Will I See My Pets in Heaven?

Question: As an animal lover and someone who has a deep connection to my pets, I’d like to know more about what the Bible says happens to our pets and other animals when they pass away. Does God have a place for them in heaven? Will we see them again?

As a dog lover who is obsessed with my best friend, Haze the Dog, I always picture Haze bounding toward me when I reach the eternal reward, ready to greet me again.

The truth is that we know little about what heaven is like. What we do know is that heaven is a complete union with the Divine. So, any earthly pleasures that we have come to know will be far exceeded by the complete joy that awaits us in heaven.

The Church teaches that we have dominion over the animals of the world (Genesis) and that while animals are great companions, God shows special preference toward human beings, instilling a soul in us, and creating us in His image and likeness. That said, while we might be the only creatures able to unite with the Divine in heaven, that does not mean that animals will not be present there too! It just means that they will not be united with God in quite the same way that we are.

So, there very well may be dogs and cats and other animals in heaven. And they would be there for the same purpose that we have them here, companionship. Animals are creations of God, and therefore we should take care of them as best we can. I believe that God takes care of them after death as well. A loving God, after all, would never just rid us of the love that God reflects to us in our pets.

But something to keep in mind is that even if they are not in heaven the same way that we know them in life, it doesn’t matter. God finds a way to give us even more bliss than our pets have given to us. So the love that we recall from these animals will be present to us in an even greater way.

Mike Hayes is the Director of Young Adult Ministry in the Diocese of Cleveland and a candidate for the Diaconate. He’s also the host of 5 Questions with the Paulists and the podcast Question of Faith. Mike is one of the founders of Busted Halo and has worked with young adults his entire ministry career in retreat, spiritual direction, and campus Ministry. He’s the author of "Googling God" (Paulist, 2007) and "Loving Work" (Orbis, 2012). Mike and his wife Marion live in Lakewood, OH with their dog, Vito.