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Animals can show us God’s love

Boy and dog

Soloviova Liudmyla | Shutterstock

Theresa Civantos Barber - published on 03/17/24

From St. Francis's wolf to St. Dominic’s dog, many saints loved animals. No doubt these saints knew something that many pet owners know well.

From St. Francis of Assisi’s wolf to St. Dominic’s dog, many saints loved animals. There are even numerous children’s books about saints and their animals.

No doubt these saints knew something that many pet owners know as well: Animals, with their gentle patience and unconditional love, can be a way of experiencing the unconditional love of God.

A friend’s special animal story

I never quite realized just how much pets can help people feel loved and supported until a fascinating conversation with a good friend.

My friend is a busy mom of five young children, and when her husband asked if they could get a dog, her answer was a resounding “No.” She felt she had enough on her plate already (understandably!). On top of that, she had struggled with an unusually challenging pet situation in the past, leaving her unwilling to try again.

But one comment her husband made changed her mind and heart. “A dog loves you totally and unconditionally,” he said. “When I have a dog in the home, it helps me to experience God’s love for me. Dogs help me feel closer to God.”

When he said this, she was deeply moved, and realized how important it was for her husband’s spiritual and emotional life to have a dog in their home. She began praying hard, asking God to send just the right dog to their family. 

They ended up finding the ideal dog for their home and family situation at a local animal shelter. The dog has proved to be a treasure, bringing great happiness to the whole family. My friend felt that finding and adopting their dog was a true case of God’s providence and generosity.

Dogs help us out

It makes a lot of sense that having an animal in the home would boost a person’s emotional wellbeing. After all, there are options for animal therapy, programs for animals visiting people in hospitals, and other therapeutic uses of our furry friends. 

But until I heard about my friend’s experience, it had never occurred to me that animals could boost our spiritual well-being, too.

If you have experienced God’s love through spending time with an animal in your life, let us know in the comments! We’d love to hear all about it. It truly is amazing how God’s creatures can help us feel connected to him.

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