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Why dogs don’t live longer

Although this story isn’t part of Care For Dogs’ history, I still thought it was important to place here as a tender kiss from dogs to all pet owners who have lost loved ones.

I was called to examine a ten-year-old French Bulldog named Belker. I was his veterinarian giving advice on everythng from food to the tactical service dog vest to choose. His owners, Ron, his wife Lisa, and their little boy Shane, were all very attached to Belker, taking care of him all this time, treating with the best food from https://bluebuffalo.com/for-dogs/product-type/dog-treats/… And now they were hoping for a miracle.

I examined Belker and found he was dying of cancer. I told 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 and said, “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, “People are born so that they can learn how to live a good Life—like loving everybody all the time and being nice, right?” The six-year-old continued, “Well, dogs already know how to do that, so they don’t need to stay as long.”

Posted: Monday 22nd Sep 2008
Category: Education
Tagged as: , ,

3 Responses »

  1. Actually, there is little rhyme or reason for the relative life spans of various animals and humans. As a general rule within the realm of mammalian species, bigger lives longer. Elephants, for instance, are programmed to live 60 years or more; mice for just one year. However, within a single species, as with canines, smaller often lives longer due to reduced stress on internal organs. It takes more effort for those organs to maintain an Irish Wolfhound sized body than that of an Irish Terrier. We humans are among the longer lived species; however, some others still have us beat. There are parrots that have lived for a century—Winston Churchill’s pet parrot only died a few years ago—and not long ago a giant tortoise whose life had been spent in captivity (and thus was well-documented) died at over 200 years of age, having been hatched when Thomas Jefferson was president. In the case of purebred dogs, there appears to be some level of genetic depression due to limited gene pools and the effects of inbreeding. This, coupled with a lack of natural selection normally faced by wild animals, has made them more prone to illness. Australian Dingoes, although technically a pure breed, are largely wild and can live 25 years. The New Guinea Singing Dog, also found in the wild, has been known to live past 30 years. Nature has only allowed the healthiest, hardiest specimens to survive and it has kept them relatively free from disease.

  2. I would gladly give up a few of my years to give to the dogs I have loved so much.

  3. Make sense, and Laura I agree with you if i could trade in my remaining years on this planet, I’m already 25 yrs old, but i would great give up 30 yrs of my life to my dogs, not just a few year 40 yrs so, say the dogs are ready to pass on 8 or 10., and you are 25 yrs old but let’s assume you will died at 75 give or take a few years, i would great die at 35 and the dog would be able to live longer than I would and I would be able to die peacefully and until dogs start outliving humans humans might not be able to die in peace.