Monday, July 07, 2008

Why do dogs live so short a time?

I couldn't resist posting this lovely piece for dog lovers everywhere:

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.
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

And oh, don't I wish I was the kind of person my dog (above) thinks I am!


  1. Two excellent bits of advice there. "Avoid biting when a simple growl will do" and "When someone is having a bad day, be silent, sit close by, and nuzzle them
    gently" Yes, if only we had the simple wisdom of dogs on occasion and didn't complicate everything by using our erratic human minds.

  2. When you're a dog, if you treat your owner right, you get tummy rubs too. ;-)

    I'm a dog lover too, WWW, don't have one of my own just now though.
    Yours looks like a real sweetie.

  3. very nice.

    and.. i did your meme. six words. damn you.

  4. Gorgeous post, WWW, I really loved it.

    In case you are not visiting for a while, I wanted to let you know that I am limiting the readership to my blog to invited members (which of course includes you). Please send your email address to, so that I can include your name.

    big hugs on a hard day.


  5. What a stunning posting! I've always thought it remarkable how animals are capable of near-unconditional love when we humans reckon we are so superior in every way and ALL THAT! When's the last time you heard of a dog divorcing?

  6. H & Laura:
    Yes, animals can teach us how to live real authentic lives. My dog consistently slows me down, makes me stop (literally!) to smell the wild roses, and on a daily basis,shows me the delight of a dignified paddle in the sea.
    And bonus, nuzzles my hand when I'm feeling down...

  7. That little boy was braver than I, WWW.

    When we took our beloved old 'Smokey' to the vet's to be "put to sleep", my wife and I both broke down - completely. For many months afterwards one or the other of us would suddenly burst into tears for no apparent reason. Well, for not for any reason that was apparent to anyone other than ourselves.

    Over the next 12 months we also lost both of 'Smokey''s two best pals, our two cats, Charlie and Chan. They'd all grown old together, you see.

    Even now, several years later, though my wife and I still dearly love all dogs and 'mogs' - we're still not brave enough to take any more on. We couldn't face going through such trauma - ever again.

  8. Oh Richard:
    I've been there with other dogs I've had to let go. Chelsea was supposedly my last dog, I had her for 16 years and fell apart many many times in the ensuing year after her demise.
    And then Ansa was brought into my life (long story) and after 2 days and we fell in love with each other.
    so never say never, you just never ever know!!


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