“An ox knows its owner, and a donkey its master’s trough; but Israel does not know, My people takes no thought.”1

To say I am an animal lover is a serious understatement. My home is a haven for three dogs and three cats—all rescues. I tend to favor Greyhounds, rescued from their former lives as racing dogs, and currently count two among my four-legged family.

When you accept aMy home is a haven dog into your life, you put yourself on the receiving end of unconditional love and endless loyalty. Because I have brought so many animals into my home over the years—most of them rescues and even a few abandoned animals found on the side of the road—I can say unequivocally that there is so much G‑d-given joy in those relationships.

Even animals who have been traumatized by terrible events usually come around to the same fulsome attributes of love and loyalty as any taken in at the beginning of their lives and treated well.

I have a 47-pound hound of dubious lineage named Tanner who was abandoned in a wooded area of Alabama when he was just a puppy. A shelter group managed to find and rescue him, and then he was taken in by a local Humane Society. When I eventually adopted him at the age of nine months, he was terrified of everything (men, in particular). It took five months of love and coaxing before my husband could pet him. But soon, he began to bloom, coming to us and leaning his handsome little head back to have his chin scratched. Now, at the age of about four years, he is a boon companion and the quintessence of love.

Sometimes, when we are abused by life and the world, we fail to turn to the One who is always ready to be our comfort and protection, our sunlit island when everything looks bleak. Like Tanner, we don’t want to believe that our protector is there, ready and waiting to make us whole and well, to set us on the right footing and hold our hands until our world rights itself, and we can say “Baruch Hashem, thank G‑d!” and continue on, knowing G‑d is always, always going to look after us.

Having recently lost one of my Greyhounds to illness, I adopted another soon afterwards. He is large and puppyish even though he is two-and-a-half years old, and yet he has an innate sense of how to comfort me when I need it most. One day, shortly thereafter, I wasHe has an innate sense of how to comfort me upset and crying. This Greyhound came over to me, placed his head against my belly and stayed there until I was calm again. When Greyhounds want you to know they love you, they gently chatter their teeth. So, there he stood—this young, beautiful creature, rubbing his head against me and lightly chattering his teeth.

What if, in times of trouble, we turned to our Creator in the same way. We can approach Him in prayer, gratitude and love, lean into the bulwark of His presence and simply rest. We are lucky enough as humans, and especially as Jews, to have a historical perspective on where to turn in times of trouble.

G‑d is so infinitely good and omnipresent that we don’t even have to search to find Him. Unlike the dogs I rescue, we don’t have to just hope our G‑d will hold us close and comfort us. We have proof: in life events, in Torah, in the love of our families, and yes, even in the four-footed emissaries we choose to be part of our lives.

“G‑d is close to all who call out to Him, whoever calls out to Him in sincerity.”2