TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Your furry friend easily becomes part of the family, but what happens when our pets pass on? It's a longtime religious debate.
The age old question, do all dogs go to heaven is what Topeka author Gary Kurz decided to answer.
After moving to Topeka -- then losing his beloved pet dog Samantha, Kurz went to church.
"The pastor’s wife looked at me and said, ‘Gary you look so down… you look like you lost your best friend.’ I said I really did, I lost my dog, and she said, ‘Oh I bet you think it went to doggy heaven too don't you,’ and it just devastated me,” Kurz explained.
He began researching and publishing his first book, Cold Noses at the Pearly Gates, in 1996, information many pet owners have been seeking like Topekan Terry McAdam who says his dogs are loved like children.
What Kurz found out refutes what he and many other Christians have been told.
"If you check mainstream Christianity the general consensus is that dogs are for this world only, animals are for this world only,” Kurz stated. “Why do they think that? There's no answer. No one has ever been able to give me an answer."
Kurz went on to write three more self-help books on the topic, but his first book remains the most popular selling more than 300,000 copies, with nearly 70,000 people reaching out to him over the years to discuss his book's findings.
“I provide my email address in the book and that is the spark for me, people contact me and I get to help them and tell them about the Bible, it’s just a great thing," Kurz reflected.
A comfort many pet lovers can now look for in a higher power.
"The word soul is the Hebrew word nephesh which means the essence or life force of a creature, and the bible teaches that humans have a nephesh and animals have a nephesh, so in other words, we all are of the same eternal essence," Kurz explained.
Cold Noses at the Pearly Gates has been reprinted 31 times now. Kurz plans to continue writing, but possibly on a different topic in the future.