Once a year the block on North Avenue and West Peachtree is invaded by a plethora of four-legged friends. Perhaps your pet at home is much like our dog, wondering where it is everyone went after we returned to school and offices following the long months of working and playing with said dog at home during Covid. After all, our dog knows, as do most domestic animals, that she has it pretty good.
On one hand, the resources we pour into our domestic creatures is astounding. During 2021, Americans spent something like $109 billion on rabbit food, guinea pig treats, fish bowls, and I imagine all manner of canine and feline accessories - more than we spend per year on the federal prison system and equivalent to the gross domestic product of Ecuador. In other words, we love our pets, a lot.
On the other hand, our pets can help us connect with our more compassionate, empathetic, and giving selves. They can slow us down. They teach children how to care for someone beyond themselves. And if we are honest, our pets often have a better sense of fun than we do. No doubt Pet Smart could probably discard half of its inventory and we would all be OK without the latest Snackshotz Treat Launcher and doggy treadmill. Yet that connection to the whole of who we are has a value that is hard to measure. So, bring your pet to church this Sunday, or worship with them online, and wherever you may be on the food chain, rejoice in the words of the psalmist proclaiming, 'let everything that has breath, praise the Lord'.