You, dear reader, may already know my background on things religious: I was raised Catholic, have never left the faith, have a decent layperson's understanding of the Catechism, and teach Confirmation candidates at my parish. For the new series "Animals and Catholics," here is my background on the topic of animals:
I belong to a club known as "animal lovers." We are the ones who other people call with questions about the baby bird in their yard, or wondering if their dogs can stay with us while they are on vacation. We are the ones who stop our cars when we see an ailing creature by the side of the road. We are the ones with the phone numbers to our veterinarian, an emergency animal hospital, and animal control all stored in our cell phones. We are the ones who buy those expensive "fancy" pet foods and debate the relative merits thereof.
My degree is a bachelor of science in zoology. I spent a couple of years as an animal control officer, which gave me a perspective on the impact of animals on public health. (More on that later int he series.) I have also worked as a professional aquarium biologist (read: I scuba-dived into giant fish tanks to scrub algae). And except for a small part of my college years, I have never been without a pet of some sort. I have had various freshwater fish, assorted birds large and small, cats, a snake, a lizard (briefly), and hermit crabs. A dog is certainly in my future, though there are no immediate plans.