Dog Time

I was driving the other day, and on the car in front of me I saw a sticker. I always like to see how people present themselves with those stickers. There are all sorts of things to see on them and often very foolish things

I look a little closer and on the sticker I see a paw print wrapped around with text that says “Dog Grandma”. I see it but I don’t believe my own eyes: a woman that proudly declares herself an old dog

I am immensely thankful to God that he rewarded me – a very proud grandfather, and my wife – the grandma of our grandchildren, with a double digit of offshoots of our roots. Each time God had sent us His gifts we would be filled with delight. You see before your eyes, and you hold in your arms a new life, a whole new world in the palm of your hand. Each one of our grandchildren is truly unique and they all are a great treasure

So this “dog grandma” must have been overjoyed when her dog “grandchildren” started popping out

Even though I was very shocked by the confusion in this woman’s head, at the time, I was even more shocked by the scene I saw some time ago: a young woman running to stay fit, paying a lot of attention to the good shape of her body. While running, she’s pushing a kid’s stroller. Thank God she’s putting her duties to good use. She gets fit while her kid is getting fresh air. But no, in the kid’s stroller, enjoying to the fullest is her pet dog

Tell me what you see everywhere you turn, in every park you visit, and on every street. Do you see grandparents holding the tiny hands of their grandchildren, or young parents taking their little children for a walk, or fathers competing friendly with their children? That, my dear friends, is a picture that we see very rarely nowadays, it has become so rare that we are beginning to loose it completely. But don’t you worry, in the meantime, everywhere, and at all times, there are “fathers”, “mothers”, “grandpas”, and “grandmas” walking their pets and spending their time with them. They consider their pets, or how they like to call them, their four-legged “children”, and now “grandchildren” as the closest family, and they even speak of them that way. It goes to the extent that led to that poor, but rich in dollars, woman named Leona Helmsley leaving in her will $9,600,000.00 to her dog, and she also established by this will that when the dog dies it would be buried beside her. I can only imagine how empty her soul was, and how empty her life was

I often see, in not so wealthy parts of the city, the poor who can hardly make ends meet getting all sorts of dogs. They torture those animals by keeping them in their heated apartments. Among those dogs there are some large dogs like German Sheppard dogs that are desperate for some cold air and some deep snow so they could dig their noses into it.

Then a thought crossed my mind, many who keep various animals in their homes actually deny them their natural and healthy environment, and therefore, they would do them a great favour if they freed them from their “love”. Animals suffer and whimper because of that love, and sometimes they can even attack that “love” with their sharp teeth. Some time, at the end of the last year, two domestic dogs mangled their owner, a twenty-two year old Bethany Stephens. Everyone in the neighbourhood was very surprised considering that Bethany allegedly was very attached to her dogs.  “We know that the whole creation groans in pain” (Romans 8:22), but it knows how to rebel and how to fight its use and its abuse

I am not even trying to discuss here the pathological or morbid cases regarding relations toward the animals. “For it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret.” (Ephesians 5:12).

And this “harmless love” is not that harmless, as the powerful industry that is behind all this and advocates this trend is not harmless either. And far from being harmless are the malefactors, the makers of the new order, the builders of the world without God, in which they, the apprentices, appointed their master as god. They read the Holy Script, they read it very carefully, but they do not live by it – quite the opposite. Everything God said or ordered they flip upside down. God said: “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth, and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the sky, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” (Genesis 1:28) and they are doing everything and anything in their power to stop people from being fruitful and from multiplying. Their goal is that there are less people on earth.

The description of creating a helpmate for Adam in the Holy Script is very inspiring. God realized “it is not good that the man should be alone” (Genesis 2:18) so He decided to create a “helpmate suitable for him” (Genesis 2:18) God offered Adam to choose among all God’s creatures a helpmate suitable for him, “But for Adam there was not found a helper fit for him.” (Genesis 2:20) “So the Lord caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. And the rib that the Lord had taken from Adam he made into a woman and brought her to Adam. Adam said: This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called woman because she was taken out of man. Therefore, a man shall leave his father and his mother and shall cleave unto his wife, and they shall be one flesh.” (Genesis 2: 21-24) That is the natural, God given order of relations

It’s not that I don’t love animals, far from that, but I love them in a way that I find normal. Through life, we had had two German Sheppard dogs, and we loved them truly. When I was saying goodbye to my last German Sheppard dog I cried like a baby. I could cry even now, just remembering that

We loved these God’s creatures, but we did not confuse the order of things. Children were- and still are- children to us, the German Sheppard dogs were the only things they could be – nothing more. They were not a replacement or a compensation for things that cannot and must not be replaced

It is our obligation to love animals. Let’s not forget, God created them and they are in His Providence. Everything God created, “was very good” (Genesis 1:31) If you argue with your neighbour, and if you do not love him that is not good – it is a sin, but it is even bigger sin – and God forbids that – to pass that hatred to the animal that belongs to your rival. “If you see the donkey of one who hates you lying down under its burden you shall refrain from leaving him with it; you must help with it.” (Exodus 23:4-5) Also, abusing an animal in any way is not God’s will. “You shall not plow with an ox and a donkey together.” (Deuteronomy 22:10) God established a day of rest for animals as well. “Six days you shall do your work, but on the seventh day you shall rest; that your ox and your donkey may have rest ” (Exodus 23:12)

Saints who had an abundance of love towards God and towards their neighbours indeed had plenty of love for animals too. Religious tales abound with examples of warm mutual love. St. Gerasimos of the Jordan “once came upon a lion roaring in pain because of a large splinter imbedded in one paw. Gerasimos came closer, made the sign of the cross, and removed the splinter from the beast’s paw. The lion tamed and followed the elder to the monastery where it remained until the elder’s death; when the elder died, the lion died of grief for the elder. (Prologue March 4/17)

You see how deep love of a true Christian can be towards any God’s creature. “I remember, tells St. Paisios of Mount Athos, in the cabin of the Holy Cross, one summer, a poisonous snake came down the waterspout and curled up before me. She raised her head high up, put her tongue out and hissed. She was very thirsty, from the heat, so it seemed as she was threatening me. She asked for water but in a commanding way as if I was obligated to bring her water. “Nobody will be touched this way”, I said to her, but I gave her some water and she drank it

However, I am truly touched by jackals, says the elder, because they cry like babies when they are hungry. If you could only see what is happening now with the cats in the cabin. They learned that every time the bell rings I would come out, and then I would throw them some food sometimes. So now, when they are hungry they pull the rope so that the bell rings. I come out and see that they pulled the rope, and I give them some food. How God arranged everything,” tells St. Paisios of Mount Athos (Spiritual Counsels

Mark the Ascetic was very merciful and kind and he wept for misfortune of every God’s creature. On one occasion, he wept over a hyena’s blind cub, and while weeping he prayed to God, and the cub got its sight back. To thank him the mother hyena brought him a sheepskin. The saint forbade the hyena to kill any more sheep belonging to the poor people in the future

Nowadays, many things are disordered and many relations confused, and someone is working hard on that tragic confusion. Animals are given human characteristics and they are pushed into people’s lives to replace their families, especially children. Because children are burdensome, children are demanding, children are an obstacle in career advancing; not to mention what else children can be and already are in the twisted minds of some animal lovers. While a dog, especially when it is well trained, stays quiet and just licks himself. It adores and is thankful immensely. One can live with a dog. It does not argue, it does not talk back, it does not annoy, and it does not obligate. A happy “dog dad” and a delighted “dog mom” can fully devote themselves to their careers, their ambitions, and their advancement – “a complete human achievement”. When years fly by, and life crumbles away, and even when some of those empty and vain ambitions are accomplished, then he finds himself alone in that emptiness, and she is lonely in her own world, and they turn back and see – a complete human failure. But then, it is too late

So that we – Christians “may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes.” (Ephesians 4:14) – as we are warned by St. Apostle Paul. If faddists have their own priorities, and if everything is more important to them than God’s Law and His Holy will, we have to stay true to the order of values the way God instructed us. We cannot take example from old ladies like Brigitte Bardot who would exterminate all medical doctors and researchers for one single lab rat. In her nineties, she saw her grandchildren only once, and her great grandchildren not even once. ” I never believed in blood connections”, she said, but she believes in dog connections to her final days

Let’s take the Holy Script, and let’s leave those fads and human foolishness aside. Let the Holy Script, the revealed words of God, be our guide, our lighthouse, and the light to our feet so we stay on our path to God

Let’s love one another, let’s be fruitful and let’s multiply. Let’s feel the unspoken joy, and at the same time the difficulty of being parents

Let’s love God’s creatures, but let’s not adore them or worship them. We worship one God, our Lord, now and always.