One of the blessings of being not only the son but the grandson of veterinarians, is that I have always been around animals. I have also walked the journey from breeding to birthing through training, and being with the critters during their last moments of life. Truth be told, whether you want to call it the “birds and the bees” of the life cycle, I experienced most of it at an early age through animals.
As the old saying goes, “Dog is man’s best friend.” For a number of people, their dog, cat, horse, gerbil, or pet of any kind, is one of the closest companions they have in their lives. There is undoubtedly a connection with the critters we share our lives with that for many is as deep as that they share with their own kind.
Three wonderful and very personal examples of the bond we share with animals:
Our eldest son, like his parents, has never not had a dog in his life. Last spring when he decided he was ready to move to apartment living, he also decided that it was time for him to get his own dog. As you might imagine, lots of conversations ensued with his parents. In the end, he rescued a puppy and the joy (and life lessons about full responsibility for another) has been life changing for him.
My mother-in-law has also been a dog person all of her life. This last spring she lost her much loved golden retriever. My father-in-law passed away a little over five years ago, and with the death of her pooch, my mother-in-law was alone for the first time in her life. That was until last week. After an all-family exhaustive search, a wonderful 2-year-old golden retriever found himself a new home. Immediately, my mother-in-law seemed five years younger.
Earlier this week, one of my dearest friends called to tell me of the death of his faithful dog of 13 years. He was sad – I was sad. We remembered, we reminisced, we joked about their daily routine. They shared much of the journey and much love, and she will be missed like all good friends and companions are when they leave their earthly life. And in the end, there is a sense of blessing for all of the above.
On more than one occasion kids have asked me if their pets go to heaven. Clearly, the heart of the question is just like folks hopes and prayers for their human loved ones: “Is my loved one in a good place? And will I see them again?”
“And God said, ‘Let the earth bring forth living creatures of every kind: cattle and creeping things and wild animals of the earth of every kind.’ And it was so. God made the wild animals of the earth of every kind, and the cattle of every kind, and everything that creeps upon the ground of every kind. And God saw that it was good.” Genesis 1:24