His Master’s Voice

The faithful companion listens for God's whispers


Community Faith

Mother had a collection of vinyl records that I would listen to on a cold wintry day. Some of her vinyl had the interesting RCA Victor trademark label of a Jack Russell Terrier listening to an Edison bell-cylinder wind-up gramophone. The caption underneath read “His Master’s Voice,” with the cute little dog puzzling over where his voice came from.

I visited an elderly friend in a nursing home on Sunday. She had always had a pet and insisted I needed to have one, preferably a dog. She knew I lived alone and assumed that I was lonely. My response was that I have enough to do warding off ills and taking my pills, never mind caring for a dog. I assured her that God keeps me company so much better than a dog would. When I remarked that God spelled backwards is dog, she laughed. She is a dyed-in-the-wool atheist who welcomes humbling God’s image.

Some call it gut instinct, intuition, or an inspirational hunch, but I’m convinced that whenever I listen in deep contemplation, I can hear God whispering from eternity. Maybe I’m like that faithful dog who hears his Master’s Voice and is ever puzzled by it.

Sometimes He asks us to do things only a shepherd dog could do, like tending his flock, or being a police dog to detect the stench of corruption, or a military dog packing victuals and ammo across enemy lines. Maybe he’s asked me to be a comfort dog, like those that visit nursing home patients.

With my visit over, my elderly friend persisted, “Please, get a dog.”


Richard M. DellOrfano spent ten years on a cross-country pilgrimage following Christ’s instruction to minister without possessions. He is completing his autobiography: Path Perilous, My Search for God and the Miraculous.

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