I’ve wept buckets since our dog was put to sleep last week, due to hind legs failing. Home and routine now miss Polo’s affectionate presence. It’s odd not having him to lick my plates clean and I no longer need to avoid leaving food within his reach. The only thing Polo wouldn’t put down his bone chute was ‘mint’! Named after the famous adventurer, due to his inquisitive snout, Polo licked many a child’s face clean, sniffed out and gobbled countless discarded banana skins and rarely barked at other dogs.

 

Do all dogs go to heaven? Not sure, but I’m grateful for 10 years of friendly companionship with our beloved black lab. Isaiah suggests that animals will be a part of the promised new heaven & earth, but even if I don’t see Polo again, I’m grateful for his many walks, which allowed me to get closer to my family and meet new friends.

 

We’re not getting another pooch, not to avoid the trauma of losing another canine comrade, rather because we don’t have time to look after one. I’m still not sure how my wife and I, both allergic to furry creatures, were duped into dyno-mutt’s arrival. It moved from gold fish to tropical fish, morphed into rabbit & guinea pig and, before you could cry “Dry yer Dug!” Pup Polo had curled up in our hearts and become a wonderful investment in family intimacy. Teenagers don’t want to go out with their parents, but are delighted to walk with their dog & parents! And more recently, with our girls in Aberdeen, my 26 year old boy & I now walk(ed) the dug(s) together.

Dorothy & I had a precious moment with Polo, before the vet applied the deadly dose. As he snaffled our treats, crunching them like Christmas had come early, I ruffled his shaggy mane and, trying to focus through flooding eyes, told him how grateful I and my whole family were for the joy, fun and blessings he gave us, and for the privilege of being his master. Even now, as I write I’m a puddle remembering the trust he showed. And as the vet did the deadly deed she said a strange thing that didn’t entirely tally, but which still comforted us, “Polo’s going to sleep in the presence of his mum & dad, which for him is ‘just heaven’!”

 

Whether, or not, dogs go to heaven, in dying Polo gave me a taste of the trust that we can have in our Master Jesus and Parent God, when we fall asleep ‘in Christ’.

 

“For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either.  And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied. But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.” (1 Corinthians 15:16-20 / NIV)

Thank you God for our precious pooch Polo. He’s in your hands. Thank you for how he deepened family relations, introduced me to new friends and taught me about trusting you as Lord. Now someone please pass me a hanky!