A man and his dog were walking along a road. The man was enjoying the beautiful natural scenery, when it suddenly occurred to him that he was dead. He remembered dying, and that the dog walking beside him had been dead for years. He wondered where the road was leading them. Yet after a while, they came to a high, white stone wall along one side of the road. It looked like fine marble, and at the top of a long hill, it was broken by a tall arch that glowed in the sunlight. When he was standing before it, he saw a magnificent gate in the arch that looked like mother-of-pearl, and the street that led to the gate looked like pure gold. He and the dog walked toward the gate, and as he got closer, he saw a man at a desk to one side.
‘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 traveller asked.
‘I’m sorry, sir, but we don’t accept pets.’
The man thought a moment and then turned back toward the road very thirsty, and continued the way he had been going with the dog. After another long walk, and at the top of another long hill, he came to a dirt road leading through an old wooden gate that looked as if it had never been closed. There was no fence and as he approached the gate, he saw a woman inside, sitting against a tree, reading a book with a cat on her lap.
‘Excuse me!’ he called to the woman. ‘Do you have any water?’
‘Yeah, sure, there’s a pump over there, come on in.’
‘How about my friend here?’ the traveller gestured to the dog.
‘There should be a bowl by the pump beloveds.’ she didn’t move, but carried on reading and the cat stayed curled up on her lap.
The man and the dog went through the gate, and sure enough, there was an old-fashioned hand pump with a bowl beside it. The traveller filled the water bowl and took a long drink himself, then he gave some to the dog and when they were full, he and the dog walked back toward the woman who was sitting by the tree.
‘What do you call this place?’ the traveller asked.
‘This is Heaven,’ she answered.
‘Well, that’s confusing,’ the traveller said. ‘The man down the road said that was Heaven, too.’
‘Oh, you mean the place with the gold street and pearly gates? Nope. That’s hell.’
‘Doesn’t it make you mad for them to use your name like that?’
‘No, we’re just happy that they screen out the folks who would leave their best friends behind.’
Note: Good shops and cafes provide water for their customer’s dogs outside in a nice big clean bowl. Otherwise you’re wasting all your company’s good deals, clear signs, window displays and advertising.