This last week our sausage dog got parvo virus, a gastro-intestional disease that can easily kill a dog through dehydration or secondary infection.
Carrie was very ill and the vet warned me that should she not improve with treatment at home, she may have to be hospitalised, for which they would require a $3 000 deposit!
This put us in a very difficult position, on the one hand we don’t really have that sort of money to spend, but on the other hand, how do you put a price on the life of your beloved pet? And how would I tell the children we killed the dog because it was too expensive?
I have heard of people who have spent $20 000 or more on their dogs, paying for operations or ongoing treatments for various diseases or allergies. Before we owned a pet I would have said that was completely crazy, but now I know our animals come to be part of the family and I, for one, was reduced to uncontrollable sobs at the thought that our dog might die.
But what makes our pets so valuable? They eat rotten bones on the carpets, leave poop all over the lawn and destroy our favourite shoes – from a purely practical, financial point of view they are not worth it.
A pet’s worth comes from how much we love them, the emotional investment we place in them. They are not valuable in and of themselves, not because of what they have done necessarily, but they are valuable because of the relationship we have with them, and it is purely subjective and often unfathomable to others.
It got me thinking that it is like God’s illogical, disproportionate love for us. We are not valuable in any objective way to Him, we don’t deserve and can’t earn the affection He places on us, but He values our lives by His deep and abiding tenderness for us.
And while we may “um” and “aah” about spending a few thousand dollars on the dog, God did not hesitate to lay down His very life for us. No cost was too great because His love for us “reaches to the heavens, [His] faithfulness to the skies” (Psalm 35:6).
If He is not yet your “owner”, may I encourage you to surrender to Him? He is the most loving master in the universe.