“Oil and incense bring joy to the heart, and the sweetness of a friend is better than self-counsel.” Proverbs 27:9 CSB
I learned where the term “man’s best friend” originated and I wanted to share it with all of you as we close out the dog days of summer. George Graham Vest was a lawyer in 1870. He represented a man who had a deep love for his dog, Old Drum. One day a neighbor shot Old Drum because he was trespassing on his land. Vest’s case against the neighbor was that he had killed more than just a dog, he had killed a member of the family. Vest famously stated, “The one absolute, unselfish friend that man can have in this selfish world—the one that never proves ungrateful or treacherous—is his dog.” That is where the term “Man’s best friend” originated. And anyone who has a dog know they truly are our best friend.
There is a lot to learn from dogs about friendship. They have short memories when it comes to wrongs we have done to them, yet long memories to the love we share. They are always happy to see us when we walk through the door. When we’re sad, they are sad with us, when we’re happy they’re happy. They fit our emotions, whatever they may be. Dogs love unconditionally, they always have our back. No one will ever sneak up on us as long as our dogs are around, they always let us know when someone is coming. They protect us from danger, they will give their life to protect their master. They snuggle with us on cold days, swim with us on hot ones and follow us wherever we go. They mirror God to us in their faithfulness to us, and their acceptance of us. Dogs enjoy their lives unashamedly, they don’t care what people think about them, they just love being with them. Dogs are joy filled and they bring joy to those they love. If only people were more like dogs, what a wonderful place this would be. As if to prove my point, I just took a quick break from writing this, when I walked out of my office, my dog is sitting at the top of my steps waiting for me to finish working so I can play with him. And he will be there when I finish, no matter how long it takes.
There are a lot of things in life that bring heartache, but dogs aren’t one of them. In them we find a reflection of God’s unconditional love for us in its purest form. Simple, uncomplicated, no pretense, just love. Let’s take a lesson from their book today and just love whoever we’re with, simply, faithfully, unconditionally. Let’s be like man’s best friend.