July 16 – Do Gerbils Go to Heaven?

by Kali´Rourke 

Girl Feeding Gerbil

(c) Can Stock Photo / zsv3207

Our Pastor told a story in his recent sermon, and in it, a little boy’s hamster had died and he asked his father (a fellow Pastor) if “Timmy” had gone to heaven. The boy was told in no uncertain terms by his father that nothing that has not professed faith in Jesus Christ shall enter the gates of heaven. I am paraphrasing, but you get the gist.

We were all a bit appalled to hear that blunt and dismissive statement from a father to a grieving son, and our Pastor said that he took the little boy aside on his way out and told him that Timmy sounded like a great hamster and he was sure that he was now playing in heaven.

Sounds like a platitude, doesn’t it?

I think of it as a large part of my faith. If I choose to believe in a benevolent God that loves all of us and wants the best for us, then I also choose to believe that all creatures, (even the series of gerbils we had for our daughters since there were allergic to nearly everything else) are destined for heaven. No, I am not a theologian and would never claim to be one!

Our daughters have both grown up into animal lovers (Thank you antihistamines!) and they could not imagine a heaven where Minx, Indy, and Cloud and whatever companions they may have over the years will not come running to greet them in doggy and kitty joy someday when they are all together again.

This brings me back to gerbils and heaven.

Yes, they are shorter lived creatures than our canine and feline companions, and yes, the bond is much shallower, but each of our gerbils over the years had names, were petted and cared for and we had small funerals for our little friends when they passed from this life, wishing them well and many chew toys in their heavenly home.

Their passings were somewhat gentle introductions for our little girls to the concept of death and how we must accept and respect it because it comes to everyone in time. They were the opening to important conversations and knowledge that parents pass on to their children.

The gerbil’s names and specifics have escaped me, brushed cloudy by the passing of so many years, but today I take a moment and say a prayer for all of them, sending it along with thanks for being such wonderful little friends to two girls who grew up to be compassionate women who have room in their hearts to love and care for many.

God bless the gerbils.

Kali´Rourke is a wife, mother, writer, singer, volunteer, philanthropist, and a proud Seedling Mentor. She blogs at Kali’s Musings and A Burning Journey – One Woman’s Experience with Burning Mouth Syndrome. This post originally appeared in Kali’s Musings.

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11 responses to “July 16 – Do Gerbils Go to Heaven?

  1. Yes, God bless our pets: dogs, cats, birds, little gerbils, golf fish, black fish, pretty, fish and All. They do teach about caring and the cycle of life and death.

  2. Years ago the wife of a student in a Baptist seminary told me of course we all know dogs can’t go to heaven. I retorted that they can to mine. A heaven without animals never occurred to me. For me, the Rainbow Bridge Is a pathway to heaven. Thanks for writing this.

  3. Who are these ministers who have such a narrow view of what the next realm is like. I spent years ridding myself of these restrictive beliefs. Of course, gerbils, cats, dogs, birds are all there to greet us if we want them to.

  4. I figure that nothing exists that is not the creator or of the creator, so where else would anything go, if not to “heaven” when its creative life is finished? Back to the creator because that’s all there is.

  5. a touching story, Kali’. I agree, how could an all knowing and loving God not accept a gerbil into heaven? Sometimes the “structure” within religion doesn’t allow for us to appreciate compassion. And in your case with your girls, the each of the gerbils’ passing taught them a lesson about life and death. The first lesson I ever learned about the temporary, transient existence of life was when my beloved dachshund passed away. No, the dear doxie had never stepped one single paw inside a church and had never been “saved” in the traditional sense. But he was a loving doxie. I am reminded of this Bible phrase: “All creatures great and small. The Lord God loves them all.” (or something like that) Thanks for sharing your story. 🙂

  6. I ask the Great Spirit to take the spirits of all deceased animals into his care and to let their spirits return to enrich the earth and our lives. Owls killed by traffic, the family of raccoons that appeared to be “holding hands” when all five were hit and killed on a backroad, the beached whale, the fawn in the dry creek bed, the deaf rescue cat who recovered from a broken back only to perish under the truck tires. All creatures that lift us up in their loyalty, their very majesty are embodiments of wonder and awe, gifts of that same Spirit. I whisper the old Requiescat as I pass them….yes I believe they await us with all ancestors. Thanks for your wonderful story.

  7. Kali, such a beautiful piece that invites us each to share our varied beliefs. I’ve loved reading the variety of our views. This is mine: the spirits of our precious pets are always with us. Thank you!

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