by Susan Harris
I recently faced a quandary. My dachshund was extremely sick, and the veterinarian laid out the options for his treatment. I had an important decision to make: Do I spend a considerable amount of money to treat my little “Buddy” or not?
After all, he was going to be 15 within a week.
As I discussed his prognosis with the veterinarian, I said, “But he’s just a dog and a 15-year-old dog at that.” As soon as those words came out of my mouth, I hesitated. In those 15 years, Buddy has loved me and comforted me.
In fact, that is the reason he came into my life.
In 2001, with my daughter away in college and my son stationed in Hawaii, my son was concerned that I would be “lonely and depressed” (his words, not mine). So he sent me money and instructed me to find a dachshund for my Christmas present. It had to be red, male and his name was to be Buddy.
Since that Christmas, Buddy has been a constant companion.
When I told the veterinarian, “He’s just a dog,” I thought, after all, I am just a human. I’m a lot older than I used to be, not exactly a spring chicken (or a young puppy). So what if my family and friend–or God even–thought about me in those terms.
How would that make me feel? Useless, worthless, unloved?
God loves me and you and our pets and all that is a part of creation. These words from the “Blessing of the Animals” published in Sundays and Seasons says, “God is the source and loving sustainer of all that lives.”
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The Blessings of the Animals asks us to be advocates for our animals. I knew I had to be an advocate for Buddy. My decision was to give him another chance, even though he was “just a dog.”
God calls on us to love and care for all creation, the birds, and the animals. And God loves and cares for us, with all our imperfections and problems. None of us, not me or you or anyone, is “just a” someone to God. God knows us and calls us by name.
In the end, I paid for the veterinarian to treat Buddy. He stayed in the “hospital” for several days and returned home in time for his 15th birthday.
Susan Harris is a life-long Lutheran and has attended Salem Lutheran Church, Lincolnton, N.C., all her life. Married with two grown children and five grandchildren, she retired after serving 37 years as a court reporter for North Carolina. She is past president of the North Carolina Synodical Women’s Organization. Buddy crossed the rainbow bridge earlier this summer.