This story may seem to be unusual to you, and not likely to have a Spiritual conclusion. I ask that you be patient and see where the thoughts may lead.

            This story begins with our trip to Clarkson, Ky in order to pick up a 10-week old puppy, a Bichon Frise. The experience involved making payment for the dog, with the comment “did you believe we would ever pay so much for a dog?”. This payment naturally allowed us to take this little animal into our family. [Remember, God paid a substantial price to bring us into his family. Our purchase price was little in comparison.]

            The hour-long trip home resulted in the puppy becoming car-sick and vomiting several times. As we neared home, we became concerned that the little puppy was dehydrated so we placed a bowl in front of him hoping he would take a drink. The result was a complete “ignoring” the bowl of water. I suspect we should have expected that since we had just removed him from his mother, his brothers and sisters and the environment with which he was familiar and here he was in a strange environment with two strange people.

            In hopes of getting him to take some water, I cupped my hand in which I poured a small amount of water from a bottle and held it to the pup’s mouth. He immediately began lapping up the water and the operation was continued several times until he appeared satisfied. [This was my first step in developing the small dog’s trust that would grow in a multitude of steps in future days and years.]

            During the future days, this puppy experienced me (actually us, but I will continue using “me” or “I” for the purpose of illustration) providing all of his needs and desires, including taking long walks, playing with various toys, balls, etc..[By doing such, it became clear to me that I had become the equivalent of a “God-Figure” to him by providing all of his needs. (This really did not become real to me until after the end of his 14-plus years of life.)]

            At the end of this 14-plus years, this puppy had grown to about 25 pounds and experienced most of the normal signs of aging just like most of us. This included the loss of some teeth, failing eyesight, failing hearing, a mini-stroke, wart-like growths on his body, dementia, etc. As his provider, I desired to relieve him of the pains he was experiencing. The final choice was to have him put to a permanent sleep and made the appropriate arrangements for this.

            After ending Riley’s pains, we began to gather his toys, beds, medications, shampoos, brushes, etc. it became more evident of the substantial price that had been paid for the benefit of this little dog. Again, I am reminded of the exceedingly great price our God has paid in order to gather us into His family.

            I must admit that this action to end his earthly life was the most difficult decision and experience of my entire life. However, the thought came to mind that God in some manner makes the same decision for us, making the determination as to when He will determine and control the end of our earthly life. In fact, He had been in the similar position of “providing all of our needs”, “feeding us”, “being our continual companion”, “seeking continued fellowship (companionship) with us, expecting mostly little but our faithfulness to Him. (This little dog had without fail spent his entire life looking to us, seeking to be with us and desiring to please us with every breath of every day. This was always evident by his wagging tail and excitement of movements. When I was in my study, he was at my feet, when watching TV, he was at my feet, etc. In fact, when we were out of the house, he would often escape to our closet and be found laying under our hanging clothing. His continuing desire appeared to both “with us” and “to satisfy us”.)

            The reality that became evident (to me) that his attitude toward me (his image of me was as a “God-Provider” to all of his needs.) This (in my opinion) is the same attitude that we need to have toward the one who provides our “Every Need”. God expects little more from us than for us to have such a simple desire to be a companion with Him and be faithful in demonstrating that devotion.

            However; this is where the similarity of the “God-Image” I (or any of us) have at the end of our earthly life. When Riley’s “God-Image” provider determined to relieve him of the painful experiences of his old life, all that I had the ability to accomplish is to stop the pain. While my desire was to take him close to me, cuddle him and keep him comfortable and safe for all future days, this was not possible. The only ability I had was stop the pain. (I was only acting with just “some”, but very few of the characteristics of God.)

            The real message was that my own relationship with God was a similar parallel to that between this small dog and me. The difference is that when God seeks to end my pain, His response is to take me (and all who are faithful to Him) unto Himself for all of eternity. This ability is because He is God, and I am not. The primary passages that come to my mind are:

             “ 1 Let not your heart be troubled: believe in God, believe also in me. 2 In my Father’s house are             many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. 3 And        if I go and prepare a place for you, I come again, and will receive you unto myself; that where I am,        there ye may be also. “ John 14:1-3 (ASV)

            “8 We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the        Lord.” 2 Corinthians 5:8 (KJV)

            Our God has promised to end this earth-to-heaven relationship and provide an even greater personal and ever-present relationship to those who have accepted His Son. Such a promise does not apply to that I/we had with this faithful pet. I am most grateful for that “Greater Promise”.


(Please forgive my emotion in conveying these thoughts concerning our years of companionship with a small white puppy, but God has shown me a close parallel to our relationship with Him.)


            My prayer is that you and I may all desire and have such a close relationship and desire to be as devoted to our Creator as a simple 25 pound dog had shown for his earthly “Provider”.


May God Bless,            

 Jim Rowe Jan. 19, 2023

(The comments above really apply to both Virginia and me.)

(In honor of Riley; Aug. 9, 2008 – Jan. 16, 2023)