I never was much of a dog person. We had a dog when I was young (actually two, but the one who ate the corner off the house doesn’t count), but after I was married that was it. I guess I figured they would be more trouble than they were worth. That was until Buttons came into my life.
Buttons is a rescued dog, who was adopted by the woman I love from a shelter in North Carolina. As with so many people I talk to who have also rescued dogs, we all say the same thing about our dogs, it isn’t exactly clear just who actually rescued who. Now I know this isn’t a dog blog, just bear with me. A couple of weeks ago now, Buttons was diagnosed with a tumor, something with a lot of letters that I can’t pronounce. The vet told us we could operate on it but it would mean Buttons would have to go through excessive rehabilitation as he would need to have many muscles cut and sewn back together. And after all that there was not any guarantee as to how much longer this would extend his life.
Faced with a difficult decision, we have had to do a lot of thinking about this. During this thinking, I have come to realize something, dog is God spelled backwards. I look at Buttons and I realize he is just like God is some ways, or more accurately, like God wants us all to be. Here are some examples:
- A dog believes in treating others in the same way he wants to be treated. Buttons wants to be loved and in turn, loves everyone. If they mistreat him, he will turn away from them and not bother them. He can sense who will love him in return. and who will not.
- Dogs do not judge anyone. Buttons doesn’t care who you are, what you do, whether you are rich or poor, what religion you practice, or if you practice any at all, he loves everyone the same, unless you give him reason not to. Even then, he will let you make amends to him, and he will love you again, just like God.
- A dog is always happy to see you. Buttons will always welcome us home, no matter what time it is, no matter what kind of day we have had, no matter what kind of mood we are in, he will meet us at the door, or if he is outside run to meet us as we get out of the car, and welcome us home. Just like God.
- Dogs don’t expect anything in return for their love. Buttons is happy just to be in our lives and is just as happy lying next to us, not being pet, as when we are loving on him (which is all the time). Like God, he loves us unconditionally.
- A dog is fiercely loyal to the ones who love him. Buttons will be the most passive dog until he thinks someone is going to hurt one of us. If he perceives some kind of danger, he will go into action. There are various levels of this action, from raising his ears and giving us a little bark that someone is coming down the road, to a full scale waking up the neighborhood alert that something isn’t right, and to a “You better get away from my people now” mode. Just like God who alerts us to dangers, sometimes passively, sometimes more aggressively, but He is always there to protect us and fight for us.
Now I understand all dogs are not the same, but I also believe it all comes down to how you are to them. While we don’t know Buttons’ history, we are pretty sure he was abused in some way and we can pretty much guess by whom from the way he acts towards a small percentage of people with certain characteristics. But I have learned much from Buttons. In his own quiet way, he teaches us the same things Jesus taught us about how to live our lives.
We don’t know how much longer Buttons will be with us, but each day, I see Buttons and I can’t help but see the connections. Dog id God spelled backwards.