It’s August 15th and today marks the birthday of my first childhood pet, Colby, our beloved French Poodle. We got him back in the mid sixties when I was in my very early teens and he died several months after my father passed away in 1978. Janet also had a French Poodle, Julie, who I knew when we were young and before that, a Cocker Spaniel named Taffy, although I don’t remember her. I do, however, remember Julie and how she had this little dog house under the kitchen table when Janet and her family lived on Hamilton Avenue.
Julie wasn’t the friendliest dog in the world and Janet has reminded me for years that it was because she was so small that she was always concerned about getting stepped on. And then Janet and I were married in 1973; and we ended up with 2 border collies, one of whom died of distemper within several days of purchasing her. Sassy, as we called her, was still a very small pup. Her brother, Bobby, named after my best friend Bob Thompson, became a wonderful companion for us until he passed away in the early eighties.
Then, throughout the years, there was Nicholas, our Afghan Hound. Then Ellie, our Collie, named after Miss Ellie on the original series Dallas; Abby, our Collie who we found huddled in the front of our garage on a freezing cold winter night; Beau, our “monster” Bichon, who was with us for more than 16-1/2 years; Sadie, our Red Doberman who was a gift from the Humane Society for my work with them, and now, Lexie, our Black Doberman rescue who is 6 years old. The last two Dobes were named after cars – Sadie was really “Dad’s Red Mercedes” and Lexie was named after my Lexus with the black interior. What can I say? We are pet people. And these are just the dogs….
As far as cats, we really have had only 4. Nibbles, our first, was a small gray stray who entered our garage as a kitten when we first moved to Indiana. We named her Nibbles because we couldn’t believe how small her mouth was and how she never chomped down on her food. But she was a great cat, and we weren’t even cat people – she was regal and we nicknamed her, “The Royal Nibs.” Then, when one of the neighbors helped with Nibs when we were gone one week-end, we came home to find that we had another kitten – CB – a beautiful white Persian who was deaf. The neighbor, knowing we were pet people, thought CB, short for Chenin Blanc, would have a good life with us and that his deafness would not be an impairment to us loving him. She was right…
Then, when we returned from our next trip, CB and Nibs had a new friend, KC – short for Karbon Copy, a wonderful black Persian kitten. He had been sold to someone as a show cat but because Persians can have eye problems from their tear ducts being so compressed in their flat faces, the person decided to return him. So our neighbor, who raised show Persians, thought he should spend his life with CB at our home. Who would have guessed? Finally, one winter evening, Ernie, an orange and white kitten, kept returning to our rear deck, crying for food and water. Jill, and then the other kids, really wanted him as well. So, as Janet and I were soft touches, we ended up with him also.
There have also been fish, guinea pigs, a temporary rabbit and numerous other small pets. But primarily dogs and cats – each with a unique story and a special place in our hearts. In fact, I am having a wonderful time remembering all the pets that have made our lives richer throughout our years together. And now, it’s just Lex – curled up, as I write, in the chair next to Janet.
Although we both love pets, Janet in particular, derives great enjoyment from taking care of Lexie as she did with all Lex’s predecessors. As we get older, and I think about increasing our travel and the time away from home, I wonder if we will continue to have dogs. That question, however, has already been answered. Janet has put a stake in the ground and said that she wants to have dogs as long as she is physically able – and caring for them is just part of life. So there you have it – the official word. And as Janet says, Lex provides great company for her during the day and when I am out of town. I can see her point. But maybe, the next dog will have to be smaller and more manageable – not something so strong that is more difficult for Janet to take care of.
The point of all this is that all of our kids have pets as well. Jill, who first had a love of cats, is struggling tonight. Buttons, one of her cats in Oklahoma, who has lived with three different family members during the last 20 years, finally passed away Monday evening. It was a sad night for Jill and for all of our family members who love our pets.
I wonder why we keep putting ourselves through the agony of losing pets. I suppose it’s because the unconditional love we receive from them is well worth the sacrifices and time commitments we make. The verse this evening reflects man’s dominion over the animal world. Because God placed animals on earth for the benefit of man. We are told in Gen. 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 you know that God gave Man dominion over the earth and His creation. That means we have a responsibility to take care of and to steward that which we are in charge of protecting. My prayer is that you may also experience the joy of having pets and enjoying the unconditional love that comes from the experience. By the way, God loves you unconditionally as well – Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…