A Dog’s Purpose, According to a Six Year Old

I received this in my email today – I did a bit of research to try and find the original source, but couldn’t discover it. Maybe you’ve read this before, but as a life-long dog owner, I was deeply touched when I read it.


“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.

Enjoy every moment of every day.”