Growing up our family didn’t have any pets, so I didn’t give much
thought to having a companion animal. I suppose if you never had it,
you don’t know what you’re missing. My husband, Jack, always had
cats in his family growing up. When Jack and I were first married,
we lived on the second floor of a condominium. Little did we know
who was living on the first floor – it was Pete!
One day we heard a cat meowing in the hallway outside our door. Jack
dashed to the door and let the cat in. It really didn’t matter much
to me if he let him in or not. Pete kept visiting us, each time
meowing outside the door for admittance. One day I was writing at
the kitchen table when Pete came in. He got up on the chair beside
me, and I looked into the most beautiful green eyes I had ever seen!
On other occasions he would walk around, and rub up against my legs
as I did the dishes at the sink. Little by little this short fluffy
bundle of love stole my heart!
Then it happened. I started looking for him – I was hooked! We
started feeding Pete on a regular basis, and he would stay for long
periods of time. One night he didn’t leave, sleeping on a rocking
chair in the living room all night. Finally, I discovered that he
belonged to Judy on the first floor. I said to her, your cat has
been coming by to visit me, and he stayed overnight a couple of
times. I hope you weren’t worried about him. She said, no, if he
bothers you, just throw him out. Judy said that she was getting
married in a couple of months and she didn’t know what she was going
to do with Pete, because her finance had a dog that couldn’t
tolerate other animals. That was the day that I decided I would
definitely adopt him. We named him Pete, a name I always liked. It
has a nice sound – Pete Shanahan! Judy also told me that he was 8
Jack was going to night school and was busy with that most of his
spare time, so Pete and I kept each other company. Pete would get up
with us in the morning and have breakfast – he was always very vocal
about being fed promptly! He would sleep on our bed, usually laying
on my legs all night, sit on my lap in the evening, nap in my arms,
and play toy and flashlight games with Jack. He’d let you put a
little rubber duck on his head and allow us to be amused by it –
Pete was a good sport. He was very cooperative the year I put a
Santa hat on his head and asked him to pose for our Christmas cards.
He loved to sit under the Christmas tree. When I would bring the
tree into the house and lay it against the wall before setting it
up, Pete would sit under it – ready to start celebrating right away.
He loved to open the toys at Christmas, and exchange gifts and cards
with his Grandma and Auntie every year.
Fourteen wonderful years had passed. It was a couple of weeks before
Pete passed away that he was sitting on the bay window in the dining
room. I went over to see him, and there I saw a beautiful pure white
cat outside directly in front of the window where he sat. The white
cat was staring up at Pete. I called Jack, to come over to see this
white cat that seemed to be in a trance as she gazed up at Pete.
Jack came over to take a look, and within a couple of minutes she
vanished from sight. I immediately ran outside to leave her some
food in case she came back, but all the while I had an uneasy
feeling inside me that this was no ordinary cat. There are very few
outdoor cats in our neighborhood; we never saw this white cat
before, and we’ve never seen her since. I couldn’t get it out of my
mind that the beautiful feline was an angel, or an angel in the
appearance of a cat, ready to take Pete to heaven. I asked Jack if
we could pray for Pete a little later that night and we did. Within
a couple of weeks Pete did pass away from a heart attack.
Pete lived to be close to 22 years old, which is a long lifespan for
a cat, but not enough when you love someone. He enjoyed a very
loving life with us, and was really only sick the last year of his
life. Even though it pains us deeply that he is gone, we know he’s
with the Lord in heaven waiting for us to join him someday.
The great bond between Pete and I inspired me to research the Bible
to see what God had to say about the afterlife of animals. I found
many scriptures in my research, and I felt the need to document it
in an organized way. Once I began to type everything in a file, I
said to Jack, “I think this is a book!” I was delighted with my
findings that proved scripturally that all the animals go to heaven.
I titled the book, “There Is Eternal Life For Animals.”
On December 15, 2002, it was exactly one year since Pete passed
away. I was feeling very depressed, and just moping around the
house. I looked out the window and noticed that it was snowing.
Later I looked out the back window at the place where Pete was
buried, right under the big rock. I had to look twice because there
was a snow shaped cross on the big rock right over Pete's grave! Why
isn’t there any snow on the rest of the rock? There’s snow
everywhere else, on the trees, on the grass, everywhere. But on the
rock it was only in the shape of a cross. After the snow was gone I
went to see what the rock looked like, and I noticed that there was
a branch which formed the vertical part of the cross, horizontally
it looks like an indent in the rock. We have photos of the rock
fully covered with snow, and others with the snow melting, and we
have a photo of the rock with the Cross of Snow. The branch remained
there throughout the winter, but we didn’t see the Cross of Snow
again – only on the one-year anniversary of Pete's passing. I know
it’s a sign from God that Pete is alive and well in heaven! He gave
us this sign to comfort us and reaffirm our beliefs that Pete is in
heaven. I believe that God wants us to share this story with all
those who are feeling the pain at the loss of their animal
companions. It’s true that God preserves people and animals as is
stated in Psalm 36:6.
I often wonder what it’s like in heaven, and what everybody is
doing. Sometimes I imagine Pete’s playing with the other animals,
perhaps riding on a big elephant! I’m sure he’s spending time with
my Dad, who passed away 40 days before him. He and his Uncle Johnny,
my brother who passed away at only three years old, are no doubt
enjoying each other’s company.
Now whenever I feel sad about my boy being gone, I stop and think –
now I have something to look forward to. I’m going home to Pete
someday and we’re going to live forever in heaven! Then after 10,000
years go by, I’m going to turn to Pete and say, “well son, what do
you want to do today?”