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?
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.