“I wish I loved people the way my dog loves me.”
Before I had a dog, I used to hear things like that all the time, and they were always cute sentiments. Now that I have a dog—and I love saying that!—I know it’s true! Dogs have a way of loving that I just don’t understand.
[pullquote width=”300″ float=”left”]Star shows me what God wants from me every single day: time and affection. And yet, I don’t give Him what He wants because apparently I’m a bad dog.[/pullquote]I also wish I could forgive people the way my dog forgives me. When my husband and I are at work all day, she’s home alone and sad. When we come home, she’s the happiest little pup in the world. It doesn’t matter that she hasn’t seen us in nine hours. She’s already forgotten about it and is jumping around in excitement.
How can they love and forgive us so quickly? Is it because they depend on us for food? Is it because we give them pets and cuddles? Or is it simply because they don’t have great short term memory?
I can’t answer those questions. In fact, I can’t answer many questions about dogs. I’ve always loved dogs, but I never had my own until a couple months ago. The time I’ve had with Star, my sweet little Cocker Spaniel, has reinforced that love and taught me so many things. Not only is she providing great experience for future (God willing!) furless babies, she is also teaching me how to be a better Christian.
Really. She is.
First, she is teaching me about unconditional love and forgiveness. Yes, I already experience that as a daughter of the King and with my husband, but my husband doesn’t pee on the carpet right after being outside. He also doesn’t vomit all over the carpet after eating too much kibble way too quickly. (Our apartment is small enough that he could easily get to a sink, garbage can, or the toilet very easily!) The same cannot be said for Star. In the first month of having her, we spot-cleaned the carpet at least once a day. It was incredibly frustrating, but we did it because we loved and forgave her. She was adjusting to a new home with new food and a new schedule. Accidents were to be expected, and shoot, she’s way too cute to be mad at. I’m sure I will feel the same when my future (again, God willing!) baby has a dirty diaper six million times a day and keeps me up all night.
Second, and more importantly, I feel as though she is teaching me how I should interact with God. I know that sounds weird, but hear me out.
Star depends on us for pretty much everything. If we never gave her any attention, she would be depressed. If we never gave her training, she wouldn’t learn. If we were to leave her in her crate and never come back, she would eventually die. We are her life. We are everything to her, and she knows it. To her, we are worthy of all time and affection.
We are, essentially, her gods. Star shows me what God wants from me every single day: time and affection. And yet, I don’t give Him what He wants because apparently I’m a bad dog.
Thankfully, my owner—my God—thinks that I, too, am way too cute to be mad at, even when I’m chasing after squirrels instead of eating treats from His hand. But it’s not because I’m actually cute. It’s because of love poured out on a cross.
Oh, that I would accept His training and walk by His side despite the enticing squirrels running around! I’m thankful for His love and forgiveness, and the furry reminder he has placed in my life. I’m so thankful for my sweet Star!
Natalie currently lives in the greater DC area with her husband, Andrew, where she works as a Technical Writer/Editor for a global IT company.