What does “dog” spell? Well, it’s perfectly obvious. Dog spells God backwards. This is a very important point, one that I’m surprised more people aren’t talking about. Clearly we call dogs ‘dogs’ because we know at a visceral level that they are God, gracing our lives in the flesh and fur.
Otherwise, we’d call them ‘canines.’ That’s their formal name, deriving from the Latin, “canis.” But does the word ‘canine’ sound warm and furry, affectionate, wise, and patient? No, it sounds sterile and stuffy — like Latin — a dead language if ever there were one! I don’t know about you, but what with all the ablatives and datives coursing through Latin, I mistakenly translated Gaul as carving up Julius Caesar into three parts (or was it four?) instead of the other way round.
Here’s another important truism that does not get its share of conversational currency. Dogs, by and large, pick people. It is not, as commonly believed, the other way around.
Sure, people go to the pound or the breeder and say something silly to the person in charge, like “Hi, we’re here to pick out a dog.”
But what they actually should say is “Hi, I’m here to see if a dog has me in mind today,” or, “I’m here to see if one of your puppies finds me a good fit.”
Remember the last time you sat down amongst a passel of puppies to ‘pick’ one out? One likely tottered across the divide between you and its litter mates, crawled into your outstretched arms, breathed puppy breath into your raptured nostrils, and chewed happily on your fingers with razor sharp puppy teeth. And did you firmly put it back into the pack and pick out another pal? Not on your life! Your heart did backflips, and you said, “This is the one!” You got that right! That’s the puppy that picked you. Not the other way around.
It’s a God thing. You go out about your business, full of firm and purposeful direction, when suddenly you’re blindsided by love bounding from a four legged mutt, mongrel, purebred, or squirrely-breathed puppy. The dog derails your direction as soundly as a switch-track on a railroad line.
And we are the luckier for it. Not to put too fine a point on it, but we are blessed by dogs. When they choose us, it’s God’s way of saying, we are worthy of getting and giving love. It’s a reminder: dogs are why we’re here. God chooses us both — the dog and the person — to love and be loved.