Will I See My Dog In Heaven?
The question of whether dogs (or cats!) go
to heaven has been the topic of debates ranging
from serious theological arguments to dinner
table chats. A cursory search on amazon.com
gave me over sixty books on the subject!
Animals in Heaven? Catholics Want to Know,
Angel Dog : Divine Messengers of Love, I
Will See You in Heaven (Cat Lover's Edition)…
"If I have any beliefs about immortality,
it is that certain dogs I have known will
go to heaven, and very, very few persons"
asserted the US cartoonist James Thurber!
"If there are no dogs in Heaven, then
when I die I want to go where they went"
the humorist Will Rogers adjoined.
Saints loved animals, especially dogs. Saint
John Bosco is a typical example. Grigio (Gray)
was the name of the dog that always appeared
when the saint found himself in danger.
In 1854 when Don Bosco was coming home late
at night, he noticed that two men were walking
steadily behind him, keeping up with his
pace. Whenever he hurried, they hurried,
whenever he slowed down, they slowed down.
The area, Valdocco, had a bad reputation
and the saint was afraid. When he crossed
to the other side of the road and they did
the same, he realized that he was in trouble.
And sure enough, suddenly they jumped on
him and threw a black cloak over his head.
They were attempting to jam a cloth inside
his mouth, when all of a sudden, out of nowhere,
a huge gray, mastiff emerged from the darkness,
and came charging at them. He lunged at Don
Bosco's attackers and that was enough to
scare them off.
From that day on, Grigio and Don Bosco became
friends. Whenever he came home late, Grigio
would always accompany him. One day, he realized
that another guy was out to get him. Don
Bosco tried to outrun him, but the man was
swifter and soon caught up with him. A fight
ensued when out of the blue several others
came out of the bushes where they were hiding.
It was a trap and Don Bosco had no chance
because he was outnumbered. Once more, at
the critical moment, the terrific howl of
Grigio was heard. He ran around and around
his master, growling and showing his formidable
teeth until one by one, the thugs turned
and disappeared. Probably they were felons
employed by the Waldensian heretics.
Hastening home by himself, some time after
the first appearance of the dog, two shots
were fired at him by an assassin from behind
a tree. Both shots missed their mark, but
his assailant then rushed at and grappled
with him. At that moment, Grigio appeared
and sank his teeth into the flesh of the
would-be murderer, who fled away shrieking
The last time Don Bosco saw his dog was one
night in Castelnuovo. He was going from Murialdo
to Moncucco. He had to pass some farms and
vineyards that were guarded by savage dogs.
"I wish I had Grigio here", he
said to himself. The wish suddenly became
reality. Grigio appeared wagging his tail
and he walked the whole way with him. Don
Bosco himself recounted this story.
Well, I suppose, when we go to heaven we
are in for a good number of surprises!
(c) Fr. Pius Sammut, OCD. Permission
granted for any non-commercial use,
that the content is unaltered from
state, if this copyright notice is