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Story About the Importance of Our Best Friends*
 
A man and a woman and their cats and dogs were walking along a road and enjoying the scenery when it occurred to them that they were dead. They remembered dying and that the cats and dogs had been dead for years.

They wondered where the road was leading.
 
After a while, they came to a tall, white-marble wall running along the road. They followed it and at the top of a hill saw that the wall was broken by a stately arch that stood glowing in the sun. The arch's magnificent gate was made of pure mother of pearl.
 
The couple and their pets walked toward the gate on a golden driveway. As they got closer, they saw a robed official at a desk to one side.  The man called out, "Excuse me, where are we?"  "This is Heaven," the official answered. "Wow! Would you happen to have some water?" the woman asked.
 
"Of course, ma'am. Come in!  I'll have some ice water brought right up." The official snapped his fingers, and the magnificent gate began to open.
 
"Can our friends come, too?" the woman asked, motioning to their cats and dogs.
 
"No, we don't accept pets."
 
The man and woman turned back toward the road and continued on their way. After a long walk, they came to a dirt path, bordered on each side by a row of evergreens. They took the path and soon saw a farmer leaning against a tree, reading a book.
 
"Excuse me!" the man called to the farmer. "Do you have any water?"
 
"Yeah, sure, there's a pump right over there--help yourselves."
 
"How about our friends here?" the woman asked, gesturing to the cats and dogs.
 
"Sure, there's a bowl for them," replied the farmer.

They went where the farmer pointed and soon found an old-fashioned hand pump. The travelers filled the bowl for their cats and dogs, and then had a drink themselves.
 
When they were finished, they walked back toward the farmer who was still standing by the tree.
 
"What do you call this place?" the travelers asked.
 
"Why, this is Heaven," exclaimed the farmer.
 
"Well, that's confusing," the woman said. "We met an official earlier on the road who said his location was Heaven."
 
"Oh, you mean the place with the marble wall and pearly gates? Nope. That's Hell."
 
"Doesn't it make you mad for them to use your name like that?" said the man, shaking his head.
 
"No. I can see how you might think so," the farmer continued, "but we're just happy they screen out the folks who would leave their best friends behind."

 
*Note: Thanks to Eric and Kathy Wood for sending this wonderful little tale to me in 2001. I rewrote it some before posting it here.
Until March 16, 2008, I didn’t know the story’s source but on that day received an e-mail from a person who thought
 it originally was a *Twilight Zone* episode.  I researched this and found a Zone telecast called *The Hunt* that is similar. 

It was written by Earl Hammer, Jr., the author behind the 70s TV series *The Waltons*. 


You can read all about it at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Hunt



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