I don't intend this post to be negative so hopefully it doesn't swerve in that direction. I am not a huge animal lover but my kids, my youngest in particular, love our pets. This morning we lost another cat. I got to thinking this morning on my way in to work that we have lost a LOT of animals over the past six years and I think its a good thing.
Six years ago we moved from an 1800 population metropolis out to the country. This allowed us more space for our children to roam and play and as my wife reasoned it also increased our capacity for more pets. Being the softy that I am I relented and one kitten became three and we got a dog, chickens and a couple of cows. The problem is, no matter how much space we have for the animals to wander, they like being close to the house, which means they also stay close to the vehicles. In the last six years I count about eleven cats that have died, nine dogs (eight of which were wild and required my "special" kind of attention), four chickens and two cows (though that was by design :>)
Every time an animal dies my kids cry. This morning was no exception. After our cat Oreo was spotted on the driveway, my wife asked me to take care of it, so I did. I trapsed throught the snow with my shovel, scooped it up and took care of the cat. Standing at the kitchen bay window, my youngest watched my every move with tears running down her cheeks. She was saddened by the loss of her pet but by the time I came back inside she was composed again, gave me a hug and headed out for school.
Death has become a regular part of our lives since we've been on the farm, and I think these experiences with the death of their pets is is a positive thing for my kids. Death is obviously the end result of all life and it is often difficult to accept the loss. It makes us sad and we miss what we no longer have. Even when we have faith in an after life, we still long for the relationships and interactions we enjoyed. Tasting of the sadness of pet death can help to build the faith and strength needed to endure greater losses in the future.
I don't mean to make too much of this, but living on the farm has provided numerous teaching opportunities that I expect will result in strengthening my children in faith and hope. Farm life is good.