Being a veterinarian, I was called to examine an ill Irish wolfhound named Balfour. The dog’s owners, Don and Mona, and their little boy, Sean, were very attached to Balfour and were hoping for a miracle.
My examination of Balfour found that he was dying of cancer. I told the family the sad news.
There was no miracle left to save Balfour so I offered to perform the euthanasia procedure for the old dog in their home. As we made arrangements, Don and Mona told me they thought it would be good for their four-year-old son to observe the procedure. They felt as though Sean might glean something positive from the experience.
The next day, I felt the familiar catch in my throat as Balfour’s family surrounded him. Sean seemed calm, petting the old dog for the last time that I questioned if he understood what was about to transpire.
Within a few minutes, Balfour slipped peacefully away. The little boy seemed to accept Balfour’s transition without any difficulty or confusion. We sat together for a while after Balfour’s death, wondering aloud about the fact that animals live such short lives compared to humans.
Sean, 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, “When people are born they must learn to do what’s right– like loving everybody all the time and being nice, right?” The four-year-old continued, “Well, dogs are born knowing how to love and be kind to others, so they don’t have to stay as long.”
~Submitted by Ellen Goode of Alabama.