It’s always painful to lose a pet. They add so much to our lives, whether they’re with us for many years or just a short time.
That was the lesson that 6-year-old Shane already understood better than most adults.
Shane lived with his parents, Ron and Lisa, and his 10-year-old Irish wolfhound, Belker. He was doing poorly, and the family was growing increasingly worried. They were hoping it would be anything but what they feared, but the news wasn’t good. The vet’s examination yielded the worst possible news: It was cancer.
The family had a heartbreaking decision to make.
For Belker, there was nothing to be done. The vet offered to put him down the next day, right there in his home surrounded by his family. The question was where Shane should be during the procedure.
Ron and Lisa decided that it might be healthy for Shane to stay and watch. Even though it wouldn’t be easy to watch their beloved dog pass away, they thought it would be easier for him to understand. The vet agreed, and arrangements were made for the following day.
When the day came, the adults thought that Shane wouldn’t understand.
The family was grieving as they said goodbye to their beloved dog. Shane stroked him quietly and said nothing. Maybe, thought the adults, he didn’t really understand what was going on.
The vet administered the procedure, and the family held Belker until he peacefully slipped away. As they talked about how meaningful he had been to them and wondered why dogs lived such a short time, the 6-year-old spoke up for the first time.
“People are born so that they can learn how to live a good life — like loving everybody all the time and being nice, right? Well, dogs already know how to do that, so they don’t have to stay for as long as we do.”
Dogs keep proving that they’re “man’s best friend.”
There’s no doubt that dogs know how to love with their whole heart. Just take the innumerable stories of the lengths that dogs go to protect and support us.
Back in 2013, an Australian Kelpie named Boydy sat by his owner for four days as he lay pinned beneath a car. The owner, 76-year-old Herbert Schutz, had crashed his vehicle into a tree on a Thursday. He lay there until Monday, unable to get help and completely alone … except for Boydy. When his neighbors finally went looking for him, they found him beneath the car with his loyal guardian waiting beside him.
Schutz said Boydy didn’t just wait with him but saved his life.
“Even when we found him, the dog ran straight to his side and cuddled up to him,” said Schutz’s neighbor Eric Merritt. “He didn’t want to leave him even then.”
Schutz was seriously injured and ill. He was taken to the hospital with a dislocated shoulder and a fractured skull. Both of his hips were broken. But Schutz insisted that Boydy saved his life. The loyal dog sat with him for the long four days he was trapped, even laying on him to keep him warm.
Dogs even love their natural enemies.
Dogs don’t just love their owners. They even love and care for other animals. In July 2018, a husky named Banner sensed something was wrong. She began to whine and jump on her owner, Whitney Braley. When Braley let her out of the house, Banner streaked into the woods, where she found a cardboard box containing seven sick and abandoned kittens.
“She had been acting really weird all morning,” Braley said. “I couldn’t understand what was wrong with her. She wasn’t listening to me when I told her to come, which isn’t like her as she is always very well behaved. I knew something had to be wrong. She was getting really distressed.”
Banner’s mother instincts proved right all along.
Now, Banner has adopted the litter and is proud to call herself their mother. The kittens were only a day or two old when she found them in the woods. Braley says they almost certainly would have died if her pup hadn’t rushed out to save them. Although she outsources feeding to a cooperative cat friend, the proud mother is always nearby, watching her babies to make sure they’re safe and healthy.
Some people say that we don’t deserve dogs.
Maybe their short lifespans are a reminder to shower them with love every day.
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