Powell Butte author pens book to help others with their grief after their pets pass on

by: BILL MINTIENS - Tana Osborn with Boots and Socks, her two mini Aussie Shepherds.

Tana Osborn, a Powell Butte resident and first time author, didn't set out to write a book about losing her beloved dogs.

Although she felt in her heart that all dogs go to heaven, she simply wanted to know proof-positive that's where they went.

"I always just assumed that dogs went to heaven — but I really needed to know for sure. I felt a nudge that God was saying that mine were OK and that I needed to let other people know that their pets were safe in heaven also," said Osborn.

A retired nurse, Osborn has owned many dogs throughout her lifetime. As a younger woman she felt the loss each time one passed. But more recently, as she's grown older, the loss of two affected her more deeply.

"I had a blue merle Collie named Sage a few years ago. When my marriage of 20 years was coming to an end, she was my best friend. We were like two peas in a pod. I really felt alone during that period and she helped me through it. I eventually had to put her down and that, combined with my marriage ending, was a very dark time for me."

Just last year, Osborn found it even harder to deal with the passing of her newest best friend, a cute mini Aussie Shepherd.

"I had a dog that I was very close to named Angus that I loved very much. He was always at my feet whether I was at work or at home. He was not quite 4 when he suddenly died last June."

Devastated, Osborn struggled with wanting to know if her beloved pets suffered and where they went after passing.

"The loss of Sage was awful. I cried a lot of course and I thought I would hear her bark as I went about my day. But more recently when Angus died, it was almost unbearable. But somewhere in that pain, I felt a nudge, a message that told me 'He's OK.' But I wanted to know for sure."

Seeking comfort, she turned to the source she has trusted all her life — the Bible.

"I went to the Bible to see what God had to say about it. I didn't know what I was going to find, but I knew that I had to go to God because that's where my comfort would come from. I was awestruck about what was actually in there and what it said about our animals. That's when I knew I needed to write the book."

Osborn was surprised about how much the Bible actually says about animals.

"The Bible says that our pets are going to be in heaven. In (the book of) Genesis, it tells us that they have the 'breath of life,' the same breath and spirit that was given to Adam, the first man. So that tells us right there that that 'breath of life' made them a living soul.

"The other verse that I just love is in First Corinthians. It says that if you have a physical or natural body, you also have a spiritual body and it will be raised. It says it very clearly. It had to for me because I don't have a theological degree. I needed it very clear and direct so there would be no room for interpretation. It's a done deal for me — it's settled in my heart."

Hollywood, in a number of films, has portrayed the emotional loss of pets. In one memorable Robin Williams film, "What Dreams May Come," dogs are shown greeting their owner as he walks through the pearly gates. Similarly, Osborn believes we will actually be reunited with our pets in heaven.

"I think He's (God) going to have them all lined up — dogs, family members, friends. They're all going to be rejoicing us as we come through the gates."

Certainly a comforting thought for anyone who's grieved the loss of a beloved pet.

"Until Heaven Then My Friend: Life's Journey For Your Beloved Dog"

Author: Tana Osborn

Published: January 2014

Publisher: Updraft Publishing, Powell Butte Oregon

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