“He prayeth best, who loveth best; All things great and small; For the dear God who loveth us; He made and loveth all.”
The Rime of the Ancient Mariner – S. T. Coleridge
For as long as I can remember, we have had pets share our home – dogs, more so than cats. In fact, I can’t imagine what it must be like not to have a dog (or two …. or more) as part of the family.
Now, as humans we’re supposed to be the more intelligent, the more generous, the more compassionate beings … but sometimes I have serious doubts about this – particularly in the light of how awfully we behave and the number of almost unforgivable ways in which we mistreat other people and animals (reports in the media bear testament to the horrendous atrocities committed on a regular basis, supposedly in the name of ‘love’, ‘discipline’, ‘democracy’ and/or for so-called ‘religious’ reasons).
What I have learned (though) over the years from the dogs we’ve had (and those we still do) is (amongst other things):-
- that if you give them love, they give you love back in return …. unconditionally;
- that they can sense so acutely when you’re happy or sad and need a hug (or rather a lick!!);
- that they depend so entirely on you – for care, for food, for shelter – that the responsibility is quite daunting;
- that having them in the home brings a certain dynamic to the family which is special;
- that they have their own, very individual ‘personalities’ which need to be considered;
- that you can include them in so many aspects of your life;
- that they keep you fit … ‘walkies’ do wonders!;
- that if brought up and disciplined in the right way (just like human children), they don’t have to be disruptive, unruly, etc;
- that they’re the most amazing companions;
- that they are (as we have experienced) truly ‘faithful friends …. for life’.
Have a look at this (I’m not too sure to what extent the images have been ‘doctored’ but I found it quite delightful nonetheless):
All things bright and beautiful,
All creatures great and small,
All things wise and wonderful,
The Lord God made them all.
Mrs Cecil Francis Alexander (1848)