The holy calling of taking care of pets

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Rev. Walter Klockers

Are you a pet owner? If so, what kind of pet?

I lovingly refer to Alicia as “my second wife.” She’s a cat and we’ve been together for sixteen of her seventeen years. The vet says Alicia looks “amazing for her age. “

Yes, I’m a “cat person.” I don’t think I could ever have a dog.

Please don’t get me wrong. I love dogs. When I was growing up, we always had a family dog. However, right now, I don’t think I could properly care for a canine.

Cats, on the other hand, tend to be more independent and require far less attention, in my thinking.

Alicia is a house cat. She isn’t allowed outside and seems to be good with that. In the past, we’ve had bad luck with inside-outside cats. Their lives were cut short for one reason or another.

Alicia has a litter box at the end of the hallway. I try to scoop it out twice daily. I also make sure her food and water dish are maintained well. She has an annual checkup at the vet’s office. That’s about it.

Admittedly, things aren’t perfect. I do have a challenge brushing her coat of fur often enough to prevent hairballs from being cast on the carpet (or worse). Also, her nails need to be trimmed more than what I’ve been doing.

When we go on vacation Alicia’s food, water and cat pan care services are provided by someone who comes over to the house. There is no need for a boarding facility.

My sister Jan has a companion animal named Cappy. Cappy is a female Labrador retriever who is now 7 years old. Jan and Cappy are “best buds.” This lab is on a daily schedule and is mostly kept inside of the home.

Jan and Cappy take daily walks. The first is before the sun rises. The route is three miles. This is repeated when my sister returns home from work. However, the late afternoon trip is a mile and a quarter. For these walks, Cappy is fitted with appropriate attire for wet and/or colder weather. Jan always takes two “poop bags” with her and picks up any waste from her dog.

Cappy has scheduled potty breaks during the day as well. My brother-in-law Chet assists with this and takes her to the local dog park upon occasion.

Cappy’s diet is a very good one. It is well-proportioned and does not contain table scraps. The vet has been impressed both with the dog’s weight and muscle tone.

To me, my sister is a prime example of a responsible pet owner. I wish more folks who have dogs could do the same.

What does it mean in Genesis 1:26 when it says that humans have been given “dominion” over animals? One interpretation is that we represent God and that we are caretakers of God’s stuff. We don’t own anything. So, even the relationships with pets can be looked upon as a “holy calling.” They should be cared for keeping this in mind.

Walter is pastor of Immanuel Lutheran Church and has served as parish pastor for more than 30 years.

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