Blessing of Pets 10/7/18 Epiphany, Norfolk

In this month’s parish newsletter,

   I mentioned that this year’s

      Blessing of the Pets –

         would have a sad overtone –

            since we had recently experienced the death

               of several well known pets

                  in our parish family.

I think I got more response

   to that article –

      then any of the many that I’ve written.

And I found that other folks

   had been thinking the same thing.

The death of a pet –

   is taken very seriously in this parish community.

No one had ever dare say something like,

   “It was only a dog”

      or “It was just a cat.”

Be advised –

   that is about as politically incorrect around here –

      as one can get.

And you might really find yourself

   “on the outs”

      if you don’t get excited about a new pet

         in the parish family –

   and take appropriate notice

      of the death of a beloved pet.

It’s just who we are in this place.

As most of you know –

   my pets are very dear to me.

I have a strange habit

   of adopting old –

      and sometimes unhealthy pets –

   from the local pounds and shelters.

I seem to be drawn

   to the animals

      that I think no one else is going to want.

And I know from the day I take them home –

   that my time with them

      is going to be relatively short –

         perhaps a few years –

            if I’m lucky.

And because I know that from the start –

   it allows me to make a special effort

      to give them

         a little extra care,

            and love,

            and attention –

   that I perhaps would not give –

      if I knew that I would have

         18ish years with them.

And I think they know this.

I think they know

   that they’ve been “saved from the gallows” –

      and I think they give me

         that little extra care,

            and love,

            and attention,

               in return.

Right now –

   I have two cats and two dogs.

The cats are cats –

   one a loving lap cat –

      the other a temperamental diva.

One of the dogs

   is a high spirited Westie –

      that I sort of inherited.

He loves to chase any wildlife

   that comes into my yard –

      especially a raccoon

         that might be twice his size.

He’s fearless –

   and spends a significant portion of his life –

      in the bathtub –

         getting black swamp mud washed off him –

            from chasing some animal.

He goes to the office

   a few times a week.

He is just very cute.

The other is Frisky.

I’ve always liked big dogs –

   really, really big dogs.

And after my two very old labs died –

   I started regular visits to the SPCAs

      and the Animal Cares Center –

         commonly referred to as “the pound.”

I was looking for

   another big old dog, or two.

And way down in the very last cage

   of “the pound” –

      was a little old Rat Terrier –

         sort of like a Jack Russell.

He was really old,

   and not very responsive.

I noticed that he had been there

   for 4 months –

      and I figured his days were numbered.

But he wasn’t what I was looking for.

About every 3 days

   I paid “the pound” a visit.

One day it dawned on me –

   that I was going to visit

      the old Rat Terrier first –

   and then going to look for “my new dog.”

Another day it dawned on me –

   that the Rat Terrier –

      “Frisky” had found me.

I took him to “the get to know you room.”

He didn’t bite –

   or growl,

      or exhibit any bad behavior –

         so I took him home.

I did not know

   that he was totally deaf.

I also did not know –

   that he could barely see –

      until we got home –

   and I watched him run into things,

     and fall down steps.

I took him to the vet

   to have him checked out.

He had things wrong with him

   that I’d never heard of –

      resulting in a slew of nice expensive pills –

         every day.

Frisky lives on.

I’ve had him about 3 years.

He can’t get up and down the steps any more –

   so he has to be carried –

      and I have a lot of steps.

He sleeps on my bed –

   so he won’t get into trouble

      during the night.

He wakes me up in the middle of the night

   by licking my face –

      to let me know that he has to go outside.

I put on some clothes –

   carry him down the 17 steps to the 1st floor –

      then outside –

         and down 5 more steps to the ground.

He does his business –

   and we reverse the whole thing –

      and crawl back into the nice warm bed.

About a month ago –

   I had a serious conversation with Frisky –

      a totally deaf dog

         that may not even know what I look like.

I told Frisky –

   that I wasn’t sure

      I could keep carrying him

         up and down the steps –

   and outside –

      in the middle of the night –

   especially with winter coming.

I told him about some options

   that I’d been considering –

      the best of which

         was back to the pound.

Thank God Frisky

   could not hear a word I was saying.

When I got back in bed –

   with him curled up next to me –

      I knew I never could do any of those things.

I had adopted him.

Nobody forced him on me.

He is my responsibility –

   and I will do everything in my power

      to give him the best life possible –

         for as long as I can –

            or as long as he lives.

That’s just the way it is –

   and just the way it’s going to be.

And I wouldn’t want anything else

   for Frisky –

      or for me.

That’s what I think this is all about.

And in its own strange way –

   it’s a truly wonderful blessing –

      human and pet –

   bonded to care for each other –

      with all the love and affection

         that we can muster.


Posted October 10, 2018 by Church of the Epiphany in Epiphany Moments

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