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A Moose Messenger

    (The following story, meditation, and bio are reprinted from GOD'S MESSENGERS: What Animals Teach Us about the Divine by Allen and Linda Anderson, New World Library 2003. Visit www.angelanimals.net for details about The Angel Animals Network.)

    I've always believed that pets would be with me in eternal life. But when my dog, Eunice -- a shaggy, fun-loving Old English sheepdog -- died a couple of years ago, I began to have doubts. Eunice loved the job she had given herself of being my "fuzz alarm," waking me each morning with kisses the minute the alarm went off. Eunice was sensitive, quirky, and loving, and I thought of her as my soul mate during the ten years we spent together.

    On the day Eunice died, I took her body outside to be buried, sobbing as I dug her grave. I cried out to God, asking if the animal who shared my life on earth would be with me in heaven. In my sorrow, I needed a sign that Eunice was with God. At that moment, close over my head, a flock of birds swooped by. I thought, "Oh, that's just a bunch of sparrows." Then I remembered the Bible verse that says, "Not one sparrow will fall to the ground apart form God" (Matthew 12:29).

    OK, that was a pretty good sign.

    But I cried again and asked God for a clearer sign. I wanted to see a mammal! Just then, even though it was the middle of the day and not a time when such creatures are usually visible in these Montana mountains, a deer walked by.

    I had to admit, that was pretty good. But what I really wanted was something that would be too difficult to explain away or chalk up to coincidence: I wanted to see a moose.

    I don't necessarily recommend demanding bigger and better signs from God, but God was patient with me that day and very willing to handle my desperation.

    After burying Eunice, I went inside. What I didn't realize was that, at the same time, my husband, Harry, had been praying the same prayer; he had also asked to see a moose as a sign that our dog was with God. As he stood outside at Eunice's grave, I heard him calling for me to join him. To our amazement, a big bull moose slowly walked by about sixty yards away from us.

    That was clear. I finally got it. I was reassured that my beloved pets will be with me in eternity.

    Do animals have souls?

    Don't take my word for it. Ask God to show you.


    Would you like to try Reverend Piper's suggestion and ask about animals as souls and whether they are with God after they die?

    By The Rev. Mary Piper, Bozeman, Montana
    The Rev. Mary Piper and her family share their lives with five dogs, four cats, five horses, and a variable number of rescue animals. She's an Episcopal priest and a hospital chaplain.

    Angel Animals