When Thy Neighbor’s Dog Offends You!


I don’t know who was the first to post a sign on their property warning us, but Paul of the New Testament was probably the first to write it down: “Beware of dogs…” (Philippians 3:2) And certainly the psalmist was thinking of me as I lie awake in bed each night  to the sounds of my neighbors barking dog when he wrote:

“For dogs have compassed me…,” and  surely he knew of me when I roll over and say to my wife, “Deliver my soul…my darling from the power of the dog.” (Psalms 22:20)

I have owned and loved many dogs over my lifetime.  I have one now.  But I must say, that it takes adherence to all of my Christian teachings to not complain about the 24/7 howls of my neighbors dog. Indeed, the words written in  Ecclesiastes, “… for a living dog is better than a dead lion,” brings into question if the writer was ever subjected to the constant howlings of a canine.

I love my neighbors, they are wonderful people, but what to do when their dog offends me? I know they love their dog and I also know that “…a brother offended is harder to be won than a strong city…” (Proverbs 18:19), so I do not want to offend them by complaining. Yet, what to do? I can only think of the admonition of Paul that I need to ‘endure all things,’ so I am trying to do so.

So please, say a little prayer for me, if you please, and help me to take comfort and hope in the words of Isaiah that my neighbor’s,  “dumb dog will not bark; sleeping, lying down, loving to slumber…” (56:10) and that by so doing I too may also slumber and dream of a world where all dogs go to heaven, but where none can bark.

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