What a Dog Taught Me About God by Br. Christopher

May 15, 2021

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Dogs are mentioned more than a dozen times in the Bible. St. Francis of Assisi talked to the animals and even tamed a wolf because he believed they were creatures of God, like us.

And of course dog is God spelled backward. What do we mean when we say that? It’s just a cute saying—something we direct toward other dog lovers. Even the most fanatical dog lovers, however, would probably not confuse their canines with the Almighty.

God made dogs for us to have as companions and helpers, and for the immeasurable pleasure and happiness they give us. Perhaps it’s a stretch to think that dogs were also meant to teach us about God’s love. With all that dogs mean to us, is that too much to consider?

Obviously, there is something very human about dogs. Is there something very Godlike about us? With all that God created, would it be unreasonable to think that God also made dogs to teach us about his love for us? It seems to me like something God would do.

Dogs depend on us for everything. They yearn to bring us pleasure and to feel that we love them. Is that not how God wants us to be toward him? Can we say we love God as much as our dogs love us?

With the love I feel for God—and my dog—as well as the love and companionship they give me, I couldn’t help but dig deeper into this new insight.

Being Close to God. Dogs want to be close to us. They will curl up at our feet even if the bare, hard floor is not as comfortable as their favorite cushion. They jump up when they see us because they want to be as close to our faces as they can get.

Is that not how it is when we kneel to pray? We can pray while seated or even lying down, but sometimes it seems better on bended knee. We do this to make us feel closer to God. Does this make God smile? I think so.

Testing God. Dogs test their boundaries. They escape from their safe backyard to run wild for a while—not because they don’t love us, but just to have some fun. Isn’t that how we are sometimes with God? And after a while, after the fun is over and the cold sets in and we’re hungry, do we not long for God? Do we not come limping and weak, filthy and tearful, to scratch at the door, asking for re-admittance to the warmth of God’s love?

Scripture assures us that God will always forgive us and welcome us home. And does God smile when the prodigal comes home? I think so.

Belonging to God. Dogs belong to us. We own them. We call them “our” dogs. And we belong to God because he has made us his own. We are told that God cares for us so much as to number the hairs on our heads. God has our names in his book. God knew us before we were born. He has watched over and guided us throughout the history of time.

We belong to God and we did nothing to deserve this. Does God smile on us just because we’re his? I think so.

Coming Home. Dogs notoriously find their way home when lost. Books have been written and movies have been made of near-miraculous treks these animals have made over treacherous miles. Sporadically, such events in real life appear in the news.

No matter how far we stray, we can always find our way back to God. He made us that way. And when we find our way home, does God smile? I think so.

God’s Generosity. We spend a fortune on our pets. We shower them with gifts and loving care, feeding them special foods and rewarding them with treats and toys. We give to our dogs because we love them and want them to be happy.

God gives things to us, too, often much more than we really need. God blesses us in ways we may not know, understand or appreciate. Do we thank God or do we whimper for the next toy? He may say yes, no, later or maybe. But does God smile when he blesses us? I think so.

Making Sacrifices. Dogs are famous for giving their lives to protect us. Whether it is the trusty Saint Bernard in the snowy Alps, the sleek and speedy Dalmatian fearlessly charging into a burning building or the brave police dogs who aid our officers in keeping our streets safe: It is the nature of the dog to give his own life, if need be, for us.

It could be required that we become martyrs for God’s sake, and we hope to have the courage to honor God this way. On a more regular basis, we find ourselves asked to make little sacrifices for the glory of God. Whether it is giving scarcely available money to the poor or volunteering at a homeless shelter, food pantry or hospital—we make sacrifices.

Does God smile at our sacrifices?

Oh, yes, I think so.

 

Peace and all good blessings,

Br Christopher

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