Sunday Inspiration: The Blessing of Pets

Nemo, our beautiful Blue Tick Beagle, left us this past week, and we miss him very much.

For nine years he was a joyful and healing presence in our lives — though also a trial from time to time. Nemo was rescued from the path of a bush hog as an abandoned puppy by our oldest son who passed him on to us as soon as he could eat and drink again. Possibly because of that start, or more likely because of his beagle genes, Nemo was fond of any passing bits of paper, of stones and sticks and anything he shouldn’t eat. Our vet, on examining a Nemo X-ray, said that Nemo had swallowed not a rock, but a rock garden. I once had to call a community center that reimbursed me for travel to a speaking engagement to announce that Nemo had eaten the check and would they mind reissuing it?

Nemo was generous. He was fond of offering his favorite toy, blanket and even his bed to anyone he loved, and he loved everybody. We never won a staring contest and his big beautiful eyes revealed a remarkable beagle soul. His passing reminds me of what a blessing our pets are.

My husband Michael — also known as Proman and the Reverend McGee — made a video for our church website a few years ago about the blessing of pets, using Nemo as his model. I assure you Nemo was never as well behaved as during this video, probably because Michael petted him the entire time. Michael edited the video down to less than a minute, so I hope you will take the time to watch it and then give your pet some extra attention today as thanks for being such an important part of your life.

If you would like to share your own pet stories, we’d love your comments. Is there or was there a pet in your life who changed it irrevocably? Nemo and the dogs (and occasional cat) who passed on before him, have all changed ours.


  1. Debbie Haupt on May 22, 2016 at 7:25 am

    Oh Emilie I am so very truly sorry for your loss, and it is a true loss because they are our family and when they leave us they leave a huge hole in our hearts and something missing from our days. I have been a fan from wayyy back so I remember when you first got him and what a challenge he was with his “bad habits”. I recently had to quit my job to stay home and care for my husband and we recently adopted a rescue dog, she’s 4-1/2 Her name is Pippa and she’s a Corgi/Papillon Mix. She’s all black and only 9lbs but she has a huge presence and has enriched our lives so much. Its been 10 years since our last pet, our beloved Tuxedo cat Gabby died and I knew after my mourning period ended I wanted a dog this time around but also wanted to wait until I was home all day too. Again I’m sorry Emilie for the loss of Nemo but he’s on the Rainbow Bridge waiting.

    • Emilie Richards on May 23, 2016 at 8:19 am

      Thanks to all of you. Pets are part of our families, a joy to have, an ache that never quite goes away when we lose them.

  2. Pamela Feinberg on May 22, 2016 at 8:02 am

    So sorry for your loss Emilie!

  3. Martha O'Quinn on May 22, 2016 at 9:27 am

    Emilie and family, I am sorry for your loss. Pets are a part of our family.

  4. Edie Newman on May 22, 2016 at 9:51 am

    Dear Emily and family,
    We are so sorry for your loss. We feel for you. We had a small standard (large mini) poodle for 14 yrs., a lab mix and a cat also both for 14 yrs. It is so hard when they pass away. They are part of your (our) family. It is so hard on the entire family.

    • Emilie Richards on May 23, 2016 at 8:18 am

      Thank you, Edie. I know you still miss yours old pals, too.

  5. Penny Ann Prichard on May 22, 2016 at 2:13 pm

    Emilie, so sorry for the loss of Nemo. What a wonderful idea to honor him by asking us to share our beloved pet stories.

    Where to begin? With my high school Siamese kitty who would chase my dates back to their car? With Tigger, a little red puppy who bounced into our hearts and stayed right with me for months on end when I was in bed with back issues? Smokey? The kitty of my heart? I think Smokey. Amazing kitty who found his way to our porch in January. We had lots of stuff on the porch so he could find little warm places to stay. No point in adopting him, Tigger didn’t tolerate cats. In late February Smokey introduced himself to us. My husband, Tigger and a friend were on the front porch. When I went out my husband said, You know, I think that kitty would be friendly. I took one look at him, Said, Oh Smokey, come here. He let me scoop him up and hug him tight. He was about 6 months old and weighed under 2 pounds. Broken fang and some other problems. Got him fixed up and from then on, he was my cat. He would wave to me through our glass front door every evening when I arrive home. Slept in my arms most every night. When Tigger took sick and wasn’t eating Smokey would share his food with Tigger. We fed Smokey on a counter height piece of furniture so Tigger wouldn’t eat his food. Smokey would eat a few bites and then wait for Tigger to walk by. As soon as Tigger got there, Smokey would bat his food to the floor for Tigger to eat. Lots of Tigger and Smokey adventure stories.

    Now Molly, an Australian Shepherd, and two grey kitties, Ashe and Sootie, warm our hearts and home. Like Smokey, Ashe and Sootie are solid grey kitties.

    • Emilie Richards on May 23, 2016 at 8:17 am

      That’s a wonderful story, Penny. As for Molly? We have had two Aussies and adored them both. Had we “chosen” another dog, it would have been another Aussie, but Nemo chose us, the second dog to do so–or rather they chose our son who passed them on to us. I’m just glad we had them all, and I can tell you are, as well.

  6. Kim on May 23, 2016 at 3:54 pm

    I am so sorry about Nemo, Emilie.

    All of my pets have brought joy into my life, even when I was cleaning up one of their messes or holding my breath so I wouldn’t yell at them for something they did wrong.

    When my last cat, Dorrie, died peacefully in her sleep, I knew I wanted another fur baby, but I really wanted another Dorrie – not just any cat would do. My husband, who didn’t grow up around pets of any kind, didn’t want me to get another kitten because he couldn’t stand how upset I got when they died (he was with me through two).

    Almost two years went by. Then, this past New Year’s Day, a friend was dropping me off at home and we heard a pitiful cry. It was a kitten who had been dumped in my shrubs. He was so happy to see me and have my warm arms around him. I brought him in the house and showed him to my husband, who was not very enthusiastic. We tried to find his people, but no one claimed him. After just a few days, it was too late anyway. Angus (white with black spots, he looks like a cow) is the joy of our lives. I say “our” because my husband is his best friend! I’m the one who feeds him and cleans his litter box, but Chad is the one he wants when he comes home from work. Angus is silly, clumsy, playful, and a real charmer. God was certainly watching out for him and us that cold winter day.

    • Emilie Richards on May 23, 2016 at 3:57 pm

      That’s a lovely story and definitely a happy ending. I’m so glad Angus got his forever home–love the name!

Leave a Comment