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My Dog's Purpose


I was away at college on February 14, 2004, when my mom called to tell that Dr. Vezza, our loyal and local veterinarian, had made a house call...

He showed up unexpectedly, knocked at the front door, and presented my mom with a Valentine, a sweet and silly six-month-old cairn terrier named Brandi. Her owners couldn’t handle a peppy puppy with so much vim, vigor, and energy; and lucky for Brandi (and us), Dr. V knew the perfect home and family for this quirky cairn.

You see, we had just lost our longtime family shih-tzu, and Dr. Vezza suspected our whole household needed some help to heal. This bubbly blond Toto-dog was exactly what and who could bring light back to our lives—he was sure of it. “Take her for the weekend, and see if she is a fit. I’ll be back on Monday. No strings,” Dr. Vezza told my mom.

Of course, my parents, in total denial, claimed they weren’t going to keep her. Meanwhile, they told me this, over the phone, whilst on a shopping spree at their local pet store. Nevertheless, I made the rash decision to wake up at the crack of dawn the next morning to drive from Syracuse to spend less than 24 hours at home with this funny, wacky puppy before my parents had the chance to give her back to Dr. Vezza.

I’ll never forget walking into the house, after a five-hour drive, and having this small, funky, single snaggle-toothed alien come barreling towards me. I fell instantly in love.

Brandi, with a distinct personality that was all her own, was, in fact, just what the doctor (or should I say vet?) ordered. She brought joy and play and fun and love and life back to our home. She was a comedian, a nurse, and an instant bright spot in our world. This was her destiny—her purpose. And she filled our everyday for 12-plus years with endless affection, unconditional adoration, and so much laughter.

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Brandi passed just two months ago, and it’s been tough. We miss her. My kids are confused. And our toy poodle has been undeniably depressed by the loss of her sister and partner in crime. With two young children at home, though, I’ve had to buck up and put on a brave face. My parents and siblings have too. But we think about her often, and I ache for her selfless foot-snuggles at night.

a dogs life

As a dog lover, mourning a furry family member, I’m definitely planning to seeing A Dog’s Purpose, based on the bestselling novel by W. Bruce Cameron. It’s about a dog who finds meaning in his own canine existence through the human lives he enriches. Told from the devoted dog’s point-of-view, we get to experience his journey to enlightenment and learn from his lessons of laughter and love along the way.

I'm sure I’m going to need all the tissues, as I’ll be thinking of Brandi throughout. But I also know that I’ll feel at peace watching this film unfold, because Brandi’s purpose was fulfilled. She healed our hearts and patched our souls—she was and is our forever Valentine.

A Dog’s Purpose, directed by Lasse Hallström and starring Dennis Quaid, Peggy Lipton, Britt Robertson, K.J. Ana, Juliet Rylance, Luke Kirby, John Ortiz, and Pooch Halls hits theaters on Jan. 27.

P.S. You can recreate the #ADogsPurpose movie poster using your own dog, and share via social media using #MyDogsPurpose. Your furry best friend could even be featured in the film’s campaign! Get started now:

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