Glimpses of Heaven
By Trudy Harris

Seeing God in a Beloved Dog's Eyes

A friend called to share a heart-stopping experience she had three weeks ago. Grace is 94 years young, feisty, loving and honest. Her husband died many years ago under hospice care; my friend Jackie and I were his nurses.

Grace was always grateful for the care we gave him, but to be honest, we enjoyed ourselves immensely when we visited them. To be with them was like being part of The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show. They were hilarious.

Life has been challenging for Grace since her husband died, followed by her son—who was much too young to die—and with the additional heartache of her only daughter not being fully well. But she could still find humor, laughter and joy in many things and continued to play bridge and have lunch with friends.

Her greatest blessing for the past 14 years has been her beloved dog, Gretchen. They were constant companions, from getting up in the morning until slipping back into bed at the end of the day. They did everything together all day long, including falling all over each other many more times than either of them would admit.

But then, three weeks ago, Grace had to make a decision. Gretchen wasn’t eating anymore and she no longer had the energy to bark. She was sluggish, tired all the time, could no longer jump into Grace’s lap and Grace could not bend over to pick her up and comfort her. They visited her very kind veterinarian; after blood work and X-rays, he delivered the news that Gretchen had cancer in her lungs, brain and many other parts of her body. It was devastating, and the decision was made to put her to sleep. Grace asked to be alone with Gretchen for a while and for her doctor to place her in her lap for the last time.

The vet closed the door and they were alone. Grace looked down into Gretchen’s eyes, and Gretchen looked back at Grace. What passed wordlessly between them was a deeply moving and spiritual experience. Grace was looking into the eyes of love—pure and simple love. Grace said it was so beautiful, love expressed without words yet felt so deeply. Best friends acknowledging in an instant all that had gone on between them, all they meant to each other, their gratitude for the love and loyalty they shared for 14 years.

When scripture tells us that God abides where love is, this is what is meant. God enables us to experience him in even the littlest of his creatures, and when we do, we know it.

The very loving doctor and his staff allowed Grace to hold Gretchen when she was given her last shot. Gretchen went off into the gentlest sleep knowing she was loved well her whole life and understanding too that she had fulfilled her destiny to love Grace well. She died in the arms of her very best friend. God is so good all the time; he had allowed Grace to see him in Gretchen’s eyes. It was the best it could possibly be!

Trudy Harris, RN, is the author of the popular Glimpses of Heaven and More Glimpses of Heaven. Although now retired, she was a hospice nurse and president of Jacksonville's Hospice Foundation for Caring where she raised more than $45 million in capital contributions. You can find her on Facebook!

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Your Comments (5)

I had to put two of the best friends I ever got to share my life with down on the first day of spring 2012. It broke my heart, but they were 17 and 18 and spent their whole lives together and I had them go out together. I have felt guilty about it even though I knew that was the best thing for them. I prayed asking Father if they had forgiven me for putting them to sleep. Then I just happened to see this story and I believe father and Max and Chunky was letting me know I have been forgiven. I saw Chunky who was my protector on earth, out in the yard a few days after their deaths. He was looking around the yard always making sure momma was safe. Thank you for your story.

What a moving story. A story of unique friendship, solid companionship, enduring fellowship. A cinematic story. A story of survival, a story of champion who refuses to be defeated, who pick herself up and keep going despite tragedies of very serious nature, husband and son.

Thanks for sharing.

God bless all that you do to be a blessing for others.

Thank you Trudy for confirming that God uses many avenues to convey His love to His children! And personally, I believe animals are in heaven because God loves us so much He would want to bless us with their presence in our heavenly home! Thank you for blessing us with so many encouraging stories! Big love, Dianne

This past Saturday we said goodbye to our family pet of 14 years. So difficult. This story touched me so very much. I feel like it was published today just for me and my family. Thank you for a wonderful story which made me both cry and smile. Our dog was also with his very best friend at the last moments...my oldest daughter held him and rocked him while he fell asleep for the last time.

Beautiful and touching story. God Bless our pets!!!!