Susan C. Anthony

GoldieDogs and Cats

Like many of you, I own a dog. He’s a dark red golden retriever who jumped all over me with muddy paws while I was filling my truck with gas on the way to my homestead in 1992. I asked the owners of the lodge about him and they urged me to take him. They’d already called the dog pound to come get him because he was bothering their customers.

Luckily, Susan wasn’t with me on that trip so she couldn’t say no. I agreed to take the dog to my cabin. The lodge owners agreed to continue trying to find the owner. I’d stop by in a week on my way home. As you can guess, no owner was ever located.

I like to name dogs after their color: Whitey, Blackie, Brownie. Even though this dog was all boy, I named him Goldie. He was so happy to find a family that he didn’t mind. After a week of getting to know and love him, Susan had no choice but to accept him into our family. You’ve heard the saying, "Love me, love my dog." Now that he’s been with us for 10 years, I can honestly say he’s the best dog I ever had. And as I’m master to my dog, he constantly gives me insight into my relationship with my own Master.

I have never owned a cat. I know several of you probably own and love cats, and there are some cats that have won my heart, but there are some major differences between cats and dogs. There was a great Pickles cartoon a few years ago.

Daughter: Oh, poor doggie!  Do you want a hamburger?
Dog: Whine, whine.
Cat: Oh, brother!

Daughter:  Look at those big sad eyes, Dad. How can you say no?
Dog: Whimper
Cat: I think I'm going to be sick.

Dad:  Oh, all right.  Here you go, boy.

Cat:  Have you no self-respect? Have you no sense of dignity? Have you no shame?
Dog: Have you no burger?
Cat: Good point.

Why do people love cats? They're beautiful, independent, self-sufficient. But you must admit they aren’t terribly concerned about pleasing others. You might say cats have an attitude. I’m not sure that people love cats on the whole as much as they admire them. Since I’m not a cat person, I may be wrong, but that’s my feeling about cats.

Susan uses this example in her spelling classes to illustrate the importance of using apostrophes correctly. Any of you kids want to tell me what’s different if you add an apostrophe to "its"?

A clever cat knows its master. (Meaning: A clever cat knows who its master is.)
A clever cat knows it's master. (Meaning: A clever cat knows it is master.)

Dogs are called "man’s best friend." Why not cats? Have you ever heard of a cat being "obedient"?

Just an aside, Groucho Marx once said, "Outside a dog, a book is man’s best friend. Inside a dog, it’s too dark to read."

In contrast, I think about what I like about Goldie.

  • He wants to please me.
  • He loves to just lie at my feet.
  • He wants to be with me all the time, regardless of whether it would be more comfortable to stay home.
  • He appreciates everything I do for him.
  • He loves to be petted and praised, and I enjoy doing it.
  • He comes when I call, even when he doesn’t want to.
  • He’s loyal.
  • Most of the time, I’m proud of his behavior.
  • He doesn’t complain.
  • He doesn’t bark or have too many bad habits.
  • He is patient and can wait.
  • He is tough and tenacious.

Of course, Goldie is a sinful dog. He’s not even close to perfect. I read that during the Middle Ages, you could be accused of witchcraft if your pets disobeyed you. I was surprised to read that. I would think, given pets’ natural tendency to disobey, it would more likely be the other way around—you would be accused of witchcraft if your pets obeyed!

In any case, with apologies to those of you who love cats, I think that what God wants from us is much the same as what I want from my dog. Because I love Goldie and he’s my adopted pet, I’ll put up with him even when he doesn’t please me, as will God with us, his adopted children. But we can show our love for God by how we live and what we value. Each of us might ask ourselves these questions:

  • Do we want to please Him?
  • Do we love to just be in His presence, enjoying the relationship?
  • Do we adore and worship Him?
  • Do we appreciate what He does for us and give Him thanks?
  • Do we ask him for what we want and need, without demanding or complaining if we don’t get it?
  • Do we respond when He calls, even when we’d rather not?
  • Do we wait patiently for Him, for His direction and for His coming?
  • Are we loyal? Is there anything or anyone else more important to us than Him?
  • Can God be proud of our behavior, as he was of Job’s?
  • Do we know our place?
  • Do we avoid bad habits to the best of our ability?
  • Do we live so that others will be attracted to Him?
  • Do our lives reflect the Spirit within us?

It may seem more attractive to be like a cat: sophisticated, independent and self-sufficient. But with apologies to the cat people, I think we’d do better to emulate dogs.

Susan is going to sing a song that she heard on Christian radio one day when Goldie was lying at my feet, looking at me with adoring eyes. It shows our relationship to our Master, Jesus, but also illustrates Goldie's relationship to me. The song is I Just Want to Be Where You Are, by Don Moen.

I just want to be where you are, dwelling daily in your presence.
I don’t want to worship from afar.  Draw me near to where you are.

I just want to be where you are, in your dwelling place forever.
Take me to the place where you are. I just want to be with you.

I want to be where you are, dwelling in your presence.
Feasting at your table, surrounded by Your glory.

In your presence, that’s where I always want to be.
I just want to be, I just want to be with you.

I just want to be where you are, dwelling daily in your presence.
I don’t want to worship from afar. Draw me near to where you are.

Oh my God, You are my strength and my song,
And when I’m in your presence though I’m weak, You’re always strong.

I just want to be where you are, in Your dwelling place forever;
Take me to the place where you are, I just want to be, I just want to be with you.

Note:  This talk was presented by my husband Dennis at our small church.

Go on to read New Age and the Original Lie
Source:  www.SusanCAnthony.com, ©Susan C. Anthony