Sunday, November 30, 2014

... all dogs go to heaven...

Professor's Monthly Homework Assignment is to reflect on our babies. I have just one.

I didn't buy him or adopt him from the pound. He was purchased for $800 by an ex to become a show dog. When we went to grad school in different states, my ex left his dog with me to babysit until he could find a place that allowed dogs. Having a restricted breed, a Doberman, in parts of this country especially cities that aren't so dog friendly cost me a great deal of money. I note that here because I saved every receipt until my ex turned over his papers. It would have become a lawsuit as serious as any human child custody. Once you're a mom to a pup, you'll fight to keep him against all logic and costs. When you’re a mom to a pup, you’re always a mom… even when your best friend has crossed to the other side. 

Aslan passed on 7/12/05 and still I miss him every day. His ashes are in my office right above my desk where I am typing this post now. Even when we were in parks or at my folks and he was allowed to run free, he always stayed close to me.... so I decided that he'd want to be close to his Mom. Our ashes will be buried together upon my death.

There was an episode of the Ghost Whisperer where the main character, Melinda, was having trouble walking down the hallway of a hospital because she was being overwhelmed by ghosts. I remember a golden retriever running down the hall and an elderly man petting what turned out to be the ghost of his childhood dog (of course, he was a ghost at this point). When Aslan was diagnosed with lymphoma and ran such a high fever that I had to make the only humane decision I could (and it was and still is a beautifully awful decision that was best for him), I laid on the floor on my pup while he took his last breathes and whispered, "You be the first". Regardless of all my great loves that I could predict in the future back then, I wanted him to greet me upon my own death.

I still have his leash, seat belt, collars, tags, and health records. How does one discard such things of one who was so precious?

I found this email in my account. I'm including it here for my post.
When you get to the end where I mention the dog treats, I will note that those pieces of Milkbone are still in the paper bag in the back of my freezer. When I left my ex, I took them to my apartment and then when I built my house, I moved them once again. My fella completely understands.
Sorry I haven't emailed you both back sooner. I haven't responded to
anyone this week by email or phone. Thank you so much for your kind
words. I am just finding everything so difficult. Only cried about 99
times today... an improvement from 100. Seems silly that blankets
could make me cry. We're trying to wash Aslan's bedding to donate to
the vet. I gave his food, treats and medicine to my friend Angela so
she could use it for her dogs. We don't have the heart to move his
food bowls. I washed them and just put them back in place. Another
silly thing I guess but the apartment seems so empty already that I
can't tolerate any more change. The hardest part is just figuring out
who I am without Aslan... he's been every bit a part of my adult life-
the reason I live where I live, the reason I drive the car that I
drive, even one of the main reasons for picking Larry as our new play
toy was because Aslan liked him so much.

I've tried to do a lot of searching to figure out what my religion
says about dogs and heaven. Every darn Catholic has an opinion. The
best answer I found was from TV- an old Twilight Zone episode which
XXX (my ex) and I watched while I rested against Aslan the day before he got
sick. I feel like it was a sign.
The episode included a hunter and his dog, Red, hunting for raccoons.
They end up dying and must walk down a long stretch of land when Red begins
barking as they meet a man. The hunter asks if the man is St. Peter.
He replies "oh no. I work for him". He welcomes the hunter through the
gate but refuses the dog. The hunter decides not to enter saying, "I'm
only going in if Red goes in". The story continues with the man
telling the hunter that he'll sneak Red in later but the hunter
refuses, "if Red can't walk through the front gate with me I'll just
keep on walking". The man laughs and says that they'll be walking for
eternity but the hunter and Red continue anyway.

They walk about a mile when Red takes off running and reaches another
gate with an "obvious" angel. When the hunter arrives the angel smiles
and says that they're all glad the hunter wasn't confused by the other
gate (Hell) and adds "gosh sir, don't you know all dogs go to heaven".

Aslan is being cremated. Thank you for offering your yard. That means
a great deal. I've planned for his ashes to be released in the field
at my parent's house- his favorite place to run and play (probably his
version of Heaven). We will have a funeral service for him once his
ashes are returned to us. We'll also have a burial- I know you will
understand this no matter how ridiculous this may sound -- his last
night home we had a broken off piece of Milkbone and a small treat in
front of him which he refused to eat (that's kind of when I knew
things were as bad as they were). XXX (my ex) and I were unable to do
anything with those treats... in fact, I carried them around with me
for a few hours. I finally put them in a ziplock and placed them in
the freezer because I don't have the heart to throw them away. My mom
suggested we bury them under his headstone (which she has already
ordered). I thought it was a good idea. That way he can sort of take
them with him.


  1. Sorry for loss of Aslan. He sounds like a wonderful companion. I can see that he was loved very much and had a great life. What a lucky dog he was to have a Mom like you. It is so hard to lose a dog. They are part of the family. We lost our Golden Retriever 7 years ago and I still miss her. We have a Beagle now and she is so different from the golden but just as special to us.

    1. Thanks. Before him I had only had ferrets and they weren't exactly the friendly ones. Aslan helped me to be a better human. I was the lucky one :D

  2. So sorry for your loss, Aslan sounds wonderful, and what a great name! Dogs are such amazing, loyal people, there is no way there could be a heaven without them, although I still think they come down now and then to keep an eye on us!

    1. I remember one of the sympathy cards I received from a good friend read, "Wow, imagine the wing span" referencing him as an angel.

    2. Yes, a dog angel that size could knock some people over with the wind of his wings!

  3. So sorry about Aslan. I had a childhood dog Sam and we put him down 14 years ago. I still miss him today. I have a picture of him on my fridge

    1. There are kindred spirits who come to us... and we never let go.

  4. I'll hold my hands up and admit this post made me cry. They become part of our souls. My lovely Sally is snuggled up on my feet, a proper old lady now and I can't even contemplate not being followed by her constant low level grumbling as I wander about the house, or the soft push of her nose into my hand when she wants to comfort me. I still think about my childhood dogs (we had several, but Ben was my boy, through the horrors of my parents divorce), and how much I miss them. And little Bob, our foundling who was ancient when we found her and part of our lives for four years. Her ashes are in my desk drawer, I can't bring myself to part with her even though she passed in 2008. Like you, I think dogs exist to make us better humans. x

  5. Oh sweetie. All I can say is that Aslan will always be a part of you and you a part of him. Keep him close and he will always protect you. Sending all my love.

  6. Thank you for reposting this to me so I could read it. I have always thought your Aslan was so beautiful. And somehow its not about that. Its how they make us feel. And how it feels without them. Whether a 100 pound dog, or a 20 pound dog, it matters not. They know every secret, hold so many memories, and leave such HUGE spaces in the heart when they go.

    Thanks for your kind words. Yes i will miss my bighearted baby <3. But there cannot be a heaven without them. I cant believe that God would make such a place and leave them out. So I really do hope I see my boy again one day.