One of the great things about kids is that their perspective can often give us adults a new perspective on things that we take fore granted or they can give us an entirely new view of something unique and different.
I am reminded of this in a heart-touching story about four year old Shane and the aging and sickly family dog, 10 year old Belker, as told by the vet who put the dog to sleep in the presence of Shane and his family. The parents had decided to tell Shane and let him be a part of that very hard process.
The vet said, ‘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, "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, "Everybody is born so that they can learn how to live a good life - like loving everybody and being nice, right?" The four-year-old continued, "Well, animals already know how to do that, so they don’t have to stay as long."