Surveys show that 43 million households own a dog. Some of those pets are service dogs. Others are used for security or hunting. More than a few have been inherited by parents of college age children who left them behind. But most are kept for companionship.
Because of the love many of us have for the four legged members of our families, would we continue to feel the same way if someone could prove that a dog has only two interests: avoid the smack of a rolled up newspaper, and do whatever it takes to get a treat?
Why does it matter whether dogs really care about us? Part of the answer seems to involve the way dogs work their way into our hearts. They are sad when we leave, greet us with enthusiasm when we come home, and act as if they enjoy being close to us even when we don’t have a treat in our hand. Yet they love our rewards, and can be satisfied with our “good dog” words of approval.
By contrast, if our dogs acted like they distrusted us, used us for food and shelter, and cowered when in our presence to avoid being disciplined, we might not be as inclined to call them “man’s best friend.”
The Bible sometimes uses animals to give us insight into important relationships. The prophet Isaiah for instance says, “The ox knows its owner And the donkey its master’s crib; But Israel does not know, My people do not consider” (Isaiah 1:3).
As a change of pace, was wondering if together we could combine some of what we know about our dogs– and the Bible– to see if “man’s best friend” can help us better appreciate what it might take to be “God’s best friend”… or at least… a man or woman after his own heart.