One of the hardest questions I've answered: "Did my bunny go to heaven?"

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Nope

Not hard.

There just isn't any evidence that pets exist beyond this life or that, if they did, Heaven would be their abode.

Comforting children

It is sometimes difficult, when comforting children, to be completely forthright about disease, death, violence, etc... but IMO it never serves their best interest to prevaricate. There may well be 'animals' in heaven (as in heavenly 'creatures') but they won't be Old Yeller or Black Beauty.

My experience....

.....isn't being asked about whether bunnies go to Heaven, but joking with my cousins about eating Flopsy, Mopsy, and Peter over a dinner of fried rabbit--to the irritation and horror of my mother, of course.  Another time, when my aunt and my cousin came to visit, my brother, cousin, and I discovered a rabbit was in our basement while my mom and aunt had gone out for a drink.  They wondered if they'd had way too much when they came home and asked my cousin what we were doing, and he happily shouted "we're hunting the Easter Bunny!".  

(we caught him and released him--the bunny, not my cousin or brother-- safely after he ran into a board we'd put in the doorway between the laundry room and the rest of the basement)

Anthropomorphizing and that sort of thing

It's not something I'd tell a kid just fresh out of losing a pet, but the truth is that there is often kind of weird (if you think about it) misdirection of affections going on with pets. What I've observed (in myself and others... though more in others!) is that we imagine and impute all sorts of emotions and affection to critters. Sometimes there is a little bit actually there, but not much really. I've seen people attached to a bird that does nothing but eat, defecate, blink and squawk... and a couple of other random things that don't even acknowledge your presence. But they insisted all sorts of personal and social behavior was going on.

... so it seems that what we often do is project a humanity onto some critter then fall in love with the person we have invented and continue to imagine.

It's very interesting and I'm not sure what it says about us. (And don't even get me started on the whole "pets instead of kids" phenomenon)

Couldn't agree more Aaron. I

Couldn't agree more Aaron. I have to continually remind my kids that the dog is not feeling sad in the sense that they mean:). As much of a blessing as pets can be they are just that, a blessing from God that should not be recreated in the image of God by its owners.


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