A Very Sad Dog Made Happy!

Posted on June 6, 2023


Many of you will recognize the Quora app online. It responds to questions and provides answers from other readers.

My very favorite questions are about pets, especially dogs, and how so many are sad, lonely, incarcerated in pounds for weeks, sometimes months, and then freed and usually overjoyed when rescued by a person or family adopting them from the animal shelter. The videos are sometimes slightly contrived, adding thoughts to a dog’s sadness and loneliness, often broken by the passage of endless days and nights, alone and abandoned. Sad is too simple a description. One’s heart goes out to him or her, frightened of being alone for so long.

Homeless dog, waiting for a new owner

Then she is rescued and the rescue itself restores life and happiness, the promise of a new life, joy forever, desperation and sadness forgotten as an instant bond of friendship is formed with the equally joyous new owners.  To say there is much tail wagging, jumping, and excitement is an understatement. No matter how much the video makers add human touches to capture the sadness being replaced by happiness, I respond with joy, even if for just a few moments before moving along to something else that needs my attention online.

Happy Dog Upon Rescue!

Every time I see one of these videos, I am tempted to stop and watch, first, the sadness and loneliness, and then, slowly, the video makers, or God’s, gradual intervention, and the slow but inexorable happiness that begins to permeate and transform the scene. I know it will be a happy ending, because Quora wouldn’t publish a terrible, sad, lonely end of desperate, hungry, starving animals who perish from human actions.

Which, of course, brings me to the question: how do animals get so stricken and hurt by humans? And then, the old social scientist and Christian in me, do we do this to each other—to other human beings—as well? And the answer as an historian or observer of the past, and a sentient person today with feelings and curiosity about my world, is “of course we do, Larry, look around you!” And then, how do we deal with all this?

The answer comes to us, ultimately, with the story and actions of one man who visited us two thousand years ago, Jesus Christ. He gave us the answers and he gave us the wherewithal to do the right things through love and compassion for our world of humans, and of course the world of our animals.

And then another question pops up, this one to the rational, quasi-scientific social scientist always asking “why?” The question is answered two ways, in the natural and in the spiritual. By that I mean an answer that comes either from our human existence or one that comes to us in a spiritual, Godly way that transcends our merely human bodies and speaks to our souls and our spirit.

As I contemplate these questions, we move from the “why” to the “how?” Our identity as natural men is pretty clear. We live, we breath, we think, we love, we hate, we talk, and so forth. Our spiritual being is a little dicier to define for the scholar or student simply measuring the physical being.

It is not a complicated answer, but pedants, theologians, scholars, and the like can often make it so. Let’s be as brief and clear as possible. Jesus came to earth as the son of God to free us from sin and so give us life eternal after we die. Otherwise, in sin, when we die, we go to hell, for eternity. See the story below told in Scripture in the book of Luke.

We have to personally accept Jesus’s free gift—called the exculpatory sacrifice among other terms, or redemption in others—and in doing so, our spirit becomes one with his spirit, the Holy Spirit, And so we are redeemed. Listen to a Franklin Graham video, or, better, if you can find one, a “crusade” by his father Billy Graham.

Or read for yourself. Go to Luke 16, verses 14-31, and read the story of the poor man Lazarus who dies and goes to heaven. I’ll not give it away here other than to mention that you—all of us—have a choice to make on how we live our lives. Unlike the poor dogs we mentioned at the beginning of this little column, who must wait on the actions of human beings to save them, we are given a choice by our Lord, Jesus. It is not a hard choice, although you can make it so by putting yourself first in everything. I wrote a little book published last year, A New Tale of Two Cities. The blurb, somewhat over celebratory and not written by me but a publicist trying to sell the book, catches the theme though.

Jesus Raises Lazarus from the Dead

“The author motivates readers to reflect on themselves, evaluate their lives, and ponder the question, “Which one am I?” Do I live just for myself, or have I discovered the “Christian mystery–” that Christianity was brought into existence for all people?

The book examines the modern-day we live in and sees Christianity, history, and politics as aspects of a complex existence that place us in one of two camps: feeling entitled, or turning to Jesus, on the other hand, for life’s meaning and life itself? It’s your choice.

Published May 31, 2023 in Northport Gazette.

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