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"If you are a dreamer, come in. If you are a dreamer, a wisher, a liar, a Hope-er, a Pray-er, a Magic Bean buyer; if you're a pretender, come sit by my fire. For we have some flax-golden tales to spin. Come in! Come in!" -- Shel Silverstein

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

The Purpose of a Dog

I have no idea who wrote it or where it came from, but it was sent to me by a friend and it's probably the best Valentine's I could have gotten today.

The Purpose of a Dog - from a four-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 hoping for a miracle.

I examined Belker and found he was dying of cancer. I told them we couldn't do anything for Belker, and offered to perform the euthanasia procedure for him in their home.

As we made arrangements, Ron and Lisa told me they thought it would be good for the four-year old Shane to observe the procedure. They felt that 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 a re 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 four-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.

May you always have LOVE to share, HEALTH to spare and FRIENDS that care.

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