Once upon a time a good man died. Then he woke up riding his favorite horse, old Bob, with another good one, Cheyenne, trailing along and with three of his best dogs; Spot, Tiger and Racer trotting beside them.
'Okay, this isn't so bad', he thought. 'I know I'm dead but I'm here with all my best friends on a nice road to somewhere.'
So they continued along for a while and he realized that he was thirsty for something. Then he saw a gate in the distance. It was very fancy, painted white and there was a magnificent angel with a halo and big white wings sitting there at a big ornate desk with lots of books in front of him. One was open and he was writing in it.
"Hello!" the angel said. "Welcome, welcome."
"Well, hello." The man got off the horse and went up to the gate. "What's this all about?"
"You're at Heaven's Gate." The angel smiled up at him. "You have earned your just reward. Come on in."
He pushed the gate open and started to enter leading his friends.
"Oh, I'm sorry. You misunderstand. The animals can't come."
He stopped immediately and looked at the angel. "What?"
"Animals don't have souls, so they can't come in. You have to leave them behind."
The man thought a moment then closed the gate. "Sorry, if they don't come, I don't come."
The angel shook his head. "If you say so. Goodbye"
So the man continued walking down the road. They crossed a bridge and went up a little hill. There was another gate, smaller and unpainted, and another angel sitting at an old wooden desk. He had some file cabinets behind it and a notebook in front of him. His robes were homespun and his wings were a nice soft grey color. He smiled up at the man. "Welcome, come on in and get some water."
The man looked at him and pushed the gate open. "Can my pals come?" He asked hesitantly.
"Of course, they've waited a long time for you. They should be with you."
So he entered the gate and there was a watering trough for the horse, a bowl for the dog and a pitcher for him. They all relaxed and rested by the gate visiting with the kindly angel.
"Well, my friend, welcome to Heaven. You've just crossed the Rainbow bridge and if you go along this path you'll see lots of your old friends waiting for you."
"Thank you, I appreciate this." he paused. "You know there some fancy outfit down the road claiming to be Heaven and stealing your customers."
The Angel smiled at him. "No, they're only doing us a favor, weeding out the undeserving. Your best friends left their own paradise to get you, guide you here, and be with you for eternity. But if you abandon them along the way for a fancy gate and some well dressed impostor, you don't deserve to be in Heaven after all." He stood up and dusted off his simple robe. "They're the ones doing the picking, I'm just the welcome wagon."