July 24, 2013: The Most Famous Dog In the Bible

~by Susi Pittman

Did you know that there are forty references to dogs in the Bible?

Some were kind and some, not so kind, considering that the Bible references wild dogs, the scavengers, and herding dogs, helpers of man.

Perhaps the most beloved dog of Old Testament scripture was Tobit’s (Tobias’) dog.

Tobit was to journey to Media by request of his father. Unbeknown to Tobit, the Archangel Raphael comes disguised as his kinsman Azariah and offers to accompany him as added security for aid and protection. Tobit goes and returns safely in his travels, but not without hardship, that leads him to be ever more faithful to God through it all. And then, there is Tobit’s dog.

In Chapter 6:1, we read; And Tobias went forward, and the dog followed him, and he lodged the first night by the river Tigris. The dog was present with him for the entire journey. We know this because at the end of Tobits journey scripture tells us in Chapter 11:9; Then the dog, which had been with them in the way, ran before and coming as if he had brought the news, showed his joy by his fawning and wagging his tail.

I find it fascinating that the Bible, the inspired word of God, would contain this mention of a dog. That in and of itself says “something!”

Historically, at the time of Tobit, domesticated dogs were herding animals and protectors, and were instrumental in the protection of sheep and serving as sentinels and guards of homes, farmlands and “their people.”

Just the mere reference to Tobit’s dog and the fact that the dog was a loyal companion to Tobit on his journey is indicative of the dogs faithful and loyal servitude to his master. Thus coinciding with not only the story message which demonstrates how the loyal servant of God must live, but also the moral of Tobit’s incredulous journey, that God is faithful to those who are faithful to Him.

Our canine companions could have no greater purpose than to point to the unconditional and eternal love of a Creator/Father who loves us unconditionally and to reinforce by their canine behavior that God is faithful to those who are faithful to Him.

So, love your dog, remember their heritage in sacred scripture and deepen your relationship with God the Father as a loyal servant, faithful and true to His Will.

Tobit’s dog was most likely a Canaan Dog known as Kelev Kna’ani, Israel’s national dog, as we know, dating back to biblical times. They are known to be quick to react and wary of strangers and will alert to disturbances by prompt barking, making them excellent watch dogs. Today there are only 2-3,000 in the world.

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Susi Pittman is founder of CatholicStewardsofCreation.com and Owner-President of Twin Oaks Publishing; she is author of Animals in Heaven? Catholics Want to Know!; an advocate for the Florida Catholic Conference; a member of the St. Joseph’s Catholic Council of Women in Jacksonville, Florida; an Associate of the Sisters of St. Joseph, St. Augustine;a member of the Florida Publishers Association, Independent Book Publishers Association, the National Association of Professional Women, the ASPCA, the Humane Society of the United States and the National Audubon society.

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