The Blessing of Pets

Miho and I hiked Lake Agnes a few days ago, late in the afternoon.  Strange but we hadn’t done it for many years.  I’d forgotten that the trail is pretty much a steady incline virtually from the shoreline of Lake Louise.  For Miho the hike that day was easy, for me not so easy, but we saw a couple of friends along the way and our destination, glorious Lake Agnes, with fall colors starting to show themselves, and the mid-September sunlight glistening off the water’s surface, was a wondrous sight to behold.  We could have stayed up there for hours.  Perhaps like some of you, these sunny September days are opportunities not to be taken for granted.  As time allows over the next few weeks we hope to get in as many hikes as possible to extend our summer as much as possible.  Plain of Six Glaciers is still on my list for 2012, and a few others.  We’ll see.
While hiking back down the trail we were pleasantly astounded to see a Welsh Corgie panting heavily but happily, skipping up the trail with its master.  We stopped and spent a few minutes with this cute, short-legged dog.  When I was a child, our family owned a Welsh Corgie whose name was “Honey”.  Not sure who chose the name (I was too young to be in on it), but I believe the name was an identification of its primary color, a light brown/golden hue.  She looked like honey!  Honey was a true “man’s best friend”.  Good natured, loyal, a faithful companion.  I went with my Mom when it was determined by the family to be more cruel to let Honey live than to help her die, in her painful old age.  That was of course a hard day for this teenager (at that time) and my Mom.  Honey had given our family so much in her brief life.
It’s true, isn’t it.  Our pets, whether dogs or cats (or ferrets or snakes, for that matter) become like family to us.  Every pet owner can tell of those mysterious, touching moments when a pet, somehow knowing we are going through a crisis or just having a bad day, will do something a little out of the ordinary to help us or at least to get closer to us, to comfort us.  Our pets become so special to us that sometimes we write songs for them.  Neil Young wrote a song about his dog Cain.  Tears for Fears wrote a song about dogs.  There must be many more artists who’ve paid tribute to their pets.
I noticed in the paper yesterday that our friends at St. George’s Anglican will be having a special Sunday service for a ritual of “blessing the animals”.  And why not?  If we believe God cares for us, does it not follow that God might also care for those we care about – whether human or pet?   “God bless the child” was a hit song for the great Billy Holiday.  Why not God bless the animals?  God bless our beloved pets?  God bless the diverse creatures we are perhaps called to protect in this national park?
A short message today.  There is much in this life for which to be grateful.  Our pets certainly fall into that category, as do the wild animals we encounter here in so many glorious ways.   There is nothing quite as spectacular as arriving at the Lake Agnes Teahouse, gifted with the blessing of being overwhelmed by God’s creation. There is nothing quite as delightful as being greeted high up on a mountain trail by an adorable Welsh Corgie, also a blessing of God’s creation.

Thanks be to God!  For life, for mountains and lakes, for solitude and friendly encounters and the din of human activity.   For health, for peace in one’s heart,  for book clubs and Bible studies,  for a child’s unexpected wisdom, for music, for Tanya,  for the people of Rundle UC,  for a dog named Honey and for a cat named Mango.   For the Spirit, for new life, for grace.  For it all,  thanks be to God!


Rev. Dave Crawford is the minister at one of the Banff churches, Rundle Memorial United. Learn more about our current activities, our Thrift Shop, and how to get married in Banff.