I come from a family of dog-lovers. I’ve mentioned this before, but growing up, we always had at least one dog in our family. And let me tell you, we love our dogs as the rightful members of our family that they are. We had Canelo and Happy when I was a baby, two rambunctious labs. We had our first sheltie Caramelo when I was a little kid. Our second sheltie Scottie and beagle-terrier mix Daisy were our childhood dogs. While I was in college, my parents got shepherd-pointer mix Jake and then later shepherd-corgi-chow mix Penny. All of these dogs have been so different from each other and have brought us so much joy.
This past summer, my parents had to put Jake down. He was my mom’s dog and he loved her in a way far deeper than how he cared for the rest of us; we knew it wasn’t personal, he had a connection with my mom from the moment they saw him at the Tucson Humane Society and that connection never changed. My mom was Jake’s world and he did a great job making her feel protected whenever she was home alone during the day, with my dad at work, Alex at school and me at Trinity. Knowing how much my mom loved Jake, I got her the book A Dog’s Purpose after we had to put Jake down. She loved it and appreciated it during that time over the summer. Knowing that I would also enjoy it, she let me borrow it while we were in Tucson for Christmas. Whereas Mindy Kaling’s book made me laugh the whole time, I sobbed and whimpered through most of this one. It is beautiful and highlights all of the reasons why we love dogs so much. I think the last book that made me cry this much was probably Marley & Me. Darn you, dog books.
If these four-legged friends have a special place in your life, I’m sure you will also treasure this book. I don’t want to give too much away because it was so special to know little about this book before reading it, but I will leave you with two points: One, I love that this book is actually told from a dog’s perspective. This may seem weird at first, but the more I read, the more realistic this dog’s voice became and the more I treasured the way dogs see their human companions. Two, pace yourself with this book. There were definitely parts where I had to just stop, put the book down, and then go cry and hold Wrigley for a bit. Yes, the crying was strangely therapeutic, but reading this all at once can get pretty heavy.
I didn’t need this book to remind me how much I love dogs, but I do appreciate how much it made me remember that dogs too have a purpose in our world. To some they may just be (sometimes obnoxious and terrible) animals, but I really do see them as so much more. After reading this book, I couldn’t help but look back at all the dogs I’ve had throughout my life and reflect on what I believe their purposes were. I believe my early childhood dogs of Canelo, Happy and Caramelo introduced me to the joy dogs can bring, they were all goofs and very playful. Scottie taught me what companionship and fierce loyalty are, whereas my brother and I joke that Daisy taught us how to become cranky with old age. Jake taught me what deep love for one owner looks like and Penny continues to teach me to not judge a book by its cover; she was a skinny, skittish dog when we adopted her, and not the cutest, but she sure is sweet and strong now. Our first foster dog Duke taught Chip and I that despite a terrible history, dogs can learn to trust and love again and they all deserve that second chance. And then there’s Wrigley. He’s the first dog I’ve had as an adult and is the first living thing Chip and I have been responsible for. Yes, he can be a conniving brat who likes to check the kitchen counters while we pray before a meal, but he adds so much to our daily life. Sometimes we get a little sentimental thinking that whenever we start a family in the years to come, our kids won’t know Wrigley the same way we do, but after reading this book, I really feel that Wrigley’s purpose is to benefit us and our marriage (and hopefully not to prepare us for the worst child ever haha). He was there when we got engaged and is there for us every day when we get home. We’ve shared with other couples that Wrigley is a great reminder to us in our marriage of what unconditional love looks like. It doesn’t matter how long we’ve been gone or if we just corrected some bad behavior on his part; he greets us with abandon and jumps into our laps at every opportunity, ready to love on us and hopefully get a belly rub in return. He’s there laying beside our bed when we go to sleep and ready to greet us in the mornings when we wake up. For these and many more reasons, we love our pup.