The Journey Continues: On the love of dogs
My journey this week took me to the waiting room of a local veterinarian clinic along with my wife, Judy, who was ministering to a friend and her dog. Proverbs 12:10a (NIV), “A righteous man cares for the needs of his animals…” I have written columns about two friends, Dr. Fred Simmons, and his Kingdom Dogs, and Major(ret) Clyde Schneider’s story about Tic Toc, the squadron mascot when he was in the Air Force.
Pets are important and not to be forgotten. A case in point: in New York State, Judy and I saw a local cemetery that had 80,000 pet graves (the oldest continually operating pet cemetery in the United States). A loving dog can smooth the hurt and bring peace to a lonely or dramatic day.
A survey of local vet clinics revealed very few are equipped for large animals and by default specialize in small animals. While at this vet clinic, I saw dogs, and dogs, and dogs, and dogs (along with a few cats) all there for appointments. Tooth-cleaning, toenail clipping, shots, wound care and standard services were offered. You know pets are special when you walk down at grocery aisle and count how many kinds of special foods are sold for cats and dogs. (May I point out, whoever heard of walking a cat, but people have “dog walkers,” right?)
I was embarrassed when our friend’s outlaw-dog was noisy and disruptive while waiting for the dog’s vet appointment to sign up the dog for behavioral training. I started a conversation with the man sitting beside me ( I learned that he was the master of four dogs) in which we discussed, ‘do animals have souls and can they be in heaven?’
In the book of Revelation, horses are mentioned in heaven and aren’t they animals? We ended our talk with no definite decision.
A friend who once experienced homelessness told this story: “I always have in my car several zip-lock bags of dog food that I provide for dogs of homeless folks on the side of the road. To a man with a dog standing of the hot pavement ‘flying a sign asking for money’ I said, ‘I will give you $10 if you will remove your shoes and socks and stand on the hot pavement.’ He did and got the message. I gave him the $10 and I saw him physically carrying his dog in his arms across the parking lot toward a pizza place.”
May I add, animals cannot choose their masters; they are a recipient of fate. That is in direct contrast to humans who can choose their master. Romans 6:19-23 has an interesting commentary in the New International Application Bible which reads: “Every person has a master, either God or sin…” You are free to choose between two masters, but you are not free to manipulate the consequences of your choice Each of the two masters pays with his own kind of currency. The currency of sin is death. That is all you can expect or hope for in life without God. Christ’s currency is eternal life — new life with God that begins on earth and continue forever with God. What choice have you made?”