God summoned a beast from the fields and He said:
“Behold! Man created in my image.
You shall protect him in the wilderness,
shepherd his flocks,
watch over his children,
accompany him wherever he may go, even into harm’s way.
You shall be his companion, his ally, his slave.
I endow you with instincts uncommon to other beasts:
understanding surpassing that of man himself.
Lest it impair your courage, you shall never foresee your death.
Lest it impair your loyalty, you shall be blind to the faults of man.
Lest it impair your understanding, you are denied the power of words.
Your eyes shall convey the truth of your heart.
Walk by his side.
Sleep in his doorway.
Forage for him.
Ward off his enemies.
Carry his burdens.
Share his afflictions.
Love him and comfort him.
And in return for this, man will fulfill your needs and wants,
food, shelter and affection.
So be a friend to man.
Guide him along the way to this land that I have promised him.
This shall be your destiny.
So spoke the Lord.
And the dog heard and was content.
There are a zillion versions of the above, and it’s to be found in its basic form for all animals in the book of Genesis. God is good.
After I built my little hermitage, Laudie-dog appeared as a gift from God. Laudie-dog adopted me, skeletally thin, shot with bird-shot between the shoulders, with some mange, shy from being rejected. We made friends pretty easily, as she was really very hungry. After treats tossed lightly to her from a distance, and after many hours, she came up and allowed herself to be petted gently on her forehead.
Then, of course, we became a team. She saved me from bears, wolves and, traumatically, a panther (which I had seen twice before).
After doing some writing, and some years later, the local police at the time arranged for me to get Shadow-dog, who patrols the perimeter and has also become part of the team, a good friend.
My reaction to the goodness of Laudie-dog and Shadow-dog is thank our good Lord for goodness of creation.
Even more, dogginess, as described above, becomes an examination of conscience. We fallen human beings would do well to become more like dogs.
The other day, in discovering more about my Jewish heritage, I ran across an account of the Nazi persecution of Jews which, in one town, played out by having all the Jews of a certain town turned out on the street and also all dogs at the same time, you know, so as to make a statement that dogs and Jews are one and the same.
I also call to mind, then, another sociological and statistical fact, that those who abusive to animals will likewise be abuse to other human beings, and all because they hate themselves.
Better to rejoice in God’s good creation, and also to help our fellow fallen human beings to get to know the love and goodness of God.
Dogs give us a good example.
Meanwhile, dearest Charlene, my most favorite State Department retiree, now having returned home from the hospital, made it her first project to send treats to her fur-babies as she calls them. Thank you, dearest Charlene: