Lord, why do You give, only to take away? My heart is heavy and sleep eludes me. How short are the days of the other animals You have created. Why does a parrot in the jungle live fifty years when a dog in my home could hope for less than fifteen? Why do You give me not only the capacity but the propensity to love when it ends so soon? You made us custodians, caretakers, protectors of your other creations and yet right now it seems like we have no real power. We have responsibility without authority. My dog is reaching the end of his days and I am not ready for it. Even now, he labors to breathe, his discomfort becoming obvious, and still he expresses happiness. Happiness that I am up with him now. Happiness that I am near. Doesn't he see that I am of no help? Lord, help me to be strong for him, to be wise and loving enough to let him go while making him feel loved. Help me to remember all the joy and laughter You have brought into my life through him. Help me also to not shut out future joy over the present pain of loss. Comfort me and comfort him as we try to sleep. I know that there is wisdom in Your plans and that You only make plans for my good. I'm sure that you have things well in hand. The pain is there only because the joy is there as well. Thank You for creating the pets that enrich our lives, that bring us comfort, laughter, and a glimpse at Your heart. Even when I don't understand, my hope is always in You, Lord.