Mondays with Maury: The Grahams’ Love of Dogs

Billy Graham grew up with many pets he says “seemed like part of the family.” He and Ruth’s favorite breeds were big dogs, and they usually had two in the house so they would each have a furry companion.

In this episode of Monday’s with Maury, you’ll hear what dog was their favorite.

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.

Here are a few photos of the Grahams and their dogs through the years.

  • Ruth Bell Graham sits with “Doby” the doberman pinscher.
  • Gigi, Anne, Bunny, Ruth and Billy Graham relax with the family dog in Montreat.
  • Giving “Belshazzar” a pat on the back.
  • Billy and Ruth Graham and the family’s German shepherd pose for a photo.
  • Billy Graham and the family dogs in 1957 before leaving for a New York Crusade.
  • Billy and Ruth Graham with their German shepherd.
  • Billy Graham kept his trusted companion “Lars” by his side.

See more Mondays with Maury episodes.

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  1. Jill says:

    Billy and Ruth Graham have left a lasting impression on me! Not only are Billy’s sermons just as relevant today but stories of their home life are as well! My life is changed thanks to Billy Graham!

  2. Miles Morgan says:

    Maury is great in terms of telling everybody about the love the Graham’s had for animals!
    Maury being a personal assistant to
    Graham’s for 35 years, gives
    us insight to the Graham’s, This is
    awesome!!’ Amen!!

    1. Earline Bradley says:

      I always love pictures and comments of Billy Graham. My memories of him and his family will always be in my heart and my prayers will be for his son and grandson as they follow in his footsteps.

  3. Mercedes says:

    Have donated in the past. Any donations to this organization is worth it. I understand why Bill had dogs. The Lord gave us dogs not only for company and friendship. The Lord created these creatures to be child-like for a reason. Not only did I have friends in dogs growing up but I believe the Lord gave us women and men dogs especially for those who don’t have children. I understand why the Graham’s thought having dogs was important and part of family. God bless, to God be the glory.

  4. John Crawford says:

    Visited the BG Library last fall, third time, enjoy it greatly. Motivating and inspirational.

  5. Jan Hinkle says:

    Love the pictures of the family & dogs.

  6. Dana Gathright says:

    A beautiful story about the Graham dogs. I loved it! I also have had and love big dogs. If only people would be so loyal. So happy that God gave us wonderful animal companions.

  7. Karen Bryant says:

    Love the article on the Grahams dogs. Dogs can be our very best friends. I currently have a service dog that is ever by my side. He does so much for me, I even think he reads my mind. So glad the Grahams had such faithful, comforting companions.

  8. steven cohn says:

    personally, i have never desired to have pets. we had our pets when i lived at home. but i do not like having to take care of them. there are enough financial needs as it is. but i also know God created pets for mankind because He knew many people will be living alone either as single or as widows and widowers so they provide companionship for millions of people living alone. to our shame we should be taking care and befriending anyone who needs friends and caring people. we are all too busy in our american lives.

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