I think there is a spiritually valuable lesson in the way we treat docile, loyal pets - like dogs and cats. Most pets are totally dependent upon us and love to receive attention. In their own way they return an animal affection to which we are very vulnerable. Many people talk constantly to their dumb pets. I do this myself and enjoy it because the animal does not talk back and generally has no "attitude" problem. We constantly forgive these animals all kinds of faults that we’d find inexcusable in a human. With animals it might be said that we come nearer to unconditional love than with people. Pets themselves are very forgiving of our neglects and abuses.
In many respects I think the relationship between humans and pets is reflective of the uncomplicated, unconditional, all-forgiving love between God and man. There is that voiceless silence from God, yet we continually talk to Him, like a friend, throughout the day. God is loyal to us when we are not loyal to Him. His love is constant when ours wavers. He forgives all even when we don’t. I have a feeling that the reason St. Francis of Assisi was so fond of his "brother" and "sister" animals was because, in them, he saw a comprehensible analogy to the way You love us and we love You.
In another way, we are Your dumb (but not so docile) pets. You never forget to care for us. But, unlike many animals in whom loyalty seems instinctive, we are often disloyal. Without a will, Your four-legged creatures go through life following Your blueprint for them. When they were created, they did not fall; for they were created for men and, to them, men are gods and they depend on their gods.
Men have a will. Men were made for God. It is our will which often displaces our dependency and, thus, our loyalty. It is our intellect which often displaces our instincts and gives root to a pride that our animal friends don’t have. All this, of course, is metaphorical. But the analogy, I think, is a good one because, ideally, I would be Your docile, loyal, trusting, loving pet.