Time speeds by at an alarming pace, and it is easy to focus on what we don’t have, rather than what we do have, leaving us wishing for what is not in our lives instead of valuing what is. Back in the ‘old days’, a popular song put it this way: “accentuate the positive; eliminate the negative; latch on to the affirmative; don’t mess with Mr. In-between.” Good advice then. Good advice now. Thanksgiving is a time to be thankful for our faith, our family, and our friends, both two-legged and four legged. We are truly blessed and are reminded that, although most of us have much, there are those who have little, and it is our responsibility to help, by both word and deed, those who lack many things which we take for granted. It is also a good time to pause and reflect on the role that companion animals play in our lives…their total loyalty, their cheerful spirits, and their unconditional love are priceless gifts.

Pastor Mark Wessels offers this special Thanksgiving prayer:

Lord, don’t let me ever forget how much I need my trusty dog…Help me to disregard the canine craters in my yard. Show me how to be cheerful even when the place is muddy. Don’t allow my dog to munch delivery men for lunch. Help me not to scowl or shout when my pup decides to howl. Grant me peace, not fear, when I feel a cold nose in my ear. Give me patience without end and help me be my dog’s best friend. Remind me that I am blessed to have her to cuddle and enjoy…..keep me thankful both today and all year long. 

Rescued dogs everywhere celebrate, knowing that they will never experience the loneliness that they hear in the barks of dogs still “out there” shivering in the cold and afraid. They know that whatever happens, they have humans who will be there for them. They will be taught the things they need to know to be loved by others. They will never be cast out because they are too old, too ill, too rowdy, or just not cute enough. If ill, they will receive medical treatment; if scared, they will be comforted; if sad, they will be cheered. They know that they have loving, forever homes. They are thankful! There are many, many needy dogs who still need forever homes, and they too would be filled with gratitude if you opened your heart and home for one!

“The year has turned full circle; the seasons come and go. The harvest is gathered in, and the north winds will blow. As we pause to count our blessings we realize that we are blessed. We count our gains, instead of losses; our joys instead of woes. We count our friends instead of foes; count our smiles instead of tears. We hug our family friends, both human and canine, and know that we are truly blessed”

Gratitude can turn a negative into a positive. If we find a way to be thankful for our troubles, they can often become our blessings. An old saying admonishes us to “rise up and be thankful…if we didn’t learn a lot today, at least we learned a little; and if we didn’t learn a little, at least we didn’t get sick; and if we got sick, at least we didn’t die; so let us all be thankful!” Rather than complain, let’s be thankful!