A prayer for dogs

Michael Dirda reviews Mr. and Mrs. Dog by Donald McCaig, hailed as “the Mark Twain of dog writers.”  It’s about two dogs that the author took to the World Sheepdog Trials.  The event was opened with this prayer from a man named John Seraphine:

“Lord, we thank you for our dogs — your simple gift to us. Open us to what they teach. We thank you for the grateful exuberance of our dogs.

“We thank you for the way they bound across the hills, splash in the waters, chew on sticks, and roll in the dewy grass. Teach us, every day, to say our own ‘thank you’ with every fiber of our being, for the wondrous works of your creation.

“We thank you, Lord, for the honest, direct loyalty of our dogs. We thank you for the wag of their tails and the offer of a cuddle for friend and stranger alike, the way they make people . . . into our neighbors, the way they regard not body type, color of hair, or color of skin. We thank you for the easy way they forgive faults — the way they love us, not because we can love back, but because of our need for love. . . .

“We thank you Lord for our shepherding dogs who can’t stand to lose track of the wayward lamb. We are your lambs, O Lord, and oh so often lost.”

via Donald McCaig’s ‘Mr. and Mrs. Dog,’ reviewed by Michael Dirda – The Washington Post.

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • HippoAugustine

    Dogs do what they were created to do…… In that way, they declare the glory of God. They do it better than we do. We can actually learn from them.

  • Another Kerner

    The book of Job….
    Chapter 12:7-10
    “But ask now the beasts and they shall teach thee: the fishes of the sea shall declare unto thee. Who knoweth not in all these that the hand of the Lord hath wrought this? In whose hand is the soul of every living thing and the breath of all mankind.”
    Sometimes folks ask me if their German Shepherd Dog will go to Heaven….Typically I quote the aforementioned verse.
    Sometimes I ask…..”Never mind your dog for a moment. Do you know how to get there?
    Will you be there to greet your German Shepherd Dog ?”
    This is not hard.
    Dogs can be counted on to do “dog stuff”.
    Ditto cats. I cannot teach my cat to bake a cake. Cats will only do “cat stuff”.
    However, no Anthropomorphism please when thanking God for the gift of the dog.

  • Joe

    Forget heaven — its not where we are headed, we are headed to the New Creation. Christ is coming to restore not destroy His creation. Dogs are part of the creation and they will be there in the end.

  • Another Kerner

    Joe…

    In the meanwhile, before the Lord Jesus comes back to establish the New Heaven and the New Earth, all creation moans, longing for that time.

    Heaven is good right now for all the faithful departed saints.
    Until Christ Jesus returns, God’s people are headed for Heaven.

    Probably best not tot forget Heaven, instead remember Heaven…. because being absent from the body is to be present with the Lord.

  • Cattail

    What a beautiful prayer! Right now my dog is in remission (temporary) with lymphoma. Since he’s on prednisone and is 2 months from diagnosis (he’s already past the average survival time), he could start to deteriorate any time. I am of course watching for the first symptoms of recurrence and will rush him to the vet, hopefully before he starts to suffer. He has given me 10 1/2 years of unconditional love, so I feel that’s the least I can do for him. It’s different for dogs than for humans; dogs live only in the moment while people have the hope of heaven to sustain them through suffering.

    Of course the dog does not understand all this; he just knows he feels fine (bouncier than he has been for the past year) and of course he wants more DOG BISCUITS (translate by loud barking). The prescription from both his regular vet and the veterinary oncologist is to spoil him rotten, and that’s what I’m doing. I’m trying to live a day at a time, as the dog does.

    Thank you, Dr. Veith, for your post!

  • Abby

    This makes me “dog-sick.” I lost my little friend a year and a half ago. I still miss her. And I really, really, hope she will be in heaven for me again! http://www.petwave.com/~/media/Images/Center/Breed/Dogs/Toy%20Group/Cavalier%20King%20Charles%20Spaniel/Cavalier%20King%20Charles%20Spaniel%20Laying%20Down.ashx

  • Tom Hering

    Abby, I’m sorry you lost your little friend. She was a real cutie. (For many people, the death of a pet is as painful as any other loss.) Yes, you will most certainly see her again. God doesn’t annihilate souls.

  • Abby

    Thanks, Tom. I will take your word for it! :)

  • Abby

    One little story. When I found out she would be put to sleep, I became a “basket-case.” All of her life I would never let her lick my face. She could be right up to me and looking into my eyes, but she would never try. When the Dr. brought her back in from the ultrasound and set her on the table, she turned around to my face and licked all the tears away. Then she was laid down and the needle was put into her paw. She was gone very quickly. It was as if she told me not to worry.

  • Tom Hering

    Abby @ 8, take God’s Word for it instead. Like the verse @ 2, Job 12:10.

  • Abby

    Tom @10 I like how you said, “God doesn’t annihilate souls.” And I like the Job passage. And I like these words too: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/geneveith/2013/03/luther-on-dogs/#comment-258898

    That is what was so beautiful about her — her soul. I used to say, ‘she knew God better than we do.’ And she was a never-ending — love giving — machine. She reminded me of how God gives love. Never ending.

  • Hanni

    What about cats? Cats are cool (cool cats get it?). When you call a dog it will come, sweetie that is, a cat however, will take a message and get back to you. That is its foolishness.

  • Hanni

    I know IPads can’t be stupid since it is an inanimate object but it won’t take the word COOLishness, ah finally

  • Tom Hering

    … a cat however, will take a message and get back to you. (@ 12)

    Cats talk to each other, and unlike dogs, pass their wisdom from generation to generation. “If a human calls you, it’s usually best not to g0. They’re likely to grab you, squeeze you and hold you in an uncomfortable position, touch you – repeatedly – in ways you don’t like to be touched, and even (gulp) dress you up in bonnets and costumes, then shame you by posting pictures and videos on the internet.”

  • Hanni

    Tom, that is sooo funny

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