As a former runner I’ve looked forward to getting past the Pearly Gates so that I could once again enjoy a long leisurely run through the countryside which here on earth I can no longer do because the parts of my body that are needed for such an endeavor no longer can take the constant stress. Just like I won’t take my old car on a long trip over the highway so I don’t take my old body over long distances. Well, to be truthful I’m unable to do any running now without ending up as temporary cripple so just the idea of being able to do it again without the pains, heaven is supposed to be without pain, makes me look forward to the bliss.
Then the authority on heaven tells me it’s not going to be a pleasurable as I had hoped. It seems now that dogs will be lurking in the lanes and hiding in the hedges of heaven ready to jump out at me like they have done here on earth disturbing my tranquility. Don’t get me wrong, I like dogs but especially like them when they are on leashes not when they are charging at me seemingly hell-bent (I wonder if I can use that expression there) on taking a chunk out of my ankle, or if the dog is of a somewhat larger size, my thigh.
The only thing that lessens my concern a bit is that if dogs go to heaven then other dogs must go to hell. Maybe, just maybe, the thing that separates them is those that chase after runners will go down there. They would seem to be good companions for all the little devils who run that place. They could be sicced on people to further their torment.
If that’s the case then dogs like Mac who lived in the Barry’s house next door but hung around with us kids would be a welcome addition in heaven. He went everywhere with us. My favorite memory of him is going through the streams and mud of the deserted Army camps in the marsh off Morrissey Boulevard that was destroyed when the Boston Globe built its plant in the area. His sparkling coat would turn into a dripping cover of mud.
He loved it. He loved being covered with the earth. As my grandson Theo once told me, and what must have been going through the mind of Mac on those expeditions, “you know if you are dirty you are having fun.” Looking back I could only wonder at how much those he lived with enjoyed seeing him in such a state when he returned home.
When I’d come out of my house on a summer morning Mac would be sitting on his front steps, smiling, yes dogs do smile, wagging his tail awaiting our adventure. Knowing Mac I knew why a dog was considered man’s best friend. It would be nice seeing him again.
Come to think of it, one of the Barry boys became a priest so that seems to fit in nicely; but then I heard, although this was not talked about much in the neighborhood, that the other was somewhat of a hell raiser. But I assume the dogs will be judged on their individual character and not on that of their owner or keeper. So being a bit wary after reading that Pope Francis stated “Paradise is open to all of God’s creatures” I can only pray that dogs who chase runners won’t get in there and that only those like Mac will be welcome.