For the purposes of this article, I did a quick Google search, typing in "soul definition" and at the top of the page the following words appeared:
"the spiritual or immaterial part of a human being or animal, regarded as immortal"
The theory is that upon death, the soul will continue to live on in one form or another. According to catholic.com however, the souls that exist within animals will cease to exist at the same time that the body expires. Thought processes around the matter of of animal souls and where they go after death or in fact if they exist in the first place of course vary from person to person and from belief system to belief system.
Do we collectively believe that our dogs are joining us in Heaven or are they crossing the Rainbow Bridge and continuing on their lives there with other animal spirits that crossed before them?
From the Guardian we read:
“Paradise is open to all of God’s creatures,” Pope Francis was said to have told a young, grieving boy who had just lost his dog this week. Turns out, it was actually Pope Paul VI who said it years ago."
So what does that mean exactly? And, for those among us that follow no particular religious belief, where does that place us in the animal afterlife debate? From the image to the right we can see that there is quite a diverse way of looking at the soul or lack thereof in an animal.
For, no matter what cultural and/or religious beliefs people hold dear, for the most part it is agreed upon that there is an ascension into another realm.
Of all beings deserving of an afterlife, our companion animals must certainly be at the top of the list. For all they do, the unbridled love and affection, the soft unspoken acceptance of all that we their human parents do.
For all these reasons and, because heaven just wouldn't be heavenly without our fur babies, let's cross our fingers, make a wish or, say a prayer, that all dogs (and cats!) go to heaven.
All dogs, and cats, and pigs, and goats, and cockroaches go to heaven: So says Pope Francis