My father loved dogs. His last dog, whom he named Luvy, was very special to him. When she passed, he cremated her and instructed us to combine her ashes with his when he passed away. Many years later, we obeyed his last wish and scattered their combined ashes into the ocean. Luvy lived fourteen years, a relatively long time for a dog. I recall having conversations with my father about why dogs live such short lives. While there are biological reasons, no answer was ever satisfying to me.
Recently, I read a social media posting that gave the best answer I have ever read or heard. It was posted by a veterinarian, allegedly of a conversation between himself and a six-year old boy. The parents of the boy brought their 10 year old dog in to see the veterinarian. He broke the sad news that their dog was dying from cancer. Heartbroken, the parents agreed to have their dog euthanized but requested their six-year old son be allowed to participate so that he could learn from this experience. When the day arrived, the entire family solemnly witnessed the passing of their dog. Their son calmly accepted the event, much to the surprise of their parents. After the passing, the veterinarian and the parents wondered aloud why dog lives are so much shorter than humans. Their son spoke up, “I know why. People are born so that they can learn how to live a good life — like loving everybody all the time and being nice, right?” The six-year old continued, “Well, dogs already know how to do that, so they don’t have to stay for as long as we do.”
Regardless of whether this story is true, the sentiment is real. Dogs love their owners with unconditional love. Every dog owner knows this. We should certainly learn from dogs. God gives us glimpses of His magnificence through His creation and animals are a vital connection. We are capable of love but it is an imperfect love, hindered or distorted by our sinful nature. What is real love?
God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him. This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins. Dear friends, since God loved us that much, we surely ought to love each other. No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us, and his love is brought to full expression in us.
1 John 4:9-12 (NLT)
Although we have longer life spans than dogs, all of us live relatively short lives when compared to the expanse of eternity. God loves us unconditionally and offers us salvation and eternal life through faith and belief in His Son, Jesus Christ. In Him, we have the complete expression of love that all of us were created for and yearn to experience.
Love and trust in the Lord; seek His will in your life.