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A tail wagger and tear jerker

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A Dog’s Purpose offers happiness and hope to readers

When it comes to A Dog’s Purpose, Guideposts says it all: “This book gives you a glimpse into the heart and mind of a dog– and will change your view of our furry friends forever.” For six years, W. Bruce Cameron’s novel has been enjoyed by those both young and old, and warmed the hearts of all. It manages to erase the heart-wrenching pain of losing a dog, and give the owner hope that their furry friend could be in some other corner of the world, living another happy life.

Author W Bruce Cameron’s book was published on July 1, 2010. The novel was a New York Times bestseller for 49 weeks

The story begins with a feral dog named Toby who is living in the woods with his mother, sister, and two brothers. He is quickly caught and brought to a pound with his sister and one of his brothers. He lives a few happy months there before illness sets in. As he lays dying at the vet, he is met by a bright white light and the beginning of another life. This time around, he is a Golden Retriever named Bailey. He is adopted by a young boy named Ethan, and their bond is unbreakable from the start. The dog learns the ins and outs of life as a pet rather than a member of a pack, and is loved and adored by the whole family. This happy life lasts for a couple years until he faces death once again, and the cycle continues until he finds his purpose.

The style with which Cameron writes A Dog’s Purpose is simple, but has an eloquent tone and is beautifully told. Every event is described as a dog would perceive it, and yet, the storyline and details within it remain clear. Each chapter is packed with emotions brought by a dog’s innocence and pure love for its owner. This is the one constant in the book; although the breed, gender, owner, and lifestyle change with each new life, the dog consistently holds an unbreakable bond with its owner.

I have come to love and adore this book, so of course, when the disturbing footage of a German Shepherd being forced into rushing water on set of the Dog’s Purpose movie was released, I was shocked and conflicted.

Shortly after the video was released, Josh Gad, who voiced the dog, released a statement on Twitter. He claimed: “While I do not know all of the details and cannot speak to the level of care and

caution that went into this moment […], I am shaken and sad to see any animal put in a situation against its will”

The authenticity of the video has yet to be confirmed, however, PETA asked that animal lovers boycott the film while producers of A Dog’s Purpose insisted that the footage was manipulated and misleading. Amidst this controversy, here is my advice to anyone feeling conflicted: read the book instead. The novel is (in my opinion) the purest form of this work, representing each character and event in an honest and insightful way. It sheds light on a topic I had previously given no thought to, and opened my eyes to a happy possibility. 

After finishing such an emotional novel, readers may feel a sense of loss and, ironically, purposelessness. Luckily, Cameron wrote an equally wonderful sequel: A Dog’s Journey. In this sequel, the dog (who last became Buddy and found his purpose with an older, but just as loving, Ethan) finds a new purpose in life with the old man’s granddaughter, who is desperately in need of Buddy’s companionship.

A Dog’s Purpose is the kind of book to stick with a person for years, the kind that brings happiness and hope and tears all in one. It has the power to completely change a person’s view of their dog whilst offering a happy ending for dogs all over. This book is definitely the most unconventional (in the best possible way) and creative ones I have ever read, and one I will never forget.

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