The dog nudged my hand away from the keyboard as I was trying to edit a work document so that it made a bit more sense. I patted his head and he nudged my hand again so that I had to look at him.
He was gazing at me steadily and seriously; his huge amber eyes unwavering as he stared.
Outside the windows, yet another storm was driving rain into the house at 50mph and I paused my work for a while.
‘That’s my question. What?’
‘You’re being deliberately difficult aren’t you…’
‘No. It’s just such a big question. What happens after we die ?’
I sat back and looked at him for a few moments.
‘Where did that come from? Are you worried about dying ?’ We’d been at the vet a few hours before and I wondered if that had triggered this.
‘No. I’m not worried. But I just wondered what happens when we go away. Are any of those people that have been here and then gone away dead ? ‘
‘No. What makes you think that?. I know they’re still out there as I see them online.
‘Online ? So you can’t see or hear them for real? You’re taking it on faith then ? Are we in the Matrix?’
My head was starting to hurt at this stage. He had a point. People had come and gone in our lives and as far as he was concerned, they’d ceased to exist.
‘No. We’re not in the Matrix – probably anyway. And you’re right. I have to trust that what I see online and in chats is real. And that’s why your question is so tough.’
He looked at me, I swear that his eyes are backlit sometimes .. Outside, the rain and wind got stronger and it was hard to see the tree-line.
‘Every religion has a view of what’s next and how you get there. Including Atheists who believe that there’s nothing. The problem with religion though is that it’s all tied in with behavioural controls and rule sets. I’m not sure that any of it applies to dogs.’
‘Yes. Rules. Thou shalt? Thou shalt not.. etc. ‘
‘You don’t sound convinced’
‘’No. some of it is common sense tied into the time it was written down. Not eating pork in the Middle East before they knew how to cure or had chillers was sensible- now….’
I tailed off. This was a tough conversation with anybody. With a dog though …
He was still staring at me
‘OK. But what do YOU think happens? ‘
‘I don’t know. I’m what’s called an agnostic, I’m not arrogant enough to think that I know and I’m not easily led so I can’t get on board with religion – what do you think? Do dogs have any insight?’
‘No of course not’
He looked up at me and put his paw on my arm.
‘ I can tell you what I hope though.’
It was my turn to look at him keenly.
‘ I hope that in many years to come, I’ll fall asleep and wake up in the garden. I’ll be surrounded by my toys and that stupid girl dog that you brought in will be around somewhere.
If she has to be….
And all my friends will be near.
Then I’ll hear the music come on and you’ll walk round the corner with one of my squeaky toys and we’ll play games while the barbecue cooks. Then all your friends will arrive and we’ll go for walks and play more games and…’
‘And when the day is over, I’ll fall asleep on your lap and then….’
He looked up at me, his huge eyes glowing .
‘And then we’ll wake up and do it all again. How does that sound?’
I smiled at him.
‘It sounds like you just started a religion. I’m in…’