Why dogs and cats don't live as long as we do!
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 there were no miracles left 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 the
four-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
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 four-year-old continued, "Well, dogs already
know how to do that, so they don't have to stay as long."