All dogs go to heaven

Megan, May 8, 1985–March 24, 1999 (eight years ago today)

My mom always says that because we had Meg, my family is ruined for other dogs.

This is because of Meg’s emotionalism. If one of us was crying, she always came over and licked our faces to stop the tears. She never wanted any of us to be sad, and she loved it when we hugged her.

When she was a pup, she used to like to pull her head out of her collar and bound around the development so we’d have to chase her. But we were scared that she could get hit by a car. One time, I couldn’t catch her for a while, even by holding out a cookie. I used a last resort: I made sure she was looking. Then I sat on a fallen log and put my head in my hands, pretending to cry. She saw this and came right to me.

We bought her for my brother’s birthday when she was eight weeks old. We went into the pet store and all of her brothers in the pen were jumping up and howling with their black-and-white beagle tails wagging. She stood up and simply wagged for us, looking at us with her big brown almond-shaped eyes.

For the first few months, she was a wily pup who, like most pups, chewed wires and jumped on the couch. I didn’t know much of her personality the first few months. Then, one day, my mother told me, “Megan likes to be hugged.” I didn’t believe it. While she was chewing a toy, I went and put my arms around her. Her tail wagged furiously.

We soon learned that if two members of my family hugged each other in front of Meg, she’d run over and jump up to try to be in the hug, too.

She had the same hobbies as other dogs – sniffing things, eating, sleeping, walking. But she was so loving. She liked to crawl into bed and roll onto her side so I could hug her.

I had her for half my life – we bought her when I was 14, and she died when I was 28. I saw her go through different changes, from a wily puppy who barked at strangers, to a quieter adult dog, to a senior dog who mostly slept all day and took delight in sniffing things outside.

She had a fierce love for my mother, my brother, and me, and knew all our names. We’d say, “Where’s Mommy?” and she’d look at my mom and wag her tail.

Five Meg memories

1. Italian bread: I live on a street with several Italian restaurants and delis. One time, we were half a block into our walk when Meg noticed a looong Italian roll being thrown out on the sidewalk. It was longer than she was, so she wasn’t sure what to do. She licked the middle for a second. Then she lifted the entire roll in her mouth. She turned around to bring it back to the house.

People were laughing as they passed her. Here was a little white beagle carrying a piece of Italian bread that was longer than she was. One man said to her, “Did you fiiiind that? You’re a lucky dog.”

She set it down on my rug, and then turned around to head back outside so we could finish our walk.

2. Thanksgiving: Her favorite holiday was Thanksgiving, as all three of her family members were there. She was always so excited when everyone was together, that she would even wag in her sleep. One year, we filled her bowl with turkey first, so she wouldn’t bother us while we were eating. When we finally sat down to eat, my mother said, “Look” and pointed to Meg’s bowl. The bowl was already empty and Meg was sprawled on the floor next to it, snoozing.

3. Sitting in the park: I always thought Meg had a good sense of humor. Occasionally she needed to be walked at 2 or 3 a.m. I’d tiredly stroll through the local park in the moonlight while she took her time. As we walked out of the park, she’d suddenly sit down on the grass and stare up at me, as if to ask if she could stay and play in the park. I would say, “You’re funny, Meg!”
If I occasionally gave in and sat down next to her for a few minutes, she’d give me a big wag.

4. Fat tush under the bed: When she was a very small puppy, she would run under the bed to hide. When she grew older, she never quite grasped the concept of having gotten much bigger and fatter. When she wanted to hide, she would still run for the bed, but she would get stuck halfway in, with her big fat tush sticking out.

5. Are you my mother? One time, my mother was staying with me at my apartment. In the morning, she left to go to work. An hour later, I took Meg for a walk, and she saw a woman who looked like my mother. I saw her too: She had the same profile, same walk, and was wearing the kind of long dress my mother likes to wear. Because Meg started wagging and walking toward the woman, I knew Meg thought it was my mom.

As soon as Meg got up to the woman – who looked very confused – she realized it wasn’t my mother and stopped wagging.

The woman looked at me questioningly.

I explained to her, “You look like her mommy. I mean, my mother. We saw her today.”

I wonder if it’s an insult to tell someone that they look like your dog’s mother.


It's odd to be with someone for their whole life, to see them grow from an infant, to an adult, to a senior. She really matured through the years.

People used to actually come up to me on the street and say, “Look at that faaaaaace!” Sometimes they just would look at her and say, “Faaaace.”

She got cancer, as most dogs do sooner or later. It amazes me that she’s been gone for eight years, because it doesn’t seem that long. Maybe that’s because she was in my life for so long.

But for almost fourteen years, she had a wonderful, fulfilling life full of hugs and adventures. She enjoyed rides in the car, sniffing other dogs, and most importantly, being loved, and giving a lot of love in return.

The day after she died, I had a dream. In the dream, she was running really quickly and leaping over 12-foot fences. In her last few months alive, she couldn't do much running.

I told my mom about my dream. "She was running so fast," I said, "and jumping so high."

My mom said, "Maybe she is."

Megan is now buried in a beautiful pet cemetery alongside other fiercely loved pets, even the smallest ones. Clearly she's in good company.

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