In 1996 Disney came out with the movie 101 Dalmatians, and it was a box office success. Many viewers fell in love with the cute spotted puppies on the big screen and decided to get one for themselves. When they brought those adorable little puppies home, however, they found that living with a Dalmatian is an entirely different experience from watching one on the movie screen. Soon, according to the Associated Press, all over the United States dog shelters saw a dramatic increase in the number of Dalmatians being abandoned by their owners. A Florida organization called Dalmatian Rescue took in 130 Dalmatians in the first nine months of 1997; usually they get that many dogs in two and a half years.
Dalmatians can be a challenge to own for several reasons. Dalmatians grow to be big dogs, weighing as much as seventy pounds. They are rambunctious and require a lot of exercise. They can be moody, becoming restless and even destructive if they don’t get enough activity. They shed year-round, and 10 percent of Dalmatians are born deaf.
Tracey Carson, a spokeswoman for the Wisconsin Humane Society, says, “Although Dalmatians are beautiful puppies, and can be wonderful dogs, you have to know what you’re getting into.”
Whether with pets or with people, infatuation with someone’s appearance is a poor foundation for a relationship.
Jesus says that we are to love our neighbor. It sounds like an easy thing to do until it comes time to put that plan into action. Like Dalmatians, people often have their flaws and can be extremely difficult to live with. Like someone once said, “To live above with those we love, oh that will be glory! But to live below with those we know, now that’s a different story!”
In the parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10) we learn that loving our neighbor isn’t always easy. It requires time, effort and expense. The one who needs our help may be someone we don’t even know. They may not seem very lovable at all. Yet they are the ones who need us.
The next time you see someone beaten up by life and needing your help, don’t pass by on the other side of the road. Stop and help them. Who knows? Maybe the next time it will be you who needs the help!
For more inspirational writings by Tom Cox, go to www.jesustrek.wordpress.com.