2016-06-30
Does your pet impact your spiritual life? When Beliefnet asked readers that question last year, we were inundated by inspiring and unusual stories. This year, we'll once again be highlighting your pet stories throughout October, the month when many religious traditions honor animals. If you sent us a photo in September, check back each Tuesday this month to see if your pet is featured.

See this week's amazing crop.


"The Gift Mary Gave Me"
Trigo is a Spanish Shepherd dog. During my four-month pilgrimage from Holland to Santiago de Compostela in Spain, I was struck by a statue of Mary. When I was praying for the welfare of pilgrims and all those who gave prayers to me to carry forth to the tomb of St. James, it seemed that Mary answered and said, "Do not worry... I shall take care of you and your worries."

The next day a stray dog came on my path and continued to be with me. A priest along the Camino de Santiago asked me whose dog it was. I said it was mine more or less as I found it. He answered, "You didn't find that dog. The dog found you!"

Only later I understood that this was the gift Mary gave me...If Trigo wasn't in my life, I would have given up hope long, long ago.

--Pieter P., the Netherlands "Blessings in Feathered Form"
I went from being an extremely productive, outgoing person to becoming an extremely disabled person both mentally and physically, needing a caretaker and being mostly a "shut-in." My two parrots [Yum Yum and PeWe], because they have given me so much unconditional love and companionship, saved me on many occasions from the gates of death. "God, thank you for giving me these two little blessings in feathered form... May your angels protect them under their wings, but most of all, let us not abuse what is so wonderful and gives so much, unconditionally. Teach Man, Great Spirit, before it's too late." --Renee R.


"God Has a Sense of Humor"
Lexie, a 6-month-old American cocker spaniel, has helped in the aspect of my spiritual life to see that even though I don't "see" God in a physical manner, He always knows when I need the spiritual hug. Lexie doesn't care about my past before Jesus, she doesn't hold a grudge, she is there with unconditional love, regardless of the day. She's also taught me that, like us humans, we do things repeatedly for some unknown reason when we've been told no, and she's taught us that God really does have a sense of humor! --Marcie S.


"They Are a Reminder That God Has Not Abandoned Me"
This is Isabella and Sasha. They are a blessing to me every day.

Please say the prayer that is customary for the annual blessing of the animals in honor of St Francis. Bless them with health and a long life, that I may continue to provide them and make them happy. I love them dearly and they are a constant reminder that God has not abandoned me in my loneliness and has reached out with love I can see and feel every day. --Lori J.


Hurricane Pugs
This handsome fellow was a rescue pug from Pug Rescue of Florida. Because of Mardi and the impact he's had on my life, I have become a volunteer for this group. We are now trying to get arrangements made to help with pugs left homeless or forced to be abandoned or surrendered because of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. We are trying to at least give them comfort in the knowledge that their beloved pets will be well cared for and secure. --Donna M.


God's Right-Hand Cat?
Benji is my life! He is my brown grey spotted domestic shorthaired tabby boy. He is named Benjamin as it is supposed to mean "sits at the right hand of God." I truly believe God sent this boy to me, and I am so grateful, I tell God so every day! Lord, I ask you to bless this dear boy with all the health and happiness he so deserves, and to keep him safe and protected till you call him home to you in his old age. Amen! --Heidi C.


We Named Her "Grace"
Grace is a four year old, 16.2 HH appendix quarter horse who has survived hurricane Katrina in Mississippi. ...Every time I told someone how this mare came to us, I was in tears and felt God's presence and blessing.

We have named her "Grace" because it was by the grace of God that she was delivered from the hurricane, was brought to Oklahoma, that a woman that we had only talked to on the phone would think of us as potential owners, that we followed through to see her move, and that I was able to secure a loan to purchase her. --Teresa B.


"They've Taught Me to Live in the Present"
"Having fostered hundeds of special cats in my home... I have come to realize that it is THEY who have rescued ME! They have given me a reason to get up when I didn't want to, and countless blessings, not the least of which is unconditional love, so much entertainment, and laughter at their antics. They have taught me to live in the present and never take anything for granted. There are always new cats coming in and other cats leaving for their adoptive homes and everyone is ultimately "accepted" into the fold in peace and harmony. I often wake up to a "symphony of purring" along with the warmth of furry felines atop my comforter. --Dayle T.

"She Reminds Us to Love Without Reason"
My 2-year-old cockapoo Abby is a blessing to me and my family. ...She reminds us all to love without reason, without expecting anything in return, to love because we simply are there for her to love. Much like God loves us.

--Deb K. Praying with Juliet
Juliet is an AKC registered 6-month-old Shih Tzu. She is a blessing to me, with me 24/7. Listening when I am having a difficult moment, getting in my lap when she can sense I am sad. ...We "say" the Lord's Prayer every night and a morning "Thank you prayer" for safe keeping through the night.

--Connie M.


Finding God's Joy in Surprising Places
Zeke is a Maine Coon Cat. During my most "down" times, I have been brought to tears ... not from sadness ... but from laughter. He seems to know when I need the power of joy and laughter to change my perspective, as you can see from this picture. God is joy and we should feel this in every way we can.

--ACinco


"We Both Needed Mending"
Angus (we call him Gus) is our sweetheart! ...This poor little guy had been shot [and] had been attacked by a much larger dog... Gus has been such a blessing to me and my family, and I truly believe God brought us together. We both needed mending, and much love, and it was given and received. He taught me how to persevere through suffering, and how to trust in someone bigger than yourself to help you be well again. He is such a loving little guy, totally unconditional, and shows no favorites in giving his love. These are just some of the lessons he has taught me-and he is always teaching me something new. God, I thank you for the gift of Gus, and my kitties, and all animals. ...Help us to learn from their example, and to love and enjoy them for all the time we are given with them. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen!

--Karen I.


"She's My Best Friend"
This is my pet rabbit, Ashanti. She's changed my life because she is my best friend and I love her so much. Ashanti is always there to listen to me and never talks back and she is very well-behaved.

--Heather C.


God's Gift: "Furkids"
The Lord did not bless Charlie and I with children, instead he blessed us with "Furkids." ...Mitzi is our protector and our defender but she is also our little lady, Brenna is our lover and she loves to cuddle, kisses are her specialty. The love they shower on Charlie and I has reinforced and enriched our love... "I believe that Pets are God's way of staying anonymous."

--Joanna G.


Waiting at the Pearly Gates
Our dog Jesse showed us how to love, how to forgive, and how to have fun. I would often say to Jesse, "Why did God make you a weiner dog?" ...Ultimately, God took Jesse for himself, he shared this wonderful living creature with us and we were so blessed to have him in our life.

Dear God, ...We know in our hearts that the only place better than our home for Jesse is with you. We know you love him as much as we do, I see him with you at church, running so happily back and forth across the altar. I know he is showing us that he is safe and happy, he doesn't want his "mama and daddy" to be sad but to be happy for him and where he is. God, thank you for the time you gave us with Jesse, his spirit will always be with us. Someday we will be reunited with you both, Jesse will be waiting at the gates...

--Laura & Dave L.

"She's Helped Me Become Closer to My Spiritual Core"
I have always treasured animals and their way of interacting with us, and discovered that the Native American belief in life was the way I needed to help me along my spiritual journey. This belief system is complete...everyone and everything is connected.

Heidi has helped me become closer to my spiritual core by showing me her true self. She is a wonderful, sensitive Doberman, with strength of will and muscle. There is nothing fierce about her, she is simply strong. There is nothing I can hide from her, nor would I want to. She reads me like a book... We are connected.

--Martha C. "Soulmates Don't Have to Be Human"
Corriente has been my best friend, companion, sidekick, and partner in crime for the past ten years. [He] came into my life as a Christmas present from my father adopted him from a shelter and saved him from an uncertain future. In our society we don't place a lot of emphasis on the emotional bond between pets and their caregivers and often times it is erroneously looked upon as a substitute for human relationship. But here's the thing: soulmates don't have to be human--they can also come in furry, meow-y, wet-nosed packages and be just as gratifying. My father passed away a few years after we got Corriente and I was heartbroken over it, how could I not be? Yet in some strange way, Corri (as we sometimes call him) somehow keeps me connected to my late father and sometimes, when I look in his eyes, I can see a glimpse of the person who gave him to me. --Alegria G.


"God Provides What We Need When We Need It"
My boy, Rusty, has been such an amazing blessing to me! He is a true gift from God at a time when I needed to be pulled out of a depression following my divorce and the loss of my two Golden Retreivers, one to old age, and one to bone cancer. Every time I look at his precious face, I thank God for him and he is a constant reminder of how much God provides what we need, when we need it most. I'm so thankful to God for not only making him, but for allowing me to care for him. He is a daily blessing to me! --Lauri B.


"He Brings Me Healing"
Elliott is a Border Collie and the light of my life. He is well-loved by my neighborhood as well. People often walk up our driveway to tell me that Elliott stops by their house on his daily rounds to say hi. He is unconditional love personified. His enthusiasm, zest for life and ability for living life in the the moment make him a wonderful companion. Spending time with my dog everyday is what brings me peace, joy, laughter, patience, healing and love. May all creatures live in a world that honors their contributions. May they find nourishment, companionship, a clean environment and acceptance. Bless all the creatures great and small. --Rona T.


A Little Light in Darkness
My cat's name is Tigger and he's a Tabby. He's adorable and very much loved by me. At moments when everything seems so dark in life, I think God uses his kindness to shine a little light in my life. --Mary S.


"They Remind Me to Be Forgiving"
Hans and Greta are my two adorable Dachshunds. They remind me every day that love is unconditional and they give back loyalty, love and companionship one hundred times over. They also remind me to be patient, forgiving and loving towards others as well. Caring for them makes me realize that their needs come first and they remind me to unselfishly give of myself. They inspire an unconditional love and caring attitude to all of our family members as well. Prayer/Blessing: "May we continue to be blessed with the presence of those who love us and be inspired to let love guide us in all that we do."

--Barbara N.

"The Lord Knew Max Would Bring Us Together"
Max is our 3-year-old Lhasa Apso. We adopted Max only 2 months after my husband had a heart attack. Doug now spends his days walking with Max and while he is walking, he is praying. Max keeps us moving which is wonderful for our health. Then, in Feb. of this year I was diagnosed with MS. All through my treatments, Max is there, by my side.

Our Lord truly knew that Max would bring our family together and give us the joy to look beyond ourselves and have Max to care for. He is a blessing beyond words and loved even more!

--Valerie D. Bright Blessings for Blacky
These are my cats Scruffy and Blacky. Blacky has recently passed on, leaving me and Scruff without our good buddy. ... As sad as it is to not have Blacky any more, Scruff and I are doing just fine. Scruff has a few more years in him and I plan on making them good years. I would like to just wish Blacky bright blessings in his new life and I look forward to crossing paths with him again. --Miranda H.

"Through Her, I've Learned to Accept People as They Are"
My dog Mackie is an American Pit Bull Terrier. Through her, I've learned to accept people (and animals) as they are, rather than as they are portrayed to be. Mackie is the sweetest, most loyal, funniest dog I have ever met. She brightens my every day. --Robyn K.

"Our Angel on Four Legs"
This is our dog Buster, a mixed breed. We adopted him from the animal orphanage near our home. When my father was in the last months of his life, Buster came with us to take care of Dad. He laid by his side and when my Dad put his hand out Buster would get up just so my Dad could pet him. My Dad smiled when Buster did that and it made us all happy to know for a brief moment Buster took away all the pain and suffering. Buster is now 11 and although he is a little slower at getting up he is always offering us comfort and happiness. He is our angel on 4 legs!

--Alert2Rose

more from beliefnet and our partners