Friday, August 9, 2013 —
My wife and I do not have children, so pets have been a major part of our lives. We have never bought a pet or gone out actively looking for one. Over the years they have adopted us. Our first cat was my childhood cat that my Mom sent home with us. Our second one was found abandoned near a busy road. One cat adopted us when her previous owners moved away. Another was abandoned at my wife’s workplace. Each found its way into our hearts and home, but one stands out above all the others. This cat, we said, must have been sent from heaven.
Chaplin arrived one morning when I was running late for work. I ran out to get the paper and heard a kitten crying close to our cars. I walked around both cars and determined the sound was coming from my wife’s car. When I opened the hood, there was a tiny black and white kitten sitting on the engine.
It took us a while to warm up to this kitten as we already had two cats and weren’t sure we could handle another one. He was persistent, though, and eventually won over our hearts and made his way into our home. He was full of energy and helped me deal with the passing of our second cat. Chaplin greeted us every time we came in the house and did so throughout his 18 years of life.
The magical thing about Chaplin was his purr; if we spoke to him or gently stroked his head we were immediately rewarded with enthusiastic purring. He basked in our attention. He loved to sit with us when we watched TV or lay on his bench in the kitchen while we ate dinner. He sat with my wife as she read before going to bed, waiting for her beside her chair at the same time each evening. He always seemed to know when we were down and needed encouraging. He was an integral part of our lives.
Over the past three years Chaplin survived several major health issues, mostly involving his heart. Several times we brought him home and the vet told us he probably would not make it through the night. Chaplin was a fighter and he fought back every time to overcome the health crisis at hand. He took several medications toward the end of his life and worked well with me to take his medicine. He was, according to my vet, a miracle cat.
I took him for his regular check-up this year only to discover new health issues. Naturally my wife and I believed that he could fight through them as well. We did some diagnostic testing and attempted some treatments, but age and multiple health issues were fighting against us. Eventually, after fighting a long battle, we let him go back to heaven.
I know that there are many pet lovers who read this column and will understand the pain that we have been through in the last couple of weeks. After 18 years it is nearly impossible to say goodbye. Even though we have another cat, Chaplin’s presence is greatly missed. Our vet reminded us of what I firmly believe; that animals go to heaven. I am sure Chaplin is up there checking out our home, sleeping in our bed and anxiously awaiting our arrival.
We had a wonderful relationship with Chaplin. I wonder how many people feel as close to God as they do their pets. God wants a close relationship with us. He wants us to talk with Him as we would our pets. We can feel close to our pets because they don’t judge us, in fact, we feel completely loved and accepted by them. God loves us more. He paid the price for our sin so we could draw close to Him. We are the ones that hold God back, so I want to encourage you to open your hearts to a deeper relationship with God.
Pets are sent to remind us of the depth of God’s unconditional love. He is merciful, forgiving and long-suffering with us. He is calling each of us to draw closer to Him so He can pour out His love on us. He is compassionate and cares more than we can understand. He is a faithful friend and loving companion who will always be there for us.
I want to encourage you to think about how much you love your pets and how much you feel loved by your pets. Now multiply that by a thousand and you won’t come close to the depth of God’s love for you. I believe pets are sent to help us receive love. Open your hearts to God like you open it for your pets. His love will fill your heart to overflowing. Goodbye Chaplin, we’ll be there as soon as we can.
Doug Creamer teaches Marketing at East Davidson High School. His website is www.dougcreamer.com. Contact him at PO Box 777, Faith, NC 28041 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.