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Perspectives are commentaries produced by and for WNIJ listeners, from a panel of regular contributors and guests. You're invited to comment on or respond to any Perspective on our Facebook page or through Twitter (@wnijnews), in keeping with our Discussion Policy. If you would like to submit your own Perspective for consideration, send us a script that will run about 90 seconds when read -- that's about 250 words -- and email it to NPR@niu.edu, with "Perspectives" in the subject line.

Perspective: Honoring all God's critters

Connie Seraphine

As an animal lover, I have been paying attention to a range of critters making their presence known on our sheep farm, sometimes in surprising ways. St. Francis, who cared for all animals and the environment, said all animals of the skies, earth and sea have a part in human life and should be viewed as brothers and sisters under God’s creation.

My experiences confirm such a perspective – from the returning monarch butterflies flitting about my head, looking for our milkweed, to a friendly toad on summer nights who waits under the garage light, eager to be picked up and petted.

Animals display a curiosity about us and often a desire to connect. Recently, on my nightly dog run with our four border collies chasing each other around the back field, I heard the familiar bark and howl of a coyote. The sweep of my lantern caught his shining eyes -– this time not far from us. Sitting on the ATV, I made a lot of noise and flashed the light on his torso, usually resulting in a hasty exit. But standing his ground, the coyote continued to verbalize, as if wanting to join us. However, he changed his mind when our Pyrenees guard dog barked, performing his duty to protect our sheep in their fenced pasture.

Remember: “All God’s critters got a place in the choir.” My fervent hope is that we sustain an ecology that honors the place of all animals among us.

I’m Connie Seraphine and that is my perspective.