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Considering that dogs are our best friends, it must feel brutal that they are blessed with such short lives.
How can they be gorgeous and beautiful yet be deprived of a long life that makes enjoying their beauty possible?
Having your dog die on you can feel like a party that is rudely interrupted just when you are starting to enjoy it.
With a short life that consists of just 8 years on average, it looks like a miserable fate for our feline friends.
What reason might God have for making dogs come up short on longevity?
A Short Life but They Grow Fast
One reason dogs live shorter is that they grow much faster.
For example, while dogs develop teeth when they are about 3 to 4 weeks old, we do so at about 4 months.
Puberty sets in for the dog at 7 months old to 2 years but humans have to wait until they are between 10 and 14.
So, is it any wonder that they also exit this life much sooner having finished their business earlier than us?
It’s like living on the fast lane: a short life but more exciting and intense than what we humans get.
So, perhaps God has compensated for the dog’s short life with more fun and fulfillment squeezed into every moment.
Put another way, happiness isn’t measured only in long life but also in the intensity of every moment.
You Can’t Serve Two Masters
If caution is not taken, our relationship with our dogs can become a spiritual snare that separates us from God.
Jesus warned of a similar situation with people who love money saying you can’t have two masters or serve money and God.
Shortening the dog’s life is God’s way of preventing the possibility of such a situation arising with your pet.
God Has Shortened Human Life Too
It’s not only dogs who have had their lives shortened.
By the standard of first-generation humans, our life spans are miserably short.
The longest-lived person was Methuselah who lived to 969 years old (i.e. more than 9 centuries).
Why did the years drop so drastically to our current span?
The change happened from the time of Noah’s flood. Evil intensified to unprecedented levels.
Evil brings more suffering to people (more killings, hate, lust, violence, etc.).
This means a lifetime of a person’s existence exposes him to untold evil and suffering (either as a perpetrator or a victim).
Make that life longer and that same person can become overwhelmed.
God’s compassion could have led him to reduce our lifespan.
For example, Jacob who lived 130 years describes them as “few and evil” referring to the suffering they entail.
Though 130 years look generous from our perspective, they were few compared to the earlier generations of Jacob’s time. (Genesis 47:9)
What’s true of people is also true of animals.
Death and suffering came into the animal kingdom because of man’s evil.
Its intensification led to more suffering for both man and animals.
If God had to reduce human suffering by making human life shorter, he would do the same for animals.
So, it’s likely that animals lived much longer lives than their modern counterparts.
It’s possible that while God shortened human life to reduce our suffering, he may have reduced it to a greater extent for dogs because they suffer more.
Avoiding Pet Obsession
The bond with our dogs can easily cross from devotion to obsession, especially if you develop cherished ties with a particular favorite dog.
As much as we may enjoy our relationship with canines, it can become a toxic one.
This can be a drain on your resources such as time and money. For example, a woman spent more money on her Maltese puppy than on her kids.
No matter how pleasurable, pet companionship should never be a replacement for human companionship.
When God brought the animals to Adam to give a name to, Adam was not able to find any of them who was fit to be a companion until a fellow human (Eve) was created.
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A lesson that Earthly Beauty Doesn’t Last
Dogs may be beautiful but we are reminded that their beauty last only for a short time.
For example, Jesus in Matthew 6:19 says:
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
This helps us to differentiate between temporary beauty and lasting beauty.
Humans can become dangerously addicted to temporary beauty and get distracted from what matters more.
The Bible says that invisible things (spiritual things) have more lasting value than visible things (physical things).
In the same way, a woman’s beauty fades and gold eventually loses its luster.
By taking out dogs away through a short life, God is reminding us of this lesson.
Related: Why Did God Take My Dog?
Longevity Can Be Determined By the Complexity of a Species
Since God created us with greater potential (more intelligence and complex mind) than dogs, He had to equip us with what is necessary to go with it (more time to exploit the potential).
Dogs being less intelligent don’t do complex things like building skyscrapers or spaceships.
These projects require considerable time and of course, a longer life on average to accomplish.
Since God intended us to fulfill our potential he gives us longer life than dogs.
Humans are also better than dogs at coming up with compensatory strategies to cope with long-life challenges e.g. medical insurance to tackle diseases that come with long life.
Keeps Dog Populations Low
Dogs don’t do family planning like us.
Their population can therefore grow quickly out of control.
A short life is God’s way of culling the population.
Otherwise, they would overwhelm our numbers leading to conflicts like zoonosis, destruction of the ecosystem, and bites.
Both dog and human welfare are therefore better enhanced when the dog lifespans are shorter to keep them under control.
Making Your Dog Live Longer
Just because God gave dogs short lives doesn’t mean all is lost.
God gave us the capacity to find solutions to beating the odds and extending our dog’s life for a bit longer.
For example, since large-sized dog tends to have shorter lives, keeping your dog at healthy weight levels can promote longevity.
Mental stimulation for your dog can also help.
Isn’t it frustrating how short your dog’s life is?
Regardless of how well you care for it, your furry friend always seems to depart too soon.
We can never fully answer the question of why dogs have short lives.
The only solace is that a happy reunion is on the cards since the scripture gives us glimpses of animals in paradise.
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Sable M. is a canine chef, professional pet blogger, and proud owner of two male dogs. I have been an animal lover all my life, with dogs holding a special place in my heart. Initially, I created this blog to share recipes, tips, and any relevant information on healthy homemade dog treats. But because of my unrelenting passion to make a difference in the world of dogs, I have expanded the blog’s scope to include the best information and recommendations about everything dog lovers need to know about their canine friends’ health and wellbeing. My mission now is to find the most helpful content on anything related to dogs and share it with fellow hardworking hound lovers. While everything I share is in line with the latest evidence-based veterinarian health guidelines, nothing should be construed as veterinary advice. Please contact your vet in all matters regarding your Fido’s health.