It was kind of the firefighters to stand in the rain with me while I waited for a public service person (aka police officer) to arrive and take care of the dog I had found wandering, lost, cold, and limping along a neighborhood road. Given the fact that the dog was also blind and had what was obviously a tumor on her stomach and hind leg, it was no wonder she looked worn out and sad.
The firefighters hung out with me and my daughter for at least half an hour, until eventually the police officer came to claim the dog. After slowly walking her up and down the road and offering the dog reassurances for that time I found it difficult to see the police car door shut, with her confused once again inside.
“It will be okay,”I told her, all the while knowing that, without a collar and looking so sick, chances were good they would not find an owner and she would be euthanized. In fact, as my daughter and I prepared to get in the car and leave, the officer asked if I would like to be notified before they euthanized. I shook my head hesitantly, sadly, guiltily.
Of course it only took a moment for my daughter to ask what euthanize meant. Most Catholics do not believe that animals have souls. And so, they would not go to heaven. This is one doctrine, though, about which I am not sure. Of all God’s creatures animals seem the most holy to me sometimes. Certainly this dog did, as she limped along maintaining her dignity even as I think she sensed her own death. Perhaps she had faith, as I explained to my daughter, that she would soon be in a better place.
I am not sure what that place looks like, either for myself or for that dog. It may be as W. Bruce Cameron fictionalizes in his book, A DOG’S PURPOSE, that she will come back again, to live another new life as a dog. Or perhaps, Like the animals in C.S. Lewis’ NARNIA series, she will pass over to a better place.
Wherever she lands I hope that her body was at least able to sense what her eyes could not see, that for even a brief time she was loved, by three firefighters, an eight year old, and me.