Here is the surprising answer of a 6-year-old child. A veterinarian friend of mine told me one story. “..I was called to investigate a ten-year-old Alsatian named Astro. The owners of the dog and their little son were very attached to Astro and were hoping for a miracle. I examined the dog and found that it was dying of cancer. I told the family that there was nothing we could do for him and offered to euthanize the old dog at their home. During the preparations, the dog’s owners told me that they thought their six-year-old son would be present when the dog passed away. The next day, I felt the familiar tightness in my throat as Astro’s family surrounded him. The little boy seemed so calm as he petted the old dog one last time that I wondered if he understood what was going on. Within minutes, Astro was peacefully asleep. The little boy seemed calm. After Astro’s death, we sat together for a while, reflecting aloud on the sad fact that dogs’ lives are shorter than those of humans. The little boy, who was listening quietly, said, “I know why.” We all looked at him surprised. What came out of his mouth surprised me. I have never heard a more comforting explanation. He said, “People are born to learn to lead a good life – like loving and being kind, right?” The six-year-old continued “Well, dogs already know how to do that, so they don’t have to live as long as we do.” Remember. If your teacher was a dog, you’d learn things like: When your loved ones come home, always run to greet them. Never miss an opportunity to go for a ride. Let the experience of fresh air and wind on your face be pure ecstasy. Take a nap. Stretch before getting up. Run and play every day. Avoid biting when a simple growl is enough. On warm days, start lying on your back… on the grass. On hot days, drink plenty of water and lie down under a shady tree. When you are happy, dance and wave your whole body. Enjoy the simple joy of a long walk.
Be faithful. Never pretend to be someone you are not. If what you want is buried, dig until you find it. When someone is having a bad day, be quiet, sit close and rub their throat gently. Love as much as you can.
This is the priceless secret of happiness that we can learn from a dog.
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