Things we can learn from Dogs

Today for the feast of St. Francis of Assisi and, like many parishes, we conducted a blessing of the animals. Over 80 neighbors brought their pets (mostly dogs) by for a blessing this evening. To each of them I passed out a little list of things we can learn from dogs. The list that appears below.

Scripture says little about dogs and when it does it is never flattering. Most of the references make one think of wild dogs who ran in packs. Psalm 22:16 says, “Many dogs have surrounded me, a pack of evildoers closes in upon me. Or again from Philippians 3:2, Watch out for those dogs, those evildoers. No, strangely, I cannot find one Scripture that speaks well of dogs.

And yet, they have been a great gift to me. Such loyalty, such unconditional “love.” There may have been times in my life when everyone was disgusted with me, even I was disgusted with me. But even on days like that my dog would still run to great me, and curl up next to me; such wonderful, “forgiving” and uncomplicated creatures.

Dogs, generally speaking, have a great outlook on life. This list is an oldie on the internet but, if you haven’t read it, it is really rather instructive. Dogs DO have a lot to teach us. God teaches us not only out of the Bible but in creation. In that spirit here are

Fifteen Things We can Learn from Dogs:

  • 1. Never pass up the opportunity to go for a joy ride.
  • 2. Allow the experience of fresh air and the wind in your face to be pure ecstasy.
  • 3. When loved ones come home, always run to greet them.
  • 4. Let others know when they’ve invaded your territory.
  • 5. Take naps and stretch before rising.
  • 6. Run, romp, and play daily.
  • 7. Eat with gusto and enthusiasm.
  • 8. Be loyal.
  • 9. If what you want lies buried, dig until you find it.
  • 10. When someone is having a bad day, be silent. Sit close by and nuzzle them gently.
  • 11. Thrive on attention and let people touch you.
  • 12. Avoid biting when a simple growl will do.
  • 13. When you’re happy, dance around and wag your entire body.
  • 14. No matter how often you’re scolded, don’t buy into the guilt thing and pout…. run right back and make friends
  • 15. Delight in the simple joys of a long walk.

And here is one of the most amazing videos I have ever seen. It’s about “Faith the two legged dog”:

18 Replies to “Things we can learn from Dogs”

    1. YES! Thank you, Andrew, for pointing that out. It makes me smile. I had mentioned it to someone once before and they growled at me and barked that I had imagined reading that mention of the dog in Tobit.

      1. That “someone” who is mentioned seems like one of the many whom I’ve encountered who believe that a temper tantrum is an effective dispute against anything and, that having the loudest tantrum is more important than checking the facts.
        They seem, to me, to offer a great challenge on loving my enemies.

  1. Daniel wants you to know that dogs are doofi, and that there is more to learn from cats.

    You were not put on this earth to pursue goals of your choosing. You were put on this earth to serve others.

    Your time is not your own. At any time, you are expected to drop whatever you’re doing to address the following needs:

    Feed the cat
    Scritch the cat
    Make a lap for the cat
    Let the cat out
    Let the cat in
    Clean the litterbox
    Cede the favorite chair to the cat
    Feed the cat
    Feed the cat
    Feed the cat

  2. Tobit 11:9 (Douay-Reims) Then the dog, which had been with them in the way, ran before, and coming as if he had brought the news, shewed his joy by his fawning and wagging his tail.

  3. People talk sometimes about how close the genetic make-up of chimpanzees is to that of humans, as proof of macro-evolution. Dogs and cats, in a significant way, are closer to humans than chimpanzees. Dogs and cats can be domesticated and chimpanzees cannot be domesticated. I don’t think anyone really knows why some animals can be domesticated and most cannot.

    “I wish I was home, in Evelyn’s kitchen, with old gyp curled round my feet.”–Tom Waits, from Pony

  4. Raining cats and dogs!

    When I arrived home, it became obvious that Haley would retain her place. After some pouting, I resigned to recognizing Haley’s position. She slept between us until the day she died.

    She enough “love” to comfort both of us.

    PS We have 45 years of similar stories of “com-pet-ssion.

  5. When I end life here and go through the gate and do not see any dogs my terrible thought will be: Oh oh I am not in the place of glory. It isn’t scriptural but I am prety sure that demons and dogs do not coexist.

  6. There is a reference to dogs in the Bible which Msgr. Pope has forgotten: that of Parable of the rich man and Lazarus:

    “Now there was a certain rich man, and he was clothed in purple and fine linen, living in luxury every day. A certain beggar, named Lazarus, was laid at his gate, full of sores, and desiring to be fed with the crumbs that fell from the rich man’s table. Yes, even the dogs came and licked his sores.” (Luke, 16)

    I think this is an excellent sample of what dogs can do: they are the only ones that seem to have mercy on Lazarus.

    1. There is a grosser explanation of this passage that is still in keeping with canine sensibilities.

  7. We know God loves all of His creation; all that has life in it. Animals, of whatever kind, I’m very partial to dogs, go to heaven when they die. I firmly believe this. They are as God made them; they have no ability to be otherwise. They cannot sin; they are pure. They go to heaven.
    There is a story of the “rainbow bridge” where your deceased pet awaits you- if it exists it is for the pet or pets to escort you to the Gates.

  8. God brought all the animals to the ark and saved them through the flood. They must have been important to Him.

  9. A possible reason why dogs are not spoken well of in Scriptures is because in those days, most dogs may have actually been feral pack animals that moved around tormenting, attacking and killing people.

    We still have this problem actually. For example in India:

    Or Australia:

    Or Russia:–I5ikok8

  10. I have a dog who is 12 years old, and she has energy to spare. She makes me walk when I would rather stay in bed; she keeps me on the go and alert, I am 75 years old. Someone told me recently DOG means Dependent on God. Not that dog owners are God, but a dog’s faith is in God and he will provide someone to be their companion. Dogs are social and perhaps in the Bible people did not see how animals could do more than work for them since the life of the people was hard. God knew what he was doing and in time humans came to understand too that dogs work at their social interaction with humans – we live longer.

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