The example of a dog’s devotion

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Fencing is happening around here this month – the backyard kind with boards, not the kind with swords. When we first moved here we realized fencing the entire acreage was not an option, so we had a 30’ x 50’ dog yard created at one side of the house to contain the canine horde of the day, three Shelties and one Labrador.

Fifteen years later posts are rotting and panels are wobbly. Since we can’t manage without a secure fence, Dear Hubby has started replacing it, one section at a time. It’s a slow process, but he putters at it whenever he has an hour or two to spare. As you can see, he has a faithful companion. Our current Labrador, Tynan, loves to snooze on a comfortable carpet indoors as much as any dog, but when his best human friend is outside, rough uneven gravel in the construction zone is an acceptable alternative as long as his friend is near.

Of all the dogs we’ve owned through the decades, this is the only one that has claimed DH as his own. Tynan follows him everywhere. He’s right on his heels going down the hall, or curled up under the desk, even laying outside the bathroom door, or sleeping cuddled against feet during TV viewing in the family room, and, of course, leaping alongside when the leash is produced for a walk or the opportunity for a ride in the car. There’s no question about it… he loves his master. They’re inseparable.

It brings to mind the question of our relationship with our Master. How often do we stray out of His sight… wander in search of passing interests that take us out of touch with God? Those are the times we abandon the security of following in His footsteps, miss being close enough to discern His help and guidance when it’s given.

If distance has developed, we know it isn’t God who has moved away! The onus is on us to encircle our lives with a protective fence of prayer and study and meditation that will strengthen our devotion and discipleship, and keep us close to the Master at all times – within arm’s reach when a little heavenly reassurance is needed.

We joke about a dog’s life, but dogs can teach us a lot about devotion.

~

The LORD is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.
[Psalm 145:18]
Seek the LORD while he may be found; call on him while he is near.
[Isaiah 55:6]

 

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16 thoughts on “The example of a dog’s devotion

  1. elderfox says:

    Ty is one of those very special canines and WE feel very “special” to be two of his “chosen” people.
    And we want one of those pics of him at Bob’s feet…!
    mE & J J

  2. Cathy says:

    Love the photo of Tynan on your hubby’s slippers. So adorable. Who could ask for a more devoted doggie?

    My faith is a bit shaky these days so thanks for the reminder. Still struggling to figure out where religion fits into my life. I like being a good Christian and the values but have trouble with some aspects of it. I admire those like yourself who have a strong faith.

  3. Judith Robl says:

    Nothing is wasted in God’s economy, not our suffering, nor our canine friends. Everything is useful for teaching us to sink a deep root in God. Thank you for a beautiful essay.

  4. joylene says:

    I agree. I believe God gave us animals because we’re too dumb to learn most of life’s lessons without them. I’m a little teary after reading your post. I think it’s the photo of your puppy and his toy tucked around your DH’s feet. We gave Bandit to a lady who raises Syberian huskies. It was a tough decision, but we can’t build a fence on our property because of the lake. And Bandit had to be on a run. Winters are okay, but as soon as spring arrives, he starts howling to be free. He’s so much happier where he is, I know. But I miss him terribly. I keep remembering that his happiness is more important. Another thing God has taught me through a dog that’s no longer here.

  5. Beautiful. I so often see our relationship to God reflected in the relationship we have with our pets. Our dog is like yours, just always wants to be with the master. But our cat . . . well there’s another story. He just has to go his own way, and only shows affection on his terms. Spiritually speaking, I’d so much rather be a ‘dog’. :o)

  6. Labs have the sweetest nature I’ve ever experienced in a dog. Tynan is gorgeous. The photo of him entwined at his master’s feet says it all.

    Thank you for the comparison to our devotion to God. The two scriptures are two of my favorites. I say that about so many verses, but it’s true. There are many verses that are jewels, treasures, promises or instruction with implied promise. Seek the Lord while He may be found; call upon Him while He is near. The instruction implies that He may be found if we only will seek Him. The other implication says there is danger in failing to seek Him, a warning that brings tears to my eyes for those who foolishly delay. Blessings to you, Carol…

  7. Good morning to all of you, and thanks for your comments here.

    Earlene, not only can you have a copy of that pic, I also have a copy of his championship one for you — we *have* to get together soon.

    Cathy, I know faith can sometimes feel tenuous, but fortunately God’s presence doesn’t depend on our feelings. I’ve also been told faith is a noun, not an emotion, and I like that concept… emotions are too unpredictable.

    Thanks, Judith. There’s a lesson to be learned in most life experiences, although I don’t always recognize what they are!

    Joylene, I’m so sorry to hear you’ve had to part with Bandit. Sibes do seem to have an innate need for rushing off to other destinations. I’m glad you’ve found him a place where he’s happy, but I understand how much you must be missing him.

    I’ve never lived with a cat, Christine, but I gather they are much more independent than dogs.

    Carol Ann, I’m pretty passionate about Shelties, too. I love their sweet gentleness coupled with a perky personality. Ty is definitely sweet, but in a steadier way. (Tho’ he can be pretty bouncy, too.) :)

  8. Such a sweet and adorable post. I learn a lot from my animal family too, I’ve had all kinds but not yet dogs. I do know their great qualities though, wonderful writing and messages

  9. I took a peek on Google at Shelties. They look like collies. Are they related? We had a collie, and he was a great pet, too. When we would all play together, he thought it was a sure sign we needed a shepherd to herd us in. He’d circle around us and nip us in the pants!

  10. Brooke McGillivray says:

    Just a perfect picture and analogy. Lately my prayers and bible study have been on this very thing – - He’s paid the price for us – - He’s there for us – - so why am I wandering around trying to do everything myself?? Thanks so much, Carol.

  11. Thanks, everyone, for sharing your thoughts today.

    Carol Ann, while Shelties (Shetland Sheepdogs) look like miniature Collies, they are two distinct breeds, although at one point in their history they were interbred to help stabilize size. They use to be barely 12″ high at the shoulder, whereas now they are suppose to be between 13″-16″. There are both structure and temperament differences between the breeds but obviously many similarities, too, and they are both in the Herding Group.

  12. Thanks for stopping by my blog, Carol, and introducing yourself to me a little! Always good to meet another BC writer! We love camping on the Island as well. Our kids were at UVic for six years (slow learners? lol) and just moved back to the Kootenays a year ago. We’re already missing our annual oceanside jaunt.

    And yes, GOOOOOOO ‘NUCKS!!!!! Just *one* more win. Surely they can do it!

    • Hi Valerie – We lived in Port Alberni for many years so going back to visit on the Island is returning to familiar territory. We also have a daughter in the Kootenays now and a son in the Okanagan… the family is spreading out all over BC. :)

  13. I loved that last pic. It reminds me of our 90 pound Pitbull who sneaks up onto the end of the couch when my husband is resting on it, and lies with him. For his size he’s amazingly graceful and light as a feather when he’s trying to be sneaky :)

    • Our Tynan is 90 lbs., too, but I can’t say he ever seems light as a feather, whether he’s being sneaky or not. LOL. He doesn’t get on furniture but he’ll creep halfway onto a lap when he’s looking for a bit of attention, and he feels like he weighs a ton!

  14. OH, yes, dogs can show us unconditional love like the Father’s, forgiveness after being wronged, and how to follow our Master. What a great post!

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