When I was a kid, you couldn’t buy a dog. They weren’t for sale. Farmers put ads in newspapers, “Dogs. Free. Take your pick. Part poodle, part sneaky neighbor’s dog.” Today, dogs routinely sell for $2500. Are we a little too into this pet thing? My wife and I are dog people, but some take it to ridiculous lengths.
Our friends Jane and Al were over for dinner. I was smothering four medium rares in sauce on the barbecue, as our dog Mojo ran mad circles around them, then sat down to stare longingly up at the barbecue.
“She reminds me of my parents dog Precious,” said Jane. Since the dog arrived the grandkids have hardly seen my parents. They miss birthdays and Christmas now. And our daughter’s wedding. All because of the dog.
Al shook his head. “They gave the grandkids away because the dog was allergic to ‘em.”
“Precious doesn’t travel so well,” Jane continued. “His plumbing malfunctions at the mention of travel. No one is good enough to dog sit. So, the three of them stay home together. They plan this dog’s meals in advance. They buy Halloween outfits and liver biscotti and oatmeal shampoo for sensitive skin.”
Al was still shaking his head. “Last November my parents asked us what we wanted for Christmas, so we asked for a picture of the two of them that we could hang over our mantle. Christmas morning, we opened a package that was about three feet by four feet. It was taken by a professional photographer. The dog is on a chair between them and they’re looking at the dog!” Who needs grandkids when you have a Chihuahua?
We had one of those sad laughs together. Jane said, “We pray every day for that they’ll find God and stop worshipping the dog.”
Cat owners will tell you that cats like being worshipped. But dogs, believed C.S. Lewis, are too humble a creature to be worshipped.
What do you worship? Here’s how to know. Ask, “What occupies my thoughts when I’m alone.” And “Where does my money go?” True joy comes when we bow before the one true God. Put anything else in the place God should be, and it will disappoint.
Speaking of disappointment, Mojo can’t believe I haven’t offered her some of this fine steak. Just wait ‘til she discovers there will be no liver biscotti or oatmeal shampoo.
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