We can learn all kinds of facets to spirituality even through the experiences we have with our pets. Even the Canaanite woman in the Gospels made a notable point about faith that brought about the expulsion of a demon from her daughter after she stated, "Please, Lord, even the dogs eat the leavings that fall from their masters tables." (Mt. 15:27)
Taking a dog for a daily promenade is such a joy - to be out in the neighborhood, visiting with neighbors, and even providing a type of neighborhood watch. After a hard day's work with all the stresses that may come, it is helpful and healthy to take such walks with our canines that can even be seen as a form of prayer.
Raphael, our Toy Poodle, loved to venture out into the surrounding home area and secure his territory. With a dog to almost every house in the neighborhood, he certainly had his paws full every day with designating his domain.
Being a remnant of the Sensitive 90's type guy, concern for my neighbors always seemed paramount in my mind and heart. Didn't someone famous once say, "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you?" How many times have we all lamented to our kids about the Golden Rule? And we have all heard His answer to that ultimate question, "And who is my neighbor?" - that showed us the loving example of the Good Samaritan.
Well, on one of these fond walks, after having carefully let Raphie strategically deposit his 'hood boundary demarcations so as to be incognito, Joy came over for a chat.
How does one respond to the truth? If we're going to talk the talk, then we'd better walk the walk," someone once also said. If I had had a WWJD bracelet on my wrist, this certainly would have given rise to a serious examination of conscience moment!
So the very next day, you can be sure you know who high-tailed it to Pet Smart to get the necessary accessories - I never knew there was so much of a selection in such wares. I need to apply the same responsiveness in my faith walk. Am I smart and dedicated about the spirituality commitments I make?
Now, I'm well equipped for the journeys through the neighborhood with Raphie and have learned an invaluable lesson in life that Hamlet noted in response to Ophelia's reply: "I humbly thank you, Joy, well, well, well!" (Hamlet, Prince of Hamlet [revised], William Shakespeare, 1601)
For more info about CAAWS: Capital Area Animal Welfare Society (Photo also provided by CAAWS)