Why Dogs Don't Live As Long As Man

Being a veterinarian, I had been called to examine a ten-year-old Irish Wolfhound. The dog's owners and their little boy were all very much attached to him and they were hoping for a miracle. I examined the dog and found he was dying of cancer. I told the family there were no miracles left for him, and offered to perform the euthanasia procedure for the old dog in their home. As we made arrangements, the husband and wife told me they thought it would be good for their four-year-old son to observe the procedure. They felt as though the small boy might learn something from the experience.

The next day, I felt the familiar catch in my throat as the dog's family surrounded him. The boy 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, his friend slipped peacefully away. The child seemed to accept his dog's transition without any difficulty or confusion.

We sat together for a while afterwards, wondering aloud about the sad fact that animal lives are shorter than human lives. The boy 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. Well, dogs already know how to do that, so they don't have to stay as long...."

Thus, Live simply. Love generously. Care deeply, Speak kindly. Leave the rest to God.


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