The Creator knew the world would soon be in a fallen state, and mankind would often be cruel to one another. So God created a beast that would be loyal and free from judgment. No matter the master’s undesirable manners, his terrible breath in the morning or the nasty cough that would chase everyone else away, his dog would be content by his side.
God knew that loneliness would overtake wearied souls, and a much-trusted friend would be necessary as they cried or talked through hard times. Soft and caring eyes that seemed to understand the language of woe would be essential. The beast would need patience with the slobbering, hair-grabbing toddler and with the teenage boy as he would drive off to be with friends rather than playing fetch in the yard.
God knew an old man would need a companion when the voice of his wife of 50 years was suddenly silenced. The middle school girl sobbing on her bed after her first heartbreak would be comforted when the tender beast was available for hugs as he licked the tears from her face. He would sit through little girls painting his toenails and crazy women dressing him up in ridiculous costumes.
Vulnerable animals would need guarding, as well as houses. So God set fight in the beast to protect what he deemed as rightfully his to serve, even until death. The dog would know what and who was his to look after, and nothing would keep him from sounding the warning signs — no matter the day or hour.
Left at home while the family was away, the dog would wait and watch, no matter the duration. Ears constantly perked, listening for that familiar vehicle. Every single time the mom would move, no matter how many circles she made around the kitchen or the house, he would make it his job to be with her like an ever-present bodyguard.
Life would be hard and stressful, so God set playfulness into the beast’s legs and head and gave him a strong desire for amusement. Moodiness would void in the beast — humans have that covered. He would be smart enough to know when a trip to the vet was coming or a pill was hidden in a piece of bacon.
The dog would be content to ride around in the truck or sit in a combine. He wouldn’t complain about the music he heard or long hours. He didn’t really care what was going on if he could be with those who called out his name. Even if they paid no attention to him as they scampered off the school bus, his thumping and wiggling tail would reveal his pleasure that his keep was now safe.
The beast would go into scorched buildings. A brave partner, he would gladly fly across the globe and work beside those in uniform. He’d sense the vulnerable of spirit and mind and would offer them compassion and respect.
And when he was ready to fill his last dog day, God would grant beautiful memories to enjoy as hearts grieved. Such is the case for our family as we remember Jack the Wonder Dog. Truly, you were man’s best beast and friend!
McClain writes from Greenwood, Ind.