Fluffy was a gorgeous, long-haired, white Peruvian guinea-pig, but we
called her "The Wheep" because she made a high-pitched whistling
sound--Wheep! Wheep! Wheep!--whenever the refrigerator door was opened.
She knew that was where we kept her lettuce.
Each year, she went with each of our sons to "Show-and-Tell" at Sunday-School and pre-school or kindergarten or school, in her beautiful blue traveling-cage. All the children loved her.
We had Fluffy for six years.
When we returned from vacation in May 1968, we found the kitchen door open, and Fluffy was dead in her cage. Apparently, the neighbor who fed her did not shut the door tight enough, the wind blew it open, and she couldn't stand the cold. Anyway, there was nothing we could do about it. We made a little coffin, lined it with bright blue cloth, and buried her in the back yard where she loved to play.
The next day as we were driving to town, our eight-year-old son, Bruce, seemed awfully glum, so I asked him what was wrong.
He said, "You don't seem very sad that Fluffy died."
"Well ... yes, I am sad that she died. And I know we'll all miss her. But I think she'll be very happy in heaven."
"Do guinea-pigs go to heaven?"
"Well, think about it. You know love is like a magnet. And you know how much Fluffy loved children. She'd leave her very favorite clover and run wheeping all the way across the yard, to you or any of the children, to get her nose rubbed. So I think she'll go where the children are. And heaven will be better for them because she's there."
"Oh. Yes." A short pause, then: "What about the bad animals?"
"Do you mean the wild animals?"
"Yes--lions and tigers and bears."
"Well, think about it. You know they stay away from people, as much as they can. So I think they continue to stay away from people, and go with their own kind, just as they do here."
A nod: "Good."
And we went on to other subjects.