Friends! It’s been several sad weeks here in the Hoagland household. Our beloved Gracie, our wire-haired fox terrier who was only 7 1/2 years old, got sick on Christmas Day and got worse and worse, week after week, until we discovered she had liver cancer and lymphoma. Only five days after that hard-to-believe diagnosis, we knew “it was time.” Beyond awful.
I know many of you have been thru’ this. One of our dear couple friends dropped off a new-to-us children’s book you need to know about: It’s called Dog Heaven by Cynthia Rylant.
The book is super sweet and we will enjoy sharing it with our grandchildren later while it helped comfort us immediately. Additionally wonderful, our six children commissioned a super talented local artist to create a watercolor of our Gracie. What a keepsake.
Since we’ve been empty nesters, Gracie has been our little shadow, going everywhere with us, especially my better half. We logged miles and miles a day walking with her, she chased a thousand and one squirrels, and was quite the mole hunter and conqueror.
Thankfully, I remembered an invaluable resource we read years ago in book club: Heaven by Randy Alcorn. It’s a tome, and is seminary-worthy. Even tho’ we read it over the summer to discuss once we resumed in the fall, it was a little more than we bargained for.
We howled when the children’s version came out about the time of our meeting. However, the adult version is truly a resource readers can consult over and over for just about any topic you’d be interested in. (Try 12 sections, 46 chapters!)
Yes, there’s a chapter called, Will Animals, Including Our Pet’s, Live Again? You can bet I went to grab the book and reread this chapter.
Let’s read the first paragraph (Ch 40):
“Christ proclaims from his throne on the New Earth: ‘Behold I am making all things new’ (Revelation 21:5 ESV). It’s not just people who will be renewed but also the earth and ‘all things’ in it. Do ‘all things’ include animals? Yes. Horses, cats, dogs, deer, dolphins, and squirrels—as well as the inanimate creation—will be beneficiaries of Christ’s death and resurrection.”
Two well-known authors are also quoted in this chapter. First, let’s hear from Joni Erickson Tada from her book on Heaven:
And you all will LOVE to read this poem from none other than John Piper:
Randy Alcorn’s chapter on pets also includes answers to:
“How closely are animals tied to our resurrection?”
“Will extinct animals live on the new earth?”
“Will our pets be restored on the new earth?”
“Is it wrong to grieve a pet’s death?”
“What future is God planning for animals?”
“Might some animals talk?”
You can tell these are deep questions, Likewise goes the rest of the book. You’ll get to see and read Scripture after Scripture on animals (in this particular chapter) and see the wonder and the love the Lord gives us through our pets, ultimately created for God’s glory.
Already John and I’ve been asked the big question, “So, will you get another dog?” To which, for today, I’ll answer “no.” We wish (!!!) to hold off until our future grandchildren arrive (two grandsons super soon, Lord willing!) and we see how much time we’d have to raise a puppy!?!
Meanwhile to those of you who’ve survived losing a pet, we’re with you. Gracie’s our third terrier and it gets much more difficult each time.
So, as Bob Hope would sing, Gracie, “Thanks for the memories…”
‘Til next time!