My puppy is my Sunday school teacher

What is love? It’s almost something we can’t define.

How do you know you love someone? This is a question we almost can’t answer but more than likely you know.

I know now what love feels like. I knew what it looked like and, of course, I love my parents and cats and the dogs and my sisters, even when they get on my nerves. Then, for Christmas, I got a puppy. He was small, and he slept all day only to keep me up all night and then suddenly I found myself feeling love differently. No matter what he’s done or how frustrated I got or how tired I was I still somehow managed to find energy to play with him and tell him everything was okay. And even if I was playing my video games, during the times he didn’t watch me play, I would pause it to play with him. Most of the time, though, he would sit and watch, especially if there was an interesting noise like music coming from the TV.

I named him Bear. We call him Baby Bear. He’s a smart dog, smarter than any I know anyway. And finally there is a dog that gets excited when I come home and he wants me. He wants me. To me this is nearly miraculous, as dogs don’t really care for me. They acknowledge me and that’s the extent.

Just now he ran into my room, I called his name and he attempted to hop on my bed and when I got up he zoomed out with a toy in his mouth and I chased him around the house.

Anyway, he looks up at me like he loves me too…he does love me, and I know it when I come home and he wants to lick my face (sometimes after eating chicken poo) and he bites my neck softly and I mimic his love bites with my hand on his neck and he barks when its time to play and he will lay on my pillow when its time to get up. I love him so much. I love him like I’ve never loved a dog before.

We play video games together, we eat together, we play, we watch TV, and in some cases he goes where I go. (Except for on walks. He doesn’t like the sound of cars…we’re working on it.)

Shortly after getting him, very shortly after getting him, like within the next week I was thinking about how love felt. This is how God must’ve felt, I thought once while at work. I just couldn’t wait to get home. Every day I’m at work I count down the hours till I get to be with my Baby Bear. Was God counting down the years until He would send down Jesus?

I would do anything for Bear. Whenever one of our older dogs, Hunter, growls at him I am quick to get in between them and I’m not afraid to growl back. Once Hunter pinned Baby Bear while my back was turned and he let out a bark. (If you know Hunter this is highly unusual for him to bark while awake.) Oh boy did I wake up everyone at 5 AM that morning. I ran up to that dog so fast, especially with Bear yelping, and I tried to make my words sound like a growl while Bear ran off to hide under a coffee table. He stared me down. I stared back. After a few seconds he walked away and I held my Bear.

God would do the same thing for us. He would get between us and anything that threatens to harm us. And as I think about my Baby Bear I think about the way he looks up to me. He looks to me for food, water, for warmth and comfort, and he turns to me for a playmate when he’s bored. He barks at me when I ignore him because I don’t want to play so I wrestle him and he barks more, I bark back. We take turns chasing each other around the house. I put him in my parents bed because he hears their alarm and he knows that means it’s time to get up.

He’s my dog.

God is my God.

And I think maybe Bear is in my life to show me more about who God is as well as to provide me comfort and love.

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16 NIV

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