All Dogs Go BACK to Heaven 


We Hyders are a dog family.

Baby Dog adopted us in 2013.

We’re still not 100% sure how old she is. We don’t know much about her life before she made our home her castle. And, truth be told, somedays we’re not sure why she chose us; she barely seems to tolerate us, most of the time. Still, we love her. She’s ours, and we are (for damn sure) hers. She makes sure we know our place on the regular.

Then there’s Amaziah.

During one of the darkest times of my husband’s life, Chris found a puppy online at a nearby animal shelter. As often happens with puppies, it was love at first sight. He went to the animal shelter to start the adoption.

But the puppy was gone. It was another kick to the balls during an already horrible year.

Devastated, Chris asked to see the rest of the litter. One puppy, the scrawny runt, kept getting shoved to the back of the crate. It was small and malnourished, obviously losing meals to feisty and demanding brothers and sisters.

Sometimes solidarity shows up in the strangest of places.

“That one,” Chris said, without hesitation.

And, in a way, they saved each other.

His name was Amaziah. The shelter lady asked Chris if he wanted to change it. Chris said no. It was a cool name. Unique. He looked it up later and found the meaning.

Amaziah: strengthened by God

That day, the two became a family, and my husband’s broken heart started to heal. Amaziah met Chris’s three two-legged kids a short time later. Then, a year after that, they all adopted me and my two babies. It’s hard to believe that was almost a decade ago.

Over Christmas, we learned Amaziah won’t be with us much longer. His kidneys are caput.

We had a family sleepover last night, with all mattresses Tetris-arranged on our bedroom floor. Both dogs happily snuggled in the middle of it all. Today, he’s enjoying all the scolding-free pork chops he wants. The vet will be here at 2 o’clock.

So excuse me for this, but seriously—fuck the past 12 months.

But I digress.

We are one of the luckiest families on Earth. Because even if just for a little while we’ve had our own piece of heaven. A tangible, daily example of what true, unconditional love really is. Amaziah has never asked much, just that we show up, even with all our mess, bad attitudes, and drama. No matter the chaos of the world, his tail still wags just because we’re his. Simple as that.

In one of my last books, the new Archangel of Death visits Heaven for the first time. Upon meeting a loveable pup, he asked, “So it’s true? All dogs really go to Heaven?”

“No,” his angel guide replied with a smile.


“No. Pets return to heaven. They are only on loan to humans, so Earth might know what true joy awaits them here.”