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The Last Hunt- Dogs and Mental Health

The Last Hunt- Dogs and Mental Health

The Last Hunt- Dogs and Mental Health

STORY BY Dr. John C. Blythe
PHOTOGRAPHY BY Illustration by John Denney

The Last Hunt- Dogs and Mental Health

STORY BY Dr. John C. Blythe
PHOTOGRAPHY BY Illustration by John Denney

The Last Hunt- Dogs and Mental Health

STORY BY Dr. John C. Blythe
PHOTOGRAPHY BY Illustration by John Denney
‘‘

Hang on, boys and girls, for I am about to drop some theology and psychology on you and hint at a possible reason why God made dogs. Not having been spoken to directly by the Almighty, I cannot present this with the same degree of certainty as the Biblical prophets who pronounced, “Thus saith the Lord God . . .” Nevertheless, experience tells me this reasoning is sound.

The Creator is mysterious and beyond the ability of our little brains to comprehend, but dogs are not. They are simple creatures like us, and for the most part are easy to understand, particularly if you have had fellowship with them all your life.

My wife loves dogs, too, and they constitute a wonderful part of our lives. They are members of our household, like adopted kinfolk, who have the right to our love and nurturing and to the run of the house and property just as any family member would. Our home is their home. No, we don’t treat them like humans, but rather like treasures, like blessings, because they bring comfort and joy into our lives that one has to experience to understand. We feel a kindly sorrow for those who have a void in their lives when it comes to dogs.

While Ruth does not approve of my killing things and expresses sorrow for the few quail I bring home, she understands that my dogs and I are hunters by nature and by breeding, and that killing is part of what we do, though not the main thing. She understands that my dogs live to hunt, and that they love me best because I am the one who takes them hunting. I am the one who lets them do what they were created to do, so there is a bond that she cannot fully appreciate.

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The Last Hunt- Dogs and Mental Health

Hang on, boys and girls, for I am about to drop some theology and psychology on you and hint at a possible reason why God made dogs. Not having been spoken to directly by the Almighty, I cannot present this with the same degree of certainty as the Biblical prophets who pronounced, “Thus saith the Lord God . . .” Nevertheless, experience tells me this reasoning is sound.

The Creator is mysterious and beyond the ability of our little brains to comprehend, but dogs are not. They are simple creatures like us, and for the most part are easy to understand, particularly if you have had fellowship with them all your life.

My wife loves dogs, too, and they constitute a wonderful part of our lives. They are members of our household, like adopted kinfolk, who have the right to our love and nurturing and to the run of the house and property just as any family member would. Our home is their home. No, we don’t treat them like humans, but rather like treasures, like blessings, because they bring comfort and joy into our lives that one has to experience to understand. We feel a kindly sorrow for those who have a void in their lives when it comes to dogs.

While Ruth does not approve of my killing things and expresses sorrow for the few quail I bring home, she understands that my dogs and I are hunters by nature and by breeding, and that killing is part of what we do, though not the main thing. She understands that my dogs live to hunt, and that they love me best because I am the one who takes them hunting. I am the one who lets them do what they were created to do, so there is a bond that she cannot fully appreciate.

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