Luke 16:21 – And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man's table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. (KJV)
When out walking my dog, I know how beneficial it can be to all parties involved, to make introductions all around — dogs to dogs, humans to humans, dogs to humans. It just settles the air ahead of time and allows the humans to address the dogs (or other animals for that matter) by name when next they meet — and especially should they meet one day minus their human counterpart.
One dog in particular that lies on its porch as I pass every day is a beautiful, friendly, gentle animal. Sally loves people and wags her tail when she sees someone coming. She used to bark a beautiful "Hello" as I gave her a good-morning greeting in return.
Although she has loving, caring owners, they tried to train her not to bark. In the early days of training, as she barked her hello upon my passing by, she'd get a stiff rebuke. Even to exchange looks, she'd wag her tail and come out with a bark, so although it was heartbreaking, I stopped looking at her in hopes her "Hellos" would cease and she wouldn't get reprimanded.
That didn't work either. She'd lie in wait for me, watching until I was just about at the corner of their lot and then send out a soft little "woof" as if in plea not to be ignored. She knew she'd get called in but was obviously willing to accept that. So the only other thing to do was acknowledge respect for what they were doing but to request them to, "Please let Sally say, 'Hello.'"
There is now much literature to support the healing power of pets. They are allowed in all sorts of institutions either as residents or as guests at designated times. They soothe the lonely, the seniors, the sick; they become ears for the deaf, eyes for the blind. They alert epileptics of oncoming seizures, send signals for those in distress. To be able to interact with the animal kingdom is truly a gift from God. Why then, would we not acknowledge their worth, their presence and what it means to have them in our lives?
Prayer: Our Heavenly Father, we thank you for the gift of friendship, warmth, and love we receive from your creatures in the animal kingdom. May we treat them with the same respect we've come to expect them to have for us. In Your name we pray. Amen.