Exploring the Wilderness with a Nature Counselor

Any child who is cruel to animals has probably been abused and is taking out their anger on the animal. We know this because children, by nature, like animals.

Speaking of nature, it is the nature of children to disapprove of the nature of nature. As a nature counselor at summer camps, I took children of different ages on hikes, pointing out how nature divided animals between predator and prey. Campers would ask me, “Why do frogs stand still and keep looking around?”

“There are two reasons,” I answered. “One is always looking for bugs to eat for lunch. The other is to be on the lookout to avoid being someone else’s lunch. Snakes and hawks and owls eat frogs.”

While the thought of frogs eating bugs bothered none of my campers, no one liked the idea of the cute frogs being eaten. Yet, are we not part of nature and ourselves as potential prey? Unless one is a vegetarian, we humans are also predators.

Biblical References To Animals

In exploring our relationship with animals, delving into Biblical references to animals is fascinating. Whether interpreted literally or allegorically, the Book of Genesis sheds light on the original plan for animal life.

The Bible’s first book has much to say about our relationship with animals. God tells Adam and Eve before being expelled from Eden,

Then God said, “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food.
And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds in the sky and all the creatures that move along the ground—everything that has the breath of life in it—I give every green plant for food.” And it was so.” (Genisis, 1:29-30).

Scripture is point blank, saying that it was God’s original plan for animal life to be vegetarian. Since Adam and Eve were expelled from the Garden of Eden, the animal kingdom has been divided between predator and prey.

Pets in History: Beyond Practical Purposes

In a purely predator and prey world, there is no need for animal pets, yet we have them. Yes, hunter-gatherers needed dogs for the practical purpose of helping them hunt and to alert humans to danger. Yes, today, farmers use barn cats to kill mice.

But what practical purpose does my eight-pound shi tzu or house cat serve? Yet, there have been domestic pets since Egyptian times. My answer comes from my inner child.

I am going to bring floodwaters on the earth to destroy all life under the heavens, every creature that has the breath of life in it. Everything on earth will perish.” (Genesis 6:17)

This verse assures us that God has given my pals the breath of life. They are aware of me, and I am aware of them.


Children’s Stories: Enriching Life with Dogs and Cats

I write my children’s stories for those who agree that life is richer with dogs and cats in the house and ponies in the field. In some of my books below there are biblical references to animals in my stories.

All my stories, except SAMSON IN THE OLYMPICS and WHERE IS GRANDPA, are written from this perspective. Toby, of TOBY THE LIGHTHOUSE KEEPER, life is less lonely because he has dog and cat companions. In IF YOUR DOG WERE A HUMAN and IF YOUR CAT WERE A HUMAN, the child wants his pal to be a human or at least consider the possibility. In WHY CAN’T DOGS TALK, the girl asks God to open her pooch’s mouth as God did for Ballam’s donkey in Judges 6.

Anthropomorphism in Aesopian Style: Children’s Stories

The animals in LITTLE RED RIDING WOLF, LOKAEL: THE DONKEY WHO CARRIED JESUS, TAMIM: THE PASSOVER LAMB, I AM NOT A BAD DOG, LUUD JOINS A GANG (coming out this year) and THE PONY WHO WANTED TO BE A UNICORN are all anthropomorphized in the style of Aesop.

While still canines, the dogs in PUPPY SCHOOL and MY BUDDY AND ME are spoken of as members of my household. While still barn animals, the cows, sheep, and horses in TWAS THE NIGHT BEFORE Christ’s BIRTH play a role in the story of the first Christmas. God planned that animals be present when He came down to earth from heaven to be one of us for thirty-three years.

God’s Perfect Will: Animals in Heaven and After Resurrection

It is God’s plan that there are animals in heaven praising Him.

Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them, saying: “To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and honor and glory and power, for ever and ever!” (Rev 5:13).

When Jesus told the thief on the cross to His right,

Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.” (Luke 23:43).

Jesus used a Persian word to describe where the repentant thief was going. Paradise translates to the ‘King’s Gardens.

The Persian King’s gardens always had animals in them. There were animals with us in the first garden, Eden. There will be animals with us in Paradise and after the resurrection. This is God’s perfect will, which I remember when writing my stories.

Christian Themed Children’s Books

Do you have a child or grandchild that enjoys reading?

Leland has many Christian-themed children’s books that spark imagination and intrigue with sometimes rhyming storytelling. Here are two that have Christian-based values.

Illustration of toby the lighthouse keeper outside playing with a dog and petting a cat that is in a basket.

Toby the Lighthouse Keeper

Join Toby, a faithful lighthouse keeper, as he navigates the challenges of his important role while finding companionship in his loyal dog, Buddy, and an adorable kitten named Mittens.

3d book cover for samson at the olympics

Samson at the Olympics

Join Samson, a legendary figure from biblical times, as he faces unfair challenges at the Greek Olympics, defying the odds at every step.