Sandringham Slipper: Faithful Companion of the Queen

A godly man I know is currently grieving for his dog. One who has never had an animal companion can understand the pain of such a one’s loss. Although humans are of infinitely more value than animals, they are still capable of expressing personality, demonstrating care and returning our love. This is a snapshot of God’s love for humans, perhaps.

At Sandringham House in Norfolk did I discover the place where royal pets were interred. In some respects, their burials are grander than many humans’, having tombstones, and within the environs of a palace, no less. Upon one is written

For eight years, the faithful companion of the Queen

It is the grave of Slipper, a black labrador who died in 1980. I doubt Slipper could offer suitable counsel to Her Majesty regarding Commonwealth policy or how to deal with Mrs Thatcher. He may not have been much of a guard dog, perhaps greeting some intruder with wagging tail. Neither could he have advised the monarch on her choice of outfit, a daily decision she had to make. So does this make him a useless dog? What exactly did he do? Well he provided companionship. Here was a creature who treated the Queen as a friend, without seeking advancement or fame, and no more favour than the odd titbit from the table.

Too many of us offer God lectures on how He might better do His job of governing the worlds. Others reckon Him their butler, cheerfully and patiently existing to answer their every whim and grant their every desire. Others acknowledge His existence, but choose to ignore Him, rendering Him some philosophical concept, an intellectual idea, occasionally worth a good argument. When God made Adam, He deemed Him a companion and friend. Lower than angels, but one in whose company, character and achievements He might delight. Yet like Slipper, we die, sin depriving our Creator the company of His creatures. In Christ, our sin is defeated and our long life restored. Yet let us remember what the Lord seeks in His redeemed people- companionship and faithfulness.

And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.” And he was called the friend of God. James 2:23