I'm told that Thomas Aquinas held that animals have no souls. St. Francis for his part could talk of sister/brother dog and I have had so many canine friends that I'm in no doubt that, if it is a soul that makes one a person, dogs have souls. I'm sure about that. Of course its true of horses too! And probably in a different way cats!
Well anyhow I've often thought it would be interesting to hear a discussion between Francis and Aquinas. So if my recent near death experience had a downside I suppose it was putting off to a later date the much looked forward to debate.
Then in what did not feel at all like a dream although it might have been. Perhaps a vision of the night (whatever one of those is!) this:
I was with two other children of men who I knew to be Francis and Aquinas in a wide meadow - the Elysian Fields ? - and with us were all the dogs I have ever known. Not just my friends: Spot my godfather's dog with whom the 8 yearold me went rabbiting; Toby my cousin Sue's Black Lab an inseperable friend; Brandy who ate socks and passed them through at the other end darned as Uncle Tom would quip. No among them all was Squirty Bertie a dacshound with bowel problems who lent his name to any sauce my family topped ice cream with and a not to be trusted Dacshound who sunk his teeth into me when I was visiting a recently bereaved and newly drunk widow!
All these dogs, known and loved, some with really bad traits, were romping through the grass - Billy, Jacqueline and Darren's Springer was flying his ears as he sprung clear of the grass line and following him were his Springer replacement brothers, Bracken and Barley. And Benny, my long legged Jack Russel was there too! In life he had one bad trait, he hated all other dogs - no that's not true I think it was all other quadrapeds - but now he was transformed and seemed to enjoy the company. I'd catch a glimpse of him with William the Jack Russel companion of Uncle Tom's later years who would attack the postman and post van and was always in the process getting run over with little or no effect!
Janie's dogs the threee legged Muffin and the randy Weaver could be glimpsed in the throng and her recently deceased Red Setter Sienna added class to the the gathering. And quietly by my side sat Gyp Sue and Tim's cattle dog waiting for me to kick a stone towards him that he could chew.
And Thomas and Francis and I wreathed in smiles and saluting at a passing figure. Was that the Archangel raphael with his dog?!