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frenchiedec2013Recently I was asked “Do dogs have souls? And will my dog do to heaven?”
How can we answer this?

We all want to believe our beloved pet will go to heaven. We have all reached out and tried to comfort many of our friends assuring them that their recent loss would be waiting at the rainbow for them.

I spent an afternoon searching for some answers. I found there has been many attempts to answer this question. I read everything from a wide perspective from professionals such as veterinarians, dog breeders, even a spiritual Psychologist; and then settled into several readings from religious theologians and writers from Catholic, Jewish and Christian points of view.

You want to know what I found out?


Dogs have a midbrain (the section where emotions occur) very similar, both structurally and functionally, to that of humans.

 Studies show, and dog lovers know, that canines have the intellectual level of a child between one and four. They experience and exhibit attachment and bonding (or lack thereof), joy, contentment, security, fear, anxiety, jealousy, loneliness, depression, abandonment (separation anxiety) and learned helplessness.

Dogs will sacrifice their lives for their beloved masters, and often die from grief if the human dies first.

A dog has the ability to balance the mood of the human being. For example, when people are sad or depressed, the dog helps them become happier; when people are anxious, agitated or angry, the dog calms them down.

It’s been said, “Animals have a way of filling spaces inside us we never knew were empty.”btonbridgecindy

Numerous studies in Spiritual Psychology …shows that dogs do indeed have souls, and once a dog bonds to a human, its soul attaches to the human’s soul and upon death, goes where the human soul goes. Indeed, thousands of people who have had a Near Death Experience (NDE) report being greeted in the Next Life by their beloved pets who have already crossed.

Christians wonder, does a pet’s emotions and ability to relate to human beings mean that animals possess an immortal spirit that will survive after death?

Theologians say no. They point out that man was created superior to animals and that animals can’t be equal with him.

Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground." (Genesis 1:26, NIV)

They imply that animals may have the “breath of life,” but not an immortal soul in the same sense as man’s.

“Man is made in God’s image, so man must not kill one of his own kind. Animals, it would seem, are different from man. If they do have a "soul" that survives death, it is different from man’s. It does not need redemption. Christ died to save the souls of human beings, not animals.”

However further reading does indicate animals in heaven. Does this mean they are our pets too or newly created just for heaven? I have no answer, maybe both.

Even so, the prophet Isaiah says God will include animals in the new heavens and a new earth:

"The wolf and the lamb will feed together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox, but dust will be the serpent’s food. They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain, says the LORD." (Isaiah 65: 25, NIV)

In the last book of the Bible, Revelations, the Apostle John’s vision of heaven also included animals, showing Christ and the armies of heaven "riding on white horses." (Revelation 19:14, NIV)

The Bible does not give a definitive answer on the question of whether we will see our pets in heaven, but it does say, "... with God, all things are possible." (Matthew 19:26, NIV)

"God, in his great love and wisdom has created heaven to be a place of perfect happiness. I am sure that if you need your little dog to complete your happiness, you will find her there."

Ecclesiastes 3:19: "After all, the same fate awaits human beings and animals alike. One dies just like the other. They are the same kind of creature. A human being is no better off than an animal, because life has no meaning for either."

Eccl 3:20: "They are both going to the same place---the dust. They both came from it; they will both go back to it."

Eccl 3:21: "How can anyone be sure that the human spirit goes upward while an animal's spirit goes down into the ground?"


One Catholic website puts it this way:

The soul is the principle of life. Since animals and plants are living things, they have souls, but not in the sense in which human beings have souls. Our souls are rational--theirs aren't--and ours are rational because they're spiritual, not material.

Animal and vegetable souls are dependent entirely on matter for their operation and being. They cease to exist at death. (There's no "doggie heaven.")

Human souls, by contrast, aren't material. They're spiritual. Only a spirit can know and love; a spirit's two chief faculties being the intellect (which knows) and the will (which loves). We know human souls are spiritual since humans can know and love.

lamb and wolf for 617Isa 65:25  The wolf and the lamb will feed together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox, but dust will be the serpent's food. They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain," says the LORD. NIV
I have no doubt that our loving heavenly Father can resurrect our pets and make them part of our happiness in heaven. However, the Bible does not give any references to this, as the Bible was written for the salvation of mankind. (After all, something written for animals wouldn't do a lot of good when the animals can't read!!)

Psalm 145: -9-10,13,15-21 God loves all His creation and has made plans for all His children and the lesser creatures to enjoy His Eternal Kingdom.

Romans 8:19 says that the lesser creatures await Christ's return to redeem the sons of God so they too will be released from physical death to eternal life.

Another site states in their opinion:

“All things have a soul, even the trees of the field have a soul toward their Maker. God made all of the birds, the cats and the dogs and I believe they have a soul. Animals are able to understand commands and love. They often crave love. They would not understand love if they had no soul.”

What makes man different from the animals is not that he has a soul, but that he is made in the image of God.

1 Corinthians 2:9 is interpreted to mean that heaven is a place of happiness beyond imagination. I believe that God finds a way for us to enjoy the presence of both our saved loved ones and our departed animal friends.


One of the Jewish sites had this to say:

All living things – human and animal – have souls; however, not all souls are created equal. Humans also have a divine, spiritual soul. Only this soul has the ability to forge a relationship with the Divine, transcendent dimension of existence

Perhaps God may allow our beloved pets to be with us in heaven. Or He may choose to create a new pet for you. We must be willing to allow God to order things as He sees best

There is where we will leave it. We just do not know all the mysteries. In all things, we will just have to trust God and have faith.

Either way, just be happy for the time you have with your dog on earth. No one can take that away from you. It is written in the Bible that "God exists not only in man, but in everything that lives."

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religiondispatches.org_dogs-of-life Pope. CATHOLIC

Making the Decision to Euthanize a Beloved Pet
No one understands how I feel. The tears still come, Grieving Our Pets Part 1 of 2
Grieving Our Pets Part 2 of 2
RAINBOW BRIDGE a great comfort
Am I crazy to hurt so much
Memorializing a Pet

Edited by:  Jan Mitchell