Have you ever heard of the Karelian Bear Dog? I hadn’t, until last week, when I caught a short documentary about the breed during an airplane flight.
Weighing between 40 and 65 pounds, the dog looks like a cross between a Husky and an Irish Wolfhound. Stocky and marked by a heavy black and white coat with expressive ears, they were originally bred in Russia and Finland to hunt big game, in addition to protecting farmers from bear attacks.
What really sets this type of dog apart, though, is their sacrificial spirit. When tasked with fighting a bear, a Karelian is willing to give its life for its owners. Interestingly, these dogs also require a lot of love and attention in return; if left alone for too long, they’ll become sullen, withdrawn and wary.
In other words, the more love and attention they receive, the more loyal they tend to be.
God created every living thing, of course, so there is that thread that weaves all of His creation together. It’s easy, therefore, to see a few parallels between some animals and human beings, especially the Karelian Bear Dog. Dog and cat lovers will testify that their pets can often sense their own emotions. In fact, a pet’s perceptions can be so good as to reflect back their master’s moods. I have known dogs to nuzzle beside a crying person, as if to try and comfort their sorrow and sadness. The “dog’s life” is often portrayed as lazy and of great ease, but as it occurred to me the other day, even a dog has a job to do.
I think the Karelian Bear Dog provides a powerful reminder that when you invest yourself in the life of another, the love can go a very long way.