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All Dogs Go To Heaven

June 7, 2017

Walter is dying. It might be days, probably weeks, definitely not months. He’s old for a dog. He’s 12 and up until a couple years ago he had a hard life. My friend Steve adopted him. Walter was abandoned and Steve attempted to find a home for him. While searching for Walter’s permanent home, he stayed with Steve. Eventually, Steve realized he had already found Walter’s permanent home.

Steve is one of those facebook friends. He’s a professional comedian. He travels most of the year. Walter became his travelling companion. Steve created a “Walter poop list” to track the states that Walter had been to. Steve kept his social networks updated with the stories of Walter.

I don’t have pets anymore. I grew up with dogs. But, we have kids with allergies so we don’t have dogs at this point. I tell a joke about people who “adopt” a pet. It’s always seemed more like buying a dog. And yet, as I watch my friend Steve deal with the impending end of life for his companion, it’s easy to see that Walter was definitely adopted.

I had child nearly die at one point. The doctors told us later that 15 minutes more and it would have been too late. I was never so emotionally naked as I was that night in the hospital. I hope to never have to bury one of my children. And it’s why my heart breaks for my friend.

Shortly after we started adding to our family through adoption, one of my brothers-in-law said,

I could never do what you’ve done.

What do you mean?

I just don’t think I could love someone who wasn’t related by blood as deeply as my other kids.

You weren’t related by blood with your wife, were you?

Blood may be thicker than water, but love is thicker than blood. Those who are adopted are loved just as deeply, just as passionately. Often more so. When you adopt, you choose to love. It’s not natural. It’s a conscious decision. You have chosen to include another living being in your life. And the choosing makes that bond a deliberate one and a strong one.

I’m convinced that Steve loves Walter every bit as much as I love those I’ve adopted. As a professional comedian, Steve tells a joke about parenting. His take is that it’s easier to have a baby than it is to order a pizza. Getting pizza is a choice. Adopting is a choice.

Unlike my child who had 108 degree fever and nearly died, we don’t choose to end human lives. Steve is left with a gut wrenching decision that I will never have to make. He choose to love Walter and make him part of his life, and he will ultimately have to choose to end that life.

Dogs are magical. They provide us with companionship, service and love and ultimately only ask for the same in repayment. Steve recently asked his fans to stop inquiring about Walter. A very public person, he’s asked for a little privacy while he goes through the process of saying goodbye. He’ll let us know when it’s over.

Walter was abandoned before he found Steve. Please take care of your pets. Spay and neuter them. Adopt from shelters, don’t buy from puppy mills. And when it’s time to say goodbye, send them off to God in as little pain as possible.

RIP Walter. Go run in the green fields of Heaven, for that’s ultimately the final destination for all dogs.

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren. 

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(c) 2017 Rodney M Bliss, all rights reserved 

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