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Finding Purpose: “A Dog’s Purpose” Giveaway — twenty(or)something: the archives

Finding Purpose: “A Dog’s Purpose” Giveaway

by Susan Pogorzelski on January 12, 2011 · 10 comments

What’s your purpose? What are you here for?   

To teach? To learn? To give, to heal? To seek, to find?

To serve?

To save?

To live?

There are those certain books that you just know you have to read…Those books that you spot as you’re idly wandering past a bookstore, the ones that you pick up and skim through on a whim. There are those books that you keep returning to time and again, reading the jacket over and again, knowing that, even in the smallest of ways, even for just an hour, a minute, a moment, it will change your life.  Or, at least, make you wonder.

A Dog’s Purpose was waiting there on the library shelf, the face on the front cover begging to be picked up and, as anything pertaining to dogs is certain bait for me, I did. The novel by W. Bruce Cameron is one for humans, it reads on the cover, and indeed those who will find the beauty in this book are those who have known what it means to love a dog…

“What if your dog never dies? What if dogs live multiple lifetimes, and remember all of them?
What if every animal has a purpose, and your pet’s purpose is intimately bound to yours?
A Dog’s Purpose tells the story of a dog who finds himself reincarnated and decides there must be a reason, a purpose he must fulfill, and until he does so, he’ll continue to be reborn.
The story is narrated by Bailey, a wise and funny dog who is very much…a dog.”
– A Dog’s Purpose (.com)

 

The book is phenomenal — not just for its clever storytelling and unusual narrator, but because it forces the reader to question their own purpose and place in the world (and, perhaps also, to consider just what loving an animal really means and how much it can change you).

I picked up the book on Thursday; I read through it on Friday.

I smiled.

I cried.

Then I raced upstairs to find Riley and squeeze the ever-love out of him as I sobbed rather unattractively into his fur.

I’ve been lucky enough to have loved those animals that have blessed my life. The names of Lea, Lucy, Sampson, Hercules, and Cody — not to mention Riley — are forever etched on my heart. I’m convinced that loving these dogs has shown me how to love — unabashedly, devotedly, wholeheartedly. And being loved by them — these beautiful creatures who show such loyalty, delight, and unquestioning, unwavering adoration — has proven that this kind of pure love can exist in the world.

Maybe it shows that we can be capable of such love as well.

As I reached the end of the book and ran to find Riley, who kindly didn’t have a choice but to let me hold him while I sobbed yet again, I immediately decided that I wanted you to share in the torture pleasure of this book.

So… It’s giveaway time!

G I V E A W A Y

(Y A Y!)

To enter the drawing, leave a comment below with your name and email address between now and Sunday, January 16 (11:59pm EST) telling me about the dogs you’ve loved, what they mean/have meant to you, or what purpose you believe your own life holds.

One reader will be randomly selected to receive a brand-new copy of W.  Bruce Cameron’s A Dog’s Purpose (tissues may or may not be included).

Funny dog stories are also acceptable, smiles welcomed.

Happy Puppy Lovin'!

Disclaimer: I get nothing out of this except the joy of spreading the love around a bit, and I heretofore take no responsibility whatsoever for any tears shed. Unless they’re happy ones.

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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Brianne January 13, 2011

This is SO right up my alley!

My parents took me to the animal shelter when we moved from Brooklyn, NY, to Pennsylvania. I was six years old and they had promised me that after the move I could have a puppy.

The shelter had two candidates for us when we arrived. We were able to see the first dog through a door in the shelter and he was a nine-month old something-or-other (mutt), jumping so high that he was looking down at me at the peak of his bounce.

While my parents sat with the director of the shelter to discuss options, I sat with legs crossed on the floor in the corner. This beautiful puppy came out of nowhere and nestled up in my lap. He stared up at me lovingly and I was gone. My folks hadn’t even noticed but 20 minutes later he was still in my lap and now he was snoring.

This was my dog. He had to be. I told my parents in as much of an authoritative voice as I could muster that he was the one I wanted, not Tigger in the back.

Henry (we kept his name from the shelter) Joseph Villano was a year-old Bernese Mountain Dog/Black Lab mix and lived through cancer and hip dysplasia to be 18 years old. He was my first love and the best brother I could have ever asked for growing up. Because of him, I am a better person. I cannot possibly imagine my life without a dog in it.

Now I have Raina. She is a seven year-old Manchester Terrier mix that I got from the West Orange Animal Welfare League in W. Orange, NJ. She’s psychotic and loving, hyper and loyal.

All these years of loving dogs has allowed me to be one hell of a pet-sitter and a volunteer with a number of local animal shelters throughout all of the places I’ve lived. Friends and families call me the dog whisperer but, really, it’s they who are speaking to me. <3

(P.S. You know my name and my email already!) :o) <–Between the smiley and the parenthesis, he looks like he has an awesome hat on.

Reply

Susan Pogorzelski January 17, 2011

Brianne: I love, love, love this story! I love how your heart just knows when you’re meant to love something — I had a similar experience when I was volunteering and took Riley out to play; I just said “your name is Riley and you’re coming home with me.” That’s it, I just knew it.

I love how you say you’re a better person because of a dog…I couldn’t agree more, think they teach us to be the better part of ourselves just by them being them.

Hugs to Raina, and hugs to you! 🙂

Reply

Brianne January 13, 2011

Or he did before it got screwed up. Boo. hehe

Reply

Lauren E January 14, 2011

I think I’ve loved most dogs that I’ve met. Even if it’s not the same bond that I have with my own pets, there’s a bond with every animal I meet.

The dogs that I’ve been lucky enough to call family have included Mike, Tazz, and Mabelle. Mike was a Bull Terrier who my brother and I received as a birthday present from my Uncle. My Uncle knew the breeder and traded some of his artwork for our boy. Mike was quite the character and left us at the age of 12.5 years. When he passed, we couldn’t believe the emptiness we were left with. We had seen Tazz, a Bull Terrier, on Petfinder about 4-5 months before Mike passed, but we didn’t want to overwhelm him with a younger dog. We contacted the rescue group almost immediately after he passed and Tazz was still available. We adopted him 11 days after we lost Mike and he kept us busy during such a difficult time. We’ve had Tazz for over 2 years now and he brings us joy everyday. Mabelle is not technically my dog, but we’ve taken care of her quite often because my Uncle used to travel a lot. She’s a Whippet and she absolutely adored Mike. When she came to our home after Mike passed, it was very sad to watch her go from room to room whimpering. Her personality changed and I don’t believe she will ever have the same relationship with another dog that she had with Mike. She loves Tazz and her sister, Manon, but Mike was like a grandfather to her.

My dogs mean everything to me. They are the reason I wake up in the morning. I go to school and work so that I can continue to spoil them the way I want to. I come home and enjoy the bond that I share with them through walking, playing, cuddling, etc. I don’t travel unless they can come with me. I am who I am because of my relationship with my animals.

Reply

Susan Pogorzelski January 17, 2011

Lauren: I love your story, thanks so much for sharing it here. I can relate completely to your sense of loss and how loving another dog helps to heal that. It’s funny…in the beginning a part of you thinks that maybe you’re betraying the memory of the one you lost, but then you realize how much love your heart is really capable of.

I love that you say you are who you are because of your relationship with animals — for some people, that’s so true — it’s what makes us better, kinder, more compassionate people.

Thank you so much for sharing, Lauren!

Reply

Carol Wong January 17, 2011

My first dog that I loved wasn’t mine. His name was Skipper and he was an American Husky owned by a neighbor. I used to come over and visit with girl friend. But one day, her father brought Skipper home to the family. Everytime I saw him, he was so loving, waggining his tail and licking me. He would get so excited when I came over. His owner didn’t understand. He bought the dog as a guard dog!Skipper didn’t know that though. He would walk with me to school every day. One day, I didn’t see him and
left without him.That was in second grade. I was in class for about 30 minutes and in he came! All the class oohed and awwed! He went directly to my desk and was so happy. I had no idea how he got inside. My teacher told me to take my dog home! I protested but she said he has to be my dog. I got up and led him through the door in the hallway and outside. He was there at the end of the day waiting for me. I loved giving him hugs and I am postive that he loved me too. Sadly, the owner took him a way and I cried for so long.

My mother never wanted me to have a dog at first but father knew that I was yearning for one. His friend’s dog had a litter and let me pick out. She was the color of gold and like like a miniature Labator retriever. I loved her so much. Loved bathing her, brushing her coat and she could walk on her hind feet, no problem. She could even
climb a fence or ladder. She did this out of curiosity, there was no food at the top of the ladder nothing at the other side of the fence except another fence. But the other fence was guarded by rose bushes and she had no taste for contending with them.

I don’t have a dog right now but really want another. I want to play and groom him or her, take for walks and love, love, love. Dogs love you without conditon, if you have
a mistake, they don’t care. If you are sad, they will come up to you and be with you.
I love dogs.

CarolNWong(at)aol(dot)com

Reply

Susan Pogorzelski January 17, 2011

Carol: What a wonderful story! I have every belief that dogs know things that humans can’t, that they love without reserve, that they love everyone who is deserving of it. It sounds Skipper knew how much you loved him and gave you that much love right in return!

You’re absolutely right — one of the greatest traits about these animals is their ability to love unconditionally, something that is unfortunately so rare but so special. I hope you find your forever friend!

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Cynthia R January 11, 2017

Dogs are a special creature, I love how excited they get, so excited their entire backside wags. I love that look of adoration. I love that look when you say Bad dog and they just look at you with this real look of shame. Resolve melts. I haven’t had a dog in a number of years, just not a good place for one, but growing up our family dog was part of the family and we still have a picture of him displayed after all these years. I would love to see this movie and read this book. I’ve heard it is a real tear jerker.

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