A man and his dog were walking along a road. The man was enjoying the scenery, when it suddenly occurred to him that he was dead. He remembered dying, and that the dog had been dead for years. He wondered where the road was leading them.
After a while, they came to a high, white stone wall along one side of the road. It looked like fine marble. At the top of a long hill, it was broken by a tall arch that glowed in the sunlight. When he was standing before it, he saw a magnificent gate in the arch that looked like mother of pearl and the street that led to the gate looked like pure gold.
He and the dog walked toward the gate, and as he got closer, he saw a man at a beautifully carved desk off to one side. When he was close enough, he called out, "Excuse me, where are we?"
"This is Heaven, " the man answered.
The old man was really tired and very thirsty so he asked for a drink of water. "Of course. Come right in," the gatekeeper smiled, "and I'll have some ice water brought right up." The man gestured, and the gate began to open.
The old dog looked up at his master's face, tail wagging. "Oh, and may I have a bowl of water for my friend here," the old man said gesturing toward his dog, "he and I have come a long way together."
"I'm sorry, sir," was the quick reply, "but we don't accept pets here. You'll have to leave him outside."
The old man was really tired of walking and very thirsty but he could not think of leaving his pet behind. Head down, he turned sorrowfully back toward the road. After awhile he came to a narrow dirt road, which led him through an old wooden gate, and into a farmyard. The fence was mostly on the ground and the gate looked like it had never been closed as grass and wild flowers grew all around it. As he approached the gate, he saw a man inside, leaning against a tree and reading a book.
The traveler and his dog walked through the gate and approached the man. “Could I trouble you for a drink of water,” he asked.
“Sure can," replied the man. "There’s a pump over there in the yard. Come on in and help yourself.”
“How about my friend here?” the traveler motioned to the dog.
“Sure, he’s welcome too. There’s a pan by the pump if he’s thirsty,” the reader said.
The tired old man and his aged dog walked through the gate and sure enough there was an old-fashioned hand pump fastened to a wooden slab. A long handled tin dipper hung on a piece of baling wire beside it. On the top of the pump, was a big, metal pan that would hold all the water his dog might want.
The traveler filled the bowl for his dog and then took a long drink of the cool water. He had never tasted anything so good he thought and suddenly all his aches and pains vanished. He felt like a young man. As he reached down to pet the graying muzzle of his dog, he saw to his amazement the grey was gone from his dog’s hair and broke into a laugh as his dog sprang up to the top of the well and licked his master's face.
Filled with wonder, the man who was no longer old, strode back to the tree where his host sat reading. “What place is this?” He asked.
“Why, this is Heaven,” came the answer.
Confused, the traveler scratched his head, “I never thought Heaven looked like this. I came to another place back down the road that I thought was surely Heaven. The gatekeeper invited me inside but he wouldn’t let my dog come in, so I just kept walking.”
"Oh, you mean the place with the gold street and pearly gates? Nope. That's the front door to Hell."
"Doesn't it make you mad for them to use your name like that?" the traveler asked in disbelief.
"Oh not at all. I can see how you might think so, but we're just happy that they screen out the folks who'll leave their best friends behind."