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Bark If You Can Read This

The Guideposts editor-in-chief shares why pet prayers are just like human prayers.

I’ve been hanging out a lot lately at the new Guideposts.com Prayers for Pets page. I’m constantly checking who’s been added to the list and what the pet looks like.

I’m especially into the photos. Who thought cruising a pet page could be so addictive? Now I know why people spend so much time on Petfinder.com—it’s the pictures and the stories, and isn’t a prayer a story?  

Check out Brandy. She’s a cute little cocker whose owner is praying for her to lose some weight. Or Shannon the Sheltie. A tumor necessitated the removal of several of his toes. Shannon’s owner prays for her dog’s full recovery and relief from pain. 

There’s Fred, Rick’s cat, who misses him when he’s gone. Sam wants his lab Nellie to be able to chase the stick again “like a puppy.” Julie McMahon prays that her dog Lily will be less fearful and more trusting.

Gwen, a yellow Lab, has arthritis and so does Summer; and a sweet-looking rescue named Pumpkin has separation anxiety, as does Brownie.

Here’s what struck me about these prayers: They’re the same prayers we say for our human loved ones and even ourselves. We ask for healing and good health, for vitality. We pray to be free of worry and angst, and to lose a few pounds. We ask God to help us deepen our relationships through trust and forgiveness. If it weren’t for the pictures, I could believe that many of these requests came straight from GUIDEPOSTS’ (human) Prayer Fellowship.

Except for one—a prayer for Ozzie, a handsome 11-month old Golden (and you know I have a weakness) who is training to be a therapy dog, following in the pawprints of his big sister Jazzmine. His training is going well except for one thing—Ozzie likes to bark at other dogs and he can’t do that if he’s going to avoid washing out of therapy dog school. So Ozzie’s owner, Marjorie, asks that we pray Ozzie stops barking inappropriately. Okay. So that’s a straight-up pet prayer.

Well, no, not even that prayer is inapplicable to humans. Not to me, at least. Who doesn’t bark inappropriately from time to time? Who doesn’t know what it feels like and how hard it is to curb yourself? I do way too much inappropriate barking.  

You get the picture. Now go to Guideposts.com/petprayers for the real thing. 

Edward Grinnan is Editor-in-Chief and Vice President of GUIDEPOSTS Publications.

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