“Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened”
My family had pets growing up. I’m not so sure that mom could have done without them. She didn’t have too many animals growing up, I think they had a siamese cat once… She didn’t come from an animal family. So, it stands to reason that she could have done without them. But, dad liked them. He didn’t really like cats much, but he let us have one or two anyways. So, combine a dad that liked animals, with a kids that wanted them and a mom that went with it, and we had animals and had much added joy and stories and memories to our childhoods. We had, dogs, cats, gerbils, birds, chickens, rabbits, horses and fish. He drew the line when we wanted an elephant, and cows, no cows.
Animals were made for us to watch over and care for and I think the Lord loves them, He made a whole lot of them! They do bring joy to our lives if we allow them too. They are a lot of work, time and money, but I feel the pay out to have a good dog or two and maybe a kitty or two with an occasional pet the kids just want for the “fun of it”, is a good pay out. It teaches the kids responsibility, work ethic, problem solving, gentleness and compassion, and makes them laugh a whole lot! Not to mention, when annoying things happen with pets, it leaves a story to tell. Yep, you can turn the annoying things pets do, like run off sometimes, or chew up something into memories. One of our dogs loved to walk around chewing wads of bubblegum left by my brothers on the book shelf! Another one ate a whole plate of brownies and some lemon bars and left a turkey untouched. We had one that was obsessed with tennis balls and anything that looked like one. We had a dog that chased us around the house in tag, ( this was a game for when mom wasn’t home!) One of our dogs chewed up a brand new bath robe that was left by the mail man on the front porch.. I was pretty ticked about that one. Dogs went on vacation, to church, to friends houses and day trips.
They were a part of our pack.
Animals teach us about life and death. Its hard to love again when your love has been squelched by death, but we can and we do love again. I think we can be afraid of the future pain of losing our furry friends, so we just don’t invest ourselves in them, and think we are saving ourselves pain, when really, we are robbing ourselves of joy. Animals are not the same as humans, and having them, we need to remember that. Our society is ok with people putting animals on the same level as humans, and that is not ok. I’m afraid we are out of balance on that. Animals were made for our enjoyment and pleasure, not the other way around. I have no problem finding a different home for an animal that is not working out for our family. Its best for us, and the animal. (then I go try and find one that does work!)
We have a puppy right now. She is like having a baby. But, with our kids ages that they are, it couldn’t be more perfect timing. They love her, help take her out or for walks, they play with her, and they never seem to tire of their dogs and cats. Its really the best toy in the world and they teach so much we never realize.
“Animals are reliable, many full of love, true in their affections, predictable in their actions, grateful and loyal. Difficult standards for people to live up to.”
– Alfred A. Montapert
Animals should never take the place of humans in our lives. They should be a supplement and a piece of Joy wrapped in fur. Yep, they make messes, they do naughty things sometimes, but I really think they are worth the most the trouble they dish out.
I am forever grateful for my parents putting up with the pets I asked for and for giving me the support I needed as a child to help take care of them. We all know that when we get our children pets, we really have to assume the ultimate responsibility for them. Its a sacrifice financially and time wise.
I was once watching a news special about a prison that allowed the prisoners to adopt cats and work to take care of them. Apparently, for some reason, the prison had a huge number of homeless cats that snuck in thru the fences.The men acted as gentle as church mice with them and loved them. It was a huge therapy for the prisoners.
Animals keep me pliable in a way. Taking care of them and touching them and acknowledging their existence, it does do something to my heart. ( not to mention, lowering our blood pressure). We can change in good ways when we allow ourselves to love a creature the Lord has made.
And now, I will take my puppy outside to go potty…
note: I am in no way saying in this post that everyone should or can have an animal. It really doesn’t work out for everyone and isn’t possible to do, due to time, finances and space. What I am saying, is check to see if you have a real excuse, or are you just telling your kids no because you are thinking only of yourself?…