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Theology is our thinking and reflecting on what God has revealed about Himself. The most important commands are to “love the LORD your God with all your heart . . . soul . . . and mind” and to “love your neighbor as yourself.” We derive the equally important truth from these commands that the life lived well is one lived for relationships, and the healthier the relationship, the higher we experience the highest good in life (i.e., love). The way dogs relate to us help us to understand the type of energy we should put into relationships, and not into the rather non-relational activities. Dogs might seem lazy in some ways, but the majority of them liven right up when it is time to be social, to greet, hang out, and appreciate others. It is true that we might rationalize this as being no more special than an animal’s basis instinct. Basis instinct in dogs — the communal animals they are — need not be reduced to this stultifying scientific opinion, however. There is much to be learned from the way a dog uses its time, energy, and attention. Dogs are partial illustrations of the second command even if not having all the faculties human possess with which to relate. Dogs bide their time and energy until it is time to put those into a relationship with others. How much can be learned from this illustration? Moreover, dogs show by the way the use their energy, time, and attention that relationships are what they value most — even if this is no deeper than their instincts it can still act as an example for us.

Given the great joy dogs bring people, it would not be strange if the Father of lights and who give all good gifts gave the companionship of dogs for us to enjoy. Let us not only enjoy them, but learn from them about the inherent importance of relationships.

Dr. Scalise