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“Pet” Project

February 18th, 2009

Focus Text: Proverbs 12: 10 (NLT)

 10 The godly care for their animals,
      but the wicked are always cruel.


Stop Here and Reflect Before Reading Ahead

Historically, I’ve never been much of a “pet” person.  We had dogs when I was a little boy, but they were “outside” dogs . . . mutts that were cute as puppies, but eventually grew into full-grown animals who continually spread garbage and debris from our trash cans and their personal colonic deposits all over the yard.  Don’t get me wrong, I still loved those dogs, but there was no lifelong euphoric bond forged between them and I . . . in other words, my childhood was no “Old Yeller” tale.

Furthermore, we had a strict “no dogs in the house” policy that was adhered to by all members of the household.  We provided for our canine companions with great care.  Food.  Water.  Shelter.  Extra shelter or warmth on extremely cold nights.  Playtime.  All in all, we were good dog owners.

Coming from an “outside” dog mentality, you can only imagine my dismay when my wife began kicking around the idea that we should get an inside dog.  Inside dog?  Ummm, not so sure about that.  Shedding and pooping and yapping and incessant jumping . . . and not to mention what the dog will do . . . and I digress.  She had an answer for each issue.  Well, this breed is hypoallergenic, doesn’t shed, is easily potty-trained, and isn’t “yippy” at all.  Great.

I was still skeptical to say the least.  So, she convinced me to go to a breeder’s house in town.  Waiting in the living room, I had no idea that I was about to be ambushed.  The breeder came into the room holding a tiny little puppy- jet black and shivering in gentle timidity.  The runt of the litter and the only black dog among them.  A bichon-poodle . . . you know, manly!

My wife obviously melted from the first moment, while I remained stoic and resolute . . . yeah right; he was pretty cute.  Quickly I knew that I would not be getting out of that house without a canine in tow . . . it was him or me.  Conveniently, the breeder began discussing a price that was one-hundred and fifty dollars more than we originally thought.  From the look in my wife’s eyes, it was the easiest money ever made.

As you’ve probably read already in past blogs, that little dog became our beloved Brutus.  He grew to nine pounds of pure canine masculinity.  Truth be told, he is the gentlest animal I’ve every observed.  Loyal to a tee and always excited to see you, many a night as my feet have carried me into my house away from an overwhelming day, the pitter-patter of tiny paws on our laminate hardwood floors has brought a smile to my face.

He’s just a dog.  He’s not a human family member and he has no spirit.  I get it.  However, I can also say that he is definitely another one of God’s blessings in our life.  He has brought joy . . . and occasionally dog vomit . . . to our little home.  He’s even good with our Sadie. 

I think that our culture often overplays the pet card, even confusing an animal’s intrinsic value with people’s.  However, just like all of creation, God made animals for a reason and they are encompassed in His statement, “It is good.”  

Consider this passage, “The godly care for their animals, but the wicked are always cruel.”  I don’t think that this passage is meant to be ammunition for animal rights activists, but it does reveal another facet of the nature of a godly person.  Caring for our animals is an honorable thing.  That doesn’t necessarily mean that God intends us all to put bows in Fluffy’s hair and parade him around the neighborhood in an Argyle sweaters . . . that may be taking this text out of context.

But it does mean that we should avoid cruelty to animals, not necessarily just for the sake of their value, but more so for the sake of who we are as children of the Creator and caretakers of His creation.

This days, Brutus actually sleeps at my feet (and sometimes on them.)  Trust me, I never thought that would ever happen.  I have learned, though, that God provides joy to us in creative ways.

So please keep these thoughts in the right perspective . . . I’m as far from an activist as you can possibly get.  Let scripture stand on its own.  Caring for animals and avoiding cruelty is just another of thousands of indicators of wisdom and godliness.




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