What Happens To Our Pets When They Die?

From an article by Garrett Kell

My wife and I were recently awakened by the tears of one of our children. They’d found our dog, Nellie, dead on the floor.

Nellie was a cross-eyed Chihuahua who had brought our family so much joy. She was about as good a dog as a Chihuahua can be.

As the tears flowed, so did the questions. 

Why did Nellie have to die? Why did God take Nellie so soon? Will we see Nellie in heaven?

While some may consider these questions silly, I don’t.

The longer we live on this fallen planet, the more sorrow we face. Some suffering is small, and some is great, but it all hurts. Some families experience tragedy early and often. Our family has been spared significant tragedy, but times like these still leave their mark.

After a little while, we were able to talk about what we were feeling and the questions we were processing. Here are a few highlights.

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Thou Dost Not Fall

As the rain hides the stars, as the autumn mist hides the hills, as the clouds veil the blue of the sky, so the dark happenings of my lot hide the shining of Thy face from me. Yet, if I may hold Thy hand in the darkness, it is enough. Since I know that, though I may stumble in my going, Thou dost not fall. (Hebridean Altars, Alistair Maclean)

God who made man that he might seek him – God whom we try to comprehend by the groping of our lives – that self-same God is as pervasive and perceptible as the atmosphere in which we are bathed. He encompasses us on all sides, like the world itself. What prevents you then, from enfolding him in your arms? Only one thing: your inability to see him. (Teilhard de Chardin)

In a sense that glory will always remain hidden, for God is too great for us to comprehend. Our minds could not contain the full mystery and wonder of God, yet they can forever be excited by glimpses of glory. What the mind cannot grasp the heart can often hold. What we are seeking is not so much intellectual knowledge as a relationship with God: not a collecting of facts but a life-changing relationship. As with all relationships there are always new experiences, new depths, new mysteries to enjoy and to explore. It is when we lose our relationship with God that our faith becomes dull and struggles. (The Road of Life, David Adams)

You, Lord, keep my lamp burning; my God turns my darkness into light. Psalm 18:28

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. John 1:5

When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have light of life.” John 8:12

When We Try To Run Away

We all get times when problems pile upon us and everyone seems to get on our nerves. We think to ourselves if only I could get away for a while for some peace and quiet, then everything would be okay. Wouldn’t it? Here’s what Socrates said:

“How can you wonder your travels do you no good, when you carry yourself around with you? You are saddled with the very thing that drove you away. How can novelty of surroundings abroad and becoming acquainted with foreign scenes and cities be of any help? All that dashing about turns out to be quite futile. And if you want to know why all this running away cannot help you, the answer is simply this: you are running away in your own company. You have to lay aside the load on your spirit. Until you do that, nowhere will satisfy you.” Socrates (470 BC – 399 BC)


Dear Lord, I come to You today to ask for help. You are my everything. Lord, I need rest. I give You my worry. Take it, Lord. I accept Your peace, love, and understanding. Help me to turn to You and not to myself, to stop doing and start trusting. Help me to wait on Your answers, because I know that they are good. Give me wisdom, hope, and peace. Thank you, Lord, for Your patience and grace. I love You, and I know You love me so much more than I could ever imagine. Amen.

Be still and know that I am God. Psalm 46:10

Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. Matthew 11:29

For a Change of Seasons


Creator, artist, author of the world,

what joy to sense the seasons turn,

the colors change

the flowers bloom,

the trees hum,

the music of birds,

the caress of the winds,

the stories of clouds.

The beauty of Your world

makes my own spirit dance,

as I watch time passing,

I know that You are eternal,

the Centre of Life,

the Creator of all things,

and I know

that there is beauty far beyond my imaginings,

and that all of us,

Your children,

Your creatures,

Your plantings —

live to honor You,

and sing your praise with

every breath.

God saw all that he had made, and behold it was very good.

(Genesis 1:31)


Enter His Gates With Thanksgiving

 “Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name!” Psalm 100:4

 “I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart; I will recount all of your wonderful deeds.” Psalm 9:1

“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” James 1:17


Wonderful God, you are abounding in strength and splendour, yet I can approach you because of your forgiveness and grace. You hold the sky and command the stars, but you reach down to shower me with your unfailing love. Thank you that I am a child of your promise, that you love me, that I have received your eternal compassion, and that I have been forgiven by Jesus’ sacrificial blood. You convert tragedy into triumph and suffering into glory. Your compassionate mercy makes me happy. Through the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

When Things go Wrong

The following excerpt and poem is from Disguises of Love by Eddie Askew (former General Secretary of The Leprosy Mission).

My mind was drawn recently to the book of Daniel. Do you remember Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego and their refusal to deny their God? The King threatens them with fire, but they affirm their faith in a God who is able to rescue them. And then comes a mind-catching phrase: “but even if he does not . . . still we will not serve your gods” (Daniel 3:18)

To begin with it’s an honest acknowledgement of the fact that things don’t always go right for God’s people. That’s pretty self-evident to anyone who looks at the world realistically, although I do meet blinkered Christians who seem to imply that if only we’d get right with the Lord – as individuals and as nations – everything in life would be fine! It just doesn’t happen that way. And it’s not always out fault – don’t get hung up searching for personal guilt when things go wrong, that’s just inhibiting. Faith isn’t an all-risks insurance policy. (On second thoughts: maybe it is. Insurance doesn’t prevent accidents but it gives you a secure base from which to face the consequences.) It isn’t a cure-all. If it were, if faith prevented the pain and the problems, the queues outside the church buildings would be enormous. Sometimes faith and pain go together, and it’s the unrighteous who have it good.

“But even if he doesn’t . . .” It’s also a courageous statement of faith in God’s purposes. Not necessarily accepting that whatever hits us comes straight from God – I’m wary of these over-simplifications of why calamities happen – but faith in the way he can and does use events to shape and refine us. A faith which springs from the experience of God-with-us through many crises. Ed Ingebretsen, an American Jesuit poet writes: . . . your violence, Lord, opens more worlds than closes; . . . we are stones, sons of black rock; crush the veins, grind, hew, hone. Free the waiting diamond . . . we are steel, straighten, stretch, fine – melt us, shape, thin us like strong wires. we are seed, dry, desiccated – rain us, green us as once we were: The harvest remembers not the cut.

He proclaims faith in his continuing love and concern, however hot the fire. Rescue may come or not; faith shows its strength in accepting at times, God’s non-intervention. It’s not a glib, easy acceptance. It takes courage simply to pray ‘but not my will’ and mean it!

Lord, that’s the way I’d like to live.

Fearless, honest.

Looking life straight in the eye whatever comes.

Facing the reality of the world with your courage.

Not flinching at the furnace.

Staying faithful to you.

Hoping for rescue but standing up anyway. Upright, dependable.

Even when the consequences are clear to see. And frightening.

Finding the strength to stand firm.

Knowing that you are here, through good and bad.

The trouble is,

looking at me, you’d never believe it.

Because try as I may

the picture never looks like that.

However much I struggle with the outline

the details don’t fill in the way they should.

I look at the furnace, feel the heat,

and the sweat breaks out.

Not the hot sweat of commitment.

The cold sweat of fear.

And when I think about it


when I recognise the denial,

I can’t look myself in the eye.

I’m ashamed.

Lift my head up, Lord,

so that as I look into your eyes

my shame evaporates

in the warmth of your love.

Give me the courage to start again.

And help me to see

that your love comes in many disguises.

Help me to grasp that truth,

more real than reality.

Teach me, teach all your children,

to feel your love,

not only in the gentle whispers of life,

but in the black boiling storm clouds

which threaten us with crisis.

Show us its presence

not only in birth-joy

but in the death of the seed.

Resurrection at the door of the tomb.

And, somehow, Lord,

give me the courage

to welcome your love

in all its disguises.

The Indwelling Life of Christ

The following extract is from The Indwelling Life of Christ by Ian Thomas

The human spirit is that part of us where God lives within us in the person of the Holy Spirit, so that with our moral consent (and never without it), God gains access to our human soul. This is where He Himself, as the Creator within the creature, can teach our minds, control our emotions, and direct our wills, so that He, as God from within, governs our behavior as we let God be God.

“If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit” (Galatians 5:25), and this is what it means to walk in the Holy Spirit: to take one step at a time, and for every new situation into which every new step takes you, no matter what it may be, to hear Christ saying to your heart, “I AM,” then to look up into His face by faith and say, “You are! That is all I need to know, Lord, and I thank You, for You are never less than adequate.”

The LORD is the strength of my life. (Psalm 27:1)

Trust in Christ Jesus

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything; tell God your needs, and don’t forget to thank him for his answers. If you do this, you will experience God’s peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand. His peace will keep your thoughts and your hearts quiet and at rest as you trust in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:6-7 (Living Bible Translation)

To children ardent for some desperate glory –

Dulce et Decorum est by Wilfred Owen

Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,
Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,
Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs
And towards our distant rest began to trudge.
Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots
But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind;
Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots
Of tired, outstripped Five-Nines that dropped behind.
Gas! Gas! Quick, boys! – An ecstasy of fumbling,
Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time;
But someone still was yelling out and stumbling,
And flound’ring like a man in fire or lime. . .
Dim, through the misty panes and thick green light,
As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.
In all my dreams, before my helpless sight,
He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.
If in some smothering dreams you too could pace
Behind the wagon that we flung him in,
And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,
His hanging face, like a devil’s sick of sin;
If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,
Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud
Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,
My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
To children ardent for some desperate glory,
The old Lie; Dulce et Decorum est
Pro patria mori.

Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori, which is a line taken from the latin odes of the Roman poet Horace, means it is sweet and proper to die for one’s country. Wilfred Owen takes the opposite stance.

WILFRED OWEN 1893 – 1918

In June 1917, Wilfred Owen was wounded and sent home. He returned to France in August 1918 as a company commander. He was awarded the Military Cross in October and was killed a week before Armistice Day, at the age of 25.

Born To Kvetch

A man boards a Chicago-bound train in Grand Central Station and sits down across from an old man reading a Yiddish newspaper. Half an hour after the train has left the station, the old man puts down his paper and starts to whine like a frightened child.

“Oy, am I thirsty . . . Oy, am I thirsty . . . Oy, am I thirsty . . .”

The other man is at the end of his rope inside of five minutes. He makes his way to the water cooler at the far end of the car, fills a cup with water, and starts walking back to his seat. He pauses after a few steps, goes back to the cooler, fills a second cup with water and walks gingerly down the aisle, trying to keep the cups from spilling. He stops in front of the old man and clears his throat. The old man looks up in midoy, his eyes beam with gratitude as he drains the first cup in a single gulp. Before he can say or do anything else, the man hands him the second cup, then sits back down and closes his eyes, hoping to catch a bit of a nap. As he sits back, the old man allows himself a sigh of thanks. He leans into his own seat, tilts his forehead toward the ceiling, and says, just as loudly as before, “Oy, was I thirsty . . .”

The above excerpt is from Born To Kvetch by Michael Wex.

From the inner jacket – “For Jews, kvetching is a way of understanding the world. It is rooted, like so much of Jewish culture, in the Bible where the Israelites grumble endlessly. They complain about their problems and complain as much about the solutions. They kvetch in Egypt and they kvetch in the desert; no matter what God does, it’s wrong.

In Yiddish Jews found the perfect language for their complaints. In kvetching they made complaining into an art form.

Yiddish was the main spoken language for Jews for over a thousand years and its phrases, idioms and expressions paint a comprehensive picture of the psychology that helped the Jews of Europe to survive unrelenting persecution. In Born to Kvetch Michael Wex looks into the origins of this surplus of disenchantment and examines how it helped to create the abundance of striking idioms and curses in Yiddish.

Michael Wex takes a serious but funny look at the language that has shaped and was shaped by those who spoke it. Featuring chapters on the Yiddish relationship to food, nature, God, death and even sex, he allows his scholarship and wit to roam freely from Sholem Aleichem to Chaucer and Elvis Presley.

A treasure trove of linguistics, sociology, history and folklore – an inspiring portrait of a people, and a language, in exile.