To Rudi in loving memory

My sister gave a home to a dachshund puppy she decided to name Rudi because of his gorgeous red coat. Rudi came from a legal bordello in Nevada where it turned out employees were not allowed to have dogs. From the very first night, my sister said that Rudi seemed to know exactly where the bedroom was located, trotting right in like he owned it. He was also excellent at sleeping deeply, as you can see for yourself. After 16 years, we lost him and still miss him terribly. The following story tells me why: “Being a vet, I was called to examine a ten-year-old Irish wolfhound named Belker. The owners, Ron, his wife, Lisa, and their little boy, Shane, were all very attached to Belker, and hoped for a miracle. After examining Belker, I found he was dying of cancer. I told the family nothing could be done and offered to euthanize him in their home. Ron and Lisa told me they wanted six-year-old Shane to be there too. The next day, I felt a familiar catch in my throat as Belker’s family surrounded him. Shane seemed calm, as he was petting the old dog for the last time. I wondered if he understood what was going on. In a few minutes, Belker slipped peacefully away. The little boy seemed to accept Belker’s transition with no difficulty or confusion. As we sat together after, wondering why animal lives are shorter than those of humans. Shane quietly piped up, “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. It has actually changed the way I try to live. Shane 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?” Then he continued, “Well, dogs already know how to do that, so they don’t have to stay as long.” From: Ernest Kurtz & Katherine Ketcham “Experiencing Spirituality.”

Patricia Ford
Los Angeles, CA