The Meaning of Sacrifice in a World of Chew Toys

Dog bed sprawl has become an issue.

Are my dogs spiritual pups? I’d like to think that in between the wrestling and barking, they pause for reflection.

Are we being good dogs?

What does it truly mean to dog?

Can we spread our light to other dogs?

Maybe they don’t delve too deeply. Similar to the human condition, Sophie and Rufus still struggle with what it means to be “good dogs.” They know they shouldn’t counter surf, but sometimes the pretzels look too tempting. They know they need to cut the mailman a break, but he just gets so close to the front door. They know I need to work, but it’s so much more fun to play with me.

I am not a religious person. Sundays could often be fraught in my household growing up, and I don’t connect to the sexist interpretations of many faith-based texts. However, there are still the great questions of life. Why am I here? Why has life taken this particular trajectory? Are you going to eat that?  Therefore, in an effort to bring spirituality into my scattered life, we are eschewing organized religion for a disorganized version of something.

In my Catholic-lite tradition of occasional Episcopalian-esqe behavior, we are observing Lent as a way to cleanse our souls and create glimmers of hope in a turbulent world.

I will give up grudges, resentment, and Diet Coke.

Sophie will give up pushing Rufus out of the way for sofa space.

Rufus will give up pushing Sophie out of the way everywhere else in the house.

Both dogs will attempt to give up farting.  No promises.

We will all try to give up slothfulness, and consequently, find time to exercise more.

Then as we ponder what it means to be good Earth critters, we might give up something that represents comfort in order to be more considerate to those who have much less. Should we give up some blankets? Should we give up some treats?

A Buddhist priest prays with his dog. Read the story here

My dogs are absurdly spoiled beasts since they are allowed pretty much anywhere in the house, other than the top of the kitchen table.  Their day-to-day lives aren’t really about giving service to others (beyond my own entertainment). They are also both rescues, so they’ve experienced loss and some hardship already. But do they really need a dog bed in every single room?

The NYTimes posted that out of the billion dogs alive on our planet, 750,000,000 of them are not pets. They live either alone or in groups and exist as strays, although the story tries to point out they are “much more than strays.” That may be true, but daily life is still much more of a struggle than most pets know, and they have to activate all of their powers to bond with food-givers.

According to this story, dogs’ superpower is getting food from humans. It’s an impressive skill that does not diminish once brought into a loving home. Just ask my recent party guests how much food they offered my pups. Sophie and Rufus’s night included pretzels, roast beef, pasta, crackers, and cheesecake, all because they regarded my friends as the best thing to happen to the universe.

In that light, my dogs will go without fancy bedtime treats during Lent. Instead, I’ll use that money to purchase some food to donate to Colorado Pet Pantry. Other pets will be fed without having to beg, and my dogs will learn the necessity of sacrifice in life.

And this might cut down on the gas. #EverybodyWins.








17 Thoughts

  1. I really enjoyed this post! I was raised Catholic but I have a much broader view of the world so don’t follow it or any particular religion. I honestly didn’t even realize it was Lent! Whoopsie. I do know my dogs feel guilt though, so perhaps they are Catholic?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This was witty, informative, and reflective. I think we are similar in our spirituality (raised episcopal, but not connected), so I appreciate a more non-denominational look at those larger questions. And what an interesting thought that dogs may have some reflection. Lovely piece!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. What a thoughtful and reflective post. All of us should give up something for ‘Lent’ maybe I give up worrying its far too comforting a habit for me! Harvey will give up everything but his official renal food.

    You do’t need faith to tread a good path through life. You need a commitment to do your best for yourself, and your pets, and for them to do their best (as much as they can).

    Liked by 1 person

  4. What an awesome article! LOVE it! I consider myself spiritual but not religious. I was brought up Catholic Light. Apostolic lol. I also attended bible church at my grandmother’s Methodist church. I relate more toward the spiritual religions now. I think it is great to practice Lent and not just for religious reasons. I do hope that you find a way away from the farting LOL It is wonderful that you will be donating food!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Thank you for reminding me to take the time and think about life; my dogs; and what they mean to me. Too ofent we get caught up in the hustle and bustle of life to think and appreciate what we have around us. Thanks too for the funny pic!


  6. Amy, I think that this is just about the cutest article I have read in a while! I think it is great that you decided to participate in lent, even though you are not religious. I think giving something up for any amount of time is important for everyone, just to keep things real. I really hope that the sacrifice of treats helped with the farting too! ❤ 😛

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I truly enjoyed reading your humorous perspective on keeping first-world problems in their proper place. Your big picture point of view is a good reminder that making small sacrifices can make a big difference for someone else. I also work at a middle school, so fart jokes are my jam! LOL!

    Liked by 1 person

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