[Editor’s Note – This column originally ran on the site on May 11, 2011.]
If your family believes in God and follows the righteous path, when Judgment Day rolls around you can be confident that you and your loved ones will be called up to the pearly gates.
But what about your pets? Your sweet, cuddly, godless pets? What will become of them when those heavenly trumpets start sounding?
Luckily, devout atheist Bart Centre has already thought of that and he’s here to help. No need to worry about being up in Heaven with that “I left the curling iron on” feeling. Two years ago Centre launched Eternal Earth-Bound Pets USA, a company made up of 44 contractors in 26 different states that offers to round up those family pets left behind on the day of the Rapture.
Within 24 hours of the End of Days, Centre or one of his team of faith-less contractors will drive out to your family home and rescue your beloved pet. And all they ask in return is $135 for the first pet and $20 for each additional one. (If that sounds pricy to you, Centre’s website assures you that it is actually “a small price to pay for your peace of mind and the health and safety of your four legged and feathered friends.”)
Of course, like with any good deal, some restrictions do apply. Their service is limited to “dogs, cats, birds, rabbits and small caged mammals.” (If you are lucky enough to live in New Hampshire, Vermont, Idaho or Montana, they will also come rescue your horse, camel, llama or donkey.) Also, there is a time limit on this offer – the Rapture must occur within 10 years of the day you submit payment or else your contract is null and void.
While these limitations cover general concerns, there are also some more specific issues addressed in the FAQ section of the Eternal Earth-Bound Pets website. (The best part of the FAQ is the very first question: “Is this a joke?”) The FAQ takes on tricky hypotheticals like this one: “What if one of my family members are left behind. Will you still take posession of my pet?” Now, incorrect verb tense and misspelling of “possession” aside, this is a valid question. And here’s their well-crafted response:
That depends. When the rescuer arrives, if your loved one wants to retain possesion of the pet, the pet stays in the home. We expect in these circumstances that the pet will offer the family member some comfort and stability given the trauma of what has occurred. If the family member prefers, we will adopt the pet per our contract.
That’s really sweet of them to think about your sinful, forgotten family member in that circumstance. It’s also really great that they managed to find a completely different way to misspell possession. (Seriously – apparently Bart Centre doesn’t believe in God or spell check.)
However, while that scenario covers what happens if the black sheep of your family doesn’t get raptured up, there’s any even trickier hypothetical problem to consider. What happens if the person who signed the contract thought God was going to be calling him/her up on Judgment Day, but ends up getting left off the guest list? The website offers this disclaimer: “If subscriber loses his/her faith and/or the Rapture occurs and subscriber is not Raptured (aka is ‘left behind’) EE-BP disclaims any liability; no refund will be tendered.”
While the website does a great job covering all of these potential gray areas, I’m still a bit troubled by the whole concept. Why are our nation’s pets getting left behind on Judgment Day? I understand snakes not getting called up after those shenanigans they pulled in the Garden of Eden. We all know how angry birds can get over their never-ending war with pigs, and since wrath is one of the seven deadly sins, it makes sense that they aren’t making it in. And cats, with their belief in nine consecutive lives, are clearly Buddhists trapped in the continuous cycle of saṃsāra until they reach enlightenment.
But what about dogs? Their name spelled backwards is God, shouldn’t that count for something? And, more importantly, Hollywood assured me years ago that All Dogs Go to Heaven. They were so confident that this was the case that they even made All Dogs Go to Heaven 2. So unless Dom DeLuise and Burt Reynolds were lying to me (which seems highly unlikely), clearly something has happened between then and now to get dogs relegated to the naughty list. What happened? Was it all the poker playing?
Also, who’s to say that your pets actually need rescuing? Just because the Four Horsemen are reigning terror down upon the streets and the seas have turned to blood doesn’t mean that Fluffy can’t fend for himself. Have you ever seen The Adventures of Milo and Otis? Milo was able to take on bears, seagulls and all sorts of other perils all by himself (with a little help from Otis there at the end, of course).
So fear not, God-fearer. When the big day comes, your pets will be just fine on their own. It may be the end of the world for you, but for your cuddly little friend, the adventure is just beginning.
Joel Murphy is the creator of HoboTrashcan, which is probably why he has his own column. He loves pugs, hates Jimmy Fallon and has an irrational fear of robots. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.