Dog and cat theology

  • Wednesday, January 23, 2013

I must begin by making a confession: I got a D minus in my theology class in veterinary school. It was an extremely difficult class and as with most things in life, I think one becomes knowledgeable on a topic through real life experience more than classroom semantics.

Okay, so there wasnít actually a class on theology in my veterinary curriculum, but it is a topic that needs some real consideration even if you donít like cats and dogs. (Which, by the way, if you donít like cats and dogs we need to talk because you are missing out on a real blessing.)

There are many rewarding aspects of being a veterinarian, but without question, one of my favorite is hearing heartwarming, hilarious and often unbelievable stories about my clientís animals.

For example, the orange tabby cat that had really been trained to use a toilet instead of a litter box. I didnít believe this catís proud Dad at first but he brought in pictures to prove it.

I can only imagine walking into the bathroom to relieve myself, finding the cat on the toilet and having to wait my turn.

Then there is Andy, the 6-year-old golden retriever who picks up Paddington, a 10-year-old silky terrier, in his mouth every night, takes him upstairs and puts him in the bed. Andy then goes back downstairs to pick up Tigger, a 14-year-old Maine Coon cat, and places him in the bed right beside Paddington. You just canít make this kind of stuff up.

We all have great stories to tell about our furry family members, but if we are honest about it, cats and dogs are two very different species. They both show affection, but in vastly different ways. Cats show affection when they choose to, in whatever manner they choose to and feel they have the freedom to change their mind at any second. Dogs, on the other hand, donít know anything about playing hard to get and tend to throw their affection in the air to anyone who will catch it.

Now that we have spent some time unpacking the beauties of the dog and cat we must come to a theological conclusion. A dog looks openly at her owner with sincere, admiring eyes and says, ďHe feeds me; he pets me; he takes care of me and he really, really loves me. He must be God.Ē

Meanwhile, a cat casts a sideways glance at her owner, sure to avoid making true eye contact while maintaining a suggestively arrogant stance and says, ďHe loves me; he pets me; he takes care of me and he really, really loves me. I must be God.Ē

Now, after 10 years in practice, I think I could pass that theology class.

(Dr. Jay Goldsmith is a veterinarian and owner of Park West Veterinary Associates, a Mount Pleasant veterinary hospital.)

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