Genesis 1:25 – And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that it was good. (KJV)
Psalm 36:6 – Thy righteousness is like the great mountains; thy judgments are a great deep: O Lord, thou preservest man and beast. (KJV)
Like so many others, after having had the experience of loving and losing two dogs to death through injury and old age, I'd vowed "never" to get another one.
But after our second daughter went to university, I considered getting another dog "to keep our third daughter company". A co-worker coaxed me into seeing the new puppies of a mutual friend looking to find them a good home. I went, I saw, I took our daughter to see. We were conquered.
Who could resist the cuddly little five-week-old ball of fur that fit in the cup of our hand? Not me. Not our daughter. I put down the $25.00 and she was ours.
And as is often the case, she became more my dog than something of a "substitute" for the daughters gone off to university to the daughter still at home. My friend and I called her "Carley" after Carly Simon, a favourite singer from the 'sixties.
We shared many, many good times. We walked every day until her weakening heart held her back. She loved to snuggle on top of the bed when my husband wasn't around. We both pretended she didn't, when he was.
Whenever we were away, she was with friends who had a dog-sitting business, and who loved her as much as I. She was with them when she died, while I was away babysitting in the fall. Carley was thirteen and a half.
Often over the next couple of months, people would ask, "Where's your little dog?" and were most kind at my reply that she had died.
Sometimes the PrayerLine requests a prayer for someone suffering the loss of their beloved pet — usually a young person. And sometimes, people don't place a lot of importance on some ol' dog that's died. Because losing a pet can't possibly be nearly as important as losing a loved one, can it? Pets can always be replaced, can't they? And God doesn't have a special place for our pets, does He?
God created our pets as surely as He created us, and their importance to each of us is known the best between we three: God, our pets, and us. And no, they're not replaceable, but some of the space they held in our hearts can serve to soothe another in time.
Does God have a special place for our pets? Yes — in our hearts and in our memories.
Prayer: Thank You, God, for the vast variety of animals, fish, birds, and bugs that we may choose to have as pets. Thank You for giving us the ability to love them, and to learn from them. And, when it is time that they must leave, grant us Your grace to say "goodbye". In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.