The Burton Cavaliers
When I was young, green, and new to Fort Worth, I worked writing copy for Tandy Leather catalogs. I found myself working with several wives of students at the Baptist Seminary. One day one was telling a story about the family dog which was eating too much (whose fault is that?) and getting fat. The daughter, maybe twelve, had taken the dog’s face in her hands and said, “Pooch or whatever, you’ve got to stop eating so much or you’ll die, and you can’t go to Heaven.”
Instinctively I said, “What an awful thing for a child to say to a dog.”
“But Judy,” the mother said, “it’s true. Dogs don’t have souls, so they can’t accept Jesus as their savior and therefore can’t go to Heaven.”
I’m not prepared here to get into a theological discussion of whether or not dogs have souls, but I am quite sure they have feelings. They love, they trust—and too many of them are betrayed. I heard lately of a man who needed to rehome a twelve-year-old dog because he was getting married and couldn’t take his dog (I’d rethink that marriage!). Or people who no longer want their dogs and just turn them out to wander and get lost. We all know stories of dogs kicked out of cars who chase the cars as they speed away—they are chasing the only person they know, even if that person is not a dog owner
I heard recently that this time of year people turn their older dogs into shelters to make room for new puppies. Outrage! Would you turn in Grandma to make room for a new baby (being a grandma, I sincerely hope not!).
You see it in the eyes of shelter dogs. They are lost, abandoned, scared, waiting for the only people they’ve ever known to come back and save them. And too often those people don’t come back.
A dog is a lifetime commitment—not your lifetime but the dog’s. It is a living being with feelings of love, loyalty, hunger, fear, cold, joy—the whole range of emotions we feel. Treated right, they are loyal, trustworthy companions who will often go to any lengths to help or save their people.
Different dogs for different folks. Christian always wanted a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel because they are quiet dogs, bred to sit quietly on the king’s lap. But they come with congenital heart problems and may require expensive veterinarian care. My Sophie is half poodle, half border collie—one of the doodle dogs recently popular. But she s a cross of two of the smartest breeds known. We don’t get to put much over on Sophie. In a long life of dog ownership, I have had collies, farm collies, Irish wolfhounds, Cairn terriers, Australian shepherds, a Labrador with just a hair of Rhodesian ridgeback in him—each breed comes with their own characteristics, habits, personalities.
Another problem: the dog that needs a new home because the owner suddenly is unable to care for it and the family doesn’t want it. I can’t imagine that, but it happens. Have you made arrangements for the care of your pet in case you die or are unable to care for it? My family has long had an informal agreement about my dogs—Colin would have taken the Aussie if anything happened to me; now, if that happened, you couldn’t pry Sophie out of Jordan’s arms. I have a friend with no children, family members not liable to love her cats—so she has provided generously for them in her will.
A dog is a four-legged, furry member of the family and deserves to be treated as such. Spread the word. A pox on people who abandon dogs.
|Jordan and Sophie|
Soph thinks she's a lap dog