[IP] my dog Cannibal passed away last nigh, these are the last pictures I took of him. Someone please write a story about him.

We all expected Pastor Roberts to talk about Martin in great detail. After all, we had paid a great deal of money to the Glorious Church. The ceremony, like most Catholic functions, was far too long. We were barely holding it together when Pastor Roberts brought up Delilah.

"I would like to take a moment to talk about something outside of the Bible," the Pastor said. He shut his large, leather book and shook his robes into place.

The candles caught his glasses and he seemed older then, almost burdened with this whole process.

"I have seen 57 members die this year," Pastor Roberts said. "Many of them, like Martin Sanchez, was a good friend of mine. I went to high school with Martin."

The Father tried to cover his sniffles with a cough.

Someone whispered, "Amen" hopefully.

"Martin was not popular. I know I am supposed to talk about people in a glorified way. But Martin was not popular. He didn't date until college. But he was the first person to jump into the river, with his clothes on. He once punched someone who called my little sister an unfortunate name. He was a good person, even before it mattered. No one expected a bunch of boys like us to turn into anything big..."

Another pause. This time it was obvious the pastor was trying to hold back tears. He removed his glasses and wiped his eyes with his white sleeve. It made him seem a little more human.

"But one day while we were walking home... He found this dog. Ugly little thing, absolutely a mess. But he took it home and I think his Daddy beat him for it. But Delilah stayed. She followed him around like the Holy Spirit. She had absolute faith in this man..."

Someone coughed.

"I know most people want to hear that Martin Sanchez was star of the football team. But the love of his life has always been animals. That is what God called him to do. Before he made good money, before he went to college, lost weight, met his wife, he loved deeply with his own heart."

The music began to play. Susie, the Pastor's wife, was playing some soft, whispering music that made you sad deep down inside.

"Martin asked me to do something different. He knew, deep down, he wasn't gonna make it to 67. I want to share with you the lives he touched. And the lives that touched him. Because, truly, deep down, we do not deserve dogs... and we did not deserve Martin."

The list of names began:

Delilah, mutt. 1962

Cooper, mutt. 1967

Fickle, Pickle, and Mack--kittens. 1972

Lory--mutt, 1972

And as we listened to the endless list of animals Martin had saves, I could feel something warm on my lap. It was not the hand of my wife. It was not the weight of sorrow. It was familiar, a weight I had there for years.


My beloved dog.

I looked around the room and I could see everyone tense up, like they were feeling things they had forgotten. I could hear the whispers.

"Do you see Whiskers?"

"I see Hannah."

"I can feel Kitty."

"Poppy, do you hear Lonnie? I hear him. He is howling? Oh, I remember his tags."

And there, as if the room had begun to produce its own sun, was Martin. He stood behind the minister and opened his arms. I looked down and saw, for the first and last time since he passed, my beautiful friend. His brown nose, his white paws. He looked up at me, with so much love it broke my heart, and wagged his little tail.

Then with a great noise, like a thousand feet against hard wood, the animals left their laps and joined Martin on the stage. There, surrounded by all his friends, all his true loves, Martin took our pets to heaven.

Because really, all dogs go to heaven.

All cats.

All rats and snakes and birds.

And all those worthy of their love.

/r/WritingPrompts Thread