Do our animal companions go to heaven?

Do our animal companions go to heaven?

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Dear Dr. Fox • I just read your answer to the woman who asked if you believe that “in heaven, we will meet up with all of our loved ones,” including animals. Though an agnostic, I was really anticipating your response, since my beloved husband died suddenly a year ago, and our 18-year-old cat, Magic, died three months later of hyperthyroidism and diabetes.

Although I was an English major who studied Milton and then earned a doctorate in school psychology, I could not interpret your reply, which seemed equivocal, compared to your customary clear, definitive answers.

I appreciate your thoughtful exposition, yet still wonder if you could perhaps try again, so that the questioner and I may receive a “yes” or “no” to her simple question about your beliefs. — C.S., Leonardo, N.J.

Dear C.S. • As it is in heaven, so it is on Earth when we embrace all we behold.

Jesus of Nazareth purportedly advised we must first become as children before we can enter the Kingdom of Heaven. As poet William Wordsworth wrote, the child is indeed father to the man.

My understanding is that, upon death, an individuated consciousness, or spirit, becomes part of the universal consciousness or Great Spirit of Native American Indian tradition. In that illimitable realm, we will become one again with all we embraced on Earth as individual souls.

I incorporate the animistic and pantheistic aspects of indigenous, “pagan” religious traditions under the banner of panentheism: God in all and all in God. The empathosphere is one integrating component of this Taoist view — the I-Thou of philosopher Martin Buber and the Unified Field theory of metaphysics.

So I make no pronouncements on what I believe about what we each may or may not experience after we die, including meeting up with our deceased loved ones, whether human or animal. What about the many we directly and indirectly harmed? I recall, in my early years as a nationwide speaker, promoting animal rights while some attendees were wearing the furs of the relatives of their dogs and cats. They took offense when I mentioned this issue in my presentation.

Until there is atonement, there can be no “at-one-ment.” But a broken heart can be an open heart, and I contend that compassion is the greatest power on Earth with which we humans are enabled and ennobled.

Visit Dr. Fox’s website at Send mail to or to Dr. Michael Fox in care of Universal Uclick, 1130 Walnut Street, Kansas City, Mo. 64106.

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