What can animals teach us?


A week ago, an email from a friend asked us to share their grief with them. Maru had departed this world and left them with emptiness and sadness. What we heard was heart warming. We asked Craig and Yukiko to tell us about Maru. Here is one reason why God created animals, especially dogs. Here are their stories. Craig writes:

“Both I and my wife had no children, so we bought a dog. When we picked him up, he was so cute. We liked him and he liked us. At the beginning, it was somewhat difficult. There were a lot of things we had to do and learn as new owners. He needed shots, food, a leash, a bed, toys, etc.
So many years, so much fun times we had together. We took him to Mt. Rainier, the Oregon Coat, Tacoma Point Defiance, The Arboretum, just about everywhere. He was always with us. We would see him before we went off to work, and he would be waiting for us to come home. He liked to eat apples, seaweed, and ice cream. Even though he had toys, his favorite ones were paper towel roles. Sometimes we would come home and find toilet paper all over the bathroom. One of his favorite pastimes was to lick anything and everything he could. We were really blessed to be his parents for 16 happy years. He really changed our lives. He taught us unconditional love, patience, and responsibility. His name was Maru. He was not only a dog, but also our son. We really loved him and he loved us. He was a very good boy.”

Yukiko also writes:

“Our son Maru passed away September 1, 2011 because of heart failure. Maru came from a Pet Shop in Renton. He was so tiny and fluffy. For 16 years, we traveled to many places together. Walked together. We went to family gatherings together. We grew up together. He was a very sensitive boy, because whenever we would take a trip, he knew it because of our open suitcases. He likes to be with us all the time. Whenever I played piano, I found him lying by me. One time we left the front door open when we were about to lock the door. We went looking for him and found him in the car and ready to come with us. He was a great communicator, using his eyes. He starred at us saying ‘give me a snack or I need to go out.’ The way he looked at us told us everything instead of talking to us. He was a smart boy.
The last two years, Maru slept in his bed and did not like being touched. He would get grouchy. Throughout the years, his health problems concerned us. He had skin problems, ear infections, and dry eye problems. Yes, we spent money for Maru’s medicine. It was ok because we loved him. He was our child. Losing him so suddenly was a great shock to us. After Maru died, our house became so quiet and empty. It is not easy to deal with the emptiness while stuck in routine. Wondering if it is time for him to eat or go out. It is this routine that we have grown to love is still with us. Our life goes on. We are very happy to have had great times and memories with Maru. He allowed us to become parents. He was our son and we loved him so much. And he shall remain in our hears forever.”

This was a remarkable experience for us. It brought back into memory our past encounters with our pets. They too were unique in every way and delighted us with their loyalty and service. Dogs have proven themselves to be man’s best friend. The relationship that Craig and Yukiko had with Maru was superb. In my humble opinion, Maru was God’s gift and messenger to a lonely couple. This little dog put something into their life, they otherwise could not have. He taught them the things humans were supposed to do and was what humans ought to be. Some times, even God has to use animals to speak to us or rattle our memory. I remember Bobby was missing and I found him guarding my jacket in the field. Samantha’s bark awakened us while our camper caught fire. Fritz’s bark set prowlers back to their camp. Lizzie died by attacking a car to save me. Ohzy placed himself between our granddaughter and a meddling stranger. We had more remarkable dogs and cats that behaved like dogs. My mother had a piglet that acted like a dog. One of our sons and family has unbelievable goats. God put these creatures in our life for a purpose. The problem is that we do not take time to read their message.

There was a Prophet by the name of Balaam who had a donkey that kept him from making a fatal error. For a payment from an enemy king, he was going to curse God’s people. When Balaam’s life was about to be terminated, the donkey went off the road to save the Prophet. Balaam began to abuse the animal and the animal kept on disobeying orders. The animal had more sense than the man. God used the donkey to disclose Balaam’s folly (Numbers 22). Animals know what man should know what is good and what is bad. One dark night in Poland we were visiting my father’s brother in another village. It was a long country road with several turns. On the way back, father handed me the reigns and said, “Son, take us home.” I was 12 years old. How could I in the dark? An in-law was with us and he whispered, “Let the horses lead you.” They made all the right turns and took us home. Yes, I can understand why Maru was so much appreciated by Yukiko and Craig. It is in mysterious ways that God communicates with us.