Thursday, January 3, 2013

Dog and God

I've been reading a book called The Divinity of Dogs lately.  It was a Christmas present from one of my stepsons, an astute giver.  The book is full of stories about dogs, dogs who have known what to do and what to give in moments of crisis, dogs who were patient and loved without limits, dogs who have sacrificed to make a connection with us humans.

In one story, a dog befriended a young boy with a terminal illness.  At the hospital, the dog was allowed into the room and leapt up on the bed just before the boy experienced his first seizure.  In another story, a dog became the confidante of a young autistic boy who was being bullied, and helped him to know he had a friend in the world.

Reading this book, I couldn't help thinking about our own beloved dog, Scout, she of the one ear that flops and the other that doesn't.  I couldn't help thinking of her serious brown eyes and how she stares at us, sometimes, in the morning, and how, when I call her to come in from the back yard, she often stares at me, and doesn't come in.  I couldn't help thinking about her and how recently, when I called her to come in and have her dinner, she was trying to squeeze her head under the fence back yard.

That's right.

It was just before Christmas on a Friday night when my husband called and told me that he had let our Scout out in the backyard, but she seemed to have found a method of escape.  He couldn't find out where.  He said I would have to find her when I got home, as he had to practice for a piece in a Christmas concert.

I drove home in a dark and sort of desperate mood.  Scout is light-colored and hard to find in the winter when it has snowed.  I worried that she might be hit by a car.  When I rounded the corner to our house, I saw her right away.  She was walking down the middle of the street, possibly sauntering, even.  I could tell she recognize my car, so I stopped in the street and rolled down the window.

She jumped up on the window and I grabbed her collar and held on.  Now I had her, and I didn't know what to do with her.  I tried to unlock the door and unfortunately made the window start rolling up again.  Also I realized that I would have to disentangle myself from my seatbelt.

Now Scout was whining, a little, but I knew that if I let go she'd be running down the street, and would not come to me if I called.  So I kept working until I could hold her collar with my other hand, and open the door enough to slide out.

That's our divine dog, if dogs are divine.  Are dogs divine?

It depends on what you mean.

When I read the stories of the comfort dogs who visited Newtown, Connecticut, I know that dogs are divine, in some way or another, that they carry a presence within them, that somehow they are able to be ministers of divine love.  I know I don't think that "Dogs are God", any more than I am, but I do know that dogs have a place in God's world.

The thing is, even though I have no stories about how Scout rescued me, and many stories about how she has been a sort-of pain in the neck sometimes, I still believe that Scout is a creature of God, and that she somehow is a minister of divine love.  Despite her quirks, despite her "failings" (if you can call them that), she does good.

And I too, despite my failings, despite the fact that I don't always come when called, do good.  I am an instrument of God's peace.  I don't always believe this, but I look at my dog, and I know that it's true, and it can be true, too.


Hot Cup Lutheran said...

oh Diane thanks for this! My younger dog, bailey-bean had to be put down this week... two dogs in six months... more than my heart can take at times yet in ways i don't fully understand god is at work in all of that and still with me...

Crimson Rambler said...


Diane said...

(Hot Cup) -- I can't imagine how you are feeling. you are in my prayers