A man and his dog were walking along a road. As the man was enjoying the scenery, it suddenly occurred to him that he was dead. He remembered dying, and then he realized that his dog had been dead for years. Where was this road leading them?
After walking a while, they came to a high wall along one side of the road. The wall was made of white stones that looked like fine marble. The man and the dog continued to follow the road along the wall until they reached the top of a long hill. Up ahead, the wall opened into a huge arch that glowed in the sunlight. The arch contained a magnificent gate that looked like mother of pearl. The street leading to the gate looked like pure gold. As he approached the gate, he saw a man sitting at a desk to one side, and called out, “Excuse me, where are we?”
“This is heaven, sir,” the man answered.
“Wow! Would you happen to have some water?” the man asked.
“Of course sir, come right in, and I’ll have some ice water brought right up.” The man gestured, and the gate began to open.
“Can my friend,” gesturing toward his dog, “come in, too?” the traveler asked.
“I’m sorry sir, but we don’t accept pets”.
The man thought a moment and then turned back toward the road and continued the way he had been going.
After another long walk, he reached the top of another long hill; he saw a dirt road that led through a farm gate that looked as if it had never been closed. There was no fence. As he approached the gate, he saw a man inside, leaning against a tree and reading a book. “Excuse me!” he called to the reader. “Do you have any water?”
“Yeah, sure, there’s a pump over there.” The man pointed to a place that couldn’t be seen from outside the gate. “Come on in.”
“How about my friend here?” the traveler gestured to the dog.
“There should be a bowl by the pump.”
They went through the gate, and sure enough, there was an old-fashioned hand pump with a bowl beside it. The traveler filled the bowl and took a long drink – then he gave some to the dog. When they were full, he and the dog walked back toward the man who was standing by the tree waiting for them. “What do you call this place?” the traveler asked.
“This is heaven,” was the answer.
“Well, that’s confusing,” the traveler said. “The man down the road said that was heaven, too.”
“Oh, you mean the place with the golden streets and pearly gates? Nope, that’s hell.”
“Doesn’t it make you mad for them to use your name like that?”
“No. 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.”