I Need to Be More Like My Dog

Our thirteen-year-old Labrador Retriever, Dixie, died a couple of years ago. We loved our dog! She was a part of our family when our boys were teenagers. After she died, it was the first time in almost 30 years that we had no children and no pets in the house.

After two years, I had grown content living with my wife alone. Alas, my wife said one day, “I really would like to have a dog again.” So what does a husband do? He does the only thing a sensible husband can do. He gets a bird dog, so he has another reason to go hunting!

We are now three months into our new dog experience. My wife seems less enamored with our dog than I had hoped. Puppies have bad habits that are easily forgotten in the infatuation stage of having a dog.

Yet this dog has already proven to be a great teacher. Despite his small bladder and great desire to chew on anything that makes his gums feel better, here’s something important I’ve learned from our dog, my wife and I named “River.”

Our dog wants to be where we are. River has learned that we are the ones that will care for him, feed him, love him, groom him, protect him, and give him companionship. He’s never far from us. Even after we let him run outside, soon he’s at the door, wanting to be with us—and where it’s cool, of course. Even as I train him on birds in the field, he never wanders far from me. He stays close.

I have felt God saying to me recently. “You need to be more like your dog. You need to desire to be where I AM.”

Why is it that we tend to wander away from God so often? The answer is found in the Garden of Eden, where Adam and Eve wanted to be their own gods. We have a desire to live as we want to live, not as God wants us to live.

However, God is our provider. God is our protector. God is the one that provides companionship through His Spirit. God is the one that will lead us to green pastures and still waters. God is the one who can keep us from temptation or from submitting to it. God has our best interest at heart, always.

God wants the relationship to stay close, but we are the ones that often wander away, sometimes far, far away.

Many years ago when cars did not have bucket seats, but just one continuous seat, you used to see a female snuggled up against her date as he drove down the road, almost as if it took two people to drive the car.

Once after a few years of marriage, a married couple was riding down the road, and they met a car in which two people were snuggled up against each other in this manner. The wife looked over at her husband as said, “Honey, do you remember when we used to ride like that?” He responded with a smile and said, “I sure do, but I’m not the one that’s moved.”

I’m not sure if that answer helped or hurt his cause, but I do know this — when we find ourselves far away from God, the one that has moved is not God; it is us. If anything, God is always pursuing us. God is like the shepherd that goes out looking for the lost sheep, which is us.

So whenever I see my dog lying at my feet, meeting me at the door when I arrive home, eagerly wanting to go with me out the door, or just following me from room to room, I’m asking myself, “Do I have as much desire to be with God, wherever God is and wherever God goes?”