Book Review: A Dog’s Purpose

Image result for a dog's purposeA Dog’s Purpose by W. Bruce Cameron is an excellent book about a dog finding his purpose in this world. The book begins with one dog who keeps leading multiple lives and is perpetually re-born until his purpose is fulfilled. In the dog’s first life, he is feral and ends up being taken in by a kind-hearted woman who can’t take care of so many dogs. However, he ends up lame and unadoptable and is put down, but he made the woman laugh.

In the dog’s second life, he keeps having the nagging feeling that there’s something he’s supposed to do. He ends up in a home as a companion to a little boy named Ethan, where his purpose is to comfort the boy whenever the boy needed him. The dog learns humans are so much more complex than dogs and his job is not what he wants but what his master wants. His purpose was to love the boy and be with him and make him happy.

In the dog’s third life, he is trained as a search and rescue dog where he learned his purpose was to find people and save them.

The last life we find the dog abused and runs away. As he’s running, he runs into a familiar smell: that of Ethan’s girlfriend from long ago. The dog is determined to find Ethan who is still living in the same home except he is old now. He realizes his purpose in this world had been to save and Ethan was lonely without his girlfriend. The dog ends up re-connecting the two who eventually marry. He had fulfilled his purpose of rescuing people from despair of their lives.


Ultimately, it is Ethan’s turn to leave this world. But the dog is by his side, fulfilling his purpose:

“The job of a good dog was ultimately to be with humans, remaining by their sides no matter what course their lives might take. All I could do now was offer him comfort, the assurance that he was not alone but was tended by the dog who loved him more than anything else in the whole world.”

I LOVED this book. Having come off of reading The Art of Racing in the Rain, I wasn’t for sure I wanted to read another book where the dog dies (let alone repeatedly). But A Dog’s Purpose is not sad because the dog lives on and the end of the dog’s life is not written as sad. I love how the dog finds his boy again, is 100% devoted to the boy, and is with the boy at the end of his life. I honestly hope I don’t have pets when it’s my time to go because I feel like it’s cruel to leave them without me, but I liked this book.

I love the insights the dog has to human’s lives as well and how the dog’s life just fits in with the human’s. This book is very realistic and not overly sentimental. If you love pets (especially dogs), then A Dog’s Purpose┬áby W. Bruce Cameron is a must-read.

We all have a purpose and our job is to discover it while we’re here. This dog does and it’s encouraging to the rest of us who are still seeking our purpose in this world. Your pet may seem like it’s just being an animal, leading its life, but when it greets you at the end of a long day with love or jumps on your lap and purrs, it’s fulfilling its purpose. Now go and fulfill yours.