I was 10 years old when I saw my neighbor run over my dog, Spot. In a horrific flash, Spot went under the tire, thrashed around in the front yard for a few seconds and then collapsed in the ditch. I screamed out his name and ran to his side, hoping that I could somehow stop the inevitable.
A trickle of blood was running out of his mouth when I reached him, and when I laid my head on his chest, he gave one last whimper and died. I lay in the grass next to him and wept.
After our makeshift funeral that evening, I asked my dad whether Spot would be in heaven. He said something complicated about the possibility of animals having souls, but it just sounded like a bunch of grownup talk to me. So I went to bed figuring I would never see my dog again. But within a few hours, I changed my mind.
That night, I had a dream that I still remember to this day: Spot was in heaven, and he was walking alongside a tall, bearded man in a robe. I thought it was probably Moses.
That was all there was to the dream, but when I awoke the next morning, it was enough to convince me that I would eventually see Spot again. I went to the kitchen to get breakfast, and my brother Caleb joined me.
“I had a dream about Spot last night,” he said. “Spot was in heaven, and he was walking beside a man with a beard who looked like he was one of the disciples. I think God was trying to show me that Spot is in heaven.”
“I had the same dream!” I said excitedly, although I wasn’t exactly surprised. It seemed like something perfectly reasonable for God to do to assure us we would see our beloved dog again one day.
Twenty-seven years have passed since my brother and I had our joint dream about Spot. And although I still have a lot of unanswered questions about the afterlife, I’m certain of two things: Heaven is real, and when I get there, Spot will be waiting for me.