When he was close enough, he called out, “Excuse me, where are we?”
“This is heaven, sir,” the man answered.
“Wow! Would you happen to have some water? We have traveled far,” the man said.
“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, remembering all the years this dog remained loyal to him and then turned back toward the road and continued the way he had been going. After another long walk he came to a plain dirt road, which 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? We have traveled far.”
“Yes, sure, there’s a faucet over there.” The man pointed to a place that couldn’t be seen from outside the gate. “Come on in and help yourself.”
“How about my friend here?” the traveler gestured to his dog.
“There should be a bowl by the faucet; he is welcome to share.”
They went through the gate, and sure enough, there was an old-fashioned faucet with a bowl beside it. The traveler filled the bowl and took a long drink himself, 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 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’d leave their best friends behind in exchange for material things.”