Atlantic School of Theology given by a Masters of Divinity Student - Ruth McArthur - she was presenting her grad project, and it was about end of life issues around pets - what happens to our pets when they die, what is our responsibility to our pets, What are our pastoral needs when they become palliative, and is it okay to treat pets as family.
She of course talked about it all from the Christian, and Anglican perspective - because that's where she was coming from, so it was interesting to hear her speak.
She had researched and polled many people and gotten their feedback on what they thought about the subject and come to conclusions based on that.
From her research Ms. McArthur realized that people really think of pets as part of their family - and they need to be considered for pastoral care needs - especially at the end of their lives when they need palliative care and their owners are in pain and the services of their pastor or chaiplain can really be used - and that Church can be a place that includes pets as part of their services from time to time - because they are a part of people's families.
A lot of people think that pets have souls - so why shouldn't they be included in people's religious lives?
I have a couple books that talk about this a lot - One is called "on God and Dogs - A Christian Theology of Compassion for Animals" by Stephen H Webb - which is an awesome book - and the other book is "The Moral Lives of Animals" by Dale Peterson which I got a preview copy of - it's actually just being released on March 16th, so I haven't read it yet - but I'm looking forward to it - but it's on the same theme.
Ruth Mcarthur is giving a further discussion/workshop on the same topic April 16th at 9am - 11:30am at For Massey Church - 5303 Tobin Street in Halifax if this is a topic that interests you - she gave out a pamphlet at the end of her talk which says "It's a changing world and the minister needs to understand all the pressures on a family, both cultural and religious. Having workshops around grief issues and gathering resources can help the family know that feelings of devastation, shock, yearning, and confusion are normal." She also notes to "bring your photos and your stories"
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