Do Dogs Have a Soul?

Excerpt from My Grandmother’s Shakespeare
by Anne Safka

Why do people think they have to “rescue” animals? We spend our lives trying to figure out a purpose for human emotions, and then we wonder what our responses to other creatures should be, but then we never come up with good answers, just more questions. Why do we do what we do?
I can’t figure it out. I heard an old song on the radio that out of the blue sent chills down my spine. “Does anyone know where the love of God goes when the waves turn the minutes to hours?” Does anyone know…? You can stop right there, because the correct question is, “Does anyone know?”
There are those among us who love dogs. There are those among us who love animals and all things great and small. There are those who don’t love anyone but themselves.

There also are those among us who don’t care enough about what happens to other people. We sometimes hear the excuse that they are doing “the best they can.” Is that true? Are we really doing the best we can?

Perhaps we are doing the best we can with our pea-sized brains. Are we using only a small portion of our brains? Remember the book by Iris Murdoch, The Floating Opera? In it, she compares life to a floating opera, and the only way we can view it is through the small portion that is performed before our eyes as the ship floats by the shoreline where we are seated. Very aptly put, Iris. Well done. At least that’s one explanation for some of the bizarre behavior of human animals, because we don’t have enough information to figure out what the hell is really going on.
I’ve asked many people if they believe that animals have a soul. Some people believe that animals are going to be on the other side of a “Rainbow Bridge” where we will reunite with all our dead animals, and, I suppose, our other beloved relatives. It reminded me of a pastoral Huck Finn type of world where all of our questions will be answered.

Are human beings meant to ask questions constantly? Is that to be our punishment and destiny after leaving the Garden? Perhaps God would have answered all our questions right away, if only Eve hadn’t taken a bite from the apple. Perhaps the evolution of man means our brains will expand along with the universe. We may someday learn the secrets of expanding the universe from the 95% of the brain that lies dormant, a change that will be the secret for everlasting happiness.
Perhaps it was not the fountain of youth that Ponce de Leon sought. One can only imagine the disappointment compounded in being eternally young and eternally ignorant. I suspect that happiness would still elude us.

Of ministers, veterinarians, and pet lovers everywhere, I’ve asked the question, “Do dogs have a soul?” You then begin to wonder why we ask the question. Why do we worry about rescuing animals, when there is still so much human suffering and abuse of children? Why do governments spend so much money on bombs and guns to blow people up? They say all politics is local, but does it matter?

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