Ultimate Joy

Do Dogs Have Feelings?

Posted on: October 8, 2011

I’ve never seen a dog cry.  I’ve never seen one laugh for that matter.  Yet, I have experienced their intense joy as they whirl and twirl chasing a ball. And I’ve seen sadness and bewilderment in their eyes when I leave.  Their intense, indescribable canine loyalty makes me wonder what deep, passionate emotions beat in their hearts.

One touching display of loyalty is currently making the rounds on the Internet.  It shows Hawkeye, a Labrador Retriever, lying at the coffin of his master, Petty Officer Jon Tumilson.  A Navy Seal, Tumilson died on August 6 when his Chinook helicopter was shot down by insurgents in Afghanistan.

When the Petty Officer’s friend took the podium to eulogize his lost pal, Hawkeye followed and went straight to the casket at the front of the gymnasium where the service was held, lying down with a heavy sigh and refusing to leave the side of his owner.  If that isn’t sadness, what is?

In a solemn display of grief and love, the dog remained dutiful to his owner, even though his owner had passed.

For those who knew him, the loss of Tumilson has been described as “immeasurable.” The heart-wrenching actions of his loyal Lab Hawkeye only show that the loss of life, similar to the loyalty shown by our pets, is not at all quantifiable or measurable.

God’s loyalty to us is limitless, also.  When we feel dry, worn out or empty God never leaves our side. When we struggle with finding our purpose and our worth, as our faithful Companion, He whispers kind words to us.  He tells us how much He loves us.  He renews us and He inspires us.

When my dog Rascal was dying of cancer, she suddenly decided she didn’t want to make the trek to our upstairs bedroom. So, I moved downstairs – making a bedroom out of our living room by putting a mattress on the floor.  One night, I had several nightmares so terrifying I began to cry out in my sleep.  Rascal tenderly, gently put her paw on my bed to soothe and quiet me.  It was as if she was saying, “You’ve always got me, you know. We’ll go through the world together, and always stand by each other.”

I don’t know about you, but I want to be known for that kind of loyalty.  I want to live a life recognized for reflecting God’s loyalty so completely that my life is reshaped and my relationships are refurbished.  I want to leave behind my negative attitudes of comparing, contrasting, evaluating, doubting, and allowing myself to feel like a disappointment even though the Lord tells me over and over that He loves me.  He blesses each and every day with His grace and loyalty.

That’s why today you can begin with a new confidence and with a heart aligned with the One who knew your name before time began. He provides tranquility with His love. If you quiet yourself before Him, you will hear the sound of your own name echoing back from the great I AM.

My dog Lily is asleep at my feet as I finish this entry.  She’s had a busy day protecting me from other dogs and various visitors to the house. Her loyalty is touching, but it will never outshine the loyalty of God.  You see, I’ve had to earn Lily’s respect, love and loyalty.  Over the months of feeding her, taking care of her, loving her, she’s bonded to me.

But God’s love and loyalty are there for the taking.  We don’t have to earn it.  He reaches out to us and consistently showers us with His bold love and profound loyalty to us.

So, join me on the journey of reflecting the loyalty of God, won’t you? I’m pretty certain that every step of the way will be well worth it.

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1 Response to "Do Dogs Have Feelings?"

Dogs cry… some just don’t cry on the outside. But ask any Chihuahua mom, they’ll tell you. It’s one of the few breeds that will actually cry tears when they are truly, truly sad. My boy Nico cried when his best buddy, Thunder (the retired racer) crossed the rainbow bridge. And I cried buckets for both of them.

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