Being a veterinarian, I had been called to examine a
ten-year-old Irish wolfhound named Belker. The dog's
owners, Ron, his wife, Lisa, and their little boy, Shane,
were all very attached to Belker, and they were hoping
fora miracle.
I examined Belker and found he was dying of cancer.
Itold the family we couldn't do anything for Belker,
and offered to perform the euthanasia procedure for
the old dog in their home.
As we made arrangements, Ron and Lisa told me they
thought it would be good for six-year-old Shane to
observe the procedure. They felt as though Shane
might learn something from the experience.
The next day, I felt the familiar catch in my throat as
Belker's family surrounded him. Shane seemed so
calm, petting the old dog for the last time, that I
wondered if he understood what was going on. Within
a few minutes, Belker slipped peacefully away.
The little boy seemed to accept Belker's transition
without any difficulty or confusion. We sat together
for a while after Belker's death, wondering aloud
about the sad fact that animal lives are shorter than
human lives.
Shane, who had been listening quietly, piped up, "I
know why."
Startled, all turned him. What of his
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