Have you ever stopped to think why people love their pets so much?
For this post I’m going to focus in on dogs. Never been a fan of cats like that or too many other animals. Though my house did somewhat resemble Ace Ventura’s home when I was a kid. Ace Ventura from When Nature Calls.
But dogs. Why is it that these dog parks are poppin left and right?
I’ve had Elmira now for almost 3 months and in these 3 months I’ve learned a lot. I’ve talked to a lot of dog owners, met a lot of dogs and been traumatized on numerous occasions from other dogs humping my dog. They could at least buy her kibble first.
But anyways, what I’ve learned from watching other pet owners these past two months is 2 things. One being that a pet – focusing on dogs here – brings out the true side of you. The real side of who you are. At least I believe so.
I’ve watched countless times people yelling at their dogs, disciplining their dogs and plain old being impatient with their dogs. I’ve watched how people may bring their dogs to the dog park, but aren’t focused on their dog one bit.
I’ll be honest – I’m included in this list at times.
But on the other end of the spectrum, I’ve seen how people talk to their dogs happily, play with their dogs, and take time to train their dogs.
Pretty much I’ve seen the pretty and the not so pretty side to dog ownership.
I believe you can assess a lot about an owner just by watching how they handle their dog. Especially how they handle their dog in not so pretty situations.
My dog gets bullied and picked on a lot. My response is usually to just run and she will follow. I learned that in training. I see how other owners react very quickly with anger and rush towards the dogs fighting. Now I know not every dog will follow you when you run another direction during a fight, but I do believe that if you truly care for your dog you will seek training if your dog starts acting aggressively.
That, to me, is loving your dog by seeking help.
For the owners that allow their dogs to be aggressive or hump other dogs without caring about it – that’s a topic for a whole other blog post. All I can say is that I pray for them and their dogs. I have no hate or dislike for them – I care about them. I honestly just want the dog park to be a happy place for all.
I believe that all of this ties into what I talked about in numerous other blog posts, which is you are your truest self to those who are closest to you and that you “love” most. I only quoted “love” here because I believe love to be misunderstood by many. The true definition of love that is – the biblical definition (1 Corinthians 13: 3-10). Even I am working on understanding what love is in my own life.
So these owners that lash out at their dogs are not only showing me who they really are behind closed doors, but also how hurt they are.
How hurt and in need of God they are.
I get it, anger is a normal emotion and even I am not happy when I see my dog eating a bird carcass or being humped while another owner just watches, but Galatians 5:22-23 says that we need to have self-control, kindness, gentleness amongst other qualities.
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
– New International Version
So when I have a burst of uncontrollable anger and yank my dog away from a bird carcass, hoping that nobody saw me, I know that I am not displaying good self-control or gentleness. I know that I need to get her away from the carcass as it is bad for her, but my reaction is even worse.
If I take the time at home to train her to “leave it” or “drop it,” that’s not just displaying kindness, but also love. Love for me and love for Elmira because not only do I not want her to get sick by eating dead birds, I also want to improve and become better at being more self-controlled, gentle, kind and better display love in the way God sees fit and honorable.
But all of that, in my opinion, starts first with having a relationship with God.
If you don’t have or want a relationship with God, you don’t desire to grow and become a better person, in my opinion. Yes you may want to advance in your career, but that’s not what I’m talking about here. I’m talking about getting better spiritually.
As the Pastor Rick Warren said in his book, “The Purpose Drive Life,”
“God is much more concerned about your character than your career, because you will take your character into eternity, but not your career.”
Maybe someone side-eyed you or called the cops on you hitting your dog, which inspired you to change but that’s not the spark in change I am talking about. The spark in change I am talking about isn’t just good for this life, but also for the next.
Heaven or hell is the next life in case anyone didn’t know that. No judgment here.
The change that I believe you need comes by having a relationship with Jesus Christ.
If you don’t want to do it for yourself, start out doing it for others you love or even your dog. Give your daughter, son, husband or dog a better version of you. I hated who I was for most of my life and thought I was a mistake. I started chasing God after a long break because I didn’t want to lose my girlfriend at the time. But in turn I developed an even stronger relationship with God through it all. I am now single, my girlfriend is gone and my relationship with God is stronger than ever.
For me, getting in His Word every morning helps me grow closer to God and makes me want to do better for Him. This, in turn, creates a relationship like one you have with family members or loved ones. An eternal relationship. I then feel Him throughout my day in all areas of my life helping me grow, make decisions and become more like Jesus.
God convicts me immediately when I’m too lazy to pick up dog poop, or angrily yell at Elmira or just point blank don’t give her enough love and attention. God knows that I can do better, which is why He convicts me. It is out of love that He does this. Similar to how a parent punishes their child out of love.
I went off into Pastor Adam mode there for a moment – my bad.
But funny enough, this leads into my last point. Which is point number 2 in what I’ve learned about pets and their owners.
I believe owners love pets, talking about dogs here, because they offer unconditional love. Which is, at the core, what all humans desire.
In these past two months I’ve seen people say that they believe they are closer to their dog than their kids; I’ve seen homeless people on the street with dogs; I’ve talked to someone who told me that their dog is more loyal than any woman they’ve ever been with before.
I might be reaching here, but I believe that people who love their pets are really craving a relationship with The Lord and don’t even realize it.
Hearing about how they are more devastated to lose their dog than a family member says a lot!
You see, most people probably think of God as this All Mighty, All Holy, untouchable being whom is perfect and wants us to live life according to His rules. That is true. But what they fail to realize is that God knows that you and I are imperfect.
He wants to hear about how you cussed out your co-worker; He wants to hear about how you hate Him for letting your loved one die; He wants to hear that you Hate His guts and why you hate His guts.
I’m reading the book of Psalms now and in it you can see how David was very open and honest to God. Giving God both the pretty and not so pretty emotions he was feeling. And God was “okay” with that.
He wants to hear the happy moments too, don’t get me wrong. But He cares about everything you want to bring to Him. The pretty and the not so pretty. He wants you to be honest and open. Though you may not realize it, He loves you regardless if you love Him back. If you haven’t spoken to Him in a while or ever, He very badly desires to tell you that!
He won’t abandon you (Deuteronomy 31:6) or hate you if you hate Him or blame Him for something you believe He caused or allowed to happen in your past. He will show you that He’s always been there for you whether you’ve realized it or not. He will also take you through the steps of forgiveness and healing if you blame Him or hate Him for something in your past.
When I see an owner with their dog, yelling at them or talking with them or playing with them and the dog just gives them unconditional love in return, I’m just like – that’s God. Though you can’t play with God, I joke with Him from time to time.
That’s what a relationship with God looks like!!!
Of coarse God speaks back at times and there are rules (commandments) to follow, but there are many attributes dogs have that God carries as well. Plus the commandments aren’t as bad as you think they are when you stop to embrace a relationship with your Creator first.
It’s like your parents. For those who had a mom and dad who loved them truly growing up, you wanted to obey their rules. Because you had a relationship with them. A relationship you charised and loved.
It is all the same with God. He just wants to have a relationship with you too.
You can pick up your Bible for an hour a day or 10 minutes a day. For me, I just read one chapter a day and that’s it. Sometimes more, but my staple is a chapter a day, everyday.
Not only does God want to hear you let out all your thoughts and emotions as you read His Word, He wants to talk to you too. If you haven’t spoken or heard from God in a while, I believe He has a lot to say to you.
You and Him have A LOT of catching up to do!
Just enjoy it like you would a relationship with a family member. A family member you truly love and respect. But best believe, this relationship will be better and more rewarding than any other relationship you’ve ever had. Even moreso than your dog.
So get ready!
So that’s just my two cents for today. I hope you got something from it as I know I did.
There are many other resemblances to dogs and God I believe, but I don’t want to hammer you all with everything today. Some others are the fact that dogs always want to be by your side like God is (Joshua 1:9, Matthew 28:20, Psalms 23:4) and that they don’t care about how much money you make or how big your house is. They are very forgiving and just care about you. Just like God.
Some lady said there is a reason dog spells God backwards. I don’t know about all that; maybe there’s truth to that or maybe not. I just know that God loves us WAY more than our dogs do and if you stop to think about how much your dog loves you, that’s saying A LOT!
“Thank you God for reminding me who you are and helping me draw closer to you through Elmira. Thank you also for putting this on my heart to share. Please help us all embrace a relationship with you. In Jesus name, Amen.”