Around 36.5% of all American households own dogs – according to the American Veterinary Medical association – which just goes to show what an important part they are of daily life. If you love dogs and are also a Christian, you may have recently heard the news about Pope Francis stating that all dogs go to Heaven. He was consoling a grieving boy who had just lost his furry BFF, he said, by telling the boy that “Paradise is open to all of God’s creatures.” What a beautiful thought and how inspiring it is to the millions of people who consider dogs to be family.
Is the Bible Really Silent on Dogs?
There are very few references to dogs and pets in the Bible, with the word ‘dog’ often used in a symbolic/pejorative sense to describe negative actions of human beings. For instance, Philippians 3:2 says: “Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the concision.” The passage does not refer to canines per se, evidently, but to those who look out for themselves, are aggressive, and do not show concern or humanity for others.
However, we can seek the inspiration we need to be better dog owners in other parts of the Bible. Genesis 1:21, for instance, says: “So God created the great creatures of the sea and every living thing with which the water teems and that moves about in it, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.” This is just one of many passages in the Bible that highlight the innate goodness of animals, and indeed, of all sentient things.
The Benefits that Dogs Bring to Our Lives
“Ask the animals and they will teach you,” says Job 12:7. It is a powerful statement that hints at the many ways that dogs can enhance our health and happiness. Studies have shown that dogs lower stress levels in human beings, providing the kind of companionship and unconditional love that can be hard to find.
To celebrate these benefits, why not take part in Take Your Dog to Work Day, which will be celebrated across the globe on June 21? This special day is held for two important reasons: to encourage dog adoption, and to highlight the benefits that dogs can bring workers. These benefits include creating a calmer and happier environment, and encouraging social interaction between employees.
The Importance of Being a Good Pet Owner
Proverbs 12:10 states that “The righteous care for the needs of their animals, but the kindest acts of the wicked are cruel.” It is a good reminder that pets have needs owners should cater to. These include food, veterinary visits, and of course, practical aspects of pet care – such as monthly flea and tick treatments, anti-worm treatments, nail trimming, etc. It is also important to ensure your pet gets at least two good walks a day. This is key both for their health and fitness, and their socialization skills. Dogs need to play and encounter other dogs since they are young so they learn to do so in a calm, non-aggressive relationship.
There is a good reason why dogs are used in therapy to heal so many conditions. They have a unique ability to lift the mood and battle stress in such a natural manner. The Bible says little about pets but when it does mention dogs in the literal sense, it is in a positive manner. Your faith can deepen the sense of appreciation you feel for your dog, but also inspire you to keep being the best, most responsible owner you can.