From a reader…
My 10 year old Golden Retriever is in rough shape. How far is too far when praying for pets? What is a Catholic to do when his pet is sick or in danger of death? Is praying appropriate?
I’m sorry for your news. We can get so very attached to pets. That’s why I don’t have one.
Hmmm… how might this go?
O Lord, heal faithful Fido, who has heeled so well during his life; or, if it not be Your will that this good heeler should be well healed, may his suffering end and end quickly.
There are not many occasions in which prayer is inappropriate.
Praying to be able to sin more effectively (“O Lord, please make Jenny write more clearly so I can cheat off her test,”) would be inappropriate. Praying for the truly impossible might be inappropriate as well (“St. Joseph, through your intercession, ask God to let me square this circle.”).
Praying for a situation that seems impossible is the meat and potatoes of prayer!
Praying for one’s sick pets, if done with reasonable restraint, is okay. The Lord has given human beings stewardship over the Earth and the critters that inhabit it. Many of the good things of the Earth become dear to us. They bring us happiness. They can help to bring us closer to God and to praise Him (which is their purpose, after all).
Offering a prayer for a sick pet, asking a priest to bless a sick pet (not to confer the sacrament of unction, mind you, but to bless, and preferably using the classic Roman Ritual) are appropriate. Having a Mass offered for a sick pet would be inappropriate. Organizing a novena and procession for a sick pet would be disproportionately inappropriate.