Pet Lessons

Pet Lessons

“I don’t like this anymore,” she cried. “It’s not the way it used to be with him,” she lamented. “I don’t think I can do this.” Tears streamed down her face in sorrow.

She was 12 and her beloved dog was wailing and nipping at her in his pain. As I sat and watched my youngest child mourn the potential loss of her “baby,” our 8-year-old adopted Dachshund, I knew just what she meant.

MJ came to us via Craigslist only a year ago. I was looking in the “Free” section for some furniture (yeah, I’m like that) when I discovered this forlorn face of a Dachshund doggy staring back at me. Something in the strangeness of it all made me contact his owner, expressing interest in adopting him.

He was a perfect fit for us, right from the start. Housebroken, cuddly, and fun-loving, we thought we’d hit the jackpot, dog-wise. Though we’d heard all the warnings about Dachshunds’ fragile backs, we hoped for a good 13 years of life for him.

Then the news came while we were on vacation, several states away. He’d hurt himself while staying with our relatives. Not knowing what to think, we prayed and waited. My husband reached home first and found MJ much worse than he expected. Unable to will his back legs to walk, he dragged himself across the floor to greet my husband. After an immediate trip to the vet, we knew the story: MJ had a herniated disc and could eventually be paralyzed. Total bed rest, anti-inflammatories and pain pills were prescribed.

That was 10 days ago. And we’re waiting and praying and nursing him as best we can. But it might not be enough. We might have to say good-bye. I hate that.

The strange thing is, we’ve had to say good-bye to several pets over the years…it’s almost crazy how much this has happened in our twenty years as a family, but it’s still so hard. You’d think after all these pet deaths, we’d give up on loving another one…but we just can’t. Or you’d think it would get easier due to experience, but it doesn’t.

Writer Randy Alcorn, after the death of Moses, his 15 year old Dalmatian, said this about heaven,

Our God of sovereign goodness will reverse the curse, and we and the entire world shall rise to new life. There will be no more pain and suffering. I long for that day. Watching Moses die in my arms made me long for it more.

Pets are dear to many of us. Their short life spans teach us to love all we can while we can. Their loyalty and trust remind us to love without grudges. We have much to learn from the creatures God has entrusted to us. They are his gifts. But just like everything else in this life, we can’t hold too tightly to them.

What losses are you facing today? A dear pet? A dear human loved one? A relationship? A job? A home? A marriage? God is enough to fill the void they leave. Jesus was called “a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.” He knows about loss. He cares about our pain. And He’s preparing a place where there will be no hint of sorrow ever again. Perfect. Flawless. Painless. Death-less. Heaven will be everything we yearn for, but never find on this earth. No more good-byes. No more tears. Hold on. The best is yet to come.

Kristin Bunting About Kristin Bunting

Kristin wishes you could pull up a chair, enjoy a cup of coffee, and talk with her about how amazing Jesus is. For 33 years she has walked with her Savior, and each year is a new adventure in learning how He is always "Enough" for her, no matter what the circumstance. Kristin is wife to one loving small-church pastor, and never ceases to be amazed at the 3 daughters God has given them to raise. Her one-day dream is to write a book for women, chronicling her walk with Jesus and encouraging them to never quit pursuing the God who loves them.


  1. This one really got me. Pets are so great at demonstrating unconditional love, just a taste of the kind we get from God. For sure when we see them suffer and die, we are reminded of the time when all of that suffering will be a memory.

    I hope MJ gets better. I really do. And also, I’m a frequent browser of free stuff on Craigslist, too. 🙂

  2. This post resonated with me, as I came home on the Fourth of July from a family get-together to let our two huskies in from the heat for a while and found our Aspen dead on the front lawn. He was getting old, it was difficult for him to get around, and he was on pain medication, but it’s still hard to say good-bye.

    Yes, we are so blessed that God has created pets for us to love (and to love us back!) and who bring us so much joy and laughter.

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