If you’re a country music fan, you have no doubt heard many a tune about the friend that sticks closer than a brother. I’m talking here about the four-legged kind. Who doesn’t love a dog that lays at your feet and gives such unconditional love and affection? A little scratch behind the ears and he is good.
I was thinking about this, holding up our own family dog, Jake, as a pretty good example of what loyalty looks like. He’s cute, doesn’t mind too much that he gets the same food day in and day out, is excited when I come home, and sleeps along side my bed. An occasional bath and a clipping, and he is good to go anywhere.
I don’t want to sound obsessed. I don’t want to come across as though, if nothing else were to change in my life, I would be perfectly happy hanging with my dog on a Saturday night, sipping a glass of wine, reminiscing about that time we walked along an especially happy trail and all was well with the world.
But it’s tempting.
We’ve all heard the term, “Men can be such dogs.” Before you guys stop reading, know that - yes - it can be disparaging to say. But it also - honestly - is a complement.
There are dogs who break their proverbial chains, chasing after the scent of some critter or neighbor’s BBQ. Others will run away and never find their way back. Some are just unruly, hard to train, and pass way too much gas. For one reason or another, its not hard to find them in the dog house from time to time.
There are the other kinds too. The gentle yet protective type, who follow you with their eyes and wag their tails when we speak sweet gibberish and they act is if they know exactly what we are saying. They love us. They would never leave us for a better, younger looking alpha owner around the block. And since we all have bad days sometimes, they don’t mind if we occasionally scold them. Best of all, they stay.
There are good dogs and bad dogs. And regardless of the ones we get, we love them. We want to keep them well fed and are grateful for their companionship and what they add to our lives.
I know it seems like a stretch, but my prayers for my new season are not unlike what I appreciate most about Jake.
I want someone who is loyal, predictable, who doesn’t mind that the recipes of my cuisine may get a little boring. I want someone who will allow me to have a bad moment or two, put my arms around his neck and let me cry. I want someone who makes me laugh when I talk to him and his head turns to follow my conversation just like Jake's does when words like “walk” and “ride” and “leash” come into it.
I want someone to love me unconditionally.
I wonder sometimes, if God gives us these wonderful fur babies because He wants us to be reminded of Him, especially during our difficult seasons.
No, I am not saying that God is a dog. I am saying that just like our faithful canines, He will not forsake us. He loves us unconditionally. All He wants is to walk along with us, keeping His eyes on us and defending us should any danger come. He is faithful.
Proverbs 12:10 says that “A righteous man cares for the needs of his animal.” I’m pretty sure that means its okay to hold our pets close to our hearts.
I am grateful for Jake. And though I am not always perfect, sometimes running low on treats, or just too busy to get in that walk, he loves me anyway.
So here’s to the dogs we know and love. And to God who created them, “Thank You.”
Sometimes, all we need is a little lick to our face to remind us that we are loved in this world.