January 27, 2011
Did C.S. Lewis Have Dogs?
Eight dogs and other pets inspired C.S. Lewis' writing and philosophy, finds Pastor Bruce R. Johnson
In his essay, "All My Dogs Before Me," Bruce R. Johnson the pets in C.S. Lewis' life from boyhood to his death in 1963. Bruce R. Johnson (D.Min., Fuller Theological Seminary) is Senior Pastor of Scottsdale Presbyterian Church in Scottsdale, Arizona, and President of the Arizona C. S. Lewis Society. He has lectured on C. S. Lewis in Europe and the United States, and written on Lewis in various publications. Read a brief excerpt below:
“Dogs? Did C. S. Lewis own dogs?”
That casual question, raised at one of the organizational meetings of the Arizona C. S. Lewis Society, led to a rather obscure search. Was Lewis a pet owner? It is well known that he had created two imaginary worlds filled with talking animals: Narnia and Boxen. Less well known was his opposition to vivisection.
Lewis obviously thought well of animals. But did he have any pets of his own to nurture and deepen that affection? Yes he did, as his autobiography, diary, and letters clearly demonstrate.
An entire chapter of The Problem of Pain deals with pain as experienced by animals. A bear at the Whipsnade Zoo, nicknamed “Mr. Bultitude” by Lewis and his brother, Warren, appears as a minor character in That Hideous Strength. The other two books in the Ransom Trilogy contain vivid encounters between man and translunary beasts (both sentient and other- wise). Lewis obviously thought well of animals. But did he have any pets of his own to nurture and deepen that affection? Yes he did, as his autobiography, diary, and letters clearly demonstrate.
Download the full PDF of All My Dogs Before Me.