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Many people said they kept their fee lings secret for fear of being made fun of.With some surprise, I realized that countless earnest, unapologetic, Bible-reading Christians out there—people who would happily tell a perfect stranger about their faith without a care as to whether that person judged them for it or not—felt strangely embarrassed about confessing their belief that not just people, but animals too, enjoyed a future life beyond the body.The title alone see med enough to instantly ignite their interest.One day, folding up yet another copy of “The Rainbow Bridge” for yet another Guideposts reader who couldn’t wait to get her hands on it, I stopped and read the whole thing through one more time.Your article shows that there’s strong scriptural evidence that animals survive death, and though I’ve long bee n convinced of that myself, it’s a message I’ve never see n spelled out before.” But the most common sort of letter came from Guideposts readers who, because they weren’t computer-savvy, had not see n “The Rainbow Bridge.” Many of these people told me they’d heard tell of this wonderful piece of writing, but had never see n it. I printed out a dozen copies of “The Rainbow Bridge” and sent them off to everyone who asked. I was happy to oblige these people, but I couldn’t help fee ling puzzled each time I sealed up yet another envelope.

But many of my clients who’ve lost their animal companions hear different from their clergy.

You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. I received far and away more mail for “Will My Pet Go to Heaven?

The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart. ” than I had for any other piece of writing I’d done for Guideposts.

Editor's Note: "The Divine Life of Animals" explores whether animals have souls that live on even after death.

Ptolemy Tompkins, a senior editor at Angels on Earth magazine for Guideposts and a monthly angel columnist for Beliefnet, delves into history, philosophy, religious texts, and personal stories to support his belief that animals do have souls and they do go to heaven.

In the excerpt below, Tompkins shares one of the reasons why he was first fascinated with pets and the afterlife. “No one’s ever done that in the magazine before.” The article came out in the February 2005 issue under the title “Will My Pet Go to Heaven?