Anyone who knows me well knows that it is my goal to author child and adult literature. I’ve dreamt of writing fiction and nonfiction stories from the perspective of my own dogs to capture the essence of our human-animal bond. My experiences in the assistance dogs community, however, ignited a reluctance to utilizing such an anthropomorphic approach in my writing. To mediate this inner conflict and develop inspiration, I turned to existing literature that has been well-esteemed by its readers to date. The work of W. Bruce Cameron, a bestselling author, perfectly exemplifies how to write from the dog’s point of view, embrace creativity, and respect the unique differences between humans and non-human animals.
“There are no bad dogs, Bobby, just bad people. They just need love.”(Cameron, 2010, p. 34)
“A Dog’s Purpose” is the first in a series of tail-wagging good reads written by Cameron. Cameron strategically utilizes anthropomorphism to offer insight into the science behind dogs (i.e., their keen sense of smell, olfactory detection of hormonal changes in humans, etc.). Through a series of stories, readers become attuned to issues, such as shelter overcrowding and pet loss, and an open-minded audience can expect to think creatively about what might happen after their pet crosses the rainbow bridge.
Some might argue that “A Dog’s Purpose” is a hope-instilling read that offers insight into the life purposes of ourselves and our companion animals. Through the lived experiences of the dog, it becomes readily apparent that the purpose of the human-animal bond is to promote protection, companionship, safety, security, comfort, and beyond. Anyone with a keen eye for philosophy will quickly recognize that “A Dog’s Purpose” invites questions about one’s own purpose. For example, do we each have just one purpose? Does our purpose change as we navigate life? How do we discover our purpose?
“This was, I decided, my purpose as a dog, to comfort the boy whenever he needed me.”(Cameron, 2010, p. 71)
As painted by Cameron, having and finding purpose isn’t just a unique human experience, it’s commonplace for our companion animals as well.