Andrea reviews Dog Heaven written and illustrated by Cynthia Rylant, Blue Sky Press, 1995, 40 pages

This is a special story to me because it was the last bedtime story I read to my beautiful bassett hound/pit bull/beagle mix. I was still known as”Murphy’s Mom” then, and I guess part of me always will be. I am now facing the challenges of raising a pit bull/pointer mixed breed puppy named Brutus. I often tell people I am now “Bru’s Mom.”

I take comfort in this beautiful story by Rylant. I needed to read Dog Heaven to remind myself and Murphy that he wouldn’t be in pain anymore. There is an afterlife for him and all the other animals we have ever known and loved. Knowing he gets all the treats, pats, and walks he would ever want is comforting. I also cried during the story knowing Murphy and other pets are allowed, on occasion, to visit earth to check on their people. This was Rylant’s first attempt at illustrations, but her pictures are worth framing — they will comfort each of us who has lost a pet. (For the record, there is also a Cat Heaven.)