The dog is the most faithful of animals and would be much esteemed were it not so common. Our Lord God has made his greatest gift the commonest.
Last week was National Pet Week, a time to celebrate "the human-animal bond". I didn't know about it until the time was past, and so we didn't celebrate with our sweet dog Bear (She was named Sugar Bear for her sweet nature by her rescuers, For the Love of Dogs founders Max & Della.) But every day in this house is one to celebrate the human-animal bond - or at least the bond we have with Bear. We did the opposite of what most families do - we waited until the children had left home before we adopted a dog. When the children were growing up we couldn't afford to properly care for both children and pets. We weren't comfortable doing as our parents had done - letting the dogs mostly fend for themselves.
In "Love Has a Price Tag", Elisabeth Elliot writes about her dog, McDuff, who had been sick with cancer:
"He expected no special treatment. He did not pity himself. He took for granted that he would be able to go on about his accustomed terrier business and when he found that it was somehow not working well, he made his own adjustments as unobtrusively as he could. It was still the supreme object of his life to see that I was happy. I think he lay under the bush in the rain not in order to wallow in solitary self-pity, but in order that I might not see him in trouble. He liked to please me. He delighted to do my will."
I can't truthfully say that Bear delights to do my will - but she does delight in keeping me company and she seems to know instinctively when I am sad and need her comforting presence. When we first brought her home she was afraid to go up the stairs to our bedroom, but now she spends each night by the bed. She loves to go for walks and to sleep on the deck when the weather is cool. She chases squirrels and rabbits and barks at doorbells, fireworks, and strangers at the door. She doesn't chew up valuables and she lets the grandchildren crawl all over her. She likes to "herd" us where she wants us to go. She knocks our hands away from the computer mouse when she wants attention. She loves us unconditionally. What a blessing!