It’s a Doggy-Dog World

In a conversation years ago with a friend, I mentioned that one of the few things that I ever heard my father philosophize on was a common saying, for some, that life was a “Dog-eat-dog world.” Life for poor folks was often a hard one. My friend relayed a similar story from someone in the past who stated it as, “It’s a Doggy-dog world.” I’m not sure how he would have explained that meaning. I am sympathetic, though, since I spent many years of my life thinking it was, “Maresy dotes.”

A former neighbor had a heart for abused pit bulls, which she rescued and kept in her back yard. It got pretty tense one day when a policeman racked his shotgun as one of them came after him. I had called animal control when the same one came across the street after me. Since I was the second neighbor to encounter this dog, it was taken in to be put down. This was turning into a, “Dog-eat-neighbor world.”

My wife and I are in agreement when it comes to pets. Neither of us wants one. Of course all of the kids growing up wanted a dog (pet), and we thought it was important since it provided companionship and taught responsibility, the last of which rarely happened since they usually didn’t take care of the dog. I might add that service dogs do provide an important function in society for the folks, police and military. But something other than kids having dogs now seems to be happening.

I’ve noticed in the last few years an obvious increase in dog ownership especially among young females. Before the latest surge, it seemed to make sense that since females are by nature the main caregivers, a dog (cats don’t qualify) was simply a surrogate until such time that children would arrive. But, something is different about the current obsession with dogs.

We have been going to the local university baseball field lately because our grandson is on the team. It’s become so crowded with dogs that we should be singing, “Take me out to the dog field.” And while there are a few guys with their pets, the overwhelming majority of owners are college girls (sorry, ‘women’). It sometimes seems like a dog show. You know something is up when a student is carrying a full-grown 40-pound dog in her arms and sits down with it on her lap. For the dog, it’s the indignity of the whole thing.

In the last several months during home movie night we have had to sit through a couple of new Hallmark movies with a dog theme! This has not happened before. They are full of “dog love” where the owners laugh with glee as they get an occasional thorough facial of dog spit. One popular cable show co-host is childless and thinks everyone loves her dog as much as she. She has written a book about her dog, she shows pictures of her dog, and she brings the dog on the show. One time she grossed out another co-host by saying not to worry about your dog licking your face since their intestinal bacteria is healthy. It is not a French poodle.

So, what is going on? Why does this love affair with dogs seem to be intensifying? As I pointed out, I have seen this trend growing over the past several years and it’s full expression is beginning to emerge. There has been a movement afoot to grant protection status to animals. Not the Humane Society brand, but legal rights approaching those of humans. It seems to be the natural outgrowth of the evolutionists who do not believe in separate species, but simply evolutionary development on a scale of complexity.

What really convinced me of the emerging equality of animals and humans was a commercial by a large national company bragging about their success in placing more than twenty thousand rescued dogs with owners. The kicker was the comment at the end of the commercial stating their motive to do so was that, “Everyone deserves a loving home.” Now, if that isn’t a startling statement, you might be one of them. Notice that they didn’t say, “Every pet, or animal, deserves a loving home,” but “Everyone!” An animal is not an “Everyone,” only humans are.

The Bible describes this mind set very succinctly. In the beginning of Paul’s letter to the Romans, he describes the idolatrous life without God, and the degree of sinful behavior of which we are capable. He explains that man has no excuse since God’s creation is ample evidence of his existence. Instead, people’s “thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened… and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles” (Romans I: 21-23). “They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator…” (v. 25a).

We have always had a knack for creating idols out of almost anything. Anything that replaces God as the center of our lives can become an idol. People in history have turned God’s creation into idols as well, from the earth, sun, moon and stars, to animals, reptiles. The current focus that I think is happening with dogs being called “Everyone,” is certainly beginning to look like a, “Doggy-dog world.”

We are to praise God for all of His creation provided to us for our benefit. Our obsession should be the love and grace of God and His provision through Christ for sins forgiven and eternal life. We should not be idol worshipers, either of God’s creation or of our own making.  Our choices have eternal consequences.



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