Have you ever wondered about why dogs share our world with us? For many people, families, and kids, their dog IS a daily part of their family. Dog"s welcome us, they are happy to see us, and they are famous for their loyalty. Yet dogs live shorter lives than people. How does that work? Why? What is the purpose of having a dog, through the eyes of a 6 year old child?
A Dog"s Purpose
Being a veterinarian, I had been called to examine a twelve-year-old family pet named Belker. The dog"s owners, Ron, his wife, Lisa, and their little boy, Shane, were all very attached to Belker, and they were hoping for a miracle.
I examined Belker and found the dog was dying of cancer. I told the family we couldn't do anything for Belker, and offered to perform the euthanasia procedure for the old dog in their home.
As we made arrangements, Ron and Lisa told me they thought it would be good for six-year-old Shane to observe the procedure. They felt as though Shane might learn something from the experience.
The next day, I felt the familiar catch in my throat as Belker's family surrounded him. Shane seemed so calm, petting the old dog for the last time, that I 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 any difficulty or confusion. We sat together for a while after Belker's death, 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."
Startled, we all turned to him. What came out of his mouth next stunned me. I"d never heard a more comforting explanation.
He said, "People are born so that they can learn how to live a good life -- like loving everybody all the time and being nice, right?"
The six-year-old continued, "Well, dogs already know how to do that, so they don"t have to stay as long."
Dogs in Heaven?
An old cowboy was riding his trusty horse followed by his faithful dog along an unfamiliar road. The man was enjoying the new scenery, when he suddenly remembered dying, and realized that the dog beside him had been dead for years, as had his horse.
Confused, he wondered what was happening, and where the trail was leading them.
After a while, they came to a high, white stone wall that looked like fine marble. At the top of a long hill, it was broken by a tall arch topped by a golden letter "H" that glowed in the sunlight. Standing before it, he saw a magnificent gate in the arch that looked like mother-of-pearl, and the street that led to the gate looked like gold.
He rode toward the gate, and as he got closer, he saw a man at a desk to one side. Parched and tired out by his journey, he called out, "Excuse me, where are we?"
"This is ranch Heaven sir," the man answered.
"Wow! Would you happen to have some water?" the man asked.
"Of course, sir. Come right in, and I"ll have some ice water brought right up."
As the gate began to open, the cowboy asked, "Can I bring my partners, too?"
"I"m sorry, sir, but we don"t accept pets."
The cowboy thought for a moment, then turned back to the road and continued riding, his dog trotting by his side.
After another long ride, at the top of another hill, he came to a dirt road leading through a ranch gate that looked as if it had never been closed. As he approached the gate, he saw a man inside, leaning against a tree and reading a book. "Excuse me," he called to the man. "Do you have any water?"
"Sure, there"s a pump right over there. Help yourself."
"How about my friends here?" the traveler gestured to the dog and his horse.
"Of course! They look thirsty, too," said the man.
The trio went through the gate, and sure enough, there was an old-fashioned hand pump with buckets beside it. The traveler filled a cup and the buckets with wonderfully cool water and took a long drink, as did his horse and dog. When they were full, he walked back to the man who was still standing by the tree. "What do you call this place?" the traveler asked.
"This is Heaven," he answered.
"That"s confusing," the traveler said. "The man down the road said that was Heaven, too."
"Oh, you mean the place with the glitzy, gold street and fake pearly gates? That"s hell."
"Doesn"t it make you angry when they use your name like that?" the man asked.
"Not at all. Actually, we"re happy they screen out the folks who would leave their best friends behind."