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When your dog dies
Pastor Mike Novotny
by Pastor Mike Novotny
December 10, 2019

I got an email the other day from a family grieving the death of their dog.

After nearly 15 years of companionship, their beloved pet passed, prompting the father of the family to message me: “I know that this sounds really minor,” he wrote, “but my wife (and I to a degree) are really struggling with this, and I don’t know how to console her with the Word. Being a dog, it’s not like I can talk about walking with Jesus or anything of that sort. Have you come across this in your ministry? Do you have any good verses that I can share with my wife to help?”

What would you have said?

Thankfully, this man knew enough about his Bible not to fall into the Disney deception that all dogs go to heaven. So, without eternal life to offer their dog, to what scriptural truth would you have turned to provide comfort?

Here’s what I said:

B.,

Man . . . I’m sorry about the news with your dog. I remember from the other day that you said she was sick.

What comfort can you find in days like these? In my opinion, the best way to thank God for your dog is to talk about all the ways that she was a little glimpse of the happiness that God will bring you.

Maybe she was faithful like God is faithful. Or maybe her presence could make your day better, just like remembering God is with us. Or maybe she would have time for you when everyone else was busy, like God always does with us. Or maybe she loved you even when you had a sinful day, just like God does by his grace.

I think of Isaiah 6:3—“The whole earth is full of [God’s] glory.” Your dog was part of that “whole earth,” and she reminded you that God is glorious. Talk about that as a family, recalling old stories and brainstorming what God was trying to reveal about his divine nature through that little, tail-wagging part of his creation.

True, she was temporary, like everything in life. But she gave you a glimpse of the eternal God—his love, faithfulness, and the happiness his presence brings.

I hope that helps, brother,
Pastor Mike

Well, what do you think? In your experience, are there other, equally effective ways to bring comfort without conjecturing about things that the Bible doesn’t promise? Have you personally grieved the loss of a pet and found strength in your faith? If so, I’d love for you to share what truths got you through it.

Like this father said, the death of a dog is relatively minor in a world of daily tragedies, but we worship a God who invites us to turn to him in every moment to find truth and hope, even in moments like the death of a pet.

Even better, we worship a Creator who filled the universe with glimpses of his glory. Keep your eyes open for them, even in your four-footed friends, and you just might find yourself praising God’s name today.