Catholic teaching may not yet grant animals souls, but priests and monks of the Franciscan order have long had a tradition of blessing the animals on Oct. 4, the feast day of St. Francis of Assisi.
The great St. Thomas Aquinas maintained that there are nine orders of angels, but only the last five angelic orders (Virtues, Powers, Principalities, Archangels, Angels) minister to bodily creatures and, of them, only the last three minister to human beings. That means two angelic orders — those of Virtues and Powers — minister to nonhuman bodily creatures, including animals whom St. Bonaventure called “creatures without sin.” Isn’t that a happy thought? — that our pets also have angels?
Furthermore, St. Thomas believed that animals also have souls, though not the same kind of souls as humans’ (he didn’t explain the difference). Since God created Sapphire, He must love her very much. And since the Universe seemingly is without end (not to mention the possibility of multi universes), and since God literally can doing anything, I can’t imagine He has no place for precious Sapphire.
I truly believe that, in Heaven, we will be rejoined with all our loved ones, including and most especially our beloved pets. After all, unlike we wretched humans, they truly are without sin.
On Dec. 11, 2002, 42-year-old Deb Foster checked into Scripps Memorial Hospital in San Diego to give birth. Her doctors performed a successful Caesarean section, delivering her second child — a healthy baby girl named Bryce. Her family was thrilled, especially her husband, Andy, and their one and a half-year-old son, Christopher. Within hours, however, Foster was fighting for her life.
“It was as if my breath was knocked out of me, and I couldn’t breathe. I said: ‘I’m dying. I’m dying. Help me,'” Foster recalled.
She had suffered an amniotic fluid embolism — a life-threatening condition. “It [the embolism] went in through my heart into my lungs and shut everything down. I was flat-lined. There wasn’t a pulse. I was dead,” Foster said. The doctors later confirmed that Foster was clinically dead for about four minutes. As they struggled to bring her back to life, she says she took an unforgettable journey.
“I immediately went to a different place. I was on a staircase, and the staircase went as high up into the sky as you can imagine and the sky was the most incredible color of blue that does not exist in this life. It’s not on any color palette. I’ve tried to find it after this experience. It doesn’t exist.”
Foster said she had company during her journey. “There were dogs and cats going up and down the staircase, and they were very gleeful. And you could just tell they were so intensely happy. … I was in this place of incredible peace. There wasn’t any pain. It was serene. It was the perfect moment,” she said.
Foster believes she saw a glimpse of heaven.
Here’s an excerpt from Michael Brown’s essay on Spirit Daily:
Some claim — actually, a good number — they have seen manifestations or even apparitions of deceased pets.
“People returning from a close encounter with death have reported seeing their deceased pets alive and well on the ‘other side,'” notes a book. “Nothing surprised or delighted them more than being greeted in the next world by their domestic animals or pets. Spouses and parents were sometimes expected, but Rover racing around in circles was a bonus.”
Would anyone deny that God is that merciful?
“I looked across at my husband who sat on the settee reading,” said one person who’d had a Dalmatian called Lola. “She was so clear and alive that at first I couldn’t comprehend that the dog lounging beside him, leaning on his arm, was Lola. I don’t know how long I watched. She looked happy and well but somehow I sensed that if I spoke or moved she would disappear. So the first hint of anything untoward to my husband was when he glanced up and saw not Lola but the tears on my face. As I tried to explain the image faded but I was ecstatic.”
Later, there was another occurrence when, supposedly, if we accept this sort of matter, she saw her husband pass a bedroom door during the night preceded by a bouncing Dalmatian — not clear, more a shining form dancing past, but unmistakable, at least to her, that it was Lola’s bounce.
Perhaps most interesting, allegedly, was when her husband later was in the hospital for a lung operation; a friend who went to visit him told her “how astonished she’d been to see the ward had a resident dog.
“Puzzled, I asked her to elaborate and she told me upon entering the ward she’d seen a dog lying on my husband’s bed with its head on his chest. As she approached the dog jumped off and walked away without looking.
“I assured her that dogs were certainly not allowed in a cardiothoracic unit where the fight against infection is so crucial. Knowing the answer before I posed the question, I asked anyway, ‘What sort of dog was it?’ ‘Oh,’ she replied, ‘it was a lovely spotty dog like those of yours. A Dalmatian.”