“When I look into the eyes of an animal I do not see an animal. I see a living being. I see a friend. I feel a soul” – A.D. Williams
Admittedly, I am suspect of people who don’t like animals, of people who think dogs and cats should live outside or in the garage, of people who cannot see animals as living beings with souls and personalities. The responsibility of owning pets is huge and not to be taken lightly, no less so than having children, except that children eventually leave the nest to build lives of their own. Pet ownership lasts the lifetime of the pet, plain and simple. Sadly, in our community alone, the local shelter has had 60+ animals returned since Christmas and the number is likely to rise higher.
I’ve said it before and will continue saying it until animals quit dying because people become bored with them, value possessions over the life of a pet, or use them for purposes other than as pets and members of the family; don’t get a pet if you cannot treat the animal humanely and commit to its lifetime. The stories I see on Facebook alone are heartwrenching, and it seems there are more posted every day. Anyone who can look into the eyes of an animal and not see a living soul are soulless themselves. Harsh, but true.
Each of our pets is a unique being, just like all animals. They have personalities, likes, and dislikes, and different relationships with one another and the humans in their lives. Each of their barks is different, and like a baby’s cry, I know which dog is barking without having to look. I love the differences in them and yet they all love unconditionally and are just as excited to see us when we return after five minutes or five days.
Church teachings on animals as soulless creatures whose only purpose is to serve mankind persist and are not based on fact; they are opinions, nothing more, nothing less. Interestingly, I have never heard, nor met, a spiritual person journeying with God and seeking wisdom apart from organized religion who believes animals are soulless beings we will never see again after the pets have passed on. Seems odd, doesn’t it, those preferring a less traditional approach to journeying with God would believe animals have souls and collectively Christians do not?
Many spiritual people also believe animal reincarnation is possible and even likely – not always a full-on reincarnation, but at least walk-ins when beloved pets who have passed on show up in new pets from time to time. Even the Bible agrees with that! According to the scriptures, Yeshua (Jesus) said, “All things are possible to him who believes” (Mark 9:23 The Complete Jewish Bible) All things are all things – we can’t decide what ‘all things’ will include just because we don’t happen to believe something. If the Bible is to be believed, Jesus raised people from the dead, cast out demons, healed people from all manner of illness, and even rose from the dead Himself, so can we say animal reincarnation or walk-ins aren’t possible?
Animals are sentient beings as is the human-animal; capable of feeling, conscious, aware and responsive to its environment. Why would one have souls and the other not? Doesn’t make sense, does it? One of our dogs is a rescue who obviously had bad things happen to him prior to becoming a shelter dog we adopted. He is the sweetest dog, yet scared of his own shadow, certain a hand or object raised too quickly is meant to punish or hurt him. It breaks our hearts. Clearly, he is a sentient being.
When I look into the eyes of an animal I see a living being, a soul…..