I imagine my dear friend Hamish will be the first to greet them at the gates. He'll be asking how Gail is doing without his editorial skills and will no doubt be delighted to hear of young Bertie. And though his licorice black nose may be a bit out of joint when he hears how quickly Bertie mastered the dog gate, he'll be thrilled that his excavation plans for the backyard are continuing.
Who is that beautiful wiry gal bounding towards them, wriggling from excitement rather than seizures? Why, it's Miss Snickers! She's never looked so radiant and leaps in the air to welcome Jackson home. He reports that little Katie also has the fashion gene and is looking forward to wearing all of her beautiful Snitchybug couture...
Here comes Charlotte now, wondering how Deetz is faring. Lacy Lulu is leading the gang in a round of zoomies, but come over to welcome the newcomers. Shamus is sitting near Jamie's Mom Anna's chair, lolling in the sunshine as she scratches behind his ears. Java Bean is munching on a chocolate bar - you can eat as much chocolate as you want here!—and asking to see photos of the Scottie pups.
Charlie is delighted to hear all about the DWB reunion in New York this summer and says he'll be watching over all the proceedings. Graham is enjoying a snack from the ever-filled treat bowl with My Beautiful Raja, but races over to ask about Sophie Brador and her new greyhound brother.
Even the cats are thrilled to see Jackson and Digby—albeit from the perches on the greatest climbing tree ever (there are cans of tuna on every branch!) - there's Roscoe, Maui and Moki, Sen-Chan and Ikkyu, among others. They climb down in their elegant fashion and do figure-eights around the legs of Jackson and Digby, purring loudly and asking about their still-earth bound two-leggeds.
The crowd is quite large now, merrily yapping and wriggling, their tails a blur of happy wagging. It parts to let through Wally, the one and only Corgador in Heaven. His eyes are sparkling, his coat gleams, and there's the remains of a tasty dollop of peanut butter on his lip, and FuFu the hamster perched on his broad back.
Dakota stops in her tracks—in the midst of chasing slow-running squirrels through the fluffiest of white snow that never melts or gets dirty—to come join the pack.
Together, they show Jackson and Digby the swimming pool, the jaffa cake fields, the automatic tennis ball lobing machines, the acres of beds to sleep on and the miles of fields, free of any nasty bugs, but with delightful mud puddles scattered throughout. They are delighted to see there are no leashes, silly sweaters or baths in Heaven. Already, their joints are looser, their eyes shiny, that puppy bounce is back in their steps.
Here come my 2-leggeds Grandparents, with Keddy and Robbie and Sam #1 and #2— tossing balls and taking pups for a ride in their convertible - it's fine to stick your head out the window! In fact, there are lots of friendly humans here—gathering up beloved cats and dogs and covering them with kisses—their pockets filled with the most delicious bacon treats.
The party welcoming Jackson and Digby continues for hours, then the dogs and cats and people settle down and head for their own windows, looking down on the world. They draw back the curtains and let the light of Heaven shine through as they watch those that they love on Earth, going about their daily lives. It's hard to understand why those left behind are so sad, when Jackson and Digby and all of their friends are now in such a wonderful place for eternity. As they look around, they see there are still many unopened windows—for Petey and for Mica, for Eric and Asta, for Jake and Just Harry and Martha and Bailey and Fergi and Jake, Wilf, Tammy and Butchy. There's a window waiting for each of their friends, yes, even Lacie. In time, we each will join them as well and they will be the first to greet us at the gates.
So tonight, look towards the Heavens. There are two new stars, shining brighter than all the rest. They are Jackson and Digby's windows, watching down on us. And if they could they'd tell us that while one journey has ended, an even bigger and better one has just begun.
Till we run together, dear friends....