January 12, 2015: Praying for Animals

~by Susi Pittman

Each week, we get numerous prayer requests for people’s pet family members. There is indeed a need and a beauty in that need to be united in prayer before Jesus for those that we love, be they our human or non-human family. Jesus created all creation, everything, with an intimate knowledge of each and every life that exists, both all which is animate and all which is inanimate. After all, Jesus tells us in John 6:39; Now this is the will of him who sent me, the Father, that I should lose nothing of what he has given me, but that I should raise it up on the last day.

Jesus values all creation, He tells us in Matthew 10:29 that the sparrow does not escape His gaze when it dies. He also tells us in Matthew 10:30, The very hairs of your head are numbered. Jesus sees all and knows all. Should that not give us confidence to approach him on behalf of our human and non-human extended family?

I think so. If those were the only two scriptures in the Bible, there could be volumes written upon them.

We take praying for your pets seriously and we hold you and your family up to Jesus as we offer our prayers. No request is ever too small or too large. We certainly appreciate the times when we are included to give thanks for Jesus’ intervention in a pet’s needs.

I have to say we live what we preach here in this home.

Last night, my daughter’s Beagle, Chloe, decided to take five unwatched minutes and dig out under the backyard fence. So, before we get into what happened, let me give you a quick summary of how we came to have Chloe.

One afternoon this past summer, Chloe wandered upon our property (we are certainly out in the country) in need of a good drink of water. My daughter, Seana took her in and gave her exactly what she needed, cool water and a bowl of food. We could tell she was someone’s pet, she made herself at home on the couch and made quick friends with the other dogs. Yes, someone had lost a great family member. We contacted the local animal shelter with her information, should the owners call looking for her. And they did. We were soon to find out that angry neighbors had stolen Chloe and carried her away some 20 miles (close to our property) and dumped her out, because they did not like her wandering on to their property. Chloe’s owners were thrilled that we had their dog.

But, joy would soon turn to a gut-wrenching decision. Chloe’s owners were not going to be able to keep her. She was an escape artist, always getting out and roaming the countryside, causing ill-feelings with some of the neighbors who saw her as a pest. They asked us if we would want to take her in. You know the answer to that question, of course she could join our family of 21 other pets.

Now, back to Chloe’s escape last night. Over the months Chloe had settled in and appeared to love her family and home. We kept a close eye on her at all times when she was out playing and exercising with the other dogs, feeling confident enough to let our guard down that her tendencies to dig-and-run were now a thing of the past.

Wrong.

It took five minutes of unmonitored time and she was under the fence and out. Seana saw her wandering away and ran to get her back. Chloe saw it all as a game and dodged Seana heading off into the dark of the night. It is one of those moments when you feel your stomach twist and your throat just about closes up. You are helpless, completely incapable of doing anything. And you watch, not knowing if that view of your pet disappearing into the night is your last. Chloe was off into unchartered territory, places where coyotes wander and dangers of other types could be lurking.

So we did what we do for so many who come to our website…we prayed. All of us, children, grandchildren and grandmother. Heartfelt prayers to Jesus and the saints and family members who have passed on to be with Jesus.

The prayer I prayed, one which I pray for all pets who are lost was this:

Jesus, You know where Chloe is, she was Yours first and ours second, all animals listen to Your voice Lord, they obey their Master. You Lord, have told the sea, no further. You Lord can tell Chloe, no further. Please send Your angel to walk with her, and if it is Your will dearest Lord, bring her home to us who love her so much. Amen.

Later that evening, Seana’s husband Dave said, “I’m going to open the gate and leave all the barn lights on…maybe it will help her come home if she see the lights.”

Yes, maybe so.

Our family gathered once more on the back porch before turning in for the night, just to talk and comfort one another. In the quiet of a waning moon, a small shadow enters the gate and is trotting down the walk to us…Chloe is home…tail wagging and her head bent in her “I’m sorry” look. How can I convey the joy of that moment?? Words cannot capture that kind of joy and reunion.

Jesus DOES HEAR our prayers for our pets. Chloe is the second miracle of reunion we have had out of the 92 animals we have cared for.

Did Jesus answer every prayer for our lost pets or sick pets…no. There were times He was asking us to walk in the faith we professed in His ability to hold our beloved pets in His Hands whether here or hereafter…and we did! The unknown someday would be made known to us and we would see His great love in what occurred.

If you have a pet you would like for us to pray for, please know that we will unite our prayers with you and share in your concerns and sufferings. We know what you are feeling. We have seen so much and been through most every conceivable situation with pets and other animals that we truly can empathize with you. It is our calling…and we embrace it as our vocation so that through our beloved pets we may all come to know, love and trust Jesus in ALL things.

Peace be with you.

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Susi Pittman is founder of CatholicStewardsofCreation.com and Owner-President of Twin Oaks Publishing; she is author of Animals in Heaven? Catholics Want to Know!; an advocate for the Florida Catholic Conference; a member of the St. Joseph’s Catholic Council of Women in Jacksonville, Florida; an Associate of the Sisters of St. Joseph, St. Augustine;a member of the Florida Publishers Association, Independent Book Publishers Association, the National Association of Professional Women, the ASPCA, the Humane Society of the United States and the National Audubon society.

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