"Don't pay any attention to the man behind the curtain!"
OK.... just in case you were wondering, it's from The Wizard of Oz. The great Oz is, indeed, a concoction of smoke and mirrors.... and a fabulous set and sound system for its time. Unfortunately, that big disembodied head which appeared on a backdrop screen was far more awe-inspiring, more shocking, more mysterious and terrifying than it's creator, the considerably less significant little white haired man behind the curtain spinning all the wheels and cranking up the smoke and distorting his own reedy voice to the deep, powerful roar on the screen.
And.... do you remember who "busted him" in the act? Dorothy's scraggly black dog Toto. He knew where to look to find the 'real thing'.
Animals have that ability; extremely small children are similarly gifted - both can sniff out the good stuff from the bad- the true from the charade.
Barbara often writes of her cats.... and I guess I'm getting a reputation for writing about dogs, especially Miss Emily Louise who is becoming the most lovable, peace abiding dog on the east coast at this point. She has sat at my feet during services, sat over my lap while praying at home. She says her prayers before meals. I also connect with her inherent empathy for others - furry and otherwise: she can understand their intent, even if she may not understand the language they use.
I am a proponent of bringing beloved animals to worship -- and not just on St. Francis day. For some of us, animals are very much extentions of our own families and often the only concrete source of unconditional love we may know. Why not bring them with you to worship.
There are animals that, having become very comfortable in different situations with people and other animals can provide service as therapy pets.... cats, dogs, rabbits. They can be trained and then certified to be used as therapy for those who need remedial help reading or are elderly or undergoing serious/painful medical treatment over weeks and months. Therapy animals may be just what the doctor ordered.
Besides service to others, owning a loving pet has a distinct effect on the health, attitude, demeanor, choices of the owner. That unconditional love is doled out most particularly on them. And looking in Miss Emmy-Lous eyes, full of love and concentration, I am reminded that there is a bumper sticker I need to get for our car:
"God grant me the grace to become the person my dog believes I am"
A p.s. to my 2cents comes from Eleanor Ditrick who recently sent this short comment to Barbara who has given me the go ahead to post it here: (p.s. thanks Eleanor!)
Will never get tired of the cat stories but I also love the Dogs....We have a beautiful sheltie and his name is Chaplain. Both my husband and I are Chaplains in local hospitals...we think our Chaplain is a healer...he can make us laugh, he comforts when we fall down, and lays his head on my knee when I am sad. We adopted him when he was a year old...he had been raised in a garage in a cage...and so he spent his first years trying to get away from us...and he had no affect...he wouldn't look at us and he didn't even wag his tail...he was very unlovable...thru him God taught us to love the unlovables and even ourselves....He is still a typical Sheltie...a herding dog...he likes to keep Howard and I together...he is a barker and a bandit...but now he is also a lover who has taught us a lot about THE LOVER!!