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April 11, 2023

How my rescue dog, Benny Huckleberry, taught me the true purpose of living.

My Benny Huckleberry is a solid 80 lb. mixed breed dog with a stunning base coat of light brown fur. The rest of his coat is masterfully dotted with irregular dark brown spots. He has accents of white in strategic places; four white boots, a white blaze of fur at his throat, and a white-tipped tail. A daily vision of Benny is no different than going to a museum and studying a fine work of art. He is that beautiful and I sincerely believe that he was magnificently hand-painted by God. Beyond his dashing good looks is the even more special stuff, namely his kind, wise and knowing demeanor. Unquestionably, Benny is a gift to all who engage with him. With the shy and fearful dogs he is gentle, receptive, and reassuring. With the pushy and aggressive dogs he stands his ground, sets a boundary and walks away. And with the well-adjusted playful dogs, he brings out the best in them; so much so that they zoom around the yard with glee every time he shows up. He’s even gentle and loving with cats, pigs, and chickens.

Benny was also a therapy dog back before new Covid visitor rules were imposed. Miraculously, even in a hospital setting, he always knew exactly what to do. He’d approach the residents with a gentleness and tail wag that brought comfort and a smile to even the most compromised of patients. I’d always be in awe of his abilities since he had far more than most humans, including me. That’s why it makes sense that through him, I learned what I believe to be, the purpose of living.

We are here to bring light, to make things better for each other.

If you’re a dog person, you may be open to what I just said. And If you aren’t, I’d love your thoughts in the comments.

What Benny does in bringing light makes sense to me. I am not sure what other purpose our lives could have? It’s not to collect things and become famous, I am sure of that. It’s not to be the most beautiful or richest, since those things are all fleeting. If one looks throughout history and reads centuries worth of literature, philosophers and writers have never agreed on an answer. Same with most humans around you. Ask ten people in your neighborhood what they think, and they too, will all say something different.

We are here to bring light, to make things better for each other.


That’s it. It’s really that simple. How many of us can say that we strive to make it better for those around us, both family and strangers? Sharing a smile with someone to remove their frown? How many of us consciously and consistently make that commitment to shine our light as best we can no matter what? I know that I don’t; not consistently anyway since I’m usually too wrapped up in my own stuff. That said, going forward I am going to think of Benny and sure as heck try harder. To bring light whenever I can and at the very least, do no harm when I can’t. It seems to me that like Benny, if we can do this – our lives suddenly have lots of purpose and the impact we have extends far beyond our short time here.

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