Monday, June 08, 2009

Dog Death Distinction

When Fraggles died, we went through (are still going through) the Kubler-Ross grief stages. He was only a dog, but he was our dog.
In our case, the hardest part has been dealing with the guilt of responsibility. We were supposed to take care of him--we should have built a fence or kept him tethered. On the other hand, we also recalled that he loved his freedom and did not like being tied down, so we didn't have the heart to restrict his wanderlust. We live in the county; there are no leash laws. His playmates came and went, unrestricted. He would be the only dog in the neighborhood who was kept up. How would he feel about that?
It is much like God's giving Adam a free will: Adam's test would not have been a real test if his freedom to make choices was fatalistically determined, i.e., if his choice could have been only one of the two alternatives: to sin, or not to sin. That freedom to choose either alternative allowed Adam to sin and bring the death sentence on him and his posterity, just as Fraggles' freedom allowed him to wander to the wrong place at the wrong time, and get hit by the passing car and suffer death for himself. (His posterity had already been taken care of, before he came to us from the dog pound.)
During his brief time on this earth, Fraggles did teach us some things about relationships to a master. He depended on us to feed him and he always showed his gratitude with a wagging tail. He guarded our stuff and his territory. He showed devotion to a master, and even though he didn't always understand, he trusted us.
He demonstrated kindness and compassion. He shared his food with other dogs. He showed devotion, loyalty, fidelity and trust. As he related to us, his masters, it occurred to me that we could learn ways to approach our Master.
He was a good dog!