Monday, May 10, 2010
“Then God said, “Let Us make man to rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth” -Gen. 1:26
Why did God create animals? I’m not exactly sure, but I do know that God loves relationship. Pets are great for bringing out the best in friendships and companionship. Pets are great for any family. If it is at all possible, have a pet in your home. Throughout my life, pets have been great teachers and friends. I realize that not everyone raising a family is in an environment where pets are possible, but if you can, own a dog or cat or something. Stats show that about 60% of American families have pets with 40% owning dogs and 30% cats.
Growing up, we had a cocker Spaniel names Rusty. I had many conversations with that dog when we went to play down at the “woods,” as we called it. He was a great companion, a faithful friend, and someone who loved me unconditionally all the time. When he ran away, I learned how to let go of something I loved. When he mysteriously came back 2 days later, I learned how to be thankful for an unexpected gift. When we had to have him “put to sleep” at 16, I learned about death being a part of life. I learned how to let go again and I had a priceless talk with my dad about death.
Jeanie and I have had 3 Labrador retrievers and 2 cats in our family here in Branson. Our dogs, Josie, Maggie, and now Kipp, have been great. Josie died at 16 and was a great babysitter for our Elizabeth and Eric. Maggie was hit by a car at 3 years old and was used as an opportunity to teach our kids about death. And now Kipp is 9 years old and a blast. Our cats, Cookie and Tigger are…well…cats. Cookie decided to leave home one day and never came back. Elizabeth, then 10 years old, cried and cried. We then got Tigger who is 15 years old and has always been a grouchy cat. Tigger teaches me to love unconditionally (because trust me, that cat contributes nothing to us as a family)!
Animals are simply God’s gift to children and adults to enjoy. Do all dogs go to heaven? I’m thinking not, but I have a feeling it won't matter in the bigger scope of what's in store. But in the meantime, down here on earth, embrace pets.
My message to you neat-freak parents that don't want a pet because of the “mess they create” is “get over it.” Remember, you’re growing kids, not a spotless home or a perfect yard. Sure, animals require some work and maintenance, but use them in a way to teach your kids responsibility, ownership, compassion and love. If you have a dog, teach him. Dogs are the happiest when they’re trained and they’re more fun to be around.
So, if you’re part of the 40% of households without a pet, buy or adopt one and you’ll add a valuable member to the family.
by Joseph Staples ©