Monday, September 28, 2009

Dog Spelled Backwards

Recently, I wrote on Twitter if I am jewish is my dog jewish? If you are catholic or protestant does your dog follow your religion?

Although humans have had, worked and used dogs for over 10,000 years, folklore about dogs has not been seriously researched until recently. In Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, the dog is seldom mentioned and when it is, the reference is usually negative. But in ancient Greece, Rome, Persia and China, there is much folklore and superstition surrounding dogs who were written about and/or participated in religious rituals. Moreover, these are the regions where some of the earliest and most sophisticated dog breeding took place, kennel masters were praised and dog were considered companions as well as warriors too.

Over the years but especially in the modern world, views about our dogs have changed. Now, dogs play such a vital role in some people's lives and are considered part of the famly and in many cases, a life-line to the outside world. It is this attitude that has many dog-owning church-goers questioning doctrines teaching that animals do not have souls and do not go to heaven. Many people who love and feel a spiritual connection with their dogs, cats, and other pets complain that compassion for animals is treated as unimportant by the religious community. They complain that spiritual support is lacking during times of pet illness and pet loss.

However, pet owners do have opportunities to have their pets blessed at least once year. This weekend, pet blessings are happening around the world, on or near October 4th for the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi. There are many of the stories that surround the life of St. Francis deal with his love for animals. The two most significant involve him speaking to birds about how they have been blessed God and the other describes him making peace between a wolf and the village he terrorized for food. He is a favorite saint because he preached to man and beast the universal ability and duty of all creatures to praise God and the duty of men to protect and enjoy nature as both the stewards of God's creation and as creatures ourselves.

In order to celebrate his universally message, manhattan pet owners can go to uptown to the Episcopal St. John the Divine at 1047 Amserdam Avenue or downtown to catholic St. Anthony of Padua Church on 154 Sullivan Street to have their animal blessed.

I am jewish but I am going to take this opportunity to get my pets blessed.

I believe HE is everywhere.

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