When I was a child in my Methodist Chapel, I sang with gusto the words to the hymn ‘All things bright and beautiful’. It was only when I grew up that I realized that things were not that simple. But allow me to remind you of the words. For the sake of space I have squeezed the verses together.
All things bright and beautiful, All creatures great and small, All things wise and wonderful: The Lord God made them all. Each little flower that opens, Each little bird that sings, He made their glowing colours, He made their tiny wings. The purple-headed mountains, The river running by, The sunset and the morning That brightens up the sky. The cold wind in the winter, The pleasant summer sun, The ripe fruits in the garden, He made them every one. The tall trees in the greenwood, The meadows where we play, The rushes by the water, To gather every day. He gave us eyes to see them, And lips that we might tell, How great is God Almighty, Who has made all things well.
It’s not bad as hymns go; there are many much worse. This one at least is full of joy and appreciation for the simple wonders of the world that we too easily take for granted. The trouble is, of course, that we take too much for granted. Take Man’s Best Friend, for example. Just look at the way dogs act around their owners, their behaviour, personality, demeanour, resilience, their unconditional love, loyalty, and companionship down to their very last breath. How many human friends can compare to that?
Your dog doesn’t judge you; he doesn’t care how you’re dressed or if you’ve just had a really bad day. Your dog is always happy to see you and greets you with the same enthusiasm each and every time you walk in the door. Dogs live in the present. They don’t regret the past or worry about the future. If only we too could appreciate and focus on what’s happening here and now, our lives would be much richer.
My wife and I have collected dogs ever since we moved here permanently in 1990. We have rescued many a dog on its last legs and carted it off to Dr. Keith for initial care and first aid after which we took it home always vowing to find a good home for it. The dogs always decided that our home was good enough for them so our pack grew larger and larger. The most we have had at any given time was 16. If you have never experienced the thrill and pleasure of an early morning walk accompanied by 16 dogs you have never really lived.
Emily was our pack leader even though I felt I was leader of the pack. What Emily said counted. Nobody stepped out of line. One glance, one low growl and order was immediately restored. I will remember Emily to my dying day. She was a Rottweiler-Doberman mix, the sweetest tempered dog you ever could wish for.
Dogs know what’s really going on. They pay attention to body language and energy. They don’t hold grudges. There’s a remarkable lack of conflict in a pack of dogs because members resolve the situation when disagreements arise, then move on. Imagine what our world would be like if we dealt with all conflicts before they escalated out of control. For a dog, every morning is Christmas morning, every walk is the best walk, every meal is the best meal, and every game is the best game.
Dogs ask for nothing. They do not ask to be abandoned. They do not ask to be mowed down by motorists. They do not ask to be left foraging for food in piles of waste, yet there are so many homeless dogs in Saint Lucia.
SLAPS, the Saint Lucian Animal Protection Society, takes care of abandoned animals, mainly dogs and some cats. This volunteer organization works wonders and deserves every bit of support we can give them.
SLAPS proves shelter for homeless animals. Volunteers feed them and care for them. They try to find homes for them. Sometimes they neuter them in order to control unwanted pregnancies. They even bury them when they die.
Take a moment to check out this video and others on Youtube: ‘Helping The Helpless – St Lucia Animal Protection Society’ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MD6uchpqhZ0. Perhaps you might be moved to help.