The last few days, I have been thinking about dogs, human beings, and humanity.
One story that touched me was about a loyal German Shepherd, named Tommy who has been going to a mass in the same church that her owner, Maria, used to take her to, even after Maria’s passing away. As soon as the church bells ring, Tommy heads to church, and sits patiently by the side of the altar.
There was a previous story of a dog, Hawkeye, sitting by the coffin of a fallen Navy Seal, Jon Tumilson.
Of course many dogs are known for their loyalty, not just towards humans, but also towards each other. In Phoenix, there was a moving story of a pit bull (generally not known as the most “tender” of breeds) sitting for 14 hours next to the body of a female pitbull that had been by a car.
For 14 hours the pit bull nuzzled his friend, trying to awaken her from her slumber.
About a thousand years ago, there was a classic work of Islamic spirituality in which the animals question the reason why human beings are usually considered superior to animals. They are offered reason after reason, which the animals dismiss.
I look at these dogs, showing compassion to one another, and to members of other species.
I wonder about us, about our humanity. I wonder what it is that distinguishes our species. I look at Newtown, at Syria, in so many places around the world, and I wonder about our humanity. I wonder about our arrogance, in talking about everything that is good and beautiful as “humanity”, and relegating all that is base, passionate, and selfish as “animal nature.”
I wonder just how much we have to learn from our four-legged friends. I am not concerned about humanity and animal nature. If this faithfulness and love is the faith of dogs, I pray for the faith of dogs for us human beings.
I wonder where is the love,
I wonder where is the friendship,
I wonder where is the faithfulness,
I wonder where is the concern,
I wonder where is the compassion.
Whatever species manifests these qualities, that is God’s masterpiece.