All Dogs Go to Heaven. Right?

Show Notes

When your love for a pet becomes so strong that you actually take time to ponder the afterlife of animals.
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Audio Transcription

Jill Donovan:
Welcome back to CEO-ish. I’m [Jill Donovan 00:00:00:02] sitting with [Kelly Smith 00:00:04] today. Hi Kelly.

Kelly Smith:
Hi.

Jill Donovan:
Kelly. It’s really fun because you don’t know the bracelets topics. Most of the time that I’m going to talk about.

Kelly Smith:
That is true.

Jill Donovan:
Which is not normal because I think most co-hosts know the topics.

Kelly Smith:
Probably so. I think it’s called preparation.

Jill Donovan:
There are times I tell you and there are times that sometimes it’s just nice to hear the organic bracelets thoughts that come out of your brain instead of having you do a lot of research on this.

Kelly Smith:
True.

Jill Donovan:
Today is one of those subjects. As you know, I grew up without any pets ever. Well, actually I had a bird for two years. Benson. And Peanut was my brother’s bird.

Kelly Smith:
I know exact… Oh really?

Jill Donovan:
Yeah. Benson and Peanut.

Kelly Smith:
I know exactly why you named him Benson.

Jill Donovan:
Yeah, why?

Kelly Smith:
Because of the TV show.

Jill Donovan:
The TV show. remember that? It came on Monday nights. I think. So I never had a pet. If you grow up without pets, then you don’t form that bond that people do as they’re growing up with animals. And not until maybe five years ago, six years ago, did we finally agree to get a dog. And the dog that we got, I actually was a friend of a friend who had just had a new litter. It was the most beautiful little black puppy and they’re all beautiful when they’re that little.

Kelly Smith:
They’re so cute.

Jill Donovan:
And we named him Pepper and I rang the doorbell on Christmas day and there he was sitting in a box on the front porch and I ran back in the house actually. I don’t remember how I did that, but my girls opened it up and it was the sweetest thing. And do you remember, were you working here when we got Pepper?

Kelly Smith:
Yes. Yes, I do.

Jill Donovan:
And it was so special. And then Pepper did not get trained.

Kelly Smith:
Well, puppies are a lot of work.

Jill Donovan:
But even after a year he was not trained.

Kelly Smith:
That would be true.

Jill Donovan:
We went to training for Pepper. And what kind of dog was Pepper? Pepper was a mix of a poodle, a Yorkie, and then one other thing.

Kelly Smith:
Like a dachshund wasn’t-

Jill Donovan:
No, I don’t remember, but it was a sweet little dog. But Pepper, the minute you opened the front door-

Kelly Smith:
Yorkie.

Jill Donovan:
Pepper was gone. It was like he was not supposed to be in our house or he felt like he didn’t belong there. I have no idea why. And we would spend a half an hour every time he left the house driving up and down all over looking for Pepper. This happened… It never stopped.

Kelly Smith:
And your kids were young at this point. Like it’s a lot of work.

Jill Donovan:
And this was… Maybe this was seven years ago. It was a lot of work. And so we’d go out of town, we took him to bracelets Pooches, the dog hotel. And what would happen is when you’d come back home, the house was so quiet and nice and he was so happy at Pooches. And so we were leaving town this one time. And when we came back we were only three days in-between trips. And we’re like, why should we go get Pepper? Let’s leave him at Pooches because we’re going back-

Kelly Smith:
Right and he’s happy.

Jill Donovan:
I know I sound like I’m trying to justify. And he’s happy at Pooches. He’s got friends.

Kelly Smith:
I mean, I really… Yeah.

Jill Donovan:
So long story short, the owner of Pooches called and said, we know Pepper is here with us a lot and we’re not making any assumptions but would you like to give us Pepper? And I said yes, that might work out well for our family. Because we just said we’re just not a dog family. It turns out, I just don’t think we ever bonded with Pepper. And then he went to a very, very sweet lady that was the trainer at Pooches and they moved to Texas and that was it.

Jill Donovan:
Fast forward two years after we swore we’d never get another dog. We were going to a benefit one night and [Terry 00:03:37] got sick. And so I had to go to the benefit by myself. And lo and behold, the very first thing on the live auction was this precious little puppy. And you forget all about the things that go wrong-

Kelly Smith:
The previous relationship with the puppy. Because they are really truly… Puppies are no joke. They’re docile and cute for about a month and then they turned into like, I mean you have to be vigilant to train them.

Jill Donovan:
You have to love them too.

Kelly Smith:
And be home. And just constantly, so it’s not just that your bracelets family…

Jill Donovan:
I felt very guilty about “not being a dog family”. We failed as a dog family.

Kelly Smith:
But sometimes I think you’re just not a dog family at that stage of your family.

Jill Donovan:
Well, or maybe it’s not the right dog.

Kelly Smith:
True.

Jill Donovan:
So because Terry didn’t go that night, I wound up bidding on that dog and I was the high bidder. I may have been the only bidder but I was the bidder and I got this dog. I intended to give him as a gift to somebody else. Well it turns out when they put them in your lap and he pees on you and it just, he marks his territory. So-

Kelly Smith:
Is he… Was that an Australian?

Jill Donovan:
He was a mini Australian shepherd and I gave him back to the trainer because he was still too young and I thought I won’t ever tell my bracelets girls because we were just not going to ever get another dog. And the next thing I know, somebody takes a picture of this dog in my lap and sends it to Terry and the girls and says congratulations on your new dog.

Kelly Smith:
Oh, who was that?

Jill Donovan:
And so I don’t… It was somebody at my table, somebody-

Kelly Smith:
Not a good friend of yours.

Jill Donovan:
Somebody that works here. Who should not be working here any longer. And so I got home, they were over the moon, excited about this. And the next thing I know we are driving to somewhere in Oklahoma to pick up this precious little dog a few weeks later. Terry did not speak to me for 10 days.

Kelly Smith:
Really?

Jill Donovan:
I mean a little bit like, “Are you getting the girls from school?” He was not happy that I would do this without having the whole family agree to it.

Kelly Smith:
Well, it’s not unreasonable that he thought that way.

Jill Donovan:
No. But it’s a dog. And so we bring this dog home and it was the most beautiful, precious little puppy. And again, we’re back to we’re not a dog family. This can’t work. And I’ll make a long story short, but over the course of the last three years we have so fallen in love with this dog that today I was Googling is it possible to love your dog more than humans?

Kelly Smith:
I’m totally on the same page with you.

Jill Donovan:
You are?

Kelly Smith:
Because I have a dog that I love.

Jill Donovan:
Like love, love?

Kelly Smith:
Like love, love. And I say that because he is sweeter than my children. He obeys better than my bracelets children. And he’s so low maintenance this dog. It’s like he just, you know, we wake up and we’re like, “Hey [Henry 00:06:39].” And then we go off and do our thing, come back eight hours later and he’s just ready.

Jill Donovan:
He’s happy.

Kelly Smith:
He’s so sweet.

Jill Donovan:
Do you feel sorry? Is it Henry?

Kelly Smith:
Yes.

Jill Donovan:
Do you feel sorry for Henry when he is just laying there looking really bored? Like what are they doing when they’re just laying there just on all fours and they’re not doing anything? They’re not on their phone. They’re not-

Kelly Smith:
Well I feel like I should take him for a walk or play with him or something because, you know, when we work or we’re gone at school, then I just feel guilty that he’s been there all by himself. So then I feel like guilt kicks in. I’m like, “Oh, I should do something with the dog.” Because when he’s at the groomers and I come home from work and he’s gone, I don’t feel any guilt. I’m like, “Oh, he’s good.”

Jill Donovan:
Because he’s been with people. Yes. So I’ve just been asking myself lately, how did you get to the point where you love a dog like you love a human? Is that even possible? I used to look at all these people who talked about their dogs like they were people and I thought that’s crazy. You feel that way if you feel that way if you’ve never felt that way about… But I love him so much now and I don’t know what has happened to me.

Kelly Smith:
Well, it’s this really strange thing for people who have dogs. They’ll understand this. It’s a live being who is responding to you with emotion but he’s not human. It’s the weirdest.

Jill Donovan:
Can’t wrap my brain around it.

Kelly Smith:
I love it so much though. A friend of ours had said when you have the right dog in your household, it actually lowers your blood pressure because you’re like… So there’s something about a pet that just makes you, and not necessarily just a dog, but a dog or a cat or whatever your pet is. When you have the right pet, there’s something that just brings you so much joy.

Jill Donovan:
This is a whole new paradigm shift for me because so along with falling in love with my dog comes the knowledge that dogs generally don’t live as long as people.

Kelly Smith:
I hate that.

Jill Donovan:
And it is always looming over me that there is a known end. I know there’s a known end to all of our bracelets lives, but that I am going to outlive, possibly outlive him-

Kelly Smith:
Oh, it’s terrible.

Jill Donovan:
So I live in joy and sadness at the same time.

Kelly Smith:
I know.

Jill Donovan:
And I don’t know how to deal with this new found love that I have for an animal because I live at the same time with the knowledge that number one, he can’t really talk back to me.

Kelly Smith:
And tell you how much he loves you.

Jill Donovan:
Yes. Just tell me what he’s feeling. And number two, his life expectancy is much shorter than humans and I’m dealing with that all the time. And it was almost better when I didn’t love him as much as I do.

Kelly Smith:
For sure. And then I always tell myself when this doggy goes to heaven, I’m not getting any more dogs. I keep saying that to myself because it’s too painful.

Jill Donovan:
How do you ever love another dog?

Kelly Smith:
I don’t know.

Jill Donovan:
Like the first one that you fell in love with?

Kelly Smith:
I don’t know.

Jill Donovan:
I need to go to a therapist to talk this out because this is new for me. I mean, I’m almost 50 and I’m just now experiencing this love for an animal that I didn’t even know existed.

Kelly Smith:
But you know what? There is that thing I keep telling myself like you have to love. In other words, you could protect yourself and say, I’m not getting another dog. I’m not going to love this dog like I love these other people in my house. But then you’re missing out all that love. I mean, yes, you wouldn’t have the pain when they went to heaven, but you’re missing all that time.

Kelly Smith:
Like I love this dog. I love my dog. He jumps up on the couch and snuggles up next to me and I am so… I told my husband I love… This dog is my favorite dog in the whole world. Ever, ever, ever. I love this dog. But I would rather have that for a period of time than not have it at all.

Jill Donovan:
Well, that begs the question, do you think dogs are going to heaven?

Kelly Smith:
Absolutely. And my husband who, it’s kind of cute because he had a dog when he was growing up. His family, not a dog family, got a dog for approximately two weeks and got rid of this dog because they’re just not wired like that. And so when we got our dog, when our kids were, I’d say they were in the perfect age. The youngest was about six and the oldest was about 12, you know, so it’s that sweet bracelets spot.

Kelly Smith:
My husband loves this dog, our dog, like one of our children. And he’s a pastor, so he’s done all the research-

Jill Donovan:
Oh, I can’t wait.

Kelly Smith:
But he has, and I have to get the scripture from him, but he is convinced that there are animals in heaven.

Jill Donovan:
All animals, just dogs? Is there a hell?

Kelly Smith:
I don’t think so. And I’m going to go with all animals go to heaven.

Jill Donovan:
All animals go to heaven.

Kelly Smith:
Well that’s what I think so.

Jill Donovan:
I’d love to know more about that.

Kelly Smith:
Okay, well I’ll say this, I don’t have all animals, but I do have a dog and we’ve discussed it in dog terms. Dogs go to heaven.

Jill Donovan:
Oh, that would make everything much easier for me.

Kelly Smith:
Well, if for sure has for me, because I-

Jill Donovan:
Will you send me that…

Kelly Smith:
Yeah, I’m going to text him. Keep talking.

Jill Donovan:
Okay. It’s the craziest feeling because just over in the last week when I look at my dog, [Tucker 00:12:09], I think I bet he actually is half human.

Kelly Smith:
Well they respond like that. Like my dog had got his foot clipped at the groomers and he’s been messing with it. And so he was laying on his little bed this morning and he went to go down to lick his foot and I went, “Uh, uh, uh.”

Jill Donovan:
And he did it.

Kelly Smith:
And he stops and he looks at me like, I’m sorry.

Jill Donovan:
He’s like, can you take me over [John’s 00:12:33] house later?

Kelly Smith:
Can you give me a ride? Where’s my phone? I can’t find my AirPods anywhere. No, he didn’t say any of that. That’s why he’s just so sweet and delightful.

Jill Donovan:
I just want… I guess this makes me feel better to know that if [Gile 00:12:49] did all the research and yes, dogs do go to heaven. But when you discover that you love bracelets or something or somebody that you never knew before, experienced that love for that person, it’s scary a little bit because-

Kelly Smith:
Yes. It is scary.

Jill Donovan:
It’s like having another child.

Kelly Smith:
It’s like opening your heart up to just be hurt more.

Jill Donovan:
Yeah. Well-

Kelly Smith:
But at the same time, doesn’t he bring you so much joy?

Jill Donovan:
So much joy. And one of the reasons he brings me so much joy is because I see how much joy he brings my kids and I see Terry just Terry’s tenderness towards this dog. And sometimes I’ll walk in and there’s Terry sitting there watching TV and Tucker is snuggled up to him and I think, Oh. It’s just-

Kelly Smith:
It’s the cutest thing.

Jill Donovan:
Oh, I know. I just wanted to know is it possible to love your dog like you love another human?

Kelly Smith:
Yes.

Jill Donovan:
That’s what I’m discovering.

Kelly Smith:
What do you think?

Jill Donovan:
Well, I’ve been doing a lot of research on it. No, I actually don’t have to do research. All I have to do is look inside and ask myself, do you feel the way about Tucker that you do about other people in your life that you love? And the answer is yes-

Kelly Smith:
I know.

Jill Donovan:
But I don’t want to admit that to myself because I used to look at people and think, but it’s a dog.

Kelly Smith:
Gile answered my question.

Jill Donovan:
Oh, he did.

Kelly Smith:
He said, there’s not really a scripture specifically about that, but in Revelation 21 and 22 we see God restoring everything on earth when Jesus returns. Isaiah the prophet says that the lion and the lamb will live peacefully together in that restored world. So it’s reasonable to expect that dogs will be part of that.

Jill Donovan:
If Gile said it, I believe it.

Kelly Smith:
I kind of do. I do trust he knows what he’s talking about. Well, I’m going to go with that I feel like bracelets and animals are a gift from God and I’m going to believe that he graces us to handle things when they aren’t around anymore, but I’m just going to enjoy the joy that they bring me right now. I’m going to choose it.

Jill Donovan:
That’s a great way to look at it. And if you don’t have a pet and you’re thinking about getting a pet, take it from somebody who was always against doing that because of the burden that I thought it would bring and didn’t understand the joy. But it has brought more joy than I knew possible. In having a nonhuman human around my house. It’s amazing. Even if it’s in the same way when you have children, there’s so much that goes along with having children, but the joy far outweighs anything that you have to do with and for.

Kelly Smith:
Yes, for sure.

Jill Donovan:
And that is it for today. Kelly, thank you so much for being with me.

Kelly Smith:
Thanks for having me.

Jill Donovan:
We will see you next time on CEO-ish., the bracelets podcast