My Heavenly Family
A Fictional Account of What it is Like for Animals living in Heaven
My name is Xammies. My home is no longer an earthly one, but I still visit from time to time (although most humans don't see me), or sometimes I just gaze longingly down upon it before I close my weary eyes and begin to dream. You see, even though I'm way up here in heaven I still watch over my family down on Earth. I do my best to protect them, as I wait patiently for them to join me in this wonderful place. That's because that's what I did when I lived down there and I know my family and friends still remember me and love me. I sense this when I hear them softly whisper my name whenever they are alone or when they glance at my picture, still hanging on the living room wall. And when they gaze at the heavens, somehow I know they see me, watching, smiling, waiting...
How it all Began
It was a cold day in December when I was first adopted by a couple who lived next door to my earthly family. However, I was a tiny creature, just barely six weeks old, and their much bigger and older dog did not like me very much, so I cried and cried. Oh how I missed my parents and my siblings! I did not know these strangers. I was scared. I wanted to go home. But instead of nurturing me or acting like they understood my situation, they locked me in their car so they could not hear me cry (Animal Cruelty, ASPCA.org, 2010). I was cold, lonely, and hungry. I cried even louder, hoping that someone would hear me, but still no one came to my rescue. I cried until I was so exhausted and my throat became so dry that I could cry no more.
I had been in this despair for two whole nights and one day and I had given up all hope of being rescued. Then suddenly I heard the car door open and I saw a big calloused hand reaching in to grab me. I was really frightened then! I tried to growl and bite this strange hand but I was so cold and weak that I could do nothing but lie there, whimpering, and let this man scoop me up and wrap me in a nice warm blanket. He then whispered kind words to me as he carried me to his house, where I was welcomed by his wife and was and was presented with a nice plate of food, a warm bowl of milk, and was placed in a nice warm box filled with extra soft bedding near the stove. And there I fell asleep, all warm and comfortable. I did not know then that this would turn out to be one of the best days of my life because this couple would become my new family and they would love me as no others had done before. All I knew at that time was that I liked this place and I hoped and prayed that I could stay here with these people who had been so kind to me.
My New Family
I can still recall going on long walks in the woods or out in the yard with my dad. Oh what fun we had! I would run up the hill in search of mice or other small rodents and when one buried itself in the leaves he would come and help me dig it out. Then the chase would be on again. Or sometimes he would throw a ball or stick and I would fetch it and play Chase with him for a bit until I would reluctantly drop it at his feet, and the game would start all over again.
Then suddenly dad became ill. His legs became so weak that his steps often slowed and he sometimes stumbled and fell. When this happened I would run home and tell mom so she could come help me get him up and the three of us would go inside so he could like down and rest.
I can also remember helping mom pull weeds out in the garden. Mom sure was a patient one as she stopped whatever she was doing and pointed out every single blade of grass she wanted me to pull out with my strong puppy teeth. You see, I could never quite discern which were weeds and which were flowers. Then she would Pat me on the head and praise me for doing such a fine job.
But best of all, I remember the little cubbyhole inside the headboard of mom and dad's huge bed. It was just big enough for me to curl up inside on my comfy pillow and lay my head on their pillows, safe and happy, knowing they loved me.
Then I became ill
I remember the day like it was yesterday. It was a bright and sunny day, and dad was feeling particularly good. So the three of us decided to take the truck and go for a ride to one of our favorite spots up in the hills. How I loved going for those rides, especially when they let me ride in the back as long as I was careful and didn't stick my head over the sides or jump around.
We started on our walk, but suddenly I was not feeling well so dad carried me back to the truck and we headed home. Little did any of us know then that I was suffering from the Parvovirus, a debilitating illness which attacks the gastrointestinal, or cardiac system, in dogs (akc.org, 2017). And even though mom and dad tried to help me, they could not. Finally I became so weak and dehydrated that mom carried me out to the front porch and gently placed me in a basket filled with extra soft bedding, and laid me in my favorite spot next to the big red rose bush that I loved. It was there that I fell asleep, feeling her warm gentle hand caressing me while she talked to me about all the good times we'd had, about the wonderful place I was about to see, and how I would be truly happy there.
Then, with tears in her eyes and dad standing by her side, she began humming a sweet lullaby till I closed my eyes one last time, to dream that final dream. And there I dreamed of floating upward into the sky like a balloon. And there was this brilliant light showering down upon me. I was happy and in no pain. Then I looked down at mom, still sitting on the porch, crying. I called down to her and asked "Mom, why are you crying? I'm not sick anymore. This is fun. Why don't you and dad join me?" At that moment she looked up and I saw her smile. That's when I knew she heard me, yet I also knew it was time for me to continue onward on my journey into the light.
When I Awoke
At first I was frightened and bewildered when I awoke. I was not lying in my cubbyhole, nor was I lying in my comfortable basket out on the porch. This was a very different and strange place that I found myself in. And where were mom and dad? I could see them nowhere. I began to cry. Then suddenly a sense of wonderment washed over me as I looked around the grassy area in which I found myself lying. There were sock toys, just like the ones mom made for me back home, and big juicy basted beef bones (my favorites) lying all around. And as I looked further I saw the biggest dog house I had ever seen. It had golden trim all around it, and it had a wide front porch, just like the one at home. There was even a red rose bush growing at it's side and a basket just like mine sitting beside it. As I peeked through the door I saw a huge bed with a nice little cubbyhole situated right in the middle of the headboard, exactly like the one at home. However, as I walked behind the house I saw no fence enclosing the back yard. Instead, there were rolling hills of green grass and all kinds of trees. There were swamp lands lined with beautiful Cyprus and Oak trees (just like the ones dad and I used to hunt in), and there were gardens filled with all kinds of weeds and flowers. This truly was a most magical place!
The Big Black Dog
Even after seeing all these wonderful things I was still lonely and I wondered where my parents and my friends were. Then suddenly a big black dog, with brown spots above her eyes and on her long floppy ears, walked up to greet me. She said her name was Lassie, and she had once been a part of mom's family when she was a child. She had loved and missed that family too, just as I did mine. But then she came to this magical place called Heaven and made some wonderful new friends who had also come before her. She said "You'll come to love it here, just as I do, once you meet everyone." She then proceeded to introduce me to others of our rather extensive family who had walked up to see the new arrival.
My New Home
Today I am getting ready to go out with my new friends and explore this lovely place I now call my home away from home. Lately I have been thinking that maybe I can teach them how to pull weeds like mom and I did, or how to play Chase the way dad and I did. I'm sure Toby would love that because mom and Dad would throw sticks into the water and he would fetch them. And my new friend Boo, a Blue Heeler/Beagle mix, would love to go hunting with me. She said she might even show me how to tree a raccoon. And just for fun she said she will teach me how to wait patiently for the raccoon to come down from the tree so we can chase it again. Oh what fun that will be! She even told me that she will try to teach me how to heard cattle and horses. But she said that might be a difficult task because I'm not a Blue Heeler. But I told her I can do it because I'm smart and I can run fast. She laughed and said "You might have to run very fast if one of them turns around and chases you." Yes, I believe I'm going to love this place called "Heaven" and I can hardly wait till mom and dad get here.
Treating Parvovirus in Dogs
- Parvovirus (a.k.a Parvo) Infection in Dogs
Parvovirus infection is a serious disease that affects the gasstrointestinal or cardiac systems of dogs. Parvo is a highly contagious and often sudden viral disease; puppies are particularly susceptible. Learn about the clinical signs, diagnosis, tre
- ASPCA: The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals
Visit the ASPCA website to learn how to fight animal cruelty, read expert pet care advice, and view dogs and cats available for adoption.
For The Love of All Things in Dogs
- American Kennel Club
The AKC is the recognized and trusted expert in breed, health and training information for dogs.