An adorable Cavalier King Charles Spaniel was running towards the busy street as a neighbor tried to lure the dog from certain disaster. Another neighbor rang the owner’s doorbell and the owner, still in pajamas at noon, shook her head and said, “it’s just a dog.” The family’s other dog, a Yellow Lab, slipped through the open door and ran after his Cavalier friend. Now both dogs were in peril and the owner closed the door in disgust that she was bothered by such triviality. 

In college, I dated a guy who was from Southern Maryland. He lived on a small tobacco farm and they had a dog named Sparky. He was a nice, friendly brown mutt. Sparky was hit by a car and killed. My boyfriend’s father walked into the street, removed Sparky’s collar because he could reuse it, left Sparky’s body in the street and never shed a tear. Sparky was “just a dog.”

Just a dog – those words ring in my head and bring me such sorrow. How are some people so unaware of the individuality of each dog and their mission in life to be our reflection?  The people who have these attitudes towards animals generally treat people with the same disregard. And those who love dogs (and other animals) and respect them as God’s creatures know that animals deserve to be treated kindly. 

As someone who believes in karma, otherwise known as “what goes around comes around,” those people who disrespect animals are in for some hard lessons in life. It may come back to them directly as a lesson from the animals or it may come from somewhere else. 

While it may be difficult to make someone see the divinity in animals, I think the animals are speaking up in their own way – through many of us who are becoming their voices – and it’s our purpose to speak for them.