My dog Mocha was an expression of God on earth, as all dogs are

I lost a friend a few days ago. Mocha, our 13-year-old Shih Tzu, succumbed to old age and illness.

We received the call from the pet hospital at 2:30 a.m. Despite the heroic efforts that everyone there took to save this gentle creature, the complications were just too much for her little heart.

Mocha was the cutest, sweetest little dog one could ever hope to have. She was a therapy dog for my wife through her illness, and an oasis of love and peace for my daughter to relax and forget about the daily rat race of working in Manhattan.

The book of Romans, Chapter 1, states clearly that God’s revelation is displayed in nature. You just have to look at creation and see something beyond anything man can even envision.

The majesty of mountaintops against a blue sky; the infinite and expanding expanse of space that seems to have no end; the beauty of a sunset; the marvel of wildflowers that seem painted on valley floors.

It may very well be that a dog is God stepping into our lives in the form of the creature that he designed to love us unconditionally.

To me, this little creature was as majestic and marvelous and beautiful as everything else in God’s creation. And a dog’s unconditional love is as available to anyone, as is the beauty of the sunset, the mountain majesty and the wildflowers. You just need to choose to look.

As I reflected on this, it dawned on me how representative of God’s character Mocha was in this regard. The fact is that God’s presence is not just seen in nature, but in His creatures as well. Mocha’s daily display of tail-wagging joy brought light into our home. I swear I even saw her smile a few times.

The fun thing about Mocha was that whatever the disagreement in our household between us humans, Mocha was always on everyone’s side. Mocha would always agree with me. And she’d always agree with my wife. Or my daughter. To her, it didn’t matter who was right. Because being right was never the issue. Just being was the issue. And loving.

During many a tense family argument or situation, I could always turn to Mocha and ask her what she thought.

“ Mocha,” I’d say, “who’s right, me or mom?” And the very thought of asking a dog for her opinion broke the ice, melted tensions between us and restored peace. We could laugh again, when a moment before we could only scream or try to get our points across.

It may very well be that a dog is God stepping into our lives in the form of the creature that He designed to love us unconditionally. A living, breathing expression of the creator in the form of this harmless, affectionate animal to show us that love and humility is powerful, and can change lives. Not unlike Him coming in the form of a child in a manger to confound the wise and the proud.

The complexity of God’s simplicity still overwhelms me.

This is what a dog does. It stills our hearts, expresses love to even the undeserving and slows us down to hear the voice of God among the dissonance life throws at us.

So, that’s my story. Mocha taught me much. I bet many of you who are reading this have dogs just like Mocha. If you have not done it lately, really take a moment and focus on your dog’s face. You may just see a smile. 

Joe Battaglia is a broadcaster, author (“The Politically Incorrect Jesus,” “Fathers Say!”), and president of Renaissance Communications. For more than 15 years, he’s been involved in the promotion of highly successful faith-based hit movies including “Soul Surfer,” “Heaven is For Real,” “God’s Not Dead,” “War Room,” and “Miracles from Heaven.”