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The Greatest Reward

[The lights come up on a woman who stands on a stage set as a front porch. She looks sternly into the crowd, she speaks with a strong country accent.] Now honey, don’t be so upset, she was a good dog and had a lot of good years. Dry your eyes, chin up. A new day is comin’.What’s got you all worked up? [She pauses, listening. Her face turns from stern to solemn and compassionate.] Oh, that’s what’s got you all worked up. [She gets on her knees to be at eye level with the child.]
Now baby, listen up, there are a lot of bad people in this world who say dogs don’t go to heaven. They say it’s ‘cause dogs ain’t got souls or minds like us humans. But I bet none of them ever loved a dog and saw that they do have souls and minds. Why, remember when Belles would carry around your shoes so you couldn’t leave the house? She used her mind [taps forehead with finger] to plot that out. But why would she do it? Well, she had a soul [places hand on heart], a soul that gave her emotions and love for you.
[Pauses thoughtfully] Now, if you know that then don’t you for a second believe them people who say dogs don’t go to Heaven. [She speaks a little more sternly] And if you do, then look me in the eyes right now [points at child] and tell me Belles ain’t in Heaven with Blue and Lady and she ain’t playin’ with ‘em and all the toys God supplied them. [Wipes her eyes quickly before continuing] Listen here, you be good, and get yourself into Heaven, because guess what: When we get up there [points to the sky] we see God and everyone we ever loved—includin’ our pets. And sweet child, seeing your lost puppy in all her joy and glory will be the greatest reward for getting to Heaven.
Belles hated when we left her at home she’d sit in that ol’ window and watch the drive till she saw us returning, and I know she liked to run out of the yard sometimes and cause mischief, but I bet she was mighty heartbroken to have to leave us to go to Heaven.
[Stands back up, again wiping tears from her eyes, she looks up to the sky longingly. Her head snaps back down towards the child, a small smile rises on her face] That’s right baby girl, Heaven, where all the dogs go to wait for their family to come home one last time.
[Still smiling the woman looks one last time up to the sky, she pulls out a handkerchief and dabs her eyes as she walks off stage. The lights dim slowly as she walks.]



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