The Funeral

I found one of my chickens dead this morning. She lay on the floor of the coop….and one of the older chickens was standing next to her. The watcher did not move when I entered the coop. She didn’t move when I picked up the carcass and placed it in a bag to take out to bury. As soon as I closed the bag, the other chicken walked out the door and down the ramp into the yard.
I was reminded of this story I wrote years ago:

Age had crept up on them.  Barbara and Lyle decided they could no longer live alone on their remote ranch, and they planned to move in with their daughter in another state.  He was worried about his dog, though.  Patches, fifteen years old, had never lived anywhere but on the ranch, herding sheep and cattle, and he enjoyed free run of the land.

Just before they were to move, one of the ranch hands found the dog, dead, out in one of the fields. There was no sign of injury or trauma, and none of the other animals had become ill. “It was the strangest thing,” said Barbara as she told me the story.  “We buried him in our pet cemetery on the ranch, and while we dug the grave, all the other ranch dogs came and sat in a row, just watching, until we were finished and then they all ran off.”

Naturalists tell us of elephants who mourn over the bones of their dead. Swans, too, will mourn the loss of a mate. And there are numerous stories of dogs who mourn years for their fallen masters.
Ecclesiastes 3: 1-5, 21:  “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot,  a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build,  a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance. Who knows if the spirit of man rises upward and if the spirit of the animal goes down into the earth?”

Did Patches know of the impending move to an urban apartment and decide it “was time?”  Did his fellow dogs come to his graveside to mourn, and then go on with their lives?  Who knows?  We trust in the wisdom of God to guide our comings and goings,  our living and dying, and will wait till we see Him face to face to ask….

….He knows!