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Even though they don’t speak, dogs are incredibly sweet.
When they wag their little tails to welcome you, your heart will melt a little.
Their little grins during massages and rubs assure you of their trust and undying affection.
If it comes down to it, your pet regardless of her size will gladly jump in front of a bullet to protect you.
The fierce loyalty dogs have towards their owners cannot even compare to what they receive from other humans.
Because of these reasons, the death of a dog is a huge blow to her owners.
It is life-changing and traumatic, to say the least.
Some people suffer a greater loss than having a family member depart.
Besides the harsh reality that your pet will no longer be there physically to offer unconditional love and support, you may wonder where the dog actually goes after death.
If you just lost your beloved furry friend, you must have asked yourself this question already.
We have you covered…
The Theory of the Rainbow Bridge
The Rainbow Bridge is a creation of a 1980s poem that claims that after their death, pets transition to an ethereal place to wait for their human owners.
It is essentially a limbo where dogs enjoy a happy and healthy life and are made young and whole again.
The special place is dotted with beautiful hills and meadows and has plenty of food and water.
Dogs can run around and play together as they stay warm and comfortable.
Once their owners die, they will be reunited with their pets on the Bridge from where they will then cross to Heaven together.
Although there’s no proof that the Rainbow Bridge is a real place, many pet parents believe in it.
Thinking that their animal friends are in a happy place gives them comfort when grief hits hard.
It also offers hope that they will be reunited with their pets when they die.
The Theory of the Afterlife
A majority of people believe in some kind of afterlife after death – both for themselves and their dogs.
A study done to examine the history of pet graves in London and Newcastle reveals that pet owners are increasingly subscribing to the idea of an afterlife for their pets.
For the last 100 or so years, most of the graves where pets are buried carry messages denoting their immortal souls.
You’ll often find words like, “God bless you until we meet again” or symbols of the cross to evoke God’s protection over the departed souls.
Different religions subscribe to different beliefs concerning this.
Let’s go over the main ones.
Christians claim that when they die, their bodies remain on earth while their spirit goes to heaven or hell depending on their willingness to accept salvation or not.
If you do good on earth and accept to be saved, you get to go to heaven where you will live eternally with God and other good people.
Like the Rainbow Bridge, Heaven is a place where you are made perfect without sicknesses, depression, sadness, rejection, and all the issues humans go through on earth.
Hell, on the other hand, is for the bad people who reject salvation. It is a place of eternal fire.
Since dogs are loving, loyal, forgiving, and pure in heart, many believe that they go to heaven when they die.
There, they will be reunited with those whom they love.
The problem with this belief is that the Bible doesn’t really give any evidence that dogs make it to heaven.
Still, many people like to think that their pets go with them to this final destination for good people.
Buddhists and Hindus also have their own version of an afterlife.
To them, a dog sticks around for seven days after they pass away.
During this time, they will try to communicate with those left behind.
However, when the seven days have elapsed, the dog will find a new body and start life afresh.
Paradise is to Islam as Heaven is to the Christian faith.
If you do good on earth, you go back to Allah in Paradise.
The Islamic Higher Power treats dogs much like humans so that when they die, they go back to him.
Some Muslims claim that dogs will not be judged at all while others say they will face judgment like humans.
IV. Pagan’s Beliefs
There is a group of people whose afterlife ideas don’t fit into any of the above.
These have their own creations of where their dogs go after they die.
The bottom line is that they have a firm belief that their dogs indeed transition to an afterlife of sorts.
Can Dogs Remain On Earth After Their Death?
There have been reports of pet owners claiming that their pets stick around after their deaths.
Some have come face to face with the dead pets and made contact with them.
However, for many of them, their dogs have thrown signals from time to time of their presence.
It could be subtle things like the parents feeling their pets’ scents or a brush against their legs.
The idea that dog spirits linger on earth watching over those left behind is argued as a psychological side effect by science.
Psychologists say that the theory of reunion impacts how pet parents see, feel, and hear their dogs after they pass away.
Without knowing it, they would look for their loved ones and what they see is mostly “false recognitions”.
The tiniest resemblance of sound or sight almost always triggers a false recognition.
The Non-Believer’s Opinions
The non-believers are the individuals who simply don’t believe in the supernatural.
When someone dies, they simply stop existing.
To them, there is no afterlife for people and animals or the chance that the dead come back to life.
You can tell by now that the question of where dogs go after they die depends on one’s belief system.
If you are a Christian, you will stand on the ground that your dog goes to heaven.
The same goes for other religions including Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims, and Pagans.
Else, if you are a non-believer, you will rest on the fact that once your dog dies, they are no longer around and you will never see them again.
If you are lost on what to believe, you can join the many parents who believe in the idea of the Rainbow Bridge.
That offers some level of comfort and assurance that your pet has gone to a place flowing with good food, sunshine, water, and plenty of playing space.
Most importantly, it means you can reunite with them when you leave this world yourself.
You may also want to check: Is It Weird To Taxidermy Your Pet?
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Sable McNeil is a canine chef, professional pet blogger, and proud owner of two male dogs. I have been an animal lover all my life, with dogs holding a special place in my heart. Initially, I created this blog to share recipes, tips, and any relevant information on healthy homemade dog treats. But because of my unrelenting passion to make a difference in the world of dogs, I have expanded the blog’s scope to include the best information and recommendations about everything dog lovers need to know about their canine friends’ health and wellbeing. My mission now is to find the most helpful content on anything related to dogs and share it with fellow hardworking hound lovers. While everything I share is in line with the latest evidence-based veterinarian health guidelines, nothing should be construed as veterinary advice. Please contact your vet in all matters regarding your Fido’s health.