This I believe: I am a better person when I act like a dog.
Some years ago as the result of indulgence in the vices the world has to offer a
headstrong, rebellious young man, I found myself spiritually, and morally bankrupt with
no hope for the future, and too proud to ask for help. I was lost, and felt empty inside.
Asking God for help wasn’t an option because he was to be feared and only desired to
punish me. That’s what I had taken from all those years in the fundamentalist churches
and schools I attended in my youth. I was a suspicious, impatient, inconsiderate, closed-
minded, bigoted, self-serving shell of a being that could be considered as anything but
My salvation came from a group of people I was introduced to by the courts. These
people, with their steps for personal improvement and traditions for direction through
life’s challenges, were the beginning of the end of my despair. They made it clear that I
was spiritually ill, and my “healing” was dependent on the development of a working
relationship with a “higher power”. The terminology higher power broke down the
prejudices I had against God, and led to the spiritual healing I continue to enjoy today.
I have always been considered unconventional by my friends and associates.
Therefore, it is only fitting my spirituality is based on an unconventional belief. I believe
I am a better person when I act like a dog.
Dogs don’t kill for the sake of killing. They are neither simple nor complex; their
aggression is always born in a duty to their pack. They can’t lie or have hidden agendas.
Their honesty is unquestionable; they do what they do, because they are what they are.
They require careful and thoughtful guidance to be acceptable, but they are among the
most teachable of the “lower” life forms. Learning quickly from their mistakes, they
possess an impeccable work ethic. Paragons of bravery and honor, they go that extra
mile to insure the security of their loved ones. Their unconditional love is exhibited in
their natural talent to provide emotional support with total disregard to how they may
have been treated previously.
Today, when I find myself fearful or in doubt, I try to act like a dog. In professional
matters I try to exhibit the work ethic of the hunting breeds that work tirelessly all day for
the reward of a pat on the head, and a cup of kibble as their reward. When fearful, I
attempt to muster a fraction of the bravery the guardian breeds exhibit and press on.
Faced with a conflict between having some personal play time and providing for the
needs of my family or friends, I try to remember the dedication to duty shown by the
herding breeds to their dependants. Feeling slighted by one of my fellows, I try to
adopt a “wagging tail” approach, in order to resolve our conflict with an equitable
solution. The loyalty and honesty all dogs possess are the tenets I try to follow in times
Now I have a good working relationship with a higher power I choose to call God.
Certainly, while I fall short in the application of these instinctual characteristics of our
canine friends in my daily human interactions, this I believe: I feel better about myself and my actions when I act like a dog.
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