A Dog's Purpose

A Dog's Purpose

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Overview

After a tragically short life as a stray mutt, Bailey is surprised to find himself reborn as a rambunctious golden-haired puppy. Bailey's search for his new life's meaning leads him into the loving arms of eight-year-old Ethan. During their countless adventures, Bailey joyously discovers how to be a good dog.

But this life as a beloved family pet is not the end of Bailey's journey. Reborn as a puppy yet again, Bailey wonders, will he ever find his purpose?

Heartwarming, insightful, and often laugh-out-loud funny, A Dog's Purpose is not only the story of a dog's many lives but also a dog's-eye commentary on human relationships and the unbreakable bonds between man and man's best friend. This beautifully crafted novel teaches us that love never dies, that our true friends are always with us, and that every creature on Earth is born with a purpose.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781400166459
Publisher: Tantor Media, Inc.
Publication date: 07/06/2010
Series: Dog's Purpose Series , #1
Edition description: MP3 - Unabridged CD
Product dimensions: 5.30(w) x 7.50(h) x 0.30(d)

About the Author

W. Bruce Cameron is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of A Dog's Purpose, A Dog's Journey, A Dog's Way Home (all now major motion pictures), The Dog Master, Ellie's Story, Molly's Story, Max's Story, Shelby's Story, The Dogs of Christmas, and other books. He lives in California.

George K. Wilson has narrated over one hundred fiction and nonfiction audiobook titles, from Thomas L. Friedman to Thomas Pynchon, and has won several AudioFile Earphones Awards.

Read an Excerpt

A Dog's Purpose


By W. Bruce Cameron

Tom Doherty Associates

Copyright © 2010 W. Bruce Cameron
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-4299-6027-4


CHAPTER 1

One day it occurred to me that the warm, squeaky, smelly things squirming around next to me were my brothers and sister. I was very disappointed.

Though my vision had resolved itself only to the point where I could distinguish fuzzy forms in the light, I knew that the large and beautiful shape with the long wonderful tongue was my mother. I had figured out that when the chill air struck my skin it meant she had gone somewhere, but when the warmth returned it would be time to feed. Often finding a place to suckle meant pushing aside what I now knew was the snout of a sibling seeking to crowd me out of my share, which was really irritating. I couldn't see that my brothers and sister had any purpose whatsoever. When my mother licked my stomach to stimulate the flow of fluids from under my tail, I blinked up at her, silently beseeching her to please get rid of the other puppies for me. I wanted her all to myself.

Gradually, the other dogs came into focus, and I grudgingly accepted their presence in the nest. My nose soon told me I had one sister and two brothers. Sister was only slightly less interested in wresting with me than my brothers, one of whom I thought of as Fast, because he somehow always moved more quickly than I could. The other one I mentally called Hungry, because he whimpered whenever Mother was gone and would suckle her with an odd desperation, as if it were never enough. Hungry slept more than my siblings and I did, so we often jumped on him and chewed on his face.

Our den was scooped out underneath the black roots of a tree, and was cool and dark during the heat of the day. The first time I tottered out into the sunlight, Sister and Fast accompanied me, and naturally Fast shoved his way to the front.

Of the four of us, only Fast had a splash of white on his face, and as he trotted jauntily forward this patch of fur flashed in the daylight. I'm special, Fast's dazzling, star-shaped spot seemed to be declaring to the world. The rest of him was as mottled and unremarkably brown and black as I was. Hungry was several shades lighter and Sister shared Mother's stubby nose and flattened forehead, but we all looked more or less the same, despite Fast's prancing.

Our tree was perched on a creek bank, and I was delighted when Fast tumbled head over heels down the bank, though Sister and I plummeted with no more grace when we tried to make the same descent. Slippery rocks and a tiny trickle of water offered wonderful odors, and we followed the wet trail of the creek into a moist, cool cave — a culvert with metal sides. I knew instinctively that this was a good place to hide from danger, but Mother was unimpressed with our find and hauled us unceremoniously back to the Den when it turned out our legs weren't powerful enough to enable us to scale back up the bank.

We had learned the lesson that we couldn't return to the nest on our own when we went down the bank, so as soon as Mother left the nest we did it again. This time Hungry joined us, though once he was in the culvert he sprawled in the cool mud and fell asleep.

Exploring seemed like the right thing to do — we needed to find other things to eat. Mother, getting impatient with us, was standing up when we weren't even finished feeding, which I could only blame on the other dogs. If Hungry weren't so relentless, if Fast weren't so bossy, if Sister didn't wiggle so much, I knew Mother would hold still and allow us to fill our bellies. Couldn't I always coax her to lie down, usually with a sigh, when I reached up for her while she stood above us?

Often Mother would spend extra time licking Hungry while I seethed at the injustice.

By this time, Fast and Sister had both grown larger than I — my body was the same size, but my legs were shorter and stubbier. Hungry was the runt of the litter, of course, and it bothered me that Fast and Sister always abandoned me to play with each other, as if Hungry and I belonged together out of some sort of natural order in the pack.

Since Fast and Sister were more interested in each other than the rest of the family, I punished them by depriving them of my company, going off by myself deep into the culvert. I was sniffing at something deliciously dead and rotten one day when right in front of me a tiny animal exploded into the air — a frog!

Delighted, I leaped forward, attempting to pounce on it with my paws, but the frog jumped again. It was afraid, although all I wanted to do was play and probably wouldn't eat it.

Fast and Sister sensed my excitement and came stampeding into the culvert, knocking me over as they skidded to a stop in the slimy water. The frog hopped and Fast lunged at it, using my head as a springboard. I snarled at him, but he ignored me.

Sister and Fast fell all over themselves to get at the frog, who managed to land in a pool of water and kick away in silent, rapid strokes. Sister put her muzzle in the pond and snorted, sneezing water over Fast and me. Fast climbed on her back, the frog — my frog! — forgotten.

Sadly, I turned away. It looked as though I lived in a family of dimwits.

I was to think of that frog often in the days that followed, usually just as I drifted off to sleep. I found myself wondering how it would have tasted.

More and more frequently, Mother would growl softly when we approached, and the day she clicked her teeth together in warning when we came at her in a greedy tumble I despaired that my siblings had ruined everything. Then Fast crawled to her, his belly low, and she lowered her snout to him. He licked her mouth and she rewarded him by bringing up food, and we rushed forward to share. Fast pushed us away, but we knew the trick, now, and when I sniffed and licked my mother's jaws she gave me a meal.

At this point we had all become thoroughly familiar with the creek bed, and had tracked up and down it until the whole area was redolent with our odors. Fast and I spent most of our time dedicated to the serious business of play, and I was beginning to understand how important it was to him for the game to wind up with me on my back, his mouth chewing my face and throat. Sister never challenged him, but I still wasn't sure I liked what everyone seemed to assume was the natural order of our pack. Hungry, of course, didn't care about his status, so when I was frustrated I bit his ears.

One afternoon I was drowsily watching Sister and Fast yank on a scrap of cloth they'd found when my ears perked up — an animal of some kind was coming, something large and loud. I scrambled to my feet, but before I could race down the creek bed to investigate the noise Mother was there, her body rigid with warning. I saw with surprise that she had Hungry in her teeth, carrying him in a fashion that we'd left behind weeks ago. She led us into the dark culvert and crouched down, her ears flat against her head. The message was clear, and we heeded it, shrinking back from the tunnel opening in silence.

When the thing came into view, striding along the creek bed, I felt Mother's fear ripple across her back. It was big, it stood on two legs, and an acrid smoke wafted from its mouth as it shambled toward us.

I stared intently, absolutely fascinated. For reasons I couldn't fathom I was drawn to this creature, compelled, and I even tensed, preparing to bound out to greet it. One look from my mother, though, and I decided against it. This was something to be feared, to be avoided at all costs.

It was, of course, a man. The first one I'd ever seen.

The man never glanced in our direction. He scaled the bank and disappeared from view, and after a few moments Mother slid out into the sunlight and raised her head to see if the danger had passed. She relaxed, then, and came back inside, giving each of us a reassuring kiss.

I ran out to see for myself, and found myself disheartened when all that remained of the man's presence was a lingering scent of smoke in the air.

Over and over again the next few weeks, Mother reinforced the message we'd learned in that culvert: Avoid men at all costs. Fear them.

The next time Mother went to hunt, we were allowed to go with her. Once we were away from the security of the Den, her behavior became timid and skittish, and we all emulated her actions. We steered clear of open spaces, slinking along next to bushes. If we saw a person, Mother would freeze, her shoulders tense, ready to run. At these times Fast's patch of white fur seemed as obtrusive as a bark, but no one ever noticed us.

Mother showed us how to tear into the filmy bags behind houses, quickly scattering inedible papers and revealing chunks of meat, crusts of bread, and bits of cheese, which we chewed to the best of our ability. The tastes were exotic and the smells were wonderful, but Mother's anxiety affected all of us, and we ate quickly, savoring nothing. Almost immediately Hungry brought up his meal, which I thought was pretty funny until I, too, felt my insides gripped in a powerful spasm.

It seemed to go down easier the second time.

I'd always been aware of other dogs, though I'd never personally met any except those in my own family. Sometimes when we were out hunting they barked at us from behind fences, most likely jealous that we were trotting around free while they were imprisoned. Mother, of course, never let us approach any of the strangers, while Fast usually bristled a little, somehow insulted that anybody would dare call out to us while he lifted his leg on their trees.

Occasionally I even saw a dog in a car! The first time this happened I stared in wonderment at his head hanging out the window, tongue lolling out. He barked joyously when he spotted me, but I was too astounded to do anything but lift my nose and sniff in disbelief.

Cars and trucks were something else Mother evaded, though I didn't see how they could be dangerous if there were sometimes dogs inside them. A large, loud truck came around frequently and took away all the bags of food people left out for us, and then meals would be scarce for a day or two. I didn't like that truck, nor the greedy men who hopped off it to scoop up all the food for themselves, despite the fact that they and their truck smelled glorious.

There was less time for play, now that we were hunting. Mother snarled when Hungry tried to lick her lips, hoping for a meal, and we all got the message. We went out often, hiding from sight, desperately searching for food. I felt tired and weak, now, and didn't even try to challenge Fast when he stood with his head over my back, thrusting his chest at me. Fine, let him be the boss. As far as I was concerned, my short legs were better suited for the low, slinking run our mother had taught us anyway. If Fast felt he was making some sort of point by using his height to knock me over, he was fooling himself. Mother was the dog in charge.

There was barely room for all of us underneath the tree now, and Mother was gone for longer and longer periods of time. Something told me that one of these days she wouldn't come back. We would have to fend for ourselves, Fast always pushing me out of the way, trying to take my share. Mother wouldn't be there to look after me.

I began to think of what it would be like to leave the Den.

The day everything changed began with Hungry stumbling into the culvert to lie down instead of going on the hunt, his breathing labored, his tongue sticking out of his mouth. Mother nuzzled Hungry before she left, and when I sniffed at him his eyes remained shut.

Over the culvert was a road, and along the road we'd once found a large dead bird, which we'd all torn into until Fast picked it up and ran off with it. Despite the danger of being seen, we tended to range up and down this road, looking for more birds, which was what we were doing when Mother suddenly raised her head in alarm. We all heard it the same instant: a truck approaching.

But not just any truck — this same vehicle, making the same sounds, had been back and forth along our road several times the past few days, moving slowly, even menacingly, as if hunting specifically for us.

We followed Mother as she darted back to the culvert, but for reasons I'll never fully understand, I stopped and looked back at the monstrous machine, taking an extra few seconds before I followed Mother into the safety of the tunnel.

Those few seconds proved to make all the difference — they had spotted me. With a low, rumbling vibration, the truck came to a stop directly overhead. The engine clanked and went quiet, and then we heard the sounds of boots on gravel.

Mother gave a soft whimper.

When the human faces appeared at either end of the culvert, Mother went low, tensing her body. They showed their teeth at us, but it didn't seem to be a hostile gesture. Their faces were brown, marked with black hair, black brows, and dark eyes.

"Here, boy," one of them whispered. I didn't know what it meant, but the call seemed as natural as the sound of the wind, as if I had been listening to men speak my whole life.

Both men had poles, I now saw, poles with ropes looped on the end. They appeared threatening, and I felt Mother's panic boil over. Her claws scrabbling, she bolted, her head down, aiming for the space between the legs of one of the men. The pole came down, there was a quick snap, and then my mother was twisting and jerking as the man hauled her out into the sunlight.

Sister and I backed up, cowering, while Fast growled, his fur bristling on the back of his neck. Then it occurred to all three of us that while the way behind us was still blocked, the tunnel mouth in front of us was now clear. We darted forward.

"Here they come!" the man behind us yelled.

Once out in the creek bed, we realized we didn't really know what to do next. Sister and I stood behind Fast — he wanted to be the boss, so okay, let him deal with this.

There was no sign of Mother. The two men were on opposite banks, though, each wielding his pole. Fast dodged one but then was snagged by the other. Sister took advantage of the melee to escape, her feet splashing in the water as she scampered away, but I stood rooted, staring up at the road.

A woman with long white hair stood there above us, her face wrinkled in kindness. "Here, puppy, it's okay. You'll be all right. Here, puppy," she said.

I didn't run; I didn't move. I allowed the loop of rope to slip over my face and tighten on my neck. The pole guided me up the bank, where the man seized me by the scruff of the neck.

"He's okay; he's okay," the woman crooned. "Let him go."

"He'll run off," the man warned.

"Let him go."

I followed this bit of dialogue without comprehension, only understanding that somehow the woman was in charge, though she was older and smaller than either of the two men. With a reluctant grunt, the man lifted the rope off my neck. The woman offered her hands to me: rough, leathery palms coated with a flowery smell. I sniffed them, then lowered my head. A clear sense of caring and concern radiated off of her.

When she ran her fingers along my fur I felt a shiver pass through me. My tail whipped the air of its own accord, and when she astonished me by lifting me into the air I scrambled to kiss her face, delighting in her laughter.

The mood turned somber when one of the men approached, holding Hungry's limp body. The man showed it to the woman, who clucked mournfully. Then he took it to the truck, where Mother and Fast were in a metal cage, and held it up to their noses. The scent of death, recognizable to me as any memory, wafted off of Hungry in the dry, dusty air.

We all carefully smelled my dead brother, and I understood the men wanted us to know what had happened to Hungry.

Sadness came from all of them as they stood there silently in the road, but they didn't know how sick Hungry had been, sick from birth and not long for the world.

I was put in the cage, and Mother sniffed disapprovingly at the woman's smell, which had been pressed into my fur. With a lurch, the truck started up again, and I was quickly distracted by the wonderful odors flowing through the cage as we moved down the road. I was riding in a truck! I barked in delight, Fast and Mother jerking their heads in surprise at my outburst. I couldn't help myself; it was the most exciting thing that had ever happened in my whole life, including almost catching the frog.


(Continues...)

Excerpted from A Dog's Purpose by W. Bruce Cameron. Copyright © 2010 W. Bruce Cameron. Excerpted by permission of Tom Doherty Associates.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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A Dog's Purpose 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1458 reviews.
NEBooknote More than 1 year ago
Come to think of it, though, considering the time and effort we humans spend trying to figure out "who we are" and "the meaning of life," and given our delight in anthropomorphising animals (especially those we love), I suppose sooner or later someone would come up with the idea of a dog searching for his meaning in life. Mr. Cameron has the imagination and the talent to pull such a story off with style and panache. The dog's story, divided into a series of separate lives, comes together at the end with inevitable and still surprising results. I don't know when I've enjoyed a book so much. I found it nearly impossible to put down.
HEDI09 More than 1 year ago
AN ABSOLUTE TREASURE! Not being able to do this book justice, may I just say, a dog lover or not, 8 years old to 108, buy this book! You will not regret it! What a story! What we would imagine the thought processes of our dogs, the author portrays beautifully and makes the reader think about the role we play in our pets' lives, good and bad. There are many uplifting moments, as well as tearful ones that are from a dog's perspective that will totally humanize the main character. Not a boring cookie cutter formula read; totally unique, and others I recommend are BEAUTIFUL LIES, EXPLOSION IN PARIS and CUTTING FOR STONE.
BookWithTruffles More than 1 year ago
Once you begin reading this book,you will not put it down! Cameron gets you into the mind, heart, and sould of man's best friend! This is now one of my all time favorite books!
literatissima More than 1 year ago
What if animals were able to reincarnate? W. Bruce Cameron explores this question in A Dog's Purpose, a novel about one canine soul embarking on a journey to last more than one lifetime. The novel presents many different situations, but the universal thread weaving them together is the circle of life and the interconnectedness of humanity and species. For me, it was an emotional journey, with laughter and tears. And it made me remember to stop and appreciate my dog all the more. I never want to take a second spent with her for granted. This book is a love letter to the four-legged variety that populate our planet and I recommend it to those that have ever been touched by a dog's purpose.
Joost More than 1 year ago
Flat out....one of the best books I have ever read. Such a novel idea and a teriffic ending. A must read for every dog owner.....
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read this as a paper copy as a small child. I reccomend it to anyone at all, even if you dont like dogs. This book will grab your heart and will never let go
Kaitlin Besselman More than 1 year ago
this book was in my magazine the at my book fair so i got it and this book was glued to my hand it was shocking haert braking and haert warming i did cry so if u lost a dog reacently dont read but other than that 999,999 out of 10 stars
justlainee More than 1 year ago
WHOEVER GAVE THIS BOOK A BAD REVIEW IS OUT OF THEIR MIND. My mom gave me this book for christmas one year to read becuase I recently lost my best friend who yes, was a dog. He was very young and it is one of the worst experiences I have ever had in my life. This book helped me so much through the struggles I was going through. It made me laugh out loud, cry, and have hope. If you have a dog....you need to read this book. It is one of my favorite books of all time. There is nothing better then this book.
bobbewig More than 1 year ago
To start off, I won't say that A Dog's Purpose is one of the best books I've read in a while. That wouldn't be close to expressing what a wonderful book I think this is. To be more accurate, I'd say that A Dog's Purpose is one of the top 3 or 4 books I've ever read in my over fifty years of being an avid reader -- and possibly my all-time favorite! Summarizing the plot even a little bit won't be fair for the potential reader because you'll want to experience every aspect of this terrific book without any advance information of what you will experience as you read it. I think the following information from the jacket cover pertaining to the essence of A Dog's Purpose should suffice. This is a remarkable story of one endearing dog's search for his purpose over the course of several lives. More than just another charming dog story, A Dog's Purpose touches on the universal quest for an answer to life's most basic question: Why are we here? A Dog's Purpose is a heartwarming, insightful and funny story of a dog's many lives -- but is also a book that you'll need to have a box of tissues close by as you read it, as your reading will make you come face-to-face with all of the emotions associated with life (and death). Further, the book is a dog's-eye documentary on human relationships and the unbreakable bonds between man and man's best friend; and, at its highest level, attempts to teach that love never dies, that our true friends are always with us, and that every creature on Earth is born with a purpose. Well, that's all I'm going to say about this very, very memorable book, which hopefully will be enough to motivate you to read it. I know you'll be very happy you did. Now, I have to go hug my dog, Luigi, tell him what a good boy he is and give him all the love he deserves.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I smiled and cried at all the right places and then some. I have responsibly raised poodles for 54 years; bred, obedience-trained and showed in the ring. Dogs have always been a big part of my life--raising 5 children along with them. I now have my last standard poodle, because he is 12 and I am 82. I loved all the reincarnations of Bailey-- feeling all the feelings he felt. I am tearful as I write this to thank you for a Dog's Purpose. I have just finished my first novel---it is about a person I loved as much as Bailey loved his master.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Makes me sad, happy and mad.
NYgrl1914 More than 1 year ago
This may be a work of fiction, but there isn't anything more real than the love between a dog and their human(s). This book is heartwarming, well-written, and will awaken something deep in your soul. Buy this book now, and then pass it on to a friend. We can all benefit from the love of a dog.
Katie_K7 More than 1 year ago
Great book for any dog lover!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved this book! It's about the many lives of a dog, and how he will find his purpose in the world. I would check it out.
Leatherneck More than 1 year ago
The book is difficult to review without spoiling the story for readers. It is a story premise I'd never encountered before. But throughout, it offers thought-provoking ideas and a few "That's right!" moments too. After reading, I was left with the same comfort people get following a good sermon or a well-played symphony.
hfreaney More than 1 year ago
Makes you think about your pet and where in their journey are they. It's a great book. You fall in love with the dog, every time he's reborn.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
To say that this book is awesome would be an understatement. It is (excuse my language) FRI.NKING AMAZING!!!!! I have read (and loved and cried about) Marley & Me, Old Yeller (who hasn't?), Where the Red Fern Grows, A Dog's Life, and countless other dog books that would take 50 reveiws to name, but A Dog's Purpose stands high above the rest. No wonder, too: I have a 10 month old German Shepherd who is literally my best friend, and being able to see the thoughts she might be thinking at this very moment is nothing short of AMAZING. Every dog lover must read this book. It will make you rethink everything about that pooch in your life, whether he is a naughty puppy, an equally naughty middle age dog, an old "man", or even recently passed away, this book will tug your heartstrings till they break and make you laugh so hard you spew milk out your nose. If you're considering buying this book, or even if you're rping (I do it too sometimes, I won't snitch), let there be no maybe in your mind. You will love, love, love this book. Trust me. Now, if you'll excuse me, I just heard a crash. My dog must want her ball. Goodbye, and happy reading! ;p
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Didn't want it to end!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved this book! I'm only in the sixth grade and already have read it all, and sobbed throughout the whole book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am not necessarily a 'dog person' but was taken by the cover so bought it. I loved Cameron's ability to write this as the dog. The whole story was soo wonderful. A must read!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved the flow of this book. It was a little predictable, but still a wonderful story that was beautifully written. Prepare yourself for many tears.
Bookworm1951 More than 1 year ago
A wonderful book that I highly recommend. Even if you're not a dog lover, you will enjoy this. A story of life, death and purpose as seen through the eyes of a dog. A poignant novel which touches on the entire spectrum of emotions. The premise of the story is a dog who reincarnates again and again until life finally brings him full-circle and he has discovered his true purpose. Whether or not you believe in reincarnation, this book is an excellent read and makes us humans think about how we may be perceived by our 4-legged companions. There is some violence and animal mistreatment portrayed as well. No foul language. Well edited. A real gem of a book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love it!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
What is not to like about a story you read that makes you love dogs even more?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I laughed and cried. I would stop reading to hug and pet my Border Collie. I had a sweet chocolate lab before that lived 18 years. It was a terrible loss and we still miss Carmen to this day. Percy is now part of our family and we love Percy dearly. This book touched my heart deeply. I definitely recommend reading it.