This is a picture of Margaret meeting Hamish, a retired greyhound, who has become her new companion and family dog. Dogs have been so important this year in the three lockdowns. When we cannot hug each other, a dog (or cat) to stroke and cuddle has been healing. When the only outdoors has been walking, the dog has enhanced our walks and introduced us to new friends. When we haven’t felt like going outdoors in the wind and the rain, the dog has made us get up and take some exercise. For me, the dog has made me play and laugh and run about chasing a ball or playing tug – a moment to become a child again. And many will attest to the power and encouragement of mutual love between human and animal.
Here’s a story in the news from Feb 19th: Michele Benedet had set out for a four day solo hike in the Italian Alps when he fell, suffering multiple injuries. He could not phone for help as there was no signal. He pulled himself near to a stream, covered himself with leaves, and cuddled his dog, Ash. Together they stayed there for 7 days in freezing temperatures until the mountain rescue team found them both very cold, hungry, but safe and well. Afterwards Michele credited his dog who “helped me to survive”.
I also heard on the news how several London police stations are now using dogs (just cuddly spaniels not the normal trained police dogs) in the cells area and also for the police officers to help people relax in stressful times. The power of touch is healing, and the non-judging approach of a dog can diffuse a difficult situation.
In so many ways dogs and other animals do help us to survive.
Lord God of all being,
Thank you for all those with whom we share our lives and our planet,
humans, animals, birds, fish, reptiles, and the insect world.
Teach us to love and respect the natural world
and to learn the lessons of non judging love and faithfulness.
Reflection written by Felicity