(Philemon). 'Without are dogs" (Apocalypse).
But in the Middle Ages the dog had become the symbol of fidelity and is represented as sitting at the feet of St. Bernard. Another aspect of the dog—that of the hunter— was at the back of the punning description of the Dominicans, the Hounds of God.
The difference between the common scriptural use and that of western man is that in the Holy Land and the Levant the dog was a pariah and not the close friend and help that he is in the West.
There is no need to make use of any sentiment in this matter. The domestic dog is domestic. He belongs to man's house. He is much closer to man than the kitchen cat.
THIS proximity demands that we a attend to the problem of the dog in relation to man somewhat more carefully than the antisentimentalists may like. In this context I remember some wise words of Chesterton in respect of vivisection.
As I recall them, G.K.C. argued that, while he had no repugnance to killing and eating a variety of animals, some of which were domesticated, he had a special repugnance to eating horses and dogs because. though animals, their proximity to man had put them in a special relationship to man.
This relationship has been defined by C. S. Lewis as "thegoodman-and-the-goodwife -ruling their-children-andtheir beasts in the-good-homestead". The dog Mr. Lewis mentions here is the sheepdog. And anyone who has seen the way in which our Welsh sheepdogs act upon the slightest command of their master's will, if they have any sensibility (notice, not mere sentiment), appreciate the degree of and the kind of proximity.
It is not that men owe duties to animals. The normal Catholic view is that man owes duties to God because God has put animals in his charge and overlordship. No One may do what he likes indiscriminately with his own. and this goes for animals of all kinds without any exception and, for that matter, all living things.
THE degree of care which man should give to the domestic dog is bound up with man's normal life. A shepherd may justly risk the life of his valued dog in the rounding up of sheep in a blizzard. Moreover. the shepherd is sharing somewhat in that risk. The guard dog may lose his life in guarding man's property.
Even in war the dog may justly be used to carry messages, to help in civil defence. But it would immediately he felt repugnant if dogs were trained to use weapons. e.g. to pull switches at the word of command.
It may he objected that we have by no means treated dogs well in the past. The use, for instance, of a dog to turn a spit has always struck me as bad, though it was probably not cruel. The clue here is. I think. that a dog ought to be used as a dog. A dog likes to watch and to hunt. to round up and to retrieve, each breed according to as special characteristics. To use dogs as dogs is to act in accordance with God's order. Most dogs, which enjor games and nonsense, may be easily trained to do parlour tricks, and there is no harm in using them within reasonable limits for shows and spectacles in which we are amused by their antics. But sooner or later a not so squeamish person finds such and such a trick by no means easy to stomach.
For my own part, I hate to see