Ten years ago I would have laughed off the question, "Will my pet be in heaven?" It seemed trivial in the scheme of spiritual things. Of course pets wouldn't be in heaven...not to say there wouldn't be animals in heaven... but why would God resurrect a pet?
Maybe it's old age setting in and I'm getting soft. Maybe it's my heretical tendencies. Or maybe it's the fact that I just put my eleven year old dog to sleep...but I take that question much more seriously today. (Someone just asked me this recently)
First of all, in answering this question, you have to loosen up your idea of heaven. Ideas of heaven, much like ideas of hell, are more manufactured from popular culture than they are found in the Bible. There are many prophetic passages in the Bible that speak of heaven as a restoration of the earth. Rather than God destroying the earth and creating something totally new, God restores the earth that was corrupted by sin. He puts it back the way it was...the way it was supposed to be in the first place.
I like that. It sounds exactly like what God does in people. Rather than wiping us out and starting over, he renews us.
So, my idea about pets is based on that understanding of heaven. It's a restoration of all that is good. It's not another world that we know nothing about. It's what we've always longed for earth to be. If that's right (and I'm not convinced that it is but intrigued by the thought) then it wouldn't surprise me at all if your pet is one of the first to greet you when you pass to the other side. ( Oh yeah, more speculation here...the natural question is...If heaven is a restored earth...where is heaven now? It's in another dimension! And when Jesus returns, the two dimensions will merge into one. Hey, I SAID it was speculation!)
I think every pet owner will agree that pets are not human, but they are much more than flesh and bone. There is a connection made that goes beyond the owner merely projecting their emotions onto their pet. Because of this, and because I believe that God loves and values all of his creation, I'm looking forward to running through some fields in heaven with my German Shepherd!