Yesterday we laid to rest our faithful dog, Bella. She was a small shepherd mix, with a gentle disposition, who loved to travel. She suffered more than she needed to over this winter because she refused to take her medication, and I ran out of ways to sneak the pill into the food that she was losing interest in eating. As we held the graveside service, I realized that I had crossed a line. Before Bella adopted us, I was uncomfortable offering up to the Lord requests concerning the welfare of pets. “There are no cats in heaven. And no, Lassie doesn’t have a soul,” I would say. Now that grief is upon my own house, I find myself paraphrasing Psalm 8:
Oh Lord, Your majesty is expressed through all of your creatures.
Through the praise of children, infants, and household pets
you have established a stronghold against your enemies,
to silence the foe and the avenger.
With Bella, I have often considered your heavens,
looking upon the moon and the stars,
as she did her late night business.
What is the Kemp household that you are mindful of us?
Our souls, that you have placed such nobel creatures in our care?
You have made our pets a little lower than the angels
and crowned them with natural grace and patience.
We are thankful and humbled.