2017 Reading List: A Dog’s Purpose by W. Bruce Cameron

As I write this, my dog is sitting on the couch next to me, looking at me with her big, soulful eyes. I spend a lot of time wondering what she’s thinking, projecting my human emotions into her animal mind, putting words into her wordless mouth. I can only hope that my imagination is even slightly accurate.

I imagine she’s full of love, adoration, eagerness, and some sass. I imagine she thinks we’re weird and crazy. I imagine she doesn’t understand how much we love her.

So I read the book, A Dog’s Purpose, by W. Bruce Cameron, and I found out what he imagines when his dog looks at him with wordless, soulful eyes. And it was amazing. 

This book is the story of a dog. Or rather, stories. In this book, the dog’s soul lives on, even after s/he dies. This sounded weird to me at first, and it was a bit weird after the first dog died, but it made more sense as I got through the book.

In the first story, the dog is a stray who gets picked up and kept in a yard full of other dog’s. He’s well taken care of, but his life is short.

In another story, the dog is a puppy who lives with a young boy. He and the boy have a close bond and they grow up together. The dog lives a long, wonderful life.

In another story, the dog is a female police dog, trained to search for and find missing people. She works hard and has a great, long life.

In each of these stories, the dog can always remember his past lives. He takes what he learns and applies it, building on his skills. He knows how to survive in the wild, he knows how to rescue people, he knows how to be good and listen to commands.

He always feels that he has led a good life. He tries his very best to be a good dog, the best he can be. And he finds purpose in that. He finds love and connection. He helps people. So in his mind, he can’t understand why his soul lives on. Why does he keep coming back, why does he have so many lives? He wonders if there is something more that he’s missing.

I don’t want to ruin this one for you. This is a book that made me laugh, cry, and nod my head in complete understanding. If you’re a dog owner, you will get it, and you’ll love it.

I look at my dog now and I hope she’s had many lives. I hope she knows that she’s in a good home and that we love her like crazy. I hope her soul lives on, because dog’s lives are too short. They are here for just a little while, to teach us what it means to be responsible, to forgive and to love unconditionally. And then when they’ve loved us long and hard enough, and we’ve learned what we needed, they move on.

This book was a beautiful look into a dog’s mind and soul. It was exactly what I imagine my dog must be thinking, and what I’m sure everyone imagines their dog is thinking. This book is bringing all dog owners together, connecting us all to the soul of this first-person narrator. This dog’s purpose becomes more clear throughout his lives, but it also raises the thought: maybe we all have a purpose, and we’re all interconnected in some way. Maybe everything happens for a reason, and it takes some lessons learned, some forgiveness and moving on, and some past lives lived, to figure out what that purpose truly is.

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