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Philosophy and Your Pet

Dog Heaven Makes Sense, Says Goofy Vet

by Osgood Wormer, D.V.M., Ph.D.

I have always been rankled by the idea that, to get into Heaven, not only must one have been baptized, one must have been human to begin with. This strikes me as a parochial idea and unfair in the extreme. There is ample evidence that whales, dolphins, apes, and even octopi are intelligent creatures, and that they are smarter than a lot of human beings, in fact.

Why, then, has no television evangelist protested that only “godless scientists” have thus far attempted to communicate with these other intelligent beings on our planet? Aren’t secular humanism’s implacable foes at all worried about the rise of secular non-humanism? Why aren’t television’s great religious leaders urging the dispatch of missionaries to the benighted orca and orangutan? Is it because no one can decide whether these non-human beings are heathens, pagans, or just dangerous infidels? Or is it because animals have no money which they might be induced to exchange for videotaped sermons and prayer shawls?

At the very least, we should begin to speak of the need for salvation to the intelligent beasts that dwell among us, in our very homes. Dogs, I believe, are excellent candidates for Heaven. That these noble creatures have souls is proven by the fact that they always know when they have sinned, and repent of it as soon as you catch them at it. Creatures capable of such shows of repentance should not be denied the promise of the afterlife.

Moreover, redemption for dogs should be automatic, immediate, and universal — all dogs get to go to Heaven, even those that were perfectly horrible in life. There is no damnation for dogs, not even in the Sartrean sense of Hell for a dog being other dogs. God cannot hold dogs accountable, being more understanding than Strindberg, who felt that people who had dogs were just cowards who were afraid to bite people themselves. But, then, Strindberg always was full of crap.

DR. WORMER is the author of many books in which he goes on at extraordinary length but to no great effect about pet care and philosophy. His syndicated column appears in several moribund publications besides this one. We would love to give him the heave-ho and for a change run something that will actually boost circulation, but the publisher’s wife has been a convert ever since her chihuahua (“darling Weefie”) was eaten by an ocelot.

Ask Dr. Wormer

Dear Dr. Wormer,

Your series of pieces about dogs going to Heaven has met with a very cold reception in my house, for I am a militant cat lover and current treasurer of the local society of militant cat lovers. I have assured my little lambikins that I would protest directly to you the strongest possible terms, so that you’ll know that all of us cat lovers think the objects of our special affection deserve a Hereafter, too. — SURROUNDED BY CATS IN CATALINA

Dear Surrounded,

Unfortunately for you, science has proved that cats do not have souls, only animating energy. The tribe of cats split itself off from the main stock of ancestral carnivores long before the dogs did, and so the feral things entirely missed out on acquiring any notion of sin. Anyway, Cat Heaven is hardly the sort of place a merciful and loving God would establish, inasmuch as a cat’s idea of Heaven is the slow and methodical dismembering of birds and small mammals.

Copyright © 2007 by Steven Utley

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