January 31, 2018: A Dogs Eyes

~by Louis Templeman

You can sense the presence of God in the eyes of a dog. Somewhere in the expression on a dog’s face you can feel the peace and presence of God,” said Susi Pittman in a writers seminar I attended in January, 2012. This outrageous statement piqued my curiosity. Nothing less than a force of nature called Susi could have caused me to consider this.

Sparkplug has also served to affirm Susi’s idea. My adult daughter and her one year old pit bull are living in my home. Sparkie and I became fast friends. I was nervous about meeting him. All I knew of pit bulls were the tales of violence and unpredictability. But, Sparkie was well trained and raised in love and kindness.

When he first saw me he absorbed the affectionate verbal cues from my daughter’s greeting and bounded over to me like we were old friends. I was thrown off balance by the power and enthusiasm of this 60 pound puppy. After I gained my footing and wits I paused to make eye contact with this animal.

His eyes were zeroed in on mine like I was the only one in the room. His eyes made a deep emotional contact with me and in some subliminal manner he spoke. “Wow! Are you wonderful. You must really be great. I’m gonna like you. I really, really hope we become good friends,” he seemed to say as he drummed with his feet and propelled the air with his tail.

I was humbled by his love and persuaded by his message. Because of his unbridled attention he swept me to his side. We bonded immediately. I felt like a kid, a bench warmer, watching from the sidelines and suddenly I was in the game. I mattered. The compliment was extraordinary. If only I can live up to this dog’s first impression of me I will become a saint.

I’m reminded of an old ugly joke. It goes like this. A man stupidly locks both his dog and his girlfriend in the trunk of his car. He quickly forgets them and a couple of hours later he is horrified to remember what he has done to them. He runs to the car. Question. Which one will kiss him when he opens the trunk?

Of course, the answer is the dog. The dog lives in the present. The dog is very forgiving. He doesn’t drag the past around like an anchor of regret or bounce off the future like it was a wall of fear and worry. It may be true that in the eyes of a dog you can find God’s best ideas about you.

You can look at creation and get a glimpse of the creator. In the Episcopal Evening Prayer Rite 2 we find this passage:

Seek him who made the Pleiades and Orion, and turns the deep darkness into

morning and darkness, the day into night; who calls the waters of the sea

and pours them out upon the surface of the earth.

The LORD is his name. (Amos 5: 8.)

Whether it is the sky, the stars, the turning of day to night or the smile and friendly expression of a dog, God’s reflection is there. Henri Nouwen once wrote, “Protect your innocence by holding on to the truth: you are a child of God and deeply loved.” In Sparkie’s eyes I find an enthusiastic, “Amen.”


Louis writes from Jacksonville, Florida where he lives with his old friend and wonderful bride, Joy. They transformed their friendship into the sacrament of marriage on August 30, 2012. They share their home with two self-absorbed, playful, twin cats (Flo and Jet) and one very allusive and arrogant cat named D. Louis has recently been diagnosed with Parkinson’s and is fighting the good fight. Much of what he writes these days he is sharing his journey with us. Please keep Louis and his wife Joy in your prayers.

CLICK HERE to visit Louis’ Catholic Journeyman Archive

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