Wednesday, February 9, 2022

"Why Dogs Live Less Than Humans"

"Why Dogs Live Less Than Humans"
by Bill Overton

"Here's the surprising response 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 Shane, were very attached to Belker, and were expecting a miracle. I examined Belker and found that he was dying of cancer. I told the family that we couldn't do anything for Belker, and I offered to perform the euthanasia procedure for the old dog at his house.

While we were making arrangements, Ron and Lisa told me they thought it would be good for six-year-old Shane to observe the procedure. They felt as if Shane could learn something from the experience. The next day, I felt the familiar capture 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 minutes, Belker escaped peacefully.

The 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 dog lives are shorter than human lives. Shane, who had been listening silently, said, "I know why." Startled, we all turned to him. What came out of his mouth afterwards surprised me. I had never heard a more comforting explanation. It has changed the way I try to live.

He said, "People are born so they can learn to live a good life, like loving everyone all the time and being kind, right?" The six-year-old boy continued, "Well, dogs already know how to do it, so they don't have to stay as long as we do."

Live simply.
Love generously.
Care deeply.
Speak kindly.

Remember, if a dog were the teacher you would learn things like:

• When your loved ones return home, always run to greet them.
• Never miss the opportunity to go for a walk.
• Allow the experience of fresh air and wind on the face to be pure ecstasy.
• Take naps.
• Stretch before getting up.
• Running, playing and playing 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 lawn.
• On hot days, drink plenty of water and lie down under a shaded tree.
• When you are happy, dance and move your whole body.
• Delight in the simple joy of a long walk.
• Be faithful.
• Never pretend to be something you are not.
• If what you want is buried, dig until you find it.
• When someone is having a bad day, be quiet, sit nearby, and nuzzle gently.

That's the secret of happiness we can learn from a good dog.”

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