When you hear the terms “soul” and “spirit,” what comes to your mind? Many people believe that these words mean something invisible and immortal that exists inside us. Individuals and communities think that at death, this invisible part of a human leaves the body and lives on.
I have conducted many funerals, and I endorse this hope, and often speak about the essence of God’s Spirit which dwells within us, merges with the greater Spirit which we call ‘God’. Where two become one, and where the person, (myself included when my time comes), will find ultimate peace, ultimate fulfilment, ultimate healing and ultimate wholeness, which is called SHALOM.
A member of my family is very poorly at the moment, and may die. He gives us joy, he eats with us, sleeps in our house, shares our joys and sorrows, he shows emotions and intellect, he is quiet yet noble, he is our dog Danny, a greyhound. He is a part of our family, and that means also God’s family, and because of this, I know God treasures him and loves him.
Danny has taught me many things, to trust, to love, to give and receive affection, to depend on mystery and relationship between a human and a canine friend. He has been there in times when I just needed someone to cuddle, he has been there jumping around the garden in happiness when I am doing the gardening.
Do Dogs have souls ?… I know they do. Love and trust which Danny shows me are qualities that God shows to each one of us. As humans, we have to encourage each other in times of difficulties and sow seeds of love, to bring about the kingdom of God. It seems to me that Dogs are our companions in this task. Danny has accompanied me on many a pastoral visit, and the person I am visiting has spoken more to him than me !
There is divine connection between humans and dogs, a connection which is moulded and forged in the mystery of God. Now it is my turn to be with Danny, as he journeys through this very difficult path, visiting him and comforting him, feeding him and yes his Spirit is bruised, but still strong. I am there for him , as he has been there for me. Surely that is what the Kingdom of God should look like , being visibly there for each other. ?
I pray that when the time comes and I release Danny back to God, God will bless him and say ‘Well done my true and faithful servant, in you, I have been well pleased’
God who shows us how love
We thank you for the love and joy our pets bring us.
We thank you those with healing hands heal and restore life to our pets
We thank you for the divine connection you give all animals.
Enable us as partners in your creation to recognise your divine Spirit in our animals,
to always be kind to them, and never abuse their trust in us.
For your kingdom would be poorer without them.