I’ve been thinking a lot about my calling or my purpose, and once—only once— I had this sort of bright-white electric filament feeling when I inquired if it should be what I have done in the past: humane societies and animal shelters. Even though I’m not Catholic, I’ve always liked St. Francis of Assi and concept that we should “protect nature and animals as the stewards of God’s creation and as creations ourselves.” Is this an actual calling or am I being too hopeful and introverted?
Hey, this is a really cool question, so please do not be embarrassed about it at all. I adopted an awesome dog named Rosco from the Humane Society and I love him like family. I’ve also had a couple adopted cats (I’m one of the rare people who likes both), so I totally get your concern for animals.
When I was in college, I remember a guest speaker on a Sunday saying, “Do you ever see people with pets? Those people are so sad. They spend tons of money on their animals and don’t have any real friends. What’s the point of owning some animal?” He immediately alienated half the congregation.
I completely understand how the pet industry can become idolatry. I know how many millions of dollars go to “pet toys” and dog shows and all the abuse of breeding. It can go overboard
But pets can bring huge joy to their owners and teach a lot about patience, kindness, and responsibility. Pets can be great for certain people with disabilities or military veterans or just lonely people. When my youth group would hang out at my place, my dog would bring them all together in laughter. And owning a pet doesn’t instantly mean you hate people or you’re a hermit or you could “use that money for starving kids in Africa.”
I also believe, to the best of my limited knowledge, that animals do have certain rights and someone should be looking out for them. Blinded chickens with no beaks kept in tiny cages, even if they taste good, just feels inhumane. Again, it could go overboard real quickly (come on PETA) — but it’s a legit calling. You might be accused of loving animals over people, but someone will always try to Jesus-Juke you like that. Let’s leave those fears behind.