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Does The Dog Die? Dogs Are Our Teachers

Psychologists point to the importance of integrating sorrow into our lives. All world religions point to it as well. Jesus: “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” Buddha: “Our sorrows and wounds are healed only when we touch them with compassion.

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The Teacher of Compassion | Usage through Shutterstock Editorial License

Dogs Are Our Teachers

If we have dogs in our lives, we know the incredible joy of the dog-human bonding. There is even an academic foundation, HABRI, studying the powerful relationship between humans and animals. As America’s beloved poet, Mary Oliver, says in her quirky and wise collection, Dog Songs:

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The Tender Lesson Of The Dog

Oliver is so right. Dogs die too soon. In my own long life, I have had to deal with the deaths of five beloved dogs.

Here I am with Arthur, the Corgi | Photo by Molli Kirkpatrick

“Why, Daddy?” she asked. She still had that strange look on her face. “Why do dogs die so young? Shadow was only seventeen. He was not even as old as my babysitter.”
“To teach us,” he said.
“Teach us what, Daddy?”
“Compassion,” he replied.
“But why, Daddy?” she asked.
“So that we might be kinder. So we might make the world kinder. They leave, but they leave us with their lesson. All great teachers do that.”

For all of us, life yields plenty of complications as we care for our dogs. We don’t always need either Netflix or the local multiplex to remind us of potential tragedies. That’s why there is the trigger website,

Co-founder of MIT Center for Future Storytelling, President of Paramount Pictures, Production Chief of Walt Disney Studios, optimist, author and teacher.

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