to be put down. (Picture via Old Colony Memorial and Plymouth Police Working Dog Foundation. Caption via WLS-TV Facebook page.)

  Members of the Plymouth, Mass. police department salute their K-9 companion as he’s walked into the vet’s office to be put down. (Picture via Old Colony Memorial and Plymouth Police Working Dog Foundation. Caption via WLS-TV Chicago, IL Facebook page.)

May 31, 2013 (PLYMOUTH, Mass.) (WLS) — Police officers in Plymouth, Mass. saluted “Kaiser” the police dog as he was led to the vet’s office to be put down on Friday.

 The 2.5-year-old German Shepherd was diagnosed with a chronic and fatal kidney disease this March, according to Plymouth Police patrolman Jamie Lebretton, who handled the dog.

“Kaiser loved being a Police Dog and I will miss him dearly. Out of love and respect for Kaiser, and with the input from our excellent vet, trainer, and family, I have made the heart wrenching decision to end Kaiser’s suffering,” Lebretton posted on the K-9 unit’s Facebook page.

An image showing the Plymouth Police officers saluting the dog quickly went viral on Friday after it was posted on Facebook by the Old Colony Memorial and Reddit.


Rest In Peace, Kaiser. The respect shown for this furry hero makes me tear up. So sweet. 

Meril in the center with his cousin Mahni (left) and aunt Emily (right).

Meril in the center with his cousin Mahni (left) and aunt Emily (right).


Anyone have a story to share? Have you had similar experiences?




Related Meril Posts:

Dreaming of Flying… and Dogs?

Happy Holidays 2012!

From Pumpkins to Jack-O-Lanterns 2012

2012 Family of Pumpkins

It’s October



About Patrick Keller

Patrick Keller is an educator, blogger, and the host of the Big Séance Podcast, which is a place for paranerds to have an open discussion on all things paranormal, but specifically topics like ghosts and hauntings, paranormal research, spirit communication, psychics and mediums, and life after death. He’s the founder of the now inactive Missouri Spirit Seekers and has spent a lot of time experimenting with spirit communication tools and techniques, such as EVP. Patrick also has a passion for spending hours at a time in cemeteries and loves cemetery photography. Visit! View all posts by Patrick Keller

13 responses to “All Pets Go to Heaven…

  • Gary Leigh

    Good article. I liked what CWG had to say about heaven. We all go to heaven because there is nowhere else to go. 🙂

  • daynalk

    Hi Patrick,
    Thank you for posting this.
    I too, have lost many fur babies (as I call them) But I think the one that is most forefront in my mind, is having to put down my horse Nikki.
    My Dad had just passed away, I had to clean out the house, make funeral arrangements and Nikki knew that Dad was gone.
    In fact both Nikki and her daughter,Nakeeta were both feeling very down and I could tell because they didn’t come running and nickering at feeding times. It was then that we discovered how sick Nikki was.
    Nikki was 27 yrs old and had lived with a bone issue (called navicular disease ) in her front feet, and was in incredible discomfort and I found a huge growth on her chest, which is what made me call the vet.
    Turned out that it was cancer and the vet suggested, putting her down.
    I had Nikki for over 20+ yrs, I had watched her birth her baby and raise her baby and now I had to put her down, the circle of life hit me ten fold.
    I had just lost my Dad and now I was loosing my best friend Nikki.
    It was and still is, one of the hardest things I had to do.
    And I kept thinking to myself, how much more can I endure, I guess I was asking my higher powers ….. to help me deal with the pain of it all.
    But I think what hurt just as much, was watching her daughter, Nakeeta finally realize that her Mom was gone.
    I knew exactly how she felt.
    But to watch an animal go through it ….. geezzzz that’s a tough one.
    I told Nikki to go be with my Dad and comfort him, as she had comforted me for 20+ yrs, and I told her that in turn, I would be here on the earthly plain to comfort Nakeeta, until it was her time to go
    I only hope and pray that Dad and Nikki and Nakeeta are somewhere, enjoying their new lives together
    Thank you for allowing me to share this and for posting to your blog about death and animals.

    In Love And Light

    • Patrick

      Dayna, thank you very much for sharing the touching story. It is interesting, because I almost mentioned horses in the blog. I’ve never had one in my life, and never really been around them much even. BUT… when I saw the movie (and I’ve since seen the play too) War Horse I cried probably 5 minutes into it and straight through to the end of the movie. I was miserable. I warned a lot of my animal lover friends before they went to see it. Many of them came back and were like… “ehh… it was okay.” 🙂 My partner Joe hated it and was bored. When I got home I continued to cried for quite a while and just hugged Meril on the floor of my closet. Joe thought I was crazy. I’m a mess. Maybe I just need some good therapy. Ha!

  • Paranormalogistically

    I named her Ounce Puppy because she was so small when I got her. A peke terrier mix, she was my constant companion for sixteen years until I had to put her down. For several months afterward, I would hear her toenails clicking on the hardwood floors of my old farmhouse and hear her brand of barking and a couple times felt her jump on the bed and snuggle up to me just as she had in life. It was heartbreaking but comforting to know that in some way, she was still alive…and feeling much better. I had read this book by Sylvia at some point after Ounce died and it gave me some comfort and confirmed what I already knew…our pets do live on. As always Patrick, excellent post 🙂

    • Patrick

      Thank you for the constant encouragement, Diane… and your story reminded me that I used to hear (or imagine hearing) my Grandparents’ poodle clicking across the floor after he died when I was little and staying with them. I had forgotten about that! That’s a special story, though. Thanks for sharing it.

  • Maria

    This post really reached my deepest feelings! We had to put our 12 year old Irish Setter, Bailey, down a few years ago. He had bone cancer and when his pain and discomfort reached a point….it was clear what we had to do. I fully expect he will be there for me when I cross over. Thank you for the lovely post!

  • Sally Bosco

    When I lost my beloved cat MiniKitty, I bought the Sylvia Browne book, and it was a great comfort to me. Shortly after MiniKitty passed, I’d hear him crunching his food out in the kitchen in the middle of the night, but that only happened a couple of times and then stopped. I loved your story. Thanks for the great post!

    • Patrick

      Now that’s one I hadn’t heard yet. 🙂 Cute. I didn’t realize so many people had read that book, though. I probably should have finished it before writing this post. 🙂

  • thupancic

    Thank you, Patrick! Excellent post. To this day, our two cats regularly freak out and watch ‘something’ walk past the living room to the door by the deck. We know it’s either Coco or Kenny, both passed now. Apparently, these cats make their appearance known on a regular basis. I see Coco out of the corner of my eye while I’m doing laundry. One particular day, all three members of my family saw Coco at different times during the day. He definitely loves to visit!

    • Patrick

      These are such great stories! I have to admit, reading this book (I’m just finishing it) has gotten me thinking about my past pets so much and wondering if they know I’m thinking of them. Part of me wishes I could get a moment with them all… either while I’m here hanging out at the house, or in my sleep…. something. Maybe I could get their attention and request a visit? But then I also think, do I want that? 🙂

      I believe you had some challenging things going on last I heard from you. I hope you are well. Thanks for stopping by!

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