More and more nursing homes, treatment centers, hospitals, and therapy programs use dogs. They find that it helps the patient to pet the dog. They call it pet therapy. Folks appear to be happier, manage their illness better, and some even get well faster who are in these pet therapy programs.
Giving and receiving love is a basic need our Creator built into us. Some psychologists say that we need several hugs a day. They say it lowers our blood pressure. As Christians, we know that sharing love is not an option, but a response to how we've been loved. The apostle John reminded his flock:
Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God, for God is love (1 John 4:7-8 NKJV).
God loves us so much that he sent his Son to die on the cross for us. Remember one of the most famous statements in Scripture:
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved (John 3:16-17).
Then they brought little children to Him, that He might touch them; but the disciples rebuked those who brought them. But when Jesus saw it, He was greatly displeased and said to them, "Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of God. Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it." And He took them up in His arms, laid His hands on them, and blessed them (Mark 10:13-16).
We all need love, and we must remember that we reap what we sow. If we give love, we'll get love. If you think about it, if you know someone who is really loving and giving, they are also loved by a lot of other people. We all need hugs, hand shakes, and pats on the back; so let's give these things, too. We will be blessed by sharing our blessing with others.
So, does the dog need to be petted or do we need to pet the dog?
I think the answer is, "Yes!"