A man was walking down a long, dusty road. He looked down and at his side walked a dog. He knew that dog. It had been his companion as a boy. He and the dog had been inseparable and had walked the woods and had the adventures that so many people and their dogs have in their youth. But he was a middle-aged man now and that dog had been dead for decades. The man thought hard and finally realized that he, too, was dead. He remembered falling down on the street, concerned faces crowding around him, his last breath. He and the dog walked on.
After a couple miles they came to a paved road and a wall of beautiful marble. Soon they came to a set of golden gates, opening out into a beautiful paradise. A man with long white robes and holding a huge book stood at the entrance.
The man with the dog stopped and asked, "Where am I?"
The man with the book smiled and said, "You are in Heaven. Is there anything that I can get you? Anything at all."
"Well the walk has been very long and I was wondering if I could get some cool water?"
"Of course. I'll send for some now."
"And some for my dog, please."
The man with the book stopped.
"No, I'm sorry. There are no dogs allowed in Heaven."
The man with the dog looked down at his old friend. The dog looked up at him. Without a word both turned and continued down the road. The paved road soon ended and the marble wall faded behind them.
They walked 'til they came to a farm. The old gates were rusted open. The buildings had that look of being worn but loved. Near the gate a man sat underneath a tree reading a paperback book. He wore jeans and a plaid shirt and a well-worn straw hat.
"Excuse. me," said the man with the dog. "Can I get some water?"
The man looked up and said, "Behind the barn there's a pump."
"And my dog?"
"There's a bowl next to the cup." The man and the dog walked to the pump and each drank their fill.
When they returned to the gate the man in the straw hat was standing and smiling at them.
"This has been such a strange day. May I ask you a question?" asked the man with the dog.
"Where am I?"
"You're in Heaven."
"But the man down the road, by the golden gates, he said that was Heaven."
The man in the straw hat smiled.
"He lied. He tells everyone that's Heaven, but it's not. It's Hell."
"Don't you get angry when he does that?"
"Why should I? He weeds out all those people who would leave their best friends behind."