Billy Graham grew up with many pets he says “seemed like part of the family.” The Grahams also had several cats and dogs through the years.
“My parents owned a dairy farm, and all my life I’ve been around animals,” he once said. “I’m thankful for the happiness they’ve given us over the years.”
Having a love for dogs and being around them so often, both Billy and Ruth Graham have used the nature and temperament of dogs as context to make a spiritual point.
Speaking about husbands in a 1988 edition of Atlanta Daily World, Billy Graham said:
“Dogs are quick to show their affection. They never pout, they never bear a grudge. They never run away from home when mistreated. They never complain about their food. They never gripe about the way the house is kept. They are chivalrous and courageous, ready to protect … at the risk of their lives. They love children, and no matter how noisy and boisterous they are, the dog loves every minute of it. … Perhaps if we husbands imitated a few of our dog’s virtues, life with our family might be more amiable.”
In her book It’s My Turn, Ruth Graham gave this insight for parents, based on what it takes to train a dog:
“Every parent should read at least one good book on dog training. … It is a fine kettle of fish when our dogs are better trained than our children.”
She noted that with dogs you must, “Be persistent. Follow through. Never give a command without seeing it is obeyed,” and the same can be said for raising children.