We have a dog here at school on occasion. Dixie is a service dog who is well trained and adds a bit of calm and levity to school.
A few kids get to read to the dog and interact with her a bit. A dog can only handle so much interaction, so it is just a few kids. That dog is serving the Lord well as she interacts with the Lord’s prized people.
I like Dixie, and we appreciate her presence, especially with her owner who has committed more than just a little time to bringing Dixie and moderating her presence here. Still Dixie is a dog, God made Dixie a dog with the constraints of doghood.
Understanding the limitations of doghood and embracing them help us keep life in order. Sanity is facilitated by a simple concept called the Ladder of Creation. We teach the ladder in second grade, but revisit it often as it helps us understand many things in life. The ladder is pretty much self- explanatory, except for the profound horizontal mark which indicates a break of infinite importance between people and animals. The break is of eternal significance in that everything above has an immortal soul that will never end, everything below does not. The implications can hardly be overemphasized.
Don’t get me wrong, I am kind to animals, I recycle, and even compost. We need to respect all things as God intends. You and I, we are above the mark, we are going to live FOREVER. I tend to forget that. Sorry, Dixie, this life is all you’ve got; there is an infinite difference between you and me, which we need to remember. When I’m in the grocery store where the pet food selections exceed the baby food, there are indications we may have forgotten. When I hear of dogs having joint and cancer surgery and children in the world are dying of malnutrition, there are indications we have forgotten. Lord, lead me to sanity and sound thought and action. Help me to lead the children entrusted to my care in the same direction.