One of my favorite radio personalities is the late Paul Harvey, who died in 2009 after 65 years in broadcasting. To me, Harvey was exceptional at getting to the heart of any matter in his topical broadcasts, called “The Rest of the Story.”
One of his musings has always hit home with me, a doglover. Harvey wrote the following:
“And on the ninth day, God looked down on His children and said, ‘They need a companion.’ So, God made a dog.
“God said, ‘I need somebody willing to give kisses, sleep all day, chase cats, roll in something dead, give more kisses, squeak a ball, then take up more than their fair share of the bed.’ So, God made a dog.
“God said, ‘I need somebody willing to lick tears off a child’s face, and then, with unwavering courage, defend a family from strangers. I need somebody who can take a full, frozen chicken on a countertop, fetch sticks, chase tails, scarf kibble, and always be ready for a ride in the car. Somebody who, despite your impatience, unwillingness to play fetch and stubbornness, will love you with their whole heart all the time.’ So, God made a dog.
“God said, ‘I need somebody brave enough to defend livestock and capture criminals, yet gentle enough to visit hospitals and raise puppies. Somebody who will forgive mistreatment and fully give their heart to a new family.’
“It had to be somebody with true devotion and dedication, even when left alone for hours. Somebody to love, lick, snuggle, hug and bow-wow and slobber and leap for a Frisbee and woof at the mailman and chase birds.
“Somebody who would herd a family together with true loyalty and gentle eyes. Somebody who would bark, then wag and fetch their leash when their best friend says, ‘Let’s go for a walk’
“So, God made a dog.”
I love that essay. It is not only so simple, but it is so true. And it speaks to something very important — that God has a purpose for all of us, even dogs.
Others have made similar comments. Wildlife preservationist Roger Caras once wrote, “Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole.” One unknown author penned, “God made dogs so we that don’t have to lower our standards when we get lonely.”
And it was Martin Luther who wrote, “The dog is the most faithful of animals and would be much esteemed were it not so common. Our Lord God has made His greatest gifts the commonest.”
I think Luther was right. We take for granted the love and loyalty of our “best friends.”
My prayer is simply this: Lord, make me the person my dog thinks I am.
Rev. Bob LeFavi is the pastor of Bethel Lutheran Church in Springfield.