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A Dog's Purpose

04. February 2013

I recently read a story about a veterinarian, a 6-year-old boy and his dog, Belker, that so touched me, I’m passing it along to you.

A veterinarian was called to examine Belker, a 10-year-old Irish Wolfhound. The dog’s owner, Ron, his wife Lisa and their little boy Shane were all very attached to sweet Belker and they were hoping for a miracle.

After examining Belker, the vet told the family the sad news. Belker was dying of cancer. The doctor said there was nothing that could be done for Belker and offered to perform the euthanasia procedure for the old dog in their home.

All agreed it would be good for little Shane to observe the procedure to help the boy experience closure.

The doctor said he felt a catch in his throat as Belker’s family surrounded him. Shane seemed so calm, petting the old dog for the last time. He also wondered if he understood what was going on. Within a few minutes, Belker slipped peacefully away.

The little boy seemed to accept Belker’s transition without and difficulty or confusion.

As the doctor tells it, they all sat together for a while, wondering aloud about the sad fact that animal lives are shorter than human lives. Shane, who had been listening quietly, piped up, “I know why.”

What came out of the 6-year-olds mouth stunned all of them. None of them had ever heard a more comforting explanation. So profound were the boy’s words, the vet says it’s changed the way he tries to live.

Shane said, “People are born so they can learn how to live a good life – like loving everybody all the time and being nice, right?”

The little boy continued, “Well, dogs already know how to do that, so they don’t have to stay as long.”

Wow! “Out of the mouths of babes” comes a profound lesson.

Think about it, if dogs were teachers, you would learn things like:

- When loved ones come home, always run to greet them.
- Never pass up the opportunity to go for a joyride.
- Allow the experience of fresh air and the wind in your face to be pure ecstasy.
- Take naps.
- Stretch before rising.
- Run, romp and play daily.
- Thrive on attention and let people touch you.
- Avoid biting when a simply growl will do.
- On warm days, stop to lie on your back on the grass.
- On hot days, drink lots of water and lie on your back on the grass.
- When you’re happy, dance around and wag your entire body.
- Delight in the simple joy of a long walk.
- Be loyal.
- Never be something you’re not.
- If what you want lies buried, dig until you find it.
- When someone is having a bad day, be silent, sit close by and nuzzle them gently.

If you’ve been going through a rough patch and feeling blue – think of the wisdom from 6-year-old Shane. Maybe we’re taking it all a little too seriously!

I’m heading outside to lie in the grass! Care to join me?

Contact Carol by emailing her at Carol@pph.org.