This Dog's Purpose

Julia wanted to watch "A Dog's Purpose." Though I knew it was going to be horrible, we watched it together as a family. If you haven't seen the film ***spoiler alert*** the dog dies. Repeatedly. It's one of those over emotional deals that uses every cliche to extract tears from even the most stalwart moviegoer. Tearful goodbye as they put the hero dog that rescued the family from a house fire to sleep? Check!

"He won't feel a thing, just a pinch in his neck," says 1960s movie veterinarian.

Well I felt it!

At any rate, the movie might compel some to look deeper into their relationships with their own canine companions. "Do you think Luke is a reincarnated version of any of your former dogs?" my daughter asked.

No. Next question.

"Why not?"

Blast.

Perhaps a little background on our brown and white shih tzu, Luke Vader....

In 2012, we had a five-year-old shih tzu, Leia, and a seven and a half year old girl. The girl didn't remember when the dog was a puppy and said dog paid no attention to us. She slept upstairs on one of our beds and would only present herself to eat and take occasional begrudging walks. Did she play with the very active human child? No. Did she entertain the parents? Play with squeak toys? Fetch? Anything? No.

"Maybe we should get a puppy so that Julia can have a 'puppy experience,'" I said.

I've since denied ever having said this. Still we found ourselves in a place called Shelocta, PA meeting a woman with a pair of mommy and daddy shih tzus that had produced two brown and white males and two black and white females. One of the males had been spoken for so the woman brought three non pick of the litter puppies to some sort of truck stop. It was Valentines Day and I held each puppy to perform my then tried and true health and behavioral checks.

The winner: Luke. We went back to Shelocta on March 1, 2012 to bring him home.

Luke was a gregarious boy from the start. We had to rescue him from certain death four times a day when he was little. He would fall in any hole, briar bush, or pond. He would dive from high places. He was fearless or perhaps stupid.

Luke in a rare moment of contemplation as to whether or not a fall from an Easter basket will kill him.
Five years later, Luke shows no sign of calming down. Now our human Girl child is twelve and I desperately miss the days when our only dog slept alone and never bothered us. Having a younger dog brother inspired Leia to be ever present. Where one pooch goes, the other is not far behind. No UPS man sneaks by this house. Doorbell, dog barking? They're on it.

Luke is always on duty and his presence shaved years off Leia's life. They are two permanent puppies. Potty trained puppies at least. Which is a bonus.
Luke, on a break from window patrol, with his big sister, Leia.

So I think Luke is on his first trip if dog reincarnation is a thing. The only dog I've ever known that's anything like him is the idiotic collie, King, we had when I was a kid. King would try to evade our other collie, Jenny, when they played. He must have thought his dog house was a tunnel because he'd go tearing into it. Smack! King would come wobbling out, stunned. I can picture Luke doing that. In fact, I've seen him run into a fence post before so it's really not a stretch.

Luke is an original. We got him because we wanted to know we had a dog. We wanted our dog to be present with us. We sure know we have a dog. He's fulfilling his purpose.

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