Several years ago, my husband and I were fortunate enough to be adopted by two baby Basset Hounds. Bayfield was the firstborn of the litter, a handsome specimen of manhood. He is a regal dog, if low-slung and jowly can be construed as being regal. He exercises restraint and dignity, except when it’s time to go on his walk, at which point his nine-year-old body becomes a riotous mess of leaping fur and slobber.
His sister, Beulah, outweighs her brother by at least ten pounds, and she is slow and exceedingly lazy. In spite of her being the runt of the litter (or perhaps because of it), she has a ferocious appetite. She will eat anything left in her path, most especially her brother’s food. When she gives him the “stink eye,” this normally stately male animal becomes, literally, a whipped pup, and moves completely away from his dish. We call it the “Canine Hunger Games,” and it takes constant supervision to keep both dogs happy. If ever there was a Canine Clean Plate Club, Beulah would be president. Beulah’s other favorite dining spot is the pile of dead and decomposing grass at the back of our property, earning her the nickname, “Cow Face.”
We love our dogs to absolute distraction, and we believe they love each other. The Bible says God loved animals too, because He chose to save them over the not-so-faithful people on earth at the time of the flood. But I think Bayfield and Beulah teach us a lesson about relationships. There is a lot of give-and-take between these two, and yet they always bed down together at night. They forgive each other, and most of all they forgive my husband and me when it’s too cold or we’re too busy to go for that walk. They are comforted by our mere presence, and a pat on the head goes a long way to ushering each of them into a long and peaceful nap. Someone once said that we should all aspire to be the person our dogs think we are. Wouldn’t that be a wonderful challenge for us Christians?
God of All Living Creatures, thank You for the blessing of animals. Teach us to take time to observe them and learn from them, for they are truly one of Your nicest creations. Amen