Oh, the utter joy they bring us. Regardless of what kind of pet one has, many of us cannot imagine life without a member of the family with fur and four legs or even with scales and fins.
For all my 73 years there has seldom been a time I have been without such a pet. I remember our cat Smokey. I purchased my first coffee maker with a timer that would have my coffee waiting for me as I awakened each day. My idea was that I could set it so the coffee would be down and warming, about a half hour before the alarm went off. Smokey had other ideas.
At the first drip, he would come to the head of the bed, my head to be exact, and start gnawing at my scalp to wake me up. Of course, he won the race for that first cup, and I would sip the dark brew, watching the sun rise, stroking his beautiful silver-grey coat. Those were some of the most peaceful mornings as God spoke through the sunrise and Smokey comforted me through the most challenging of times.
I never thought I could love a rodent. Then came Slinky, my sons’ gold and black brindle Guinea Pig. Once the boys had gone to bed, it was Mom’s time with the family pet. I would bring Slinky out of his cage away from his beloved gerbil’s wheel, and he would climb on my shoulder burrowing under my long hair and sleep next to my neck as I read. Again the peace that is delivered by God through even the tiniest of his creatures was present.
Well…there was the time that the poor lady canvassing for Heart and Stroke very nearly had one as I answered the door forgetting Slinky was on my shoulder. He poked his little head out to see who was there and the dear woman was startled to say the least. Some of the memorable times our pets give us can be questionable, but it seems, at least in my case, those are caused more by my poor judgement than what the pet does naturally.
Undeniably, my favorite pets have always had a panting tongue and a wagging tail. Yup. I’m a dog person.
First were Tippy Tail Turner I and Tippy Tail Turner II. They were Beagles, thus the names. We ran the country roads playing together and hid when things were rough at home. Then came Sandy, a golden Heinz 57 variety mutt. Her owner had passed away and she had been bequeathed to live with my sister’s landlady. My sister was away at Teacher’s College at the time. The landlady’s dislike for her inheritance was obvious through her mean treatment of the dog, and Liz came back one weekend begging our parents to bring the dog home.
They agreed and we all thought the landlady would be thrilled. However… she wanted to ask the original owner first…and she was dead. My sister was asked to sit in on the séance with her friends, where the permission of the previous owner was apparently to be secured. Liz did so for the love of Sandy. A Sunday School teacher, my sister said she sat at the table, eyes closed, head lowered, praying every minute that God would forgive her and let Sandy come home. God won.
Sandy was such a comfort to me in my early teenage years. When life got tough, we would walk over to the local ice cream stand. She ate her ice cream and delicately nibbled at the cone and listening attentively, cocking her little head, as I recited all my teenage angst. I never doubted that God had spared Sandy through all her trials, so she could help me through mine.
As a Mom, I made sure my sons got to experience the same. Shepherds and mutts, we loved them all. Each had their own personality and served us well.
Wendy Francisco freely shares the perfect song to describe our experience.
I look up and I see God, I look down and see my dog.
Simple spelling G O D, same word backwards, D O G.
They would stay with me all day. I’m the one who walks away.
But both of them just wait for me, and dance at my return with glee.
Both love me no matter what – divine God and canine mutt.
I take it hard each time I fail, but God forgives, dog wags his tail.
God thought up and made the dog, dog reflects a part of God.
I’ve seen love from both sides now, it’s everywhere, amen, bow wow.
I look up and I see God, I look down and see my dog.
And in my human frailty…I can’t match their love for me. C2009 Wendy J Francisco
Today, my husband and I have the companionship of what could be our very last canine companion. Mr. Muggles is our third Bichon Frise and he carries on the tradition of representing God’s daily comfort to us proudly.
For all of us who share a love for our pets, we honor them and their unconditional love for us today. We thank God for the tender mercies he shows by giving us such a tangible way to understand that he too is always loyal, always forgives our oh so human errors, and always is glad to welcome us home.
I invite you to enjoy Francisco’s wonderful little video.
Whether you are praying the stations of the day, in need of resources for rest, hoping to spark joy and find wonder, or simply want to enjoy beautiful prayers, poetry, and art – our digital downloads section has many options! Christine Sine’s book Rest in the Moment is designed to help you find those pauses throughout the day. Praying through the hours or watches, you may find inspiration in our prayer cards set Prayers for the Day or Pause for the Day. You may find your curiosity piqued in the free poetry and art download Haiku Book of Hours. All this and more can be found in our shop!