Being a veterinarian, I had been called to examine a ten-year-old Irish wolfhound named Belker. The dog’s owners, Ron, his wife, Lisa, and their little boy, Shane, were all very attached to Belker, and they were hoping for a miracle.
I examined Belker and found he was dying of cancer. I told the family we couldn’t do anything for Belker, and offered to perform the euthanasia procedure for the old dog in their home.
As we made arrangements, Ron and Lisa told me they thought it would be good for six-year-old Shane to observe the procedure. They felt as though Shane might learn something from the experience.
The next day, I felt the familiar catch in my throat as Belker’s family surrounded him. 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, “People are born so that they can learn how to live a good life – like loving everybody all the time and being nice, right?”
The six-year-old continued, “Well, dogs already know how to do that, so they don’t have to stay as long.”
Mind Blowing…These 23 Unbelievable Facts Will DESTROY Your Understanding Of Time – Ned Hardy
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What does it feel like to be wrongly convicted
I was wrongly convicted of murdering my wife. I recall that first night in jail. It was not unlike being punched in the face. I was stunned, numb, and not sure of what lay before me. All personal control had been yanked away. What I wore, what I ate, where I slept, and where I could not go were all dictated by the State. In that situation, the absolute power of government becomes blatant, coercive, Orwellian.
The first few months of prison life are about adaptation. It’s a different society, a subculture of power — physical, emotional, and spiritual. There are simple rules. Obey and internalize those rules and you’ll get by.
As the years pile up, feigned apathy becomes your outward mask. But on the inside, anger and bitterness consume you. Revenge occupies your so-called free moments. At other odd times, you fantasize about living a normal life… or escaping to a tropical paradise… or dying in prison. You imagine building houses, establishing relationships with the opposite sex, or burning down the houses and the relationships of your enemies.
But as the decades accrue, an acceptance and an understanding of life creep in. If you’re lucky, you become calmer, more relaxed, more sure. You see the value of faith, hope, and of course, love. You come to appreciate pure things, like the behavior of animals and the joy of small children. It sounds cliche and almost banal, but time wears a man down.
In the end, if you are lucky, you see that our trials are what improve us. And if you are very lucky and somewhat insightful, you see that whatever your trial has been, it is exactly what you needed. Our trials make us who we are.