Should we get a Puppy?

We have become a statistic. A Covid-19 statistic. No, there’s been no virus here, but we have entered a crazy stage along with almost half of the population right now. We are looking into getting a puppy. Apparently, everyone else is getting a “Covid canine” too! If you’ve been following mittonmusings for any amount of time you will have heard me mention our zoo before… creatures abound at our house and are a vital part of our lives. Although there has never been a dog. I love dogs and we have done our fair share of dog sitting — I just happen to be a cat person and know that dogs are a bigger commitment of time, work and money. And yet, here we are on the brink of dog ownership.

Now before you go all judgey on me and think we are just looking to fill the gap during the pandemic, don’t. I certainly do not wish people to get a dog and then abandon it in six months when the world goes back to normal and there is no longer “time”. Please don’t do this! We were thinking about it before we all went into lockdown — but since then, the search has been increasingly difficult! Obviously, we were not alone in our quest! The pandemic has forced people to clear their schedules and fuelled the fire for furry companionship: adoption inquires jumped 122% in the first month of lockdown (petfinder.com), fostering increased 500% (wow! 500%) as shelters began to shut down and people wanted to “do good” with the time on their hands (ASPCA). In Canada, humane societies saw a 30-70% increase in adoption and fostering applications, and registered breeders were very quickly sold out of puppies and added to waiting lists up to two years ahead! Kijiji has been flooded with “backyard breeders” asking astronomical prices for cross breeds and scams are abundant. People are looking for companionship.

All of this has had me thinking and comparing. We’ve been debating between a few “high energy/high maintenance” breeds and slower, more “family oriented” dogs. I have some definite “no’s” on my list… and some confusion about a few ads I’ve seen (what on earth is a doganoodle?!)… add an honest budget to the list and finding a pup has not been easy… much to the youngest’s dismay and discouragement. So many choices. So much diversity. So many pros and so many cons.

At first, I was going to compare these thoughts to the faith profiles of Mary and Martha in the gospel of Luke. Each of the sisters had unique priorities and personalities … a high working drive and a calmer, more relaxed approach to life. Jesus points out many valuable points in both approaches and reminds us that companionship is the goal. As I considered the sisters, I discovered that we can expand those thoughts to each of us and our churches at large. God’s kingdom, like the available dog breed list, is HUGE. Pedigree people are just as valuable as the street “mutt” in God’s eyes — He made us all and has placed us right where He wants us to be in order to do great things for Him. He wants us to be loving companions even (or especially) during a quarantine.

I was reminded of it during Sunday service today. We are to be kind, to hate sin, but to be radical in our love for others — especially during this “new normal” we are living in. Some of us are struggling to keep it together as fear and anxiety take over. Some of us are craving a good game of fetch and are dying to be social again. Some of us need a challenge to get up and out of the doghouse. Others need strict and constant training. We all need love. Now please don’t think that I am comparing humans to dogs. I’m simply using the analogy, that like dogs, we each have different needs and are uniquely gifted for specific purposes. It’s not our job to compare — we don’t have to pick people like we pick puppies. Our churches should encourage one another to serve and be served.

The Mary and Martha story reminds us to examine our priorities in addition to sharing our gifts. Our new puppy will be welcomed into our “zoo” and will change our routines for sure. It will be fun, but require effort. We are hoping it all will work out as a balanced leap of faith. I found a blog while researching for this little post with a great prayer that focuses on that balance. It makes me think that we are kind of like a new puppy in Jesus’ great big new house. I hope the author doesn’t mind that I am borrowing it:

Heavenly Father we open the doors of our heart to you.  We long to spend time sitting at your feet and learning all that you have to teach us.  We long to lay our heads on your lap and have you comfort us.  We long to know you as well as you know us.  We pray for wisdom in making our priorities in our day; we pray that you would guard us against the bossiness of our feelings and emotions that sometimes stand in our way.  Like Martha, we offer our hospitality, and like Mary, we choose to sit at your feet. Thanks to God who wrote our story and made it unique and beautiful.  Amen

From: https://lauriehampton.com/2018/11/18/three-lessons-learned-from-the-mary-and-martha-battle/