As I sit here, cuddling my cat in my arms, I think of this.
Most of the world has pets of some kind. Either domestic pets like cats and dogs that live in our house or outdoor animals to care for like horses, cows, chickens, goats, etc.
When God gave us charge of animals in Genesis Chapter 1, He knew exactly what He was doing.
Research has shown what animals do for us: calm us, offer up companionship and love, provide warmth, comfort, and compassion, give us something to cry on, something to hold onto, something to love…
They prolong our life by giving us something to live for. They are loyal. They protect us. They’ll take a bullet for us. Defend us if we need it. Kill mice that enter our home. Purr so the house is not so quiet.
I could go on and on…
Seeing a bald eagle soar over the skies inbibes me with magic and majesty and a sense that this world is alright despite what you hear on the news.
Animals in nature are splendid. Gorgeous. Perfect. Doing what God created them to do. The perfect example of living for their basic needs in the present moment and no more. How we should live.
Out of all of God’s gifts to mankind, this has to rank near the top. Giving us something to live for outside of ourselves especially when we are old, alone, and sometimes forsaken…
This is why I believe all dogs (and cats) go to heaven…
God is great. God is good. God is omniscient, omnipotent, wonderful.
When you start to doubt anything about God, hug your pet. Guaranteed God is there with you…
When God created the universe, death did not exist. Life abounded. There were not predators and no prey. All lived in the Garden of Eden with every need provided: food, water, and shelter. Life was perfect.
Then man sinned. He ate of the forbidden tree, the Tree of Knowledge of good and evil. God cursed man, banishing him from the Garden, bringing death to all. Hence, all creation suffers because of man’s sin.
When I held my dyingdogs in my arms, I blamed myself for their pain, suffering, and death. I look at my cats, all of whom are aging rapidly, and think, “They are gonna die because of me”. All innocent creatures who live in the moment that God gave us to care for and we are completely incapable of caring for them. I feel like I let them down when they die.
My kids and I have been reading a lot of books about animals. Extinct animals and endangered animals come up a lot. For example, the tiger. One of the most magnificent animals God has created and we kill them for their coats and gall bladders. So few left…
I just read on line how only three northern white rhinos are in existence today–all killed by man for their horns. Their horns! It would be like killing humans for their hair.
Extinct animals: the Dodo bird, the Passenger pigeon, the Tasmanian tiger, the Great Auk, the Baiji White Dolphin, Steller’s Sea Cow, the West African Black Rhino, the Pinta Island Tortoise–all at the hands of man.
Almost extinct animals: The Javan Rhinoceros, Hawaiian Monk Seal, the Mountain Gorilla, the Island Fox, the Bactrian Camel, Philippine Eagle, California Condor, Amur Leopard, Sumatran Rhino, Vaquita, Kakapo, Iberian Lynx, Siamese Crocodile, and so many, many more.
Yet in the midst of this I see God. I see how God created us and everything to reflect Him and His greatness. No where is this more miraculous than in the birth of a newborn baby–human or animal. This is all despite our sin.
This makes me yearn for heaven and Jesus to come again–to end the pain and the suffering and the sin of man who cannot stop sinning without Jesus.
Death is the hardest part of life in my opinion. Not necessarily my own death because once I’m gone it doesn’t affect me. Death of those around us since we have to go on living…
I pray to enjoy those around me while I can. To not take one moment for granted. To hold my kitties a little tighter. To kiss my kids more. To spend more time with my family. To do what I can to stop the death of endangered species (by not buying their products number one) and supporting those capable of lending aid. And yes, for Jesus to come again–the ultimate end to this Fallen World.
Last night, I lost my almost 13 year-old English Mastiff.
I knew he was dying. He told me so in his own words. He wouldn’t move. He wouldn’t eat. He wouldn’t drink. He cried. But only because he wanted me by his side–not because he was sad or fearful or in pain.
I often wonder if dogs know when their time is up. Having watched two of my pups die, they get a look in their eyes that says, “Momma, it’s time.”
I sat with him last night until I could take it no more. He knew I was there. That’s all that mattered to him.
I woke this morning and first thing I checked. And I knew instantly…
The vet called this morning. I made my husband answer the phone and tell her.
I am only consoled by the life he led. It was good. REAL good. God put this creature in my life to care for and I did.
He was my misunderstood dog. Big. But afraid of people. Loving. But only to his “pack”. Demanding when it was time to eat. Quiet and content otherwise. No one else wanted him. But I did. And it goes without saying: loyal to the end.
He was a good, good dog. He will forever be missed. But he will forever be in my heart–with me wherever I go.
He’s with his sister now. They are running and playing together again. Awaiting me to join them. But having all the patience in the world…
I know he is happy. Content. At peace now. And loving me from above. I love you, my sweet, sweet pup. Forever.
I got a call yesterday from my sister who wanted me to go with her to put her dog down. He has been sick for a while. He has problems breathing. He has seizures. I guess he had a seizure that morning that convinced my sister it was time. I agreed to go with her. To support her. After all, it wasn’t my dog.
She picks me up at my house (we live 5 minutes from each other) and her dog, Hobbit, a cute, fluffy white Pomeranian, is in the front seat. He appears just as happy as can be. I get in and hold him. I give him lots of love and pets.
The vet is only another 3 minutes from my house. We get out and he’s happy. He walks fine. He does his business. My sister lavishes him with bacon she cooked. He appears perfectly fine and normal and healthy.
We enter the vets office and are greeted with a friendly, “How are you?” My sister almost loses it. The receptionist realizes her mistake immediately.
We wait. Hobbit is fine. Happy. Unknowing of what is to come. I observe him. Devoted as all dogs are. Completely and totally trusting in us. Never doubting. Never questioning.
We are taken back. My sister is crying. I’m trying not to. The vet comes in and explains euthanasia and what to expect. First a sedative to put the dog to sleep. Then an injection which will stop the heart. He will breathe his last breath.
Hobbit is happy, walking around, eating treats. My sister holds him as she administers the sedative. In about 10 minutes, he is asleep. He is so calm and oblivious to all that is happening around him. He does not know he won’t wake up. He does not know he is going to a better place. And he does not care. For he is a dog, a lower animal that only lives moment by moment, and for him, he is just sleepy. So he sleeps.
I fight the urge to whisk Hobbit out of her arms and dog-nap him. For to me he is fine. Only my sister knows how much pain and suffering he is in. Still, there’s a part of me who wants to rescue him from his fate–a fate we all have and none of us can be rescued from. But that hope is what keeps me alive at least…
The vet comes back in. My sister puts the dog on a table as they shave a place to find a vein to administer the fatal dose. She is uncontrollably crying. She pets him and kisses him his last as the vet pushes the plunger in. In under 30 seconds, Hobbit is gone. It is sad and I cry. I kiss the dog. I tell him what a good dog he is/was. I tell him he will play with my dog, Bay, who died almost two years ago to the day. Oh, how I miss her!
I think of my 12-year old ancient English Mastiff at home who will be alive when I return. Who is ailing himself. Whom I love with all my heart. Who is having trouble walking and standing. But who takes it all in stride. Who cries when he wants me to pet him because he can no longer come to me. But who is happy each and every moment of his remaining days. I know not how much longer I will have him but I hope and I pray God takes him and not me. So then he can be with his sister and Hobbit too. So he too can have his body back and he can run like the wind again and he can play with the kids in heaven and bring them joy–as he has done to me down here.
We walk out. My sister says “Well, that’s over.” And I say ironically and melancholy, “Yeah, now we get to go on with our lives,” sadness consuming me as we’ve left a companion behind who no longer has theirs.
I love dogs. I love owning dogs. But I hate it when they get old. I can hardly stand it. I know they are dying because of our sins and it eats at me. It does.
Some say it is good to see life and death and to accept it. I say they are crazy. It should be unacceptable that all things die because of our sins. It should sadden you. It should make you want to repent and turn to Him even more.
My sister will have her dog cremated and a paw print made. She will keep him for now. As I have kept mine who sits on a bookshelf in my house, silently watching over our family and our dogs, always abiding in my heart. I miss her, but she is alive in my memories and thanks be to God in my kids’ memories as well.
Yesterday, I experienced death when I didn’t want to. And I learned Hobbit was my dog as well as are all living creatures. He was a sweet, sweet puppy who lived a good, faithful, happy life, which is what gives me comfort. He will be missed and remembered by those around him. But more importantly he is in a better place, waiting faithfully for his owners to join him.
We are in the market for a new pet again. My pup needs a friend to play with. My son wants a cat. So we head to the local humane society to look at kitties. One we are interested in is 8 years old and cute as can be. Very people-oriented. Loved on all of us when we held her.
She was surrendered by her owner who had owned her since she was a kitten for one reason only: she meows too much. According to him, she meows so much he can’t sleep and the neighbors were putting notes on his door due to the noise. I was disgusted. A member of the family FOR EIGHT YEARS given up because it was an inconvenience to the owner.
One dog we saw on craigslist that was up for “rehoming” (which is such bull. Rehoming should be “don’t want anymore”) because it wouldn’t walk on a leash without pulling and lunging for other dogs and the owner wanted a “nice” dog he could take to the dog park and not have to worry about. They had owned this dog for two years. Beautiful, full-blooded mastiff. I was sickened as well. And they want money! They want to be rewarded for their ineptitude!
Pets are just like people–they come with individual personalities and problems. One of our cats we got from the humane society likes people food and roams the counters all the time. She is also our lap cat. Our other cat does not like to be picked up but loves to sit in the bathroom with you and sleep next to you at night. He lays in windows and purrs constantly.
Our puppy, like most puppies, has a chew problem. She chews stuff left out. She chewed our $3000 couch! She also cries every time I leave the house. But are we getting rid of her because of it? Emphatically no! She is a part of our family and I will love her and care for her till the end. So are the older cats we adopted.
We are renters. Our pets go with us. I’m tired of posts on craigslist saying “I moved into an apartment and can’t keep my dog anymore. She needs a yard to roam around in.” Then you shouldn’t have gotten a dog in the first place! Our dogs go with us (and, yes, even to apartments we have rented) no matter what. I would never give them up. Despite the sometimes outrageous pet deposits and the limited places to rent with pets. Yes, I have had landlords hang up on me once they found out we owned mastiffs. I don’t want to rent from them anyways!
The United States does not have a pet population problem–it has an owner problem. Irresponsible owners who want pets only when it is convenient for them but give them up as soon as it becomes “inconvenient”. As soon as a needy cat decides to meow because it’s left alone all day. As soon as a dog is not a “trophy” dog and pulls too much. As soon as the idea of work is involved and dog training is something “I don’t have time for”, the dog is gone and probably forgotten.
I am also tired of people thinking the rules don’t apply to them. At soccer yesterday, no dogs are allowed at the soccer complex. Yet here’s a lady, walking her boxer right by the sign that says “no dogs allowed”. The scary thing is she has her 4 year old daughter with her. What is she teaching her? She’s just lucky we were too far away and I wasn’t dressed officially or I would have had to say something.
Pets and dogs especially aren’t “show animals” that get you attention or make you feel better about yourself…
I’m just so saddened really. And these are just two stories. There are hundreds and probably thousands more. My heart bleeds. I want to rescue all of them and upbraid their owners but I can’t. And the upbraiding I’m sure wouldn’t do any good.
Not for sure why I am sharing. Venting really (and thanks for listening!) as I have no solution. I wish I did…
I pray for these people that they’d have a change of heart. I also pray they don’t get any more pets until they do. I pray some day I’ll sell a book and can donate more money to unwanted pet organizations who rescue these animals and find them a forever home where they will be loved and cherished, idiosyncrasies and all.
For now, I do my part. Trying to convince my husband we should adopt another cat (which would make three). And get another dog (that would be three as well). My husband is against the idea because we are renters and it’s not our home.
And I post my thoughts and my heart-ache to you all. Which helps me. And maybe encourages you to help where you can (either adopting or donating). For collectively we can make a difference much more than individually…
For God gave Adam domain over all animals (Genesis 1:26). And we need to honor that responsibility and care for God’s creatures.
Every living creature is precious in God’s eyes. So should they be in ours as well.
My dog died. Although I have another to ease her passing, I still miss her presence in my life. But she is alive in my memory and we talk of her often.
Her brother is one year older. He’s 11 too, the same age she was when she died. He’s doing good, but definitely showing his age. Sometimes I think he looks at his new sister and wishes he could have her legs again.