On Monday, our dog Peluche started acting strange, became lethargic, got glassy eyes, layed down, and died.
He was a small dog, and only 10 years old, which means for a small dog, he was probably too young to die. My first dog, by comparison, lived to be 17 years old, which is ancient by dog standards. He probably suffered a heart attack or a stroke, but his departure from this world was quite sudden regardless of the causes.
The death of a pet is always a sad event. God did not invent death—that was the consequence of Adam’s sin, which could have been avoided—but God allows all things for our benefit and salvation. In the case of the death of a pet, or of a loved one close to us, or of a famous celebrity, the “takeaway” is the same; we are quite possibly next, so let’s get to the business of preparing for it.
How do we prepare for death?
1) Acknowledge that we cannot save ourselves, and that we need Jesus Christ to be reconciled to God the Father.
2) Seek out the Church where Christ is made present and His teachings are preserved wholly unchanged (i.e. the Orthodox Church).
3) Begin to read Holy Scripture (the Bible) regularly and seek to apply its principles to our daily life.
4) Begin to pray and fast in preparation for Holy Baptism.
5) Receive Baptism at the hands of a canonical priest.
6) Confess our sins before God directly and our fellow man (the priest serves as a representative of the community in modern practice) when we fall after our baptism.
7) Receive Holy Communion frequently to renew the life of Christ within us.
8) Engage in activities that mortify the flesh and remind us of our final end (fasting, almsgiving, pilgrimages, and spiritual reading).
9) Pray without ceasing until our final breath.
Regardless of where you are in the above list, let the death of your pet, loved one, or favorite celebrity shake you, wake you up, arouse you from your slumber, slap you across the face—whatever it takes, however you express it—change, and begin your new life, NOW!