A Dog's Purpose? (from a 6-year-old)


Being a veterinarian, I had been called to examine a ten-year-old Irish Wolfhound 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 he 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. It has changed the way I try and live.

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.''

Live simply.

Love generously.

Care deeply.

Speak kindly.

Remember, if a dog was the teacher 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 simple growl will do.

On warm days, stop to lie on your back on the grass.

On hot days, drink lots of water and lie under a shady tree.

When you're happy, dance around and wag your entire body.

Delight in the simple joy of a long walk.

Be loyal.

Never pretend to 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.

There comes a time in life, when you walk away from all the drama and people who create it. You surround yourself with people who make you laugh, forget the bad, and focus on the good.

So, love the people who treat you right. Think good thoughts for the ones who don't. Life is too short to be anything but happy. Falling down is part of LIFE...Getting back up is LIVING...


I’m 73 and It’s never to late.

Lyle Enger July 06, 2015

I totally agree with this story,we can all learn from our animals,be kind to one another and learn to stop and smell the flowers, enjoy life,and friends,love everyone..

Barbara June 07, 2015

What beautiful and simple truths. I am deeply touched. Thank you for sharing.

Diane Even November 12, 2014

I have worked in the people business since 1973
And I cried tears of joy when I read this!
Children are so wise and all Adults teachers. Thank you for sharing this.

Lynda Steele March 09, 2014

One of the best things I’ve read. Looking at my pup sleeping just now my eyes started welling up. I wish that she’d outlive me.
Thank you for writing this. I’ll never take having a dog as part of the family for granted.

Preet January 07, 2014


Kate j January 07, 2014

I have read this before and it’s something people should re-read every so often. Simple is the best… simple rules to live by… is the gentle and spectacular way to go. Thank you for sharing…

Lorraine Keshner January 05, 2014

What a fantastic piece! I loved the picture! Shane had a great answer; filled with wisdom and insight for a six year old! I have taken this article and posted it in my office. Thanks for sharing and making us all realize we must live each day to its fullest.

Jan O'Neal January 26, 2013

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