I don’t know who coined the phrase, “a dog is man’s best friend”, but whomever did, knew what they were talking about. For as long as I can remember, from the cradle through adulthood, I have always had a dog in my life. When we lost one, it wasn’t long before we would find another pooch to join the family. Dogs have just always been a part of my life. Some of the best memories I have include our canine companions. When my oldest son gave me a little book one year for my birthday entitled, I Could Chew On This and Other Poems by Dogs, I thought to myself, he gets me.

We recently lost two of our dogs, within a 20-month timeframe, and it was extremely difficult for me, and our family. Both Maggie and Polar Bear were very special to all of us; they are the two dogs that truly brought meaning for me to that phrase, “man’s best friend”.  They were with me when I went through a difficult divorce, some devastating losses, and painful life transitions. They laid on the bed with me countless nights when I cried myself to sleep because I missed my kids. When I thought I would surely die from a broken heart, I would feel a reassuring paw on my hand, or a wet nose nuzzling my tear stained face. I would look into Polar Bear’s soft brown eyes, or Maggie’s eager smile, and somehow, I knew I could make it one more day. Anyone who has sustained a great loss and had a canine companion around to help them through it, knows what I’m talking about.

And dogs are always so happy to see you! They are the first ones to greet you at the door, and the last ones to leave you. They get so excited about the little things; like car rides, and walks, and bacon! You can count on them to do anything you want to do – they really don’t care what it is, they just want to be with you. How great is that?! Dogs are just there for you. Through the good and the bad. Rain or shine. Dogs are reliable. Loyal. Loving. Comforting. Forgiving. Steadfast. Trustworthy.

Recently it hit me when I was reminiscing about Maggie and Polar Bear and how much I miss them, that the way they loved our family reminded me of the way God loves us. Unconditionally. Through the good and the bad. Rain or shine. God is reliable. Loyal. Loving. Comforting. Forgiving. Steadfast. Trustworthy.

Hope whispers, God’s love is unconditional.

You don’t have to do anything to earn a dog’s love. A dog just loves you. Just because you loved your dog first. Interestingly, you don’t have to do anything to earn God’s love either. God loves you just because he made you. He loved you first. Maybe God gave us dogs as a reminder that we can count on him, and that his love is unconditional. Dog after all, is “god” spelled backwards. Just sayin’.

National Dog Day is in August every year. I think dogs are worth celebrating. I am grateful for the wonderful reminders of God’s love I have experienced through my beautiful four-legged friends. I imagine that when the time is right, I will adopt another canine companion. We all need assurance that when life is unreliable, God’s love is reliable. Dogs are a beautiful reminder.  

If you have a story you would like to share about a special canine companion of yours, feel free to post it in the comments section.