We don’t think that animals are literally angels in disguise, dressed in fur (or feather) coats, yet it’s strange how animals show up in times of stress and grief. And, if you are already owned by a pet, isn’t it wonderful that they are there right when we need comfort? Dogs, in particular, seem to have a special way about them which makes us wonder if, perhaps, there is an angel in there looking out?
Do Animals Have Souls?
No-one truly knows, but if you look into the eyes of a dog, you can pretty much take a guess that they have a soul in just the way we have. Cats pretty much hide their souls, yet they offer themselves freely as comfort cushions when we need them.
Dogs certainly have emotions. It’s plain when a dog is frightened, contented, happy, excited, or withdrawn. You only have to place a hand on your dog to know what he or she is feeling.
Theologians point out that the Bible clearly states that animals are ‘things’ and can’t possibly have souls, yet anyone who is close to a cat or dog, or any other creature, for that matter, will tell you categorically that they believe animals do have a soul. And if we are to believe there is a heaven or a paradise, then it surely must contain animals in order to be a place where our own souls can be happy?
Dogs as Angels
Anyone who has experienced being lost, or stranded in adverse weather conditions or as a result of an accident will tell you unequivocally that, when the snuffly nose of a rescue dog appears out of the fog, or snow, or teeming downpour— that is most definitely a moment when they believed in angels because there was one right there in front of them, bringing all the comfort, relief and reassurance in the world.
Service dogs, such as guide dogs and assistance dogs, are trained to be practical, helpful and used as necessary aids to living a productive life. However, no-one tells you how deep the friendship and love becomes as dog and human live and interact together. As a recovering guide-dog puppy trainer, I can tell you that these small bundles of fur truly become angels in disguise. Even those that don’t make it as fully-fledged guide-dogs go on to be companions and buddy-dogs to people who need them. And, almost without fail, the dog and human somehow seem to attract each other. Right person; right dog.
GoD and DoG
Wendy Francisco survived a troubling and harrowing divorce. She was left feeling scarred and shaken by the whole experience. As a woman with a strong faith, she felt the end of her marriage meant she was unworthy in God’s eyes. She struggled with coming to terms with failure. Eventually, she moved on and remarried a wonderful man, Don.
One day she was leaving the house to run some errands and looked at her big white Colorado Mountain Dog, Caspian, and saw something in his expression. She says, it was if he was saying, “If it were up to me, I’d never leave you.” She realized in that instant that God/Source/All-that-is would say exactly the same thing, “I will never leave you.”
A few days later, Wendy was having dinner with her husband and, inexplicably ‘given’ the words,
“I look up and I see God.
I look down and see my dog.”
A song coursed through her and she rushed to get the words and melody down on paper. Don helped her polish it, Wendy later created an animation to accompany it, and the song and YouTube hit video, “GoD and DoG” was complete. Watch it right here.
You also want to watch Simber’s Tribute to GoD and DoG, simply so you can see the angel right there in German Shepherd, Simber’s eyes. Yes, you’ll need to have a tissue handy.
A Personal Angel Dog Story
Going back many years, my partner was married to his first wife and they had two children. The youngest was under three years old. R was out working a night shift while his wife was at home with the children. She went to bed and forgot to lock the door. The little boy woke up in the night and, for some reason, went downstairs and out of the unlocked door. Hours later at dawn, he was discovered by a neighbor wandering the streets nearby. The family’s German Shepherd right there at his side, protecting him from traffic. The child was safe and well, and quite happy to be ‘walking the dog’ on his own.
Angels Among Us
Dogs bring so much joy and so many benefits. They guard us, keep us safe, make us exercise, cozy up and keep us warm, and provide endless companionship, while asking only that we take care of their physical needs and be there for them. Dogs are the greatest comedians and they give us a reason to get up in the morning. They snuggle down with us in the evenings. Some even come to bed and take up all the room. Small dogs, medium dogs and big dogs, they all deserve a place in someone’s heart.
Our pet dogs see us through joy, grief and trauma. Many therapist dollars have been saved because someone has a dog on hand to share their woes. Dogs give us someone to talk to whenever we need to share. They are there when we have our babies. Sometimes we are there when they have babies of their own. They are there through separation and divorce. Through the passing of loved ones. And, if we are lucky, we have the privilege of holding them, saying goodbye, and seeing them safely through their own passing. Where, we are certain, they do become true angels.