One of the reasons I believe the Lord gives us pets, is to teach us some lessons that are clear and easy to get. Like with our dog... He loves us unconditionally. He always loves us. He never varies in his excitement to see us, his contentment just to be near us, his taking whatever Morsels of Crunch we offer. MacArthur loves to be taken for a walk, the simplest gesture of kindness towards him. Each time it is like I am doing some awesom thing for him! He also puts up with Misty and Fatty, though they both look down at him. He lets them harass him with great patience, and sometimes offers play when they want it. He is very accommodating.
They are also so utterly dependent on us. One of my Great Fears is to imagine what would happen to Them, if something happened to my wife and I simultaneously and they were trapped in the house (and in his case, his crate) with no one coming home to let them out, feed them, love them.... *shudders* Their dependence is a lesson on how the Lord must look at us. Pity and care. It is no accident that Jesus used the metaphor of shepherding so poignantly.
When our last dog (Spurgeon) died three years ago, I felt like I was going to die. I had never felt that kind of pity and grief before. His suffering and helplessness, with no complaint at all--just looking up at us... "Momma? Daddy? I hurt so bad..." brings tears to my eyes even now, three years later. Surely there is a lesson there in how the Lord feels for us. Surely I can learn from those unexpected symapthies I felt to transfer them to the flock which I shepherd?