New user? Register here:
Email Address:
Retype Password:
First Name:
Last Name:
Existing user? Login here:
UK >

Can dogs dream of a boneyard?

by Paul Wilkinson

Posted: 30 Sep 2016 @ 12:05


Click to enlarge

Credit: istock

THREE-QUARTERS of pet owners in the United States who believe in an afterlife believe that their animals go there too, a survey has suggested.

In the study Do All Dogs Go to Heaven?, carried out for Anthrozoös, the journal of the International Society for Anthrozoology, in California, dogs, cats, and horses were rated the most likely to experience an afterlife, whereas insects, fish, and reptiles were rated the least likely.

About 70 per cent of households in the United States own pets, and the research, in which 800 participants were surveyed, suggested that women, American Indians, Alaska Natives, Black and African Americans, Buddhists, and residents of southern states were more likely to believe in an animal afterlife. But only 59 per cent of all the owners believed in a human afterlife.

Dr Kenneth Royal, of North Carolina State University, who led the research, said: “Although more pet owners believed in an animal afterlife than non-pet owners, a large number of owners did not believe in an afterlife for pets.

“We speculate that this is likely related to the fact that almost half of our sample claimed to have no specific religious beliefs or faith. It could also point to the importance of cultural traditions and inherited preconceptions towards beliefs about animals over actual animal experiences like pet ownership.”

The report suggested that the findings might explain the backlash on social media in recent years surrounding highly publicised cases of animal killings. “Although there is clear variation in beliefs between people of different demographics, a significant number of people do believe that animal lives really are every bit as sacred as their own”, it said.

The chairwoman of the Anglican Society for the Welfare of Animals, the Revd Dr Helen Hall, said: “In reality, there is nothing new or strange about the idea that animals have a place in God’s Kingdom. Scripture teaches that Jesus came to bring redemption and healing to the whole of Creation: see, for example, Romans 8.19-21, and John 3.16.

“Furthermore, we can reason from first principles that animals must have an afterlife. We believe in a loving and just God. How could a loving and just God create sentient beings able to think and feel, then condemn them to share in the suffering of this present world, without permitting them a share in the joy of the world to come?”

Click to enlarge
Job of the week


North West

Central Calder Mission Community Carlisle Diocese Full-Time Post Crosslacon: Cleator, Cleator Moor, Frizington and Arlecdon Central Calder Mission Community Do you care about those on the edg...  Read More

Signup for job alerts
Top feature

Exporting the Brompton Way

Exporting the Brompton Way

An HTB church-plant is now widely expected when a well-situated urban church’s numbers are low. Madeleine Davies investigates the phenomenon  Read More

Top comment

The unexpected value of colouring a pirate face

Ministry is about much more than time-sheets, says Claire Jones  Read More

Wed 26 Apr 17 @ 19:55
New to the PCC? New to the Church Times? Don't miss our PCC member offer: (new UK subscribe…

Wed 26 Apr 17 @ 18:57
Amazon faith ad on @sandfordawards prize shortlist