The Value of an Animal
First of all, right out the gate, let me say that I am not a PETA fan! I do believe it is okay to kill animals for food. I even think it is okay to kill animals to make clothing. And I definitely believe it is okay to kill snakes to make purses, shoes, and boots. Having stated that, I also believe that it is wonderful for families to own animals and treat them with value and respect.
There are 37 widow(er)s in our church. Most of them have an animal to keep them company. Whether a cat (yuk), dog, pig, skunk, ferret, monkey, or whatever your favorite animal; I know there is great value to have a “friend” in the family.
Growing up on a farm setting in West Virginia, we were privileged to be around lots of animals. In fact, we had dogs, chickens, goats, a horse, a skunk, pigs, guinea pigs, and a couple that I have probably forgotten. Most had names: my first dog – Tiger; Mary Magdalene – a chicken who was allowed to come into our house, Flipper and Skipper – goats who were also allowed inside our house, a horse named Spirit, and all of our cows were named… names like Brenda and Tiny. Our skunk was named Scooter. I’ve forgotten the names of our pigs but I didn’t much care for them.
Growing up, I didn’t know that it might be considered abnormal with our animal loving family. Every morning at 5:30 a.m., I had the responsibility to feed and water all of the chickens in the chicken coop. I had to open the door for the chickens to be able to go outside in the fenced-in area and then gather the eggs. I had to feed and water the cows. I never thought of it as a “hard life,” although growing older I didn’t always have the greatest attitude with respect to my chores. Now I have a great respect for how hard my parents made me work. They were slave drivers (another article on that later)!
Here is what I have learned: there is great value in owning an animal. It teaches responsibility to your children (if you make them do chores like feeding, watering, and cleaning up). But for the most part, animals provide companionship, almost as if they have another sense that we do not have. They understand when you are going to leave or even if there is a death in the family. Animals can mourn and get sick too.
Last week I had the opportunity to spend a few days with my mother. She has a chocolate lab named, Hershey. As a widowed lady with no children living close, I don’t know what my mom would do without her dog! She loves Hershey. Hershey, as big as she is, still climbs up into mom’s lap, as if she is a lap dog or something. She talks to mom, runs with mom, follows mom around, and genuinely loves mom. I’m thankful that God put animals on this earth for I know that my mother’s life would be much more difficult without a Hershey in her life.
The pics in the post are of mom’s dog and from my recent trip to see her. I had such fun throwing balls and sticks to mom’s dog. She even sat in my lap! One of these days we will just have to own a dog like Hershey. Love your animals the right way.