A kindly old man died peacefully and found himself resurrected in the middle of a country road. And behold! Running toward him was his favorite dog!
He knelt and embraced his long lost pet in tearful reunion. After some time, the dog seemed anxious to walk the road in what seemed to be the direction of the rising sun. The man followed.
Before long, they came to a fence of wrought gold, with pearly gates, behind which there stood mansion upon mansion. The gatekeeper, a tall man in flowing white robes, greeted the man, and welcomed him to enter.
"But what exactly is this place?" said the man, who had been a lifelong believer.
"This," said the gatekeeper, is Heaven. But you'll have to leave him outside. We have a strict no-pets policy."
The man stood in confusion for some moments. His face became grim. "No thanks," he said. "I'll take my chances with my dog."
For a long time, the man and his dog wandered down the road. At last they came to an unpretentious farming community with no fences or gates of any kind. What appeared to be a contented old farmer was sitting on a stool next to an old-fashioned hand operated water pump. The dog ran up to the farmer, who petted him, and gave him some water.
"Where is this place?" asked the man.
"This is Heaven," answered the farmer. "It's all around you. You've been in it, or at least the outskirts of it ever since you died."
"But that fellow back yonder behind the pearly gates said that place was Heaven." replied the man.
"Nah, that's Hell," replied the farmer. "We leave the entrance there to weed out the hypocrites who'd leave their best friend behind."