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Intersection of Life and Faith

Pets Can Enrich Your Life

  • Whitney Hopler Live It Editor
  • 2002 2 May
Pets Can Enrich Your Life
Sharing your lap with your cat, playing catch with your dog, watching your fish swim and listening to your bird sing are more than just ways to have fun. They can be spiritual experiences, too, in the sense that they can help you learn more about relating to the God who made the animals you love.

Here are some ways pets can help you grow closer to God:

  • Pets model unconditional love. Your dog is always available to shower you with affection. Your guinea pig sees beyond your faults. Pets give you a taste of what it's like to be completely accepted and embraced - the way God loves you.

  • Pets help you develop patience. Cleaning out a fish tank or training a dog not to jump up on your furniture can be time-consuming and frustrating. But when you take the time, you begin to learn how to wait patiently, as God sometimes requires you to do.

  • Pets teach you compassion. Caring for an injured pet who depends on your generosity helps you learn how to serve others and appreciate the many ways God has compassion on you.

  • Pets show you what it looks like to trust. Your rabbit trusts that you'll provide the food she needs every day; your iguana trusts that you won't let him fall when you balance him on your arm. God wants you to grow to trust Him more each day.

  • Pets help you enjoy life more. Their enthusiasm and humorous antics add joy to your life and encourage you to celebrate the life God has given you.

  • Pets inspire you to use your time well, living fully in the present. Pets' lives are usually more brief than humans' lives. The time you can share with them is time to treasure, not to waste. Even though your life span might be longer, God wants you to treasure every day as a precious gift.

  • Pets teach you how to grieve. After they die, you'll miss their companionship, but if you turn to God, He will help you overcome the pain. And the memories you have of times spent with your pet will live on, blessing you when you recall them.

  • Pets model loyalty. Your dog can be fiercely faithful to you, displaying a sense of commitment that God longs for you to have in your relationship with Him (the only One who is truly worthy of pure devotion).

Adapted from Uncommon Friends: Celebrating the Human-Animal Bond, copyright 2002 by Julie Adams Church. An H J Kramer book published in a joint venture with New World Library, Novato, Ca., www.newworldlibrary.com, 1-800-972-6657.

Julie Adams Church lives with her four-legged friends in northern California, where she operates Pride 'N' Groom Pet Care Services.

Do you have a pet, or several? If so, what type(s)? What rewards and challenges do you experience through pet ownership? How does your pet or pets help you understand more about relating to God? Visit Crosswalk's forums to discuss this topic by clicking on the link below.

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