I don't know what's out there, beyond my line of sight right here in this world. I don't have any answers or strong opinions about the afterlife, except I don't believe we should attempt to understand the mind/heart of God, if there is one.
I read the details of a study in Discover magazine some time ago about how people — even non-dog people — can interpret a dog's intention by the sound of its bark, its posture, its facial expression. And, it turns out, dogs are very good at understanding a human's intention, too. We have a symbiotic relationship, dogs and humans, and the deal between our two species benefits us both. Humans get some level of protection, and someone to clean up the leftovers; dogs get fed and housed; and we both get companionship. The deep love and understanding, in my opinion, is real and enhances our lives.
Because of this arrangement, and the wonderful, intricate history our two species have, IF there's a heaven, I cannot see how dogs could be excluded. They are part of our society, and I don't think God, if there is a god, would want us to be without them after we die, if there's something after we die, or else we wouldn't have them here on earth with us, even if for all too brief a spell.
So, today, I remember Lacey, my friend for 15 years. I will always miss her. She was a good one. And because of that, I hope she's in a good place now.