Last night we got a puppy. Yes, we have another puppy. 7 children 12 chickens, 3 dogs (one is only borrowed), 1 cat and a ferret! Still waiting for the partridge ina pear tree:) Oreo is 1/2 lab 1/2 border collie. She's a very sweet dog and knows how to hold her own, which is important with an insecure dominant male lhasa apso/cocker spaniel mix.
I am so blessed to have these animals for a number of reasons. First I think of the blessing of animals as sweet creatures God chose to create and call "good". He even made the covenant between Noah AND THE ANIMALS (Genesis 9:11-13)! Though they were not made in His image, as we were, they are still precious to Him and so should be precious to us and cared for by us as a service to Him (even if we don't choose to have a million in our own home:).
Secondly, the animals we have are either compaions or somehow productive members of our family. The chickens produce eggs for our family to eat and, I must say, they are quite entertaining. They're good at helping with insect control and contributing to the compost pile (they can become a bit canabalistic too,but that's another story). The dogs are a pleasure to have as playmates and protectors. We always know when someone is coming. Now, all they'll do is lick the intruder to death, but the intruder doesn't know that:)They have big barks and that's all that matters.
Finally, it is a wonderful experience for the children to have someone to be responsible for, someone who won't argue with them, someone who loves them no matter what, somone who is SO excited when they walk through the door. My children are learning the value of caring for others. They see the benefit of "growing" their own food. Of course everything is a little crazy with all the feet and paws and claws running arond on our property, but I think all that chaos provides some great memories and keeps me young:)