A Dog Day… All Day…
Today is National Dog Day. I actually found out about this day last year on August 26th, but apparently forgot about it until it showed up on my calendar earlier this week. In case you don’t know or have forgotten, as I did, National Dog Day is annually celebrated on August 26th and is meant to honor all dogs. That means this day is about pure bred, mongrel, orphaned, surrendered and every other category of dog that we, as Americans, bring into our homes.
While most of us try to make sure that we know the birthday of our furry friends, there are approximately 1.6 MILLION dogs that are surrendered to local shelters each year. When adopted, it is rare that the new family knows the actual date or age of their new found family member. Incidentally, about 710,000 animals are reunited with their owners for one reason for another.
For many years, I was involved with the Humane Society for Hamilton County, the local Society serving the county we live in. I was asked to serve on the Board of Directors more than 30 years ago and was pleased to help out. I eventually assumed the responsibilities of the Vice President. Among those duties, I was in charge of the large fundraising activities and I took great delight in the silent auctions and extravagant dinners that we hosted to raise money for the cause.
In fact, our first Doberman was a gift from the shelter for the work that I had done throughout the years. The first time I saw Dad’s Mercedes, who we called “Sadie”, she fit easily in the palm of my open hand. She was not yet a week old and I couldn’t wait for her to get big enough and old enough to move into our home. She was an awesome companion.
I remained active in the shelter for many years. In fact, Janet and I also got involved in Doberman rescue and became familiar with people who hearts are indescribably large when it comes to helping those creatures who are not capable of representing themselves. In fact, our second Doberman, Dad’s Red Lexus, who we called Lexie, was found at the exit of a highway after she had been used for bait to train pit bulls how to fight. It was tragic. She was a small girl – 56# or so, compared to Sadie’s huge stance and 86# weight.
Another great companion, Lexie was the gateway pet that allowed us to became hopelessly attracted to helping dogs in general and Dobermans specifically. A true rescue, she was our first real window into the horrible things that go on behind the scenes – the things that most of us never know about or see when we get our pets. We didn’t know her birthday or her exact age, so we celebrated her special day on the same date that we had set aside for Sadie’s birthday, which we knew.
Then, after the death of Lexie four years ago at the age of 11, we once again rescued a third Doberman, only this time Hank was the dog that we chose to bring into our home. He had led a rather troubled life – born in Missouri, surrendered there, adopted and moved to Illinois, then once again surrendered. We were fortunate enough to have been contacted about his situation and it was during a violent snowstorm several days after Christmas that we drove to Champaign, IL and met Hank for the first time. A big boy, tipping the scales at 95# or so, Hank bounded to the car, made himself comfortable and travelled well on the trip back home. We kept his name the same as it had been and he has been with us ever since.
It all happens for a reason. Hank has terrible allergies and auto immune disorders. We hope that we have given him his best life and he has brought an ongoing joy here as well. That’s not to say that we have limited to our assistance to Dobermans. As recently as last week, we were asked to help a dog that was born blind.
So the crusade continues. After all, we have been mandated by God to be stewards of the resources that God has provided and we are also to have dominion over the animals. Since God created the heavens, the earth and everything else, he certainly knows all about us, as well as the creatures of the world.
Our verse for tonight reminds us that God gave mankind dominion over the animals. We are told by Moses, the author of Genesis, in Genesis 2:19-20, “Now the LORD God had formed out of the ground all the beasts of the field and all the birds of the air. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name. So the man gave names to all the livestock, the birds of the air and all the beasts of the field.”
My encouragement this evening is that it should be a privilege and an honor to care for our pets. They need someone to represent them and advocate for them – and love them well. My prayer is that we will all continue to made sure that we do whatever we are called to do to advance the kingdom of God on this earth. And even if we don’t know the birthdays of our furry friends, God does. Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…