A Lot of the Stuff I Know About Jesus I Learned From My Dog (Sep-Oct 1999)

By Matt Dabbs

by Mary Emily Kreidel
September – October, 1999

Good things come to those who wait for them, and Lord knows how long I’d waited for this good day. My parents had finally decided to let me have a dog! I started looking for the perfect animal and hours later, through an advertisement in the newspaper, I found her, a nine-week-old boxer/lab mix.

When we pulled up to the house where she was born and I saw her, I fell in love for the first time. She had a black cofee-colored coat, and when the sun shone on her, her coat looked like someone had drizzled honey on it. Her tail was docked so whenever she tried to wag it her entire body shook with delight. Her ears were floppy and she looked like “The Flying Nun” when she ran. I named her Cappuccino.

Soon after Cheeto (My little sister couldn’t say “Cappuccino” at first and “Cheeto” just stuck) came home, I discovered what being a parent was like. Darling little Cappuccino, a nine-pound sweetheart when she first arrived home, grew into a fifty-pound nuisance within a matter of months.

She had premium dog food to keep her growing right, and yet she still felt the need to gnaw on everything else in our house. She started teething at about three months and now, at eighteen months, she still hasn’t stopped. She chewed small things, she chewed big things; she chewed cheap things, she chewed expensive things. But it was a rare occasion when she actually chewed on one of her toys. She had an uncanny knack for only chewing on the things that were important to someone. I can’t tell you how many of my brother’s and sister’s precious plastic animals I have replaced because Cappuccino needed a snack.

I felt true hopelessness for the first time when Cappuccino chewed on one of the most expensive pieces of furniture in our house: a solid oak serving piece that had a marble top and matched our kitchen table. The money it would have taken to replace that might as well have been ten million dollars to me, a fourteen-year-old girl with a limited income.

When Cappuccino got bored with chewing everything, she dug. I can’t help but wonder if she overheard my family talking about putting in a swimming pool because she tried to dig us one in our backyard. On several different occasions, I had to fill three-feet-deep by five-feet-wide holes. We’re talking BIG. I can’t tell you how many times she redug the holes that I filled.

I was really scared when things got so bad that my mom said that if I didn’t take responsibility for Cheeto and train her to be a better dog, Cheeto would have to be put to sleep or taken to the pound or sold or something. I tried my hardest to make her behave.

Even through her faults Cappuccino has taught me a lot about Christ. In spite of all the horrible things Cappuccino has done; in spite of all the things she has eaten; in spite of how incredibly difficult it is to train her and how annoying she can be, I still love her with all of my heart. All of my anger and frustration melts away when she lays down next to me and snuggles me while I’m watching television. Or when I walk in the door and her tail is wagging so hard in excitement that she can’t walk. Or even when she just looks at me with utter contentment in her eyes. She knows that I love her, and she loves me, too.

Every time I forgive Cheeto for some awful thing that she’s done, I think of Christ and all of the times that he has forgiven me. And when she ate that serving piece, I knew that there was nothing I could do to make it up to my parents. I just had to ask them for forgiveness. And that’s how I am with Christ; I can’t do anything to fix my sins, I can just ask for forgiveness. I’m hopeles without Christ.

I love Cappuccino, a dog, more than a lot of things in this world. And I think, “Christ loves me, his child, a whole lot more than I love my dog.”

Because he loves me like that, he is willing to pay the price for my sins, a price which meant dying on a cross. Just like I love Cappuccino enough to pay for the things that she has done, not with the horror of separation from God, but with money. The situations are very much alike.

Now I see that Jesus can use anything to show me his love.Wineskins Magazine

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Profile photo of Matt DabbsThis author published 1577 posts in this site.
Matt is the preaching minister at the Auburn Church of Christ in Auburn, Alabama. He and Missy have been married 12 years and are raising two wonderful boys, Jonah and Elijah. Matt is passionate about reaching and discipling young adults, small groups, and teaching. Matt is currently the editor and co-owner of Wineskins.org.

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