So it was a Sunday afternoon and I was scanning through Netflix to find a movie I could watch with my pet dog. After much indecision and a struggle between animated cartoons ( my pet frenchie loves watching some of these ) and a movie, the one we finally settled down to watch was called A Dog’s Purpose.
Directed by Lasse Holstrom written by Bruce Cameron and thrice nominated this movie has many adorable dogs for its central canine character. The storyline of the movie follows a dog soul ( following the belief that all living creatures have an inner soul) through its many dog lives and the relationships with many owners or pet parents. Reincarnation and circle of life are both underlying themes throughout this movie which makes it a perfect chicken soup for the soul. I have not enjoyed crying during a movie so much since I saw Julia Roberts Eat Pray Love. It is cathartic to watch the two deep spiritual messages underlying this movie’s Hollywood feel-good flick plot. It could also be viewed as several short snippets or stories of humans and their pet dogs and the unique bond the dog soul shares with one particular owner. In each life, the dog soul carries something with him into the next life. So then what was the dog’s purpose you think? Well keeping in mind that each soul even doggy souls have a purpose to fulfil in their life I would say it was to provide companionship, love, and loyalty to their pet parents and in particular to help one struggling pet parent to find satisfaction and completeness in love.
The dog’s soul goes through many different lifetimes in the movie. Since a dog’s life span is much lesser when calculated in human years, seven dog years make one human year from the first lifetime to the last, in each lifetime irrespective of gender, looks or pet parent, the dog soul in different dog bodies brings…
to each of his or her pet parents. It shows the strength and courage of the pet and parent bond that we share with our pets.
In the first life the dog’s soul is born in a ditch as a stray puppy and it’s a short life as animal control takes him away and gases him along with the other stray dogs they have collected.
Without going too much into the afterlife or what happens after death the dog’s soul is reborn. The afterlife is simply a dark blank screen for a few seconds. The doggy soul’s second life he is born as a golden retriever to a doggy breeder but does not want to be in a cage and runs away when he is still a pup. He is picked up and put into a truck by a passing man who locks him up inside with the windows up and is in the verge of death by heat exhaustion in the truck when he is rescued by a lady and her son Ethan who name him Bailey. So Bailey is then a pet to Ethan who grows up to be a youth with a promising football career until an accident injures him and kills his chances of football scholarship and a football career. This is one of the dog souls favorite lives and this owner named Ethan the one his bond is strongest with. The accident destroys Ethan’s spirit and Ethan grows old to be a bitter lonely old man. Much before that Bailey lives to a ripe old age and passes away of an old age ailment when Ethan is a young college man.
The story is not over yet and the dog soul returns to Ethan being his owner towards the end of the movie in a beautiful caring way.
The third life of the doggy soul is that of a German Shepherd a police guard dog named Ellie and in this life she saves the life of her police officer trainer pet parent and a little girl from drowning. Her companionship is invaluable to the lovely police officer who handles her.
The next life of the doggy soul is that of a welsh corgi with his owner a college student named Maya and he is named Tino. He lives a full peaceful life with Maya through her youth and with her family and kids as she grows older and thanks her for one of his best life’s ever before he dies once again of an old age ailment. He loves Maya and her family and ya deeply loved by them in return.
The last life of the doggy soul in the movie is as a St. Bernard Australian shepherd mix breed. His owners are an abusive and negligent couple who keep him chained up in their tiny backyard all the time. He grows up from puppyhood chained like that to watch that was very cruel. He escapes from those owners and that life to walk past a dog park with a human there a lady with a child that has a very familiar cherished smell of the dog soul. He follows these humans he smelled at the park to meet Hannah his first owner Ethan’s high school sweetheart. He then finds( through his memories of his first life on Ethan’s farm ) his way from Hannah to his first owner Ethan’s doorstep and starts to live with him and unites Hannah and Ethan. Ethan calls him Buddy. The dog Bailey or Buddy brings faith and love back into his first owner Ethan’s life by bringing his long list college sweetheart Hannah back into Ethan’s life. The movie ends after Ethan and Hannah are married and Buddy in his special way lets Ethan know he is the same Bailey.
It may be difficult for some to sympathize with the story, some may find it too whimsical or others may just love it but all in all it’s a great family film.
Buddy and Bailey leave you filled with hope and faith in the mysterious loving ways of the universe.
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