The week I am writing this we are about to pick up a new puppy! We sadly lost our eldest dog, Woody, at the beginning of the year and it seems the right timing to get a puppy now. This will be puppy number 7 for us, since we married in 1986, and I can’t imagine ever being without a dog in the house!
This is a perfect time of year to be welcoming a new life, just as we observe the new life all around us in nature. Also as we approach the Easter season and the time when we remember the sacrifice Jesus made for all creation, and, of course his resurrection, that offers ‘new life’ to all – celebrated on Easter Sunday.
At Keston church we have been reading a book about creation and the environment through the season of Lent. It is the Archbishop’s Lent book for this year – ‘Say Yes to Life’ by Ruth Valerio. In it we are learning that Jesus came to redeem, and renew, all of creation. It is renewing our thinking around how we can care for the environment. We have had good discussions on recycling, buying ethically, providing for wildlife and campaigning for change.
Pets seem to keep us in touch with creation as they can remind us of how amazing all of God creation is, and of our part in caring for it. Anatole France, French poet, journalist, and novelist said: “Until on has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.”
Pets become so much a part of the family and give us so much, friendship, comfort and unconditional love – they awaken something within us and somehow enable us to express emotion we might not have otherwise released. Several people I’ve spoken to have said how they have been exceptionally upset at the loss of a pet.
Pets can teach us to: live in the present, be grateful, make time to play, get outside for a walk, forgive instantly and not hold grudges, accept ourselves, be loyal and trustworthy, love unconditionally.
Keeping a pet is good for health and wellbeing they can also teach us a lot about being kind. Some pets are so sensitive to our emotional state that is we get upset or angry they can become distressed too. With the recent campaign to be kind to one another our pets can teach us that kindness really does create a peaceful environment.
Those things we can learn from our pets make me realise that my pets really are a gift from God, because they are all the things the Bible teaches us too!