Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Did Jesus Have Pets?

While I haven't done an extensive search, I'm unable to readily find any references to pets in the households of Biblical times. I'm sure that all children who lived in farming situations had some animals that they loved, named, and played with. The shepherds had dogs to help them with the sheep, and I imagine that they often became companions on long lonely days.

When God placed Adam in charge of all animals of the earth, don't you think there were some dogs or cats that liked to lay next to him for warmth and the occasional scratch behind the ears?

Our 13 year-old German Shepherd, Sam, had to be put to sleep on Saturday. He was a 90 pound baby with a ferocious bark (which would stop immediately if you rubbed his head!). Over the past few years his hips started getting stiff and he was pretty hesitant of stairs. Our younger dog, Scamper, decided that Sam was her responsibility. She annoyed him terribly (and us too)telling him it was time to go outside -- even pushing him in the behind with her nose if he didn't go fast enough! The interaction between the two of them was pretty funny. Sam would pretend that he wanted to go outside and Scamper would rush past him to encourage him down the stairs, then Sam would turn around and lay down so we would close Scamper outside. That way he got a little bit of peaceful sleep.

Sam really wasn't much of a playmate for the boys anymore, but he was a strong presence in our house. He would always end up in the room with me during the day, offering a fluffy hunk of quiet companionship. And he left his long, clumpy hair behind regardless of how much we brushed him. He patiently put up with the boys and Scamper, complaining only with pitiful eyes that silently asked if he really had to put up with all the annoyance.

Sam developed a super-ball sized tumor in mid December. It didn't seem to bother him so we figured we'd take him into the vet after our Florida trip. While we were gone, the tumor grew to the size of a lemon and became gooey and smelly as he fussed with it. When he started crying in his sleep, we knew it was time to take action. With his age and other difficulties we made the tough decision not to treat it, but to let him go.

I have to admit that we are sleeping better now that he's gone -- Sam's night noises would enter into our dreams as people or animals being tortured! He also had a pretty major social problem (gas), so we had to close our bedroom doors at night. There is much less hair to clean up, and less of a sense of security (even though I know he'd be hard pressed to hurt anyone).

Scamper is kind of lost. Instead of eating her morning doggy treat, she sets them on the landing as if offering them to Sam if he will just come back. She stays within a few feet of me all day long and questions with her eyes. She barks to go out, then hesitates as if she knows she's forgetting something.

God created all kinds of beasts for use on this earth. I like to think that he has a special spot in his heart for those creatures that bring us a special comfort.

We miss you, Sam.

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