I love most animals. Snakes and rats don't qualify! Most people's animal of choice are either dogs or cats, but my own daughter, Heather, has created a third most lovable creature. They are part human and part dog. She calls them pugs. If I refer to them as dogs, she scorns me!
One of my friends asked of me: "You don't love dogs, do you?" Of course I do, but over there away from me." I'm a near germaphobe. Not quite, but after I'm clean, I like to stay clean. My response to her was "I love animals, but I'm not romantic with them!" Others hug and kiss them. I save that for my grandchildren as well as my wife and daughter - not romance, but loving. Of course Terri and I do get romantic at times, but that's another story.
My point is that dogs are family to some. They love dogs and cats just as they do their children. Even though dogs have bad hygiene and cannot even wipe their own posterior, their human friends overlook that. Even though their dental care is poor and their breath is bad, their owners don't worry about the smell. That is unconditional love.
I've had several people ask me, Do dogs go to heaven? I have seen grown girls and guys cry when their dog or cats have died. It is noble that their hearts are that tender. I wish mine was, but it's not. To be honest, I have trouble crying at anything. I wish I could cry more. It's healthy to cry.
When my wife's dog got hit by a speeding SUV, I cried - not for the dog, but for my wife. She was hurting inside.
My daughter called the other day. She said between sobs, "Roscoe, (her pug) has cancer. I cried, but not for Roscoe. I cried for my daughter because she was hurting. I wish that I could say to Terri and Heather: Don't worry. You'll be with them in heaven. I can't say that because it would be a lie.
Animals exist for our purposes. They were made to be our friends and companions. Adam named them all. All animals were originally docile. The lamb surely laid down with the lion as they will in paradise.
Isaiah 11:6 "The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them."
Isaiah 65:25 "The wolf and the lamb shall feed together, and the lion shall eat straw like the bullock: and dust shall be the serpent's meat. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain, saith the Lord."That's the nature of the animals in the Garden of Eden too. Adam ruined that. Because he sinned, that changed things. No longer was Eden a paradise, but more a Jurassic Park. His animals went from companions to adversaries. God allowed some to be tamed because of his grace. He knew that man needed companionship with animals. More than dogs, throughout history, sheep were man's best friend. Of course canines helped with the tending of the sheep.
Animals were more than the wild creatures they are today. Even the snake spoke, and apparently so did the other animals (See my thoughts on TALKING ANIMALS). Of course to speak, they needed cognition. Any alert person can see their dogs and cats considering what to do: Shall I lay here or in the sun? Dare I jump up and love her, or stand down? In some ways they still speak, but their thought processes are rudimentary. However, they do know how to love and are dedicated; more than I can say for most people. Remember, my problem is not with the animals, but the germs - and with those who fail to understand my need for hygiene.
With all that said, animals will not go to heaven. There are animals already there I'm sure. My own belief is that just as New Jerusalem will come down from heaven to the restored world, the Garden of Eden was taken up sometime after Adam was removed from it. I base that on many things, but since it's now gone, that answers where it went. That narrow gate guarded by seraphim is still guarded where the river of God is now. The Tree of Life has moved to. It stands by the river of God in heaven.
Animals are in heaven; but your dog, cat, or even snake is not going to heaven. Why? Unlike mankind, they were not created in the image of God. They have a body, but lesser minds, and no soul. They don't have a capacity to understand the nature of God and his grace even if they did have a soul. The soul is man's cup for holding the Holy Spirit. Animals don't have a soul for God's Spirit to enter.
Maybe they are more blessed than mankind. They may not go to heaven, but neither do they go to hell. Most of mankind will take the broad path, and go to eternal damnation. By the grace of God even the wily snake nor the vicious lion will taste eternal death. They will die only once whereas unpardoned sinners will die a second death - for eternity. God's grace extended to the animal kingdom. They will feel the sting of death, but not the pain of hell-fire. That should comfort us because even some of our loved ones will die eternally with no chance of reprieve.
On the sit-com King of Queens, Doug's healthy dog which he had as a child, always came to him for a little attention. Doug loved that dog so much that he never questioned it's longevity. He was 34 years old and his dog had always been there for him. Unknown to Doug, this was dog number five. Doug loved his dog even though it was only like his dog. Perhaps God, with his grace, will have a duplicate dog for you when you get there, if you do. Doug may have dog number six, and love him just the same. Perhaps your immortal duplicate will be there to welcome you!
I hope that comforts those who ask: Will animals go to heaven? Don't let your dog wonder about you!