The “Manination” Of Animals

Manination. It’s sort of the opposite of incarnation. But let me explain.

A day or so ago the news carried a story about a first that is bizarre even for Hollywood. It seems Uggie, the canine star of the Oscar Award winning movie The Artist became the first dog to have his paw prints immortalized in cement in front of Grauman’s Chinese Theater.

You know, that’s the tourist trap hot spot where all the famous stars have their Stars on the sidewalk. So now, along with the hand prints of actors like Cary Grant and Lucille Ball, you can visit Uggie’s paw prints.

Uggie’s, I thought, not Lassie’s or Rin Tin Tin’s? Not even Benji’s? I mean really. Uggie?

But then I saw the look on the poor dog’s face as his trainer took hold of his front paws and pressed them into the wet cement. It was the most forlorn look. A sort of despairing, “What are they doing to me” look mixed with, “If I have to, I have to.”

What next, I thought. We already dress dogs up with hats and holiday outfits. We have TV shows about them and dog health insurance. We even have dog spas and boutiques.

Of course for this celebration there was at least a nod to Uggie’s dogginess. After all, they gave him a fire hydrant shaped cake.

Really? you might say. A cake? Dogs generally don’t consider fire hydrants things to eat!

I’m with you on that. They also don’t usually wear bow ties or walk the red carpet, but apparently Uggie is breaking the barriers.

As I thought about this for a bit, I realized that all the training and pampering is entirely for our benefit. Uggie would undoubtedly be content chasing a ball with a ten-year-old boy or running around some farm or basking in the shade of some suburban home.

He’s a dog.

He has no aspirations for wealth or fame. Yet we, in our infinite wisdom, have decided to make Uggie humanish. We find it cute to force him into these poses and postures not natural for a dog.

How typical of Mankind. We talk a good game–all about caring for the environment and preserving endangered species, but the species we have around us on a daily basis, we want to make over in our own image.

How unlike God who came to earth in our likeness. Rather than dressing us up as little gods and prodding us to pretend we are doing what He’s doing, He came to earth to live like us so we could actually know Him as He is, so we can in truth become like Him.

I wonder how many of these faithful dog owners would volunteer to become a dog so they could be closer to their dog.

Jesus Christ stooped far more than that when He left Heaven. What’s more, He did so knowing full well that His reception wouldn’t be of the Hollywood-style Red Carpet variety.

Imagine there was a pet owner brave enough to become a dog in order to help all dogs know and understand their owners better, but instead, the dogs formed a pack and tore that owner to pieces. That’s a picture of what Jesus endured.

That’s a picture of the Incarnation, not the Manination we are forcing on dogs these days. Quite different, how we act and how God acts, don’t you think?

Published in: on June 27, 2012 at 5:38 pm  Comments (3)  
Tags: , , ,


  1. What a powerful picture.


    • Thanks, Sally. It really struck me as I watched the news bit. First how odd that we want to dress animals up to mimic us, then how gracious and good God was to take on our likeness. Wow! A startling contrast.



  2. Here’s couple of relevant resources about dogs.

    Animal Nation: the true story of animals and Australia by Adrian Franklin. Dogs used to have a basket in the laundry or veranda and sleep out there. Now we call them companion animals and the sleep on the be with us.

    Rin Tin Tin: the life and legend of the world’s most famous dog by Susan Orlean. She suggests that the burst of dozens of dogs in to cinema came at the same time as people were leaving the farm and moving into cities to work in factories (and thus losing their connections with animals).

    The way we relate to dogs today is not the same way we used to relate to animals in the past.


Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: