There are people who have animals and people who have pets.
People who have animals put them on leashes, feed them dry food, and forget to put presents for them under the Christmas tree.
I am a pet owner. I believe that cruelty to animals includes not allowing them to sleep on your bed, eat off your plate, and ride around in the front seat of your car (close to the air conditioner/heater). My dog has his own wardrobe, gets his own stocking hung each year, and occasionally enjoys a trip through the drive-thru for a double cheeseburger (with fries).
The scary thing? I am one of the more normal pet owners.
My mom works with a young woman who owned chickens. Pajamas, a male, was her favorite. Pajamas had a son who pecked him to death, slept with his mother, and then ate all his children. According to the owner “he was just a bad seed.” The loss of pajamas was more than his owner could bear, she gave away all her chickens. She still mourns, and gets a little choked up talking about it. She plans on getting more chickens some day.
A friend told me about the hairless cat he owns. He promised it isn’t one of the ugly hairless cats. His is the cute kind. So cute (and apparently cold) , the cat climbs into bed every night and pulls up the covers with his little pink fingers (visible due to the lack of fur). The only problem, my friend explained completely straight-faced, is the odor. Most cats, when bathing, actually “brush” their teeth with their fur. Cats with no fur, have wretched breath instead. Along with the breath, all the inbreeding has led to digestive problems and a reputation for gas that curls your nose hairs. My friend’s cat not only pulls up the covers, he creates a dutch oven.
My roommate in college owned a Beta Fish. It lived on our bathroom sink. Every night before bed she would lean over his dish, he would leap out of the bowl and make contact with her pucker. She called it a good night kiss, we knew he was trying to kill her. Deciding that he needed more than human contact she bought him a friend, having never read Beta Fish for Dummies. The new fish ate the kisser. She tried to train the new one, he never lived up to his predecessor.
Yes, there are animal keepers and Pet owners. Pet owners fall into all spectrums of crazy, and God is perhaps the craziest of all.
He calls us His sheep. Not exactly a compliment considering sheep are just about the dumbest animals on the planet. But, as our Shepherd, we can rely on Him. Sit at our dish with big brown eyes, knowing He’ll give us nothing less than the wet stuff. Wait by door with great anticipation knowing He has plenty of places to take us, riding side by side and allowing Him to drive. He promises to maintain our wardrobe, and keep good gifts under the tree. God is not just an animal keeper, He is a pet owner. He has taken responsibility for us, and He is a good Shepherd.