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All Dogs Go to Heaven

After 12 years our beloved dog, Delbert, has left us for Greener Pastures. Greener Pastures is not the name of a nursing home, although it sounds like the one I would like to check into sometime in the distant future. Delbert passed humanely and with dignity with our arms wrapped around him, whispering words of love and gratitude.

Thank you, Delbert for being the perfect dog--intimidating enough to keep any unseemly person at bay, even though your weapon of choice was just a tongue capable of licking one to death. You were more than just a pet. You were a guide dog, a service dog, a devoted friend, a loyal companion. As my grandson said, "You were one of the cousins."

Your favorite thing in the world was to trudge the mountain trails with your BFF, Dee. If your enthusiasm for the great outdoors could be harnessed it would have kept the earth spinning indefinitely. Now it feels as if the world has indeed stopped momentarily in tribute to one of its greatest enthusiasts.

Delbert was a mixture of Rottweiler, German Shepherd and Salmon, evidenced by his ability to leap great rivers and swim oceans in a single bound. Often he would drag a trail of squealing children clinging to his tail around the pool, seeming never to tire. He fetched toys incessantly and would bring sticks the size of logs for you to throw. Sure, he could do the usual tricks—sit, shake, down, roll over—but his ability to wait was uncanny. If there were a juicy piece of steak on the floor at his feet he would wait for whatever length of time it took to have permission to snatch it. Delbert, WAIT. Then those big eyes would watch indeterminately until he heard OK!

One of his favorite games was Bingo. I'm sure he was smart enough to play a Bingo card like many people his age like to do, but his version was to sit, ears twitching as he listened raptly to the sounds of children searching for a place to hide. When they called “Bingo!” he would tear off, his legs spinning like a cartoon roadrunner, sniffing the floor until he found them in their secret hideaways. The children would shriek in laughter and throw their arms around him in a wholehearted embrace.

Although losing Delbert leaves a gaping hole in our hearts, we must acknowledge the mountain of joy he filled. We are grateful to have had this magnificent animal in our lives for so long. They say all dogs go to heaven. If ever there was ever a dog worthy of heaven, Delbert it is you. You don't have to WAIT any longer—your pain has vanished. It's OK! Go now and snatch up this new adventure. Explore them pastures! And please let us know if they are as green as they say.